Saturday, March 3, 2007

News from Proto, courtesy of Mass General Hospital

I didn't have to far for this one: Proto, the quarterly from my hometown's own Mass General Hospital, has some great medical articles. They cover some of the best medicine in the country, cutting edge technology, and policy with a refreshing worldly outlook. They also have some awesome graphics.

A quick rundown of the last 3 issues that LDTC likes:

An interview with Dr. Kenneth Kamler on Extreme Doctoring---one moment you're in Nepal and in Mars the next:

Q: You wrote a book called Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor’s Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance. Do people who live their entire lives in extreme environments have different expectations of medical science than we do?

A: They don’t expect nearly as much. They’re accepting of injury and illness: If they fail to produce, they become a burden on their family and their village. I knew a Sherpa who worked for two years with a dislocated ankle. He had to—otherwise his family would have starved.

Q: What are the biggest obstacles to treating an astronaut injured on the moon—or Mars?

A: The time delay—the time it takes to transmit across vast distances. It’s not a huge issue with telemedicine, but for remote surgery it’s hard to see how the problem can be overcome. A surgeon, working remotely, can tie a suture with a two-second delay. With a three-second delay, hand-eye coordination is no longer possible; because neural circuits work on immediate feedback, it would be like trying to drive a car by looking out the back window. The time delay on the moon is 2.5 seconds. On Mars it’s 20 to 40 minutes.

Q: How does NASA envision solving that problem?

A: Surgery would have to be pre-programmed, as in a player piano. Magnetic resonance images would be radioed back to Earth and analyzed. Then doctors would figure out the operation needed, program it into a computer and send the information to a robotic surgeon on Mars. That’s the only way it could be done—unless you can speed up the speed of light!

Fall 2006 coverage of Tech for Developing World:
A wearable malaria monitor that that doubles as a wristwatch to test for Maria 4 times a day.

A lab-on-a-chip developed in Spain that can detect tuberculosis and other infectious diseases using technology that checks out the DNA chain of each disease.
Fall 2005: The fablab helps on maxillofacial surgery patients in Iraq:
A young victim of a bomb blast in Baghdad arrives at a U.S. army hospital requiring facial reconstruction. Surgeons upload data from scans of the boy's skull into a 3-D laser printer, which produces a ceramic bone substitute of his jaw within hours. Known as additive fabrication, or rapid prototyping, the process—in which cross-sections of liquid, powder or sheet materials are fused into objects of ceramic, plastic and metal—is used to create prosthetic devices and models of organs, joints and bones. Recently, surgeons in Dallas used a model (above) of a conjoined skull, replicating bone structure and vasculature, to guide them in separating twins.

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