Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can MRIs hurt?

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Yes, if the radiofrequency is able to heat your ECG cables and electrodes according to the FDA. This could lead to severe burns. The linked article, is actually an invitation to nurses and technicians to report such instances. Seems like a little haphazard. Wouldn't we better off with a well rounded study alongside the data collection from willful techs. Anyhow, I hope we get the answers soon, one way or the other...

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(Probably) Coming to a real world near you: Weeding out weak patents

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This has become the day and age of patenting anything and everything. And, it has also become the age of extensive patent litigation.

But these are issues to deal with companies willfully infringing each other's patents, and letting the "lawyers take care of it". The lawyers are in no way doing an unenvious job of earning themselves some really good slices of the outcomes.

However, the Supreme Court of the United States is dealing with a different issue.

When does a patent stop making sense? When it represents a product or a method to produce a product that is very intuitive for the average person in the field.

Okay, and now the Supreme Court Judges are addressing a particular patent with pet names or silly appellations from the '30s. But is that how patents are issued and argued over nowadays? If you start thinking about the intuitive ability of average people, you have to define who is intuitive and who is average.

We go back to the problem of the abilities of our friendly primates becoming suddenly able to reproduce Shakespeare's works. And I do understand that there may be those of you who truly believe Shakespeare himself was a primate. Those feelings of yours aside, where does this classification stop?

Can we stop issuing patents altogether? How many patents can survive the onslaught of suppose-able "intuitive average-ness"? Not many. So do we stop worrying about intellectual property altogether?

I am glad (and so are many), I am not writing some of these "historic" judgements that can be questioned over and over for years to come....

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

China: Soon to become the new home for animal testing

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The world economy is now very market driven. And this is something we thought would be great. But the market doesn't always do things many of us like. Now animal activists are in trouble. Soon, clinical search on animals will move to China. Good Luck protesting anything the Chinese Government does.

But if you hate animal activists, dont laugh to soon. You may not like stem cell research. Well, China and India don't have a problem with that.

This is the future. Hatred, outright protests and religion will not be effective as tools anymore. Whatever is unpleasant to one person, is now a great opportunity for another person.

Hence, the better way to end mass testing of animals, if that is what you wish, would be to appeal to the better sense of scientists - challenge them to develop testing models and methods that are both robust and animal friendly.

If you don't, and stick to rash methods, rest assured that they will just move somewhere else....

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Defining the true right to life

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In 2006, we think we are a progressive society. We are working towards eliminating hunger, disease and suffering. However, in rich countries, life is becoming a joke. Religion plays a major role in deciding which group of cells is life and which isn't. A group of men want to decide whether women can choose.

This might have been the reason why FierceHealthcare posted this article with the title "controversy".

But after reading this heart moving story, I don't see any controversy. The mother of the child soon to be born asks the right questions. Is it alright for children to be coerced to be born, just because "God says so"?

Does God promote pediatric suffering? What happens when the children grow up and start demanding answers to these questions, of the "great" institutions?

I would support the mother's ability and choice in how her children are born and grow up any day. Why? I tend to believe in human beings. I am secure with myself, and with other human beings, even with the religious idiots, in their ability to be human. I don't have to hide behind a God to satisfy my private desires to control the lives of other human beings.

We tend to think the future will hold many "tough" ethical questions. However, if you realize that you have only so much control in deciding how you can bind and restrict other peoples' freedom, you will realize that these "tough" questions have very "simple" answers.

Good Luck to the mother and child!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

USDA: Handing out controversial approvals

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Bayer's GM Rice got USDA approval in what some might term an insensitive and controversial manner. Bayer is currently embroiled in lawsuits over the leakage and contamination of its rice, which had prompted a European ban on US rice imports.

If the entire process of federal approvals is just to help the industry assert unpopular moves, the agencies would soon lose their credibility or what is left of it.

When the product of a company is under investigation for serious violations that have almost drowned an entire industry, it would be better not to hand down an "approval" for that very same product.

Yes, it may be so that the rice is harmless, but doesn't this set a bad precedent? This question seems to be on the minds of a lot of people.

This seems to only add to the controversy and smells really bad. The motivation for regulatory agencies should be to offer a balanced view, not to lean one way or the other on the suspicious people Vs. industry war of opinions.

Such approvals set a bad example, and further dim the trust people have on the agencies that were specifically created to allay fears.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Healthcare: Ireland healthcare industry suffering from

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Apparently Ireland is losing out in the battle for one of the top positions in healthcare, medical device design and related areas. After spending about a year studying the problem, it has been recommended that they hire new scientists and also increase the funding for healthcare research.

Now, if all countries were to try the same thing, wouldn't it be one "healthy" competition, n'est pass?

I wish Ireland all the good luck!

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Nanotechnology: EPA regulations leave one with more questions than answers..

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The EPA is now going to regulate the use of silver as a pesticide in its "nano" form. However, they have made some controversial decisions, and don't relent unless there is a lot of pressure. This leads one to wonder if the EPA is the appropriate agency to regulate the use of nano-silver. They do not seem to be too concerned to use appropriate regulation as long as the "labeling" suits their choice. This could be an indicator of a dangerous trend...

I am not against industry by any means. However, shouldnt industries be made responsible to test out their products for safety before they run away with the idea of bottling and selling their latest concoction?

Otherwise this could become like all those smokers suing Marlboro to pay for their lung CT scans - ridiculous.

One wonders why governments are excessively reluctant to fix things the first time!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More Medical Device Awards: This time, cardioPAT by Haemonetics

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MassMEDIC has been giving more awards now. Awards are a great PR for the companies receiving them, and a boost for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Haemonetics provides a system called cardioPAT that promises to preserve blood lost during surgery and infuse it back to the patient once the surgery is complete.

A very useful device indeed. There is a huge market for medical devices that serve to help increase the efficiency of surgeries in several indirect ways. One other device that comes to mind is PerClose, now a part of Abbott Vascular Devices.

Quite an inspiration for engineers looking for unique, niche opportunities.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Healthcare: How to Run a Hospital

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...through a blog. Okay, now I am just being sensational. Blogging doesn't always come easy, but it brings intrigue many times. I came across this blog today, again from Fierce Healthcare.

It is interesting that the CEO of a hospital has taken to blogging. This is something to watch for the future. He has also taken to gently challenging his competitors and randomly reminding and introducing us to comedians from the past.

All in all, quite an interesting find to watch and follow....

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Diabetes higher among NRIs than Indians in India?

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Or the title should read, "Inventing new methods to waste $150,000". If you are writing a book to cover misleading research, you may have something here.

Let us examine what the study claims.

NRIs living in the United States, especially in urban environments get more diabetes than Indians living in India. Indians living in urban regions in India get more diabetes than their counterparts in rural India.

Now let us look at India. You should really travel to India to understand this part, if you are not Indian, that is. People don't go to hospitals in India that often. Diabetes is more commonly referred to as "having sugar" - no doubt from the presence of high blood sugar that remains unprocessed.

Beyond that, many do believe if you cut down sugar consumption, you will get rid of the "sugar". They will stare at you if you told them that there were two "types" of diabetes. None of this is their fault. The Government of India has absolutely no desire or realization of the fact that our people need to be educated about disease and dying.

Now let us shift bases to the US. Lets examine Indians who are in the US. A country that is quite capable of snooping into every angle of your life that Westeners stylishly like to call "privacy" has all kinds of statistics available on the Indians that live there.

Most Indians who go to the US are literate. Not a very bright thing, but helps. They have health insurance provided by their employers which allows them to run around getting tested for all things. If they own organizations and such, they have a better chance at digging through the mysteries of their human embodiment.

Given this, wouldn't it surprise you that somebody had to spend $1.5mn to arrive at the wrong answer? They could have atleast said, NRIs get tested more than Indians in India. But why would you need to spend money for that.

I do agree with all the yarn about how people eat whatever they can lay their hands on, and so on and so forth. Especially if you are in the cities, you have stopped collecting firewood, and chasing tigers away from your chicken farm..but $150,000?

I would like someone to challenge me.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Medical Device Update: Market Size in the UK for medical devices

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Knowing your demographics and market sizes is always important. This news article has been making the rounds on all biotech newsletters, but I still thought it is worth a mention.

The current lead markets in the world are supposed to be the US, Europe and Japan, with Australia hovering around there somewhere. Given this scenario, it is also interesting to see how Europe divvies up as a market, in terms of the individual countries.

Research and Markets, pegs the three nations as follows

Germany > France > UK ($5.6bn USD).

The article further points out past problems and future projections for the UK market that are quite interesting.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Medical Devices: Quick Update: Top 10 medical innovations of the year comes through...

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A lot of us create a positive impact on each others' lives. It is always fruitful to know who leads the pack. The Cleveland Clinic has come up with a list that it feels - fits the bill.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Biotechnology: Sea water to Drinking water - Not Blackmagic anymore!

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UCLA scientists, and this article are reporting some interesting research results. We now have a method which is cost effective, and produces better results. It is a little heartening to know that the UN is paying a lot of attention to our water problems. And, so is renewed interest in the US helping a little.

Israel is in the forefront of this research, and it might prove helpful for the world if some of the rich middle east countries also got into some of the action.

However, is that the holy grail of fixing our water problems? What about technologies that capture rain water, and preserve it? What about less wasteful expenditure of water, afforestation, rain water harvesting and so on?

How about recycling waste water?

Water should be a well planned and distributed resource, as I am not sure the same knee jerk reactions we have been giving to our other problems will help us fix any impending water crisis..

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Healthcare: How to get closer to your patients...a true "must - read"

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Every generation is full of stories of "Such people are hard to come by." And surprisingly enough, every generation is chock full of such stories. We can only humble ourselves in front of such people, and take pride in what they are doing.

Such is the story of George Geary.

A man I had not heard of until today - something I am sorry about. I am going to let you read the rest of the story. It is not my habit to paraphrase articles and pretend to make into a long post.

So enjoy, be inspired, and identify how you want to serve and use your life's lessons even as your hairs grey.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

A new set of Medical Device Awards pop up - MassMEDIC sponsors..

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There seem to be a string of awards handed out to new medical device companies for innovation of various sorts. However you would have to spend a lot of time finding a press release on MassMEDIC's own website.

However, congratulate the companies and win these awards:

NMT for its STARflex spetal repair implant:

SuturTek for its SuturTek 360 Fascia Closure Device

and there may be more. Here is a link to MassMEDIC:

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