Easier way to fix hearts

first_imgHarvard-affiliated researchers have designed a specialized catheter for fixing holes in the heart by using a biodegradable adhesive and patch. The team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine that the catheter has been used successfully in animal studies to help close holes without requiring open-heart surgery.Pedro del Nido, chief of cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, the William E. Ladd Professor of Child Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and contributing author on the study, said the device represents a radical change in the way some kinds of cardiac defects are repaired. “In addition to avoiding open-heart surgery, this method avoids suturing into the heart tissue, because we’re just gluing something to it.”Catheterizations are preferable to open-heart surgery because they don’t require stopping the heart, putting the patient on bypass, and cutting into the heart. The Heart Center at Boston Children’s is working toward the least invasive methods possible to correct heart defects, which are among the most common congenital defects.The team members came from Boston Children’s, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the Karp Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is a Harvard-affiliated hospital, as is Boston Children’s.Last winter, news of the unique adhesive patch was published in the same journal as the latest report. This represented a large step forward in the quest to reduce complications associated with repairing heart defects. While medical devices that remain in the body may be jostled out of place or fail to cover the hole as the body grows, the patch allows the heart tissue to create its own closure, and then it dissolves.To truly realize the patch’s potential, however, the research team sought a way to deliver the patch without open-heart surgery. Their catheter device utilizes UV-light technology and can be used to place the patch in a beating heart.The catheter is inserted through a vein in the neck or groin and directed to the defect within the heart. Once the catheter is in place, the clinician opens two positioning balloons: one around the front end of the catheter, passing through the hole, and one on the other side of the heart wall. The clinician then deploys the patch and turns on the catheter’s UV light.The light reflects off of the balloon’s shiny interior and activates the patch’s adhesive coating. As the glue cures, pressure from the positioning balloons on either side of the patch help secure it in place. Finally, both balloons are deflated, and the catheter is withdrawn. Over time, normal tissue growth resumes, and heart tissue grows over the patch. The patch itself dissolves when it is no longer needed.“This really is a completely new platform for closing wounds or holes anywhere in the body,” said Conor Walsh, a contributing author of the study, a Wyss Institute core faculty member, an assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at SEAS, and founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab at SEAS. “The device is a minimally invasive way to deliver a patch and then activate it using UV light, all within a matter of five minutes, and in an atraumatic way that doesn’t require a separate incision.”last_img read more

Board Of Education Releases AF School Grades

first_imgThe Indiana Department of Education issued the long-awaited accountability grades for Indiana Schools. The “A-F” ratings have been delayed for months following a state-ordered review of the system.Within Ripley County, nine of fifteen schools earned an A rating. For the second consecutive year, all schools in the Batesville Community School Corporation received an A grade.South Ripley Junior High School, South Ripley Elementary School, Jac-Cen-Del Elementary, Sunman Elementary School and St. Louis School also received the top grade.Four of seven Decatur County Schools received a B grade and one school received an A. Greensburg Elementary was the lone school to receive the highest grade, while South Decatur Elementary School, North Decatur Elementary School, North Decatur High School and Greensburg Jr. High received a B.In Franklin County, Brookville Elementary School received an A grade for the second year in a row. While other schools ranged from a B to C rating, Laurel School approved accountability rankings by posting a C grade opposed to an F in 2012.Two schools in Dearborn County showed improvements this past year. Lawrenceburg Primary School and Central Elementary School had a D ranking in 2012, however, increased school performance to an A grade in 2013. Overall, seven of fifteen Dearborn County schools had an A ranking this year.View a complete list of accountability grades here.Indiana’s  A-F model holds schools and corporations to higher standards and provides a more accurate picture of their performance .last_img read more

Covina council delays vote on senior housing project

first_imgMiller said she had a petition signed by 750 Covina residents opposing the project. Residents said the buildings would ruin the undeveloped feel of the neighborhood. The development would would have 171 apartments. Other concerns aired were increased density, the potential removal of up to 250 trees, a 27-foot retaining wall, plus traffic, noise and dust from construction. City staff acknowledged that passing the plan would require giving Masonic Homes, the nonprofit senior complex at 1650 East Old Badillo St., an exception on 14 building codes required by the residential zone where it is located. Some of the exceptions include the height of buildings, the number of people on the property, and the removal of several large, old oak trees. More than 20 people spoke at the meeting. Masonic Homes only takes in seniors who belong to the Freemasonry organization, a centuries- old fraternal order with chapters all over the country. People who spoke in favor of the project identified themselves as Masons who hoped to move into the new senior apartments. The City Council voted to delay action on the issue until October. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2105160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COVINA – At the end of a late night facing down angry residents, the City Council postponed a decision on a senior housing project. The expansion of the senior center on East Old Badillo Street would include four new apartment and activities buildings, eight townhome and duplex structures, a skilled nursing center, and a memory care center. At Tuesday’s packed council meeting, most of the people complaining about the project said they would back plans for the northern portion of the property. “We are residential,” said Cookie Miller, a resident who lives near the project. “Please respect that and build within the code.” last_img read more

Race to top draft pick: 49ers on top, but don’t rule out Raiders

first_imgWhere do the teams competing for the grand booby prize of NFL football, the No. 1 pick in late April’s draft, stand after Week 12?49ers (2-9)Lost to Tampa Bay 27-9After loss to Bucs, only Denver remains as an opponent with a sub-.500 record. Staggering to the finish line and the last five games are brutal.Remaining schedule: at Seattle (6-5), Denver (5-6), Seattle (6-5), Chicago (8-3), at L.A. Rams (10-1). Arizona (2-9)Lost to Chargers 45-10Never got anything going against the …last_img

Searching for Natural Selection in a Wildflower

first_imgEvening snow (Linanthus) is an amazing little wildflower that adorns desert areas of southern California.  Its blossoms open in the evening, spreading fragrance across a harsh landscape.  Two varieties have been noticed; one with white flowers, and one with blue flowers.  Scientists noticed that the white ones sometimes grow on one side of a ravine, and the blue ones on the other; in other places, the two varieties grow in a blue-white mosaic.  Is this pattern due to genetic drift (i.e., chance), or to natural selection?    Elisabeth Pennisi wrote about this in Science.1  Her opening line might open some eyes about the difficulty of deciding a question this simple: “Sixty years ago, studies of these patterns provided key support for a powerful evolutionary theory.  Now, two evolutionary biologists have found that the theory doesn’t hold in this species.”    Two researchers decided to settle the debate with a long-term field study.  Their decision was that natural selection was the winner, at least a little: “In the seed-transplant studies, each color flower typically did best on its own turf, indicating that selection played a role.”  There may have been some environmental influences at work, in other words, that tended to make one color predominate in one environment and the other in different environments.  But is anyone certain?“The study shows the unimportance of drift in Linanthus,” says evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei of Pennsylvania State University in State College.  “In this sense, [the] finding shakes the ground of the shifting balance theory.”  But he is cautious about making generalizations, given that other studies suggest otherwise: “The relative importance of selection and drift depends on the genes and populations studied.”1.  Elisabeth Pennisi, “Natural Selection, Not Chance, Paints the Desert Landscape,” Science, 19 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5849, p. 376, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5849.376.So in a 13-year study, these scientists could only point to a little bit of natural selection that might have played a role in the color pattern of two varieties within the same species?  And they expect us to believe that science has proved that humans have bacteria ancestors due to this wondrous mechanism of natural selection?(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

E-waste pilot project delivers

first_imgWorkers processed over 60 tons of e-waste in ten months. The aluminium rings used to make these pretty earrings came out of a harddrive. Left, an Africa-shaped clock made from a circuit board, and right, a prototype of the e-waste harddrive clock.(All images: HP e-waste plant)Janine ErasmusPreliminary results of a pilot project to tackle the growing problem of electronic waste, or e-waste, in Africa have been released, showing a number of beneficial spin-offs, including job creation and income generation.The project, taking place in South Africa, Kenya and Morocco, is run jointly by IT giant HP, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, and the Global Digital Solidarity Fund, which works to narrow the digital divide on a global level. A number of local organisations and NGOs are also participating.E-waste is defined as electrical or electronic equipment which is waste, including all components, subassemblies and consumables which are part of the product at the time of discarding. It includes computers and entertainment electronics consisting of valuable as well as harmful and toxic components.The aim of the project is to assess and improve the current situation of e-waste management in Africa in such a way that more jobs can be created, especially in the informal recycling sector. It also seeks to incorporate proven informal processing activities into the scheme, and grow them into sustainable operations.Project manager Mathias Schluep of the Swiss research organisation said that they were keen to tap into “some of the incredible entrepreneurial skills in the informal sector in Africa. By providing tools and training we have removed potential environmental and health problems that can be caused by handling e-waste incorrectly.”As most e-waste in developing nations is still disposed of informally, there is little in the way of regulation to protect the workers who are exposed to harmful substances. These include heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury, and chlorofluorocarbons.The three organisations involved have to date gathered important information on how African governments, organisations and society are managing e-waste, which is currently one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide.“We see these projects in Africa as both providing employment opportunities for local communities and as a step towards a sustainable solution for tackling electronic waste in Africa,” said HP’s environmental business manager Klaus Hieronymi.Recycling as a last resortThe South African operation, located in the industrial area of Maitland, Cape Town, represented the main focus of the project. During its initial run from February to November 2008 the facility processed about 60 metric tons of electronic equipment, generated an impressive income of around R140 000 ($14 000) in the 10 months, and created direct employment for 19 people.The labour-intensive work involves low-tech material dismantling and component recovery from discarded electronic goods. Labourers were drawn from the local community, and were trained to refurbish and repair the unwanted equipment that poured in. Recycling was considered a last resort, and a few creative people even turned non-toxic waste into pieces of art, jewellery and useful items such as clocks.Information gathered from the pilot stage will be invaluable during the second phase, which will see the partners tackling the private sector and governments with a view to broadening the scope of the project to other countries and, eventually, the entire continent. It is hoped that the project will move to a sustainable level, with the deployment of medium to large infrastructure pilots in various countries.E-waste dilemmaThe Global Digital Solidarity Fund was delighted with the results, saying that the project has helped to solve the dilemma of what do with old equipment, since information technology is an important component of many developing countries’ economies. “We have moved some way to closing the loop by providing a model for safe and efficient treatment and disposal of e-waste,” commented spokesperson Cisse Kane.Assessment studies carried out in Kenya and Morocco have shed light on the e-waste situation in the two countries, particularly in terms of legislation, local awareness, infrastructure, and the total amount of waste generated.In Kenya the amount of waste produced from only computers, monitors and printers is about 3 000 tons every year, and this is growing. In 2007 the amount was 200% higher than in the previous year – this is attributed to the increasing importation of computers into the country. Steps should be taken now, said the project report, to address the emerging challenge.In Morocco the e-waste generated by all electronic equipment, including televisions, mobile phones and computers, adds up to a massive 30 300 tons.Neither country has any legislation in place to specifically address e-waste management. This is significant when considering the toxic content of e-waste. If not disposed of properly, heavy metals and other poisonous substances can leach out of discarded components into the soil or groundwater, contaminating plants and eventually the population.Formalisation of the e-waste recycling sector in the pilot countries is one of the issues to be tackled by the project as it moves into a higher gear.Keeping South Africa cleanIn South Africa the awareness of the importance of proper e-waste disposal is growing, and there are already a number of disposal points around the country. More information and exact locations can be found on the website of the E-waste Association of South Africa.E-waste activist Johnny Clegg, better known as one of South Africa’s most loved musicians, has taken up the cause in his capacity as co-founder of black economic empowerment company Vuthela Services. Vuthela is the majority shareholder of e-waste recycling specialist African Sky.“Europe generates more than 500-million tons of e-waste every year,” said Clegg. “If South Africa picked up just 5% of it, we could create 10 000 jobs.”South Africa has its own environmental watchdogs in the form of the Environmental Management Inspectors, better known as the Green Scorpions. This vigilant unit was formed in 2005 through an amendment to the national Environmental Management Act, which then provided for the appointment of environmental inspectors by national and provincial government.The unit is made up of members of the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism as well as representatives from South Africa National Parks. The Green Scorpions are tasked with enforcing the country’s various environmental laws, and bringing to book those who contravene the legislation.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesRecycle that old mobile Using waste to save the world Greenpeace takes on Africa Useful linksHPGlobal Digital Solidarity FundSwiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and ResearchThe Durban declaration on e-waste management in AfricaE-waste Association of South AfricaSwiss e-waste guideGreen ScorpionsSouth Africa National ParksDepartment of Environmental Affairs and Tourismlast_img read more

South African youth can apply for free tech training

first_imgWeThinkCode, a new peer-to-peer tech institution keen to identify and train people for free to become world-class programmers, has been launched in South Africa.WeThinkCode co-founder Arlene Mulder said the initiative would train 100 students in its first cohort in 2016 and aim to train 1 000 students per year by 2018. (Image: We Think Code)Brand South Africa ReporterWeThinkCode, a new peer-to-peer tech institution keen to identify and train people for free to become world-class programmers, has been launched in South Africa.This institution aims to eliminate the information technology skills gap in the country, promising to train young people to become software engineers in a peer- to-peer problem solving and learning environment.In partnership with Ecole 42 in France, WeThinkCode will open its first campus in January 2016 in Johannesburg. Anyone who wants to be part of this initiative must register on its website. Student applications open on 1 October for the two- year course. It is free of charge for candidates between the ages of 17 and 35.First National Bank, BBD, and Derivco are the founding sponsors. They will provide financial support for the launch of the programme and also play a role in ensuring the curriculum stays relevant to the industry. BBD is a custom software development company, while Derivco is a top-tier software and gaming development company.Students will also be able to interact with sponsors through internship opportunities and projects.WeThinkCode co-founder Arlene Mulder said the initiative would train 100 students in its first cohort in 2016 and aim to train 1 000 students per year by 2018, reported the technology news site, ITWeb Innovations. “Our education model is technology-enabled and therefore extremely scalable. Our mission is to source and develop 100 000 coders in Africa,” she said.#BornToCode, which challenges the tech leaders in South Africa to fight it out to prove their tech muscle, is another WeThinkCode project. The inaugural #BornToCode event will take place on 29 September, and will give tech leaders the chance to join the conversation and put money behind their coding talent.Tech champions will be challenged to take the student aptitude test game and compete for the top 10 positions on the #BornToCode tech leader board. They will then be required to donate a minimum of R25 600, which will cover a stipend to help students through their studies. All funds raised will go towards opening the WeThinkCode campus in January 2016.More than 20 tech leaders have already signed up, including Thabang Legae of Wesbank; Derek Wilcocks of Dimension Data; Robbie Brozin of Nando’s; and Stafford Masie of thumbzup.Source: MyBroadbandWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Marino Macomb veteran services benefit with grant

first_img Categories: Marino News 08Feb Marino: Macomb veteran services benefit with grant State Rep. Steve Marino cosponsored legislation Wednesday encouraging state counties to establish and maintain veteran service offices through a new grant program.Under the measure, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.“This legislation greatly benefits Macomb County veteran services and our men and women in uniform who have proudly served,” Marino said. “Local veterans already connected with services know just how critical it is to have a liaison near them to help with filing for eligible benefits. This grant helps expand the pre-existing foundation of assistance.”Under the current veterans benefit model, the state supplies the Veteran Service Coalition with a grant to provide benefit services to veterans. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location such as a city library.Currently, there are 11 Michigan counties without a veteran service office. This could be due to the number of veterans in the area, lack of funding or because the county partners with neighboring counties.“Although Macomb County already has a veteran service center with accredited service officers, this grant will help maintain and improve the office with funding as well as help counties without local offices with service officers establish one,” Marino said.The measure, House Bill 5536, will be formally read into the record today.last_img read more