Delicate but deadly viruses exquisitely recreated out of blown glass
A stunning collection of blown glass figurines exquisitely capturing some of the most deadly viruses and bacteria known to man have been made so perfectly that some say they’re too frightening to go near.
Seen blown up to one-million times their original size, these crystal-clear, some almost wriggling replicas of HIV, E Coli and Malaria to name just a few show the haunting diseases rarely seen in such beautiful form.
Titled Glass Microbiology, the art work is the product of U.K. artist Luke Jerram who dreamed up the collection with the intent not to entirely frighten spectators but more of send a message of the virus’ global impact.
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‘The reaction to the work really has been quite amazing,’ Jerram told the BBC. ‘They’re obviously incredibly beautiful so people are automatically attracted to things of beauty but when they realize actually what they are there’s that element of sort of repulsion.
‘Some people feel as though they might get infected if they touch them, which is quite nice,’ he added with a smile.
Jerram worked closely with virologist Andrew Davidson of the University of Bristol to ensure each model was mastered to the closest details known to scientists.
Once sketched out, the images were sent to professional glassblowers Kim George, Brian George and Norman Veitch for their elaborate creation.
Appearing so realistic, down to the lack of color due to their microscopic size’s relation to light, photographs of the finished products have appeared in science text books and journals.
Despite this, some features may not be perfectly exact, as Jerram notes.
‘We have to piece together our understanding by comparing grainy electron microscope images with abstract chemical models and existing diagrams,’ he told the Smithsonian Magazine.
Also in some places he admits the models may be intentionally slightly different. Such is the case of his H1N1 virus model which appears spikier simply to add to the finished product’s durability, not for presentation’s sake.
Over time with scientists’ improvements with technology and their understanding, he realizes he’ll have to make slight changes to them, but that doesn’t appear to be of worry, only exciting advancement.
Taking the smallpox disease for example, work on that replica has had to be placed on hold after one Florida scientist’s recent theory that it’s a bit different than others think.
‘He has published papers that show a very different understanding of the internal structure. I now need to consider whether to create a new model or wait until his model has become more widely accepted by the scientific community,’ Jerram said.
Among Jerram’s loudest praise for his work, and perhaps most interestingly, he reveals thanks from those directly suffering from the viruses he beautifully recreates.
‘I’ve also had emails from people suffering from HIV who have said that by looking at the art work you’ve made it’s given me an appreciation of the viruses that are actually inside my body,’ he said.
As one shared email on his website reads: ‘Your sculpture, even as a photo, has made HIV much more real for me than any photo or illustration I’ve ever seen. It’s a very odd feeling seeing my enemy, and the eventual likely cause of my death, and finding it so beautiful.’
His work has been added to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection and is also now appearing in New York’s Museum of Art and Design through April 7th as well as in Maryland’s Strathmore Fine Art in Bethesda from February 16 to April 13.
by: the Common Constitutionalist
You think health care is expensive now; just wait til it’s free.
First came the new federal tax on medical devices. Then a shrinkage of Doctor own private practices. And now, more than a year away from full implementation, the largest state in the union claims it won’t have enough doctors.
The makers of medical devices, such as implants, have already been hit with the medical device tax to help pay for Obamacare. Because of the tax one such employer, Signus medical, a Minnesota based maker of spinal implants, has but nine employees left. Those still employed have taken a 40% pay cut and the company owner, Tom Hogbaug, no longer gets paid at all. He feels terrible having to let people go saying, “Sorry, I have to lay you off but I have to pay tax to the federal government. I look around and don’t know how to explain it to everybody.”
Minnesota Congressman Eric Paulsen explains, “There have already been thousands of layoffs across the country. That means fewer jobs. It means less innovation.”
As the act gets closer to full implementation sometime in 2014, more and more doctors will simply hang it up and stop practicing medicine. They may sell their practices, convert to fee-for-service, if they are able, or just retire altogether.
Dr. Richard Armstrong, a Michigan surgeon and anti-Obamacare advocate says, “every single day, colleagues are talking about retiring early, getting out of clinical medicine or going into hospital administration, where you don’t have to think about patient care anymore.”
Dermatologist, Dr. Tamzin Rosenwasser, who practiced medicine for 25 years has already gotten out. The doctor stop practicing in 2011 saying, “I’ve interrupted practicing medicine because of Obamacare. I read the bill… and didn’t want to go down that road with Obamacare.”
Now the L.A. Times is reporting that there will be a severe shortage of doctors in California due to the “Affordable Care Act”. Frankly, if it were just California, I’d say it couldn’t happen to a better state. But alas California is just the harbinger of things to come nationwide.
Michael Mishak of the Los Angeles Times writes, “There aren’t enough doctors to treat the crush of newly insured patients.”
Mr. Mishak reports that some lawmakers want to fill the gap by redefining who can provide healthcare.
Some California lawmakers are proposing that physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners set up independent primary care practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could also be primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Yes Dr., I’ll take the bifocal lenses, that lovely pair of eyeglasses frames over there, and some insulin. Brilliant!
Doctors claim that this proposal could jeopardize patient safety. Could jeopardize safety?! Ya think?!
California state secretary of HHS told a group of healthcare advocates, “We’re are going to have to provide care at lower levels. I think a lot of people are trained to do work that licenses don’t allow them to do.”
It seems the reality of the nightmare that is Obamacare, that I’m quite certain they all supported, is starting to sink in. So a state like California, where you need a license to be a dog walker or give someone a manicure is proposing that those without proper credentials or licenses just be allowed to open medical practices and treat potentially life-threatening illnesses.
If that’s the case, why don’t we just let the guy at the auto body shop become a Chiropractor? Maybe the Roto-Rooter man can become a proctologist. The local barkeep can set up a psychiatrist practice and my plumber can moonlight as a gastroenterologist. Man, we will be swimming in doctors! This will be great!
My advice… Don’t get sick… Ever!
Attribution: Michelle Malkin, LA Times
Funds run low for health insurance in state ‘high-risk pools’
Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low.
Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based “high-risk pools” set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state.
But they stressed that coverage for about 100,000 people who are now enrolled in the high-risk pools will not be affected.
“We’re being very careful stewards of the money that has been appropriated to us and we wanted to balance our desire to maximize the number of people who can gain from this program while making sure people who are in the program have coverage,” said Gary Cohen, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. “This was the most prudent step for us to take at this point in time.”
The program, which was launched in summer 2010, was always intended as a temporary bridge for the uninsured. But it was supposed to last until 2014. At that point, the health-care law will bar insurers from rejecting or otherwise discriminating against people who are already sick, enabling such people to buy plans through the private market.
From the start, analysts questioned whether the $5 billion that Congress appropriated for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan — as the program is called — was sufficient. Please Continue Reading
The problems faced by color blindness sufferers could be solved thanks to new glasses that can allow them to see the full spectrum for the first time, it was claimed today.
Around 8% of men and a smaller number of women suffer from ‘red-green deficiency’, a genetic abnormality that restricts them from seeing some reds and greens.
But the new lenses, which were originally intended to help medics locate veins and bruising more easily, can help sufferers beat the disability and distinguish colors they were formerly unable to.
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The revolutionary new glasses help the color blind see colors they previously could not
The invention by U.S. research institute 2AI Labs builds on research by cognitive scientist Mark Changizi, a specialist in evolutionary neurobiology.
He suggested in 2006 that humans developed the ability to observe subtle changes in skin color, like blushes, to detect social cues and work out the emotions of peers.
But 2AI’s labs glasses were not intended to restore this function in those deficient of it, but rather to help doctors and nurses detect ‘oxygenated blood’ in the skin.
It was hoped that the glasses could used to help medics see bruising that was not immediately visible and find veins before taking blood.
But in tests the lenses – dubbed Oxy-Iso – was shown to help the color blind distinguish parts of the spectrum they were previously unable to.
Can you see this number? The Ishihara Color Test is the standard way to diagnose color blindness
On his blog, Professor Changizi said: ‘Although we didn’t design our technology with color-deficients specifically in mind, we weren’t too surprised that the Oxy-Iso may help with with red-green color-deficiency.
‘So the Oxy-Iso filter concentrates its enhancement exactly where red-green color-blind folk are deficient.’
Daniel Bor, a researcher from the University of Sussex, said wearing the glasses enabled him to pass the commonly used test for color blindness, the Ishihara Color Test, in which patients are shown plates which feature a circle of dots.
Color blindness sufferers are not able to make out numbers shown made up of dots of a different color.
‘When I first put one of them on, I got a shiver of excitement at how vibrant and red lips, clothes and other objects around me seemed,’ Mr Bor said.
The glasses are already available. However, while they enhance perception of reds and greens, they hamper the ability to distinguish yellows and blues.
Attribution: Damien Gayle, Mail Online
Dr Benjamin Carson takes Obamacare and the Nanny State to the woodshed at the National Prayer Breakfast. Brilliant!
“A life worth sacrificing”: Salon blogger admits abortion ends life
by: Cassy Fiano
Many pro-aborts try to flip the label of pro-life on us, calling us anti-abortion or anti-choice. They don’t want the reminder out there that abortion is ending a life. But one pro-abortion blogger at Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams, is going a different route. She readily admits that abortion ends a life… and that’s A-OK.
Her response to the question of abortion ending a life? So what?
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.
… When we try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing stupid semantic lines in the sand: first trimester abortion vs. second trimester vs. late term, dancing around the issue trying to decide if there’s a single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person. Are you human only when you’re born? Only when you’re viable outside of the womb? Are you less of a human life when you look like a tadpole than when you can suck on your thumb?
… My belief that life begins at conception is mine to cling to. And if you believe that it begins at birth, or somewhere around the second trimester, or when the kid finally goes to college, that’s a conversation we can have, one that I hope would be respectful and empathetic and fearless. We can’t have it if those of us who believe that human life exists in utero are afraid we’re somehow going to flub it for the cause. In an Op-Ed on “Why I’m Pro-Choice” in the Michigan Daily this week, Emma Maniere stated, quite perfectly, that “Some argue that abortion takes lives, but I know that abortion saves lives, too.” She understands that it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.
A life worth sacrificing. An unborn baby is indeed a life…a life which matters only if the mother finds it convenient. If the mother finds the pregnancy inconvenient, then it’s no big deal at all to end that life.
And she calls pro-lifers diabolical.
Of course, there’s something she’s getting wrong. Abortion isn’t sacrificing a life. Sacrificing a life requires willingness, for someone to stand up and say, Yes, I am willing to die for you. A mother absolutely can make a sacrifice to save the life of her unborn child – Chiara Corbella is a heart-breaking example – but an unborn child cannot be “sacrificed” for his or her mother. An unborn baby does not have a say in the decision to have an abortion; an unborn baby does not choose to die. Abortion is not a sacrifice. It’s murder. Let’s get that straight.
While Williams claims she does not want to come across as a “death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm trooper,” that’s exactly what she’s done. Some lives are worth more than others? Said every eugenicist, totalitarian dictator, and murderer who’s ever existed. That is the mindset that says it’s acceptable for parents to euthanize their disabled children, or that the elderly can be killed without their consent. By this same logic, infanticide should be completely acceptable as well. Heck, a mother should be allowed to kill her ten-year-old, too, if the mother decides that that child’s life is worth sacrificing.
It would be interesting to know who exactly gets to decide which lives are worthy to continue living, and which are not, since according to Williams, some lives are worth more than others. Are the disabled worthy of living? The elderly? The poor? Who decides? If not all humans are worthy of life, then who decides which get to live and which are sentenced to die?
I also want to point out the inherent narcissism of Williams’s argument. Not only is it acceptable to kill your unborn child merely out of inconvenience, but to Williams, it’s something worth sacrificing. How self-absorbed and narcissistic must you be to see the murder of your child as a noble, worthy sacrifice? It’s as if she thinks the baby would willingly agree to be slaughtered so Mommy doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of having a baby. That takes a seriously warped mind.
Pro-aborts will surely be cursing this article for drawing back the curtain and exposing the grisly truth about abortion. It doesn’t actually matter what people say regarding whether the unborn baby is a human life. Science has already established that it is. The question is whether or not women should have the right to take that life. And while abortion activists usually try to avoid the truth, Williams has brought it, like maggots festering underneath a rock, unflinchingly to the light for all to see.
Iraq war veteran who lost all four limbs in blast proudly shows off his double arm transplant
An Iraq veteran who lost all four limbs in a roadside bombing in Iraq almost four-years ago said today he’s looking forward to driving and swimming after undergoing a double-arm transplant.
‘I just want to get the most out of these arms, and just as goals come up, knock them down and take it absolutely as far as I can,’ Brendan Marrocco said Tuesday.
The 26-year-old New Yorker spoke at a news conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was joined by surgeons who performed the arduous and complex 13-hour operation.
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After he was wounded, Marrocco said, he felt fine using prosthetic legs, but he hated not having arms.
‘You talk with your hands, you do everything with your hands, basically, and when you don’t have that, you’re kind of lost for a while,’ he said.
Marrocco said his chief desire is to drive the black Dodge Charger that’s been sitting in his garage for three years.
‘I used to love to drive,’ he said. ‘I’m really looking forward to just getting back to that, and just becoming an athlete again.’
Although he doesn’t expect to excel at soccer, his favorite sport, Marrocco said he’d like to swim and compete in a marathon using a hand-cycle.
Marrocco joked that military service members sometimes regard themselves as poorly paid professional athletes.
His good humor and optimism are among the qualities doctors cited as signs he will recover much of his arm and hand use in two to three years.
‘He’s a young man with a tremendous amount of hope, and he’s stubborn – stubborn in a good way,’ said Dr. Jaimie Shores, the hospital’s clinical director of hand transplantation. ‘I think the sky’s the limit.’
Shores said Marrocco has already been trying to use his hands, although he lacks feeling in the fingers, and he’s eager to do more as the slow-growing nerves and muscles mend.
‘I suspect that he will be using his hands for just about everything as we let him start trying to do more and more. Right now, we’re the ones really kind of holding him back at this point,’ Shores said.
The procedure was only the seventh double-hand or double-arm transplant ever done in the United States.
The infantryman was injured by a roadside bomb in 2009. He is the first soldier to survive losing all four limbs in the Iraq War.
Marrocco also received bone marrow from the same donor to minimize the medicine needed to prevent rejection.
He said he didn’t know much about the donor but ‘I’m humbled by their gift.’
The 13-hour operation on December 18th was led by Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, plastic surgery chief at Hopkins.-
Marrocco was being released from the hospital Tuesday but will receive intensive therapy for two years at Hopkins and then at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.
After a major surgery, human nerves regenerate at a rate of an inch per month, Lee said.
‘The progress will be slow, but the outcome will be rewarding,’ he added.
The infantryman also received bone marrow from the same dead donor who supplied his new arms. That novel approach is aimed at helping his body accept the new limbs with minimal medication to prevent rejection.
The military sponsors operations like these to help wounded troops. About 300 have lost arms or hands in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Unlike a life-saving heart or liver transplant, limb transplants are aimed at improving quality of life, not extending it. Quality of life is a key concern for people missing arms and hands — prosthetics for those limbs are not as advanced as those for feet and legs.
‘He was the first quad amputee to survive,’ and there have been four others since then, Alex Marrocco said.
The Marroccos want to thank the donor’s family for ‘making a selfless decision … making a difference in Brendan’s life,’ the father said.
Brendan Marrocco has been in public many times. During a July 4 visit last year to the Sept. 11 Memorial with other disabled soldiers, he said he had no regrets about his military service.
‘I wouldn’t change it in any way. … I feel great. I’m still the same person,’ he said.
Lee led three of those earlier operations when he worked at the University of Pittsburgh, including the only above-elbow transplant that had been done at the time, in 2010.
Marrocco’s ‘was the most complicated one’ so far, Lee said in an interview Monday. It will take more than a year to know how fully Marrocco will be able to use the new arms.
‘The maximum speed is an inch a month for nerve regeneration,’ he explained. ‘We’re easily looking at a couple years’ until the full extent of recovery is known.
While at Pittsburgh, Lee pioneered the immune-suppression approach used for Marrocco. The surgeon led hand-transplant operations on five patients, giving them marrow from their donors in addition to the new limbs.
All five recipients have done well, and four have been able to take just one anti-rejection drug instead of combination treatments most transplant patients receive.
Minimizing anti-rejection drugs is important because they have side effects and raise the risk of cancer over the long term. Those risks have limited the willingness of surgeons and patients to do more hand, arm and even face transplants.
Lee has received funding for his work from AFIRM, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a cooperative research network of top hospitals and universities around the country that the government formed about five years ago.
With government money, he and several other plastic surgeons around the country are preparing to do more face transplants, possibly using the new immune-suppression approach.
Brendan Marrocco has become the first quadruple amputee injured in Iraw to have a double arm transplant
Brendan Marrocco pictured around 10-months after he was injured in a roadside explosion in Iraq – clearly visible is the scar running along his carotid artery
Brendan Marrocco relaxes on duty in Iraq before his devastating accident in April 2009
Marrocco expects to spend three to four months at Hopkins, then return to a military hospital to continue physical therapy, his father said.
Before the operation, he had been fitted with prosthetic legs and had learned to walk on his own.
He had been living with his older brother in a specially equipped home on New York’s Staten Island that had been built with the help of several charities.
Shortly after moving in, he said it was ‘a relief to not have to rely on other people so much.’
The home was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy last fall.
Despite being in a lot of pain for some time after the operation, Marrocco showed a sense of humor, his father said.
He had a hoarse voice from the tube that was in his throat during the long surgery and decided he sounded like Al Pacino. He soon started doing movie lines.
‘He was making the nurses laugh,’ Alex Marrocco said.
Iraq war veteran who lost all four limbs in blast proudly shows off his double arm transplant
Attribution: James Nye, Mail Online
Will the CDC Find the Cause of Gun Violence?
When President Obama signed his 23 executive orders this week to reduce gun violence, I had to laugh at several of them. One in particular was to issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Really? Is it a bacteria or virus that infects certain people? Is it contagious?
Do any of you remember the movie Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta? One of the songs used in the movie was sung by country singer Johnny Lee and it was called, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. That’s exactly what Obama and the Democrats are doing with gun violence, looking in all the wrong places.
The CDC is going to spend millions of taxpayer dollars looking for solutions in all the wrong places. Continue Reading