3D Printed Spine Saves 12 Year Old Boy in China

Doctors at China’s Peking University Third Hospital have successfully removed a cancerous vertebra from a 12-year old boy and replaced it with a 3D printed implant in a first such procedure worldwide, Forbes reports.

“This is the first use of a 3D-printed vertebra as an implant for orthopedic spine surgery in the world,” said Dr. Liu Zhongjun, director of the Orthopedics Department at the hospital, as quoted by the CBS News.

The boy, referred to as Minghao, was diagnosed with cancer following a football accident. The tumor was located on the second vertebra in his neck. He is reported to be in good condition following a five-hour surgery and is expected to recover quickly.

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A health center in Southcentral Ethiopia that provides 24/7 emergency care to over 5,000 people living in rural areas. The health center is where many women deliver their babies, where you can get contraception (including Depo implants), and where a variety of illnesses are tested and treated. There’s also a lab with a hand-cranked blood centrifuge and a microscope where a lab technician types malaria and pneumonia infections.

In the first photograph, you can see Abdul, who leads this health center, explaining local disease rates to Bill Gates.

The second photograph gives you a sense of the health center itself (which has no running water and very little electricity). The third picture is the view from the health center of the huts where nearby families live.

The bottom picture charts under-5 mortality since 2004, when these health centers opened (along with the more rural health outposts, which I posted about here). The red line is Ethiopia; the gray line the world average.

In 2004, more than 11% of children born in Ethiopia died before five; today, it’s less than 7%. And as you can see, every year since 2004, the under-5 mortality rate has fallen faster in Ethiopia than it has in the world overall. Now, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but both the patients and health workers I spoke to agreed these rural health centers are working. 

(It’s also worth noting that Ethiopia’s under-5 mortality rate has dropped far faster than other nations, even those that spend much more on health. In Nigeria, for instance, 12% of kids still die before the age of 5; Pakistan, which is far richer than Ethiopia, has barely seen its under-5 mortality drop at all in the past decade. So the world has a lot to learn from Ethiopia’s health investments.) 

Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)? […] The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.
—  Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
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Dr. Walter Freeman and the Ice Pick Lobotomy,

During the late 19th and early 20th century many doctors began to experiment with psycho-surgery, the use of brain surgery to treat mental illness.  In 1935 a Portuguese scientist named Antonio Egas Moniz introduced the lobotomy, a procedure that won him the Nobel Prize in 1948. Moniz believed that by severing the connections between the frontal lobe and grey matter of the brain, he could calm a patient’s wild emotions and stabilize personality.  In the world of psycho-surgery the lobotomy was a groundbreaking procedure that revolutionized treatment of the mentally ill. Eventually the lobotomy became a cure-all for almost any mental illness or developmental disorder.  40,000 were conducted in the US, another 17,000 in the UK.  Tens of thousands more were conducted in mainland Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the Commonwealth Nations.  

While many patients did benefit from the lobotomy, many more suffered terrible effects of the surgery.  It was not uncommon for patients symptoms to worsen.  Others suffered permanent brain damage, emotional and psychological instability, memory problems, and decreased cognition.  About 5% of all lobotomy patients died from the procedure.  One notorious case of a botched lobotomy was that of Rosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy.

Rosemary Kennedy had many learning disabilities during her childhood, but regardless was a very intelligent and sociable young woman.  In her late teens and early 20’s she suffered from occasional wild moods swings which psychologist would now diagnose as manic depression.  An embarrassment to the Kennedy family, she was coerced into undergoing a lobotomy.  In 1941, at the age of 23 she underwent a lobotomy at the hands of Dr. James Watts and Dr. Walter Freeman.  The results of the lobotomy caused permanent brain damage that reduced her intelligence to that of a 2 year old.  She had to be hand fed, bathed, diapered due to incontinence, and institutionalized until her death in 2005.

Regardless of it’s negative consequences, physicians only focused on successful cases and continued practicing lobotomies.  Originally the lobotomy was a complex procedure.  Then in 1945 Dr. Walter Freeman, the same man who helped perform Rosemary Kennedy’s procedure, invented the transorbital lobotomy.  Also called the “icepick” lobotomy, the procedure was very simple and crude.  After administering an anesthetic, the surgeon placed an orbitoclast (essentially an icepick with depth increment markings) above the eye but below the upper margin of the eye socket.  The surgeon would then tap the orbitoclast with a mallet to puncture the thin plate of the sphenoid bone located behind the eyes.  The orbitoclast was then inserted 5 cm into the brain and rotated to sever the connections in the frontal cortex.  The procedure was then repeated through the other eye.

The icepick lobotomy was so simple that surgeons were not even required to perform the procedure.  As a result the icepick lobotomy was a common procedure in mental asylums, then terrible hell holes run by people who had little or no credentials.  Dr. Freeman himself performed icepick lobotomies on an outpatient basis from his office.  It even became common for parents to have their children lobotomized for minor problems such as minor depression or even misbehavior.  

Eventually, health care professionals began to realize the negative effects of the lobotomy, with the procedure being recognized as dangerous pseudoscience by newer physicians.  By the 1960’s lobotomy procedures began to decline in prevalence as it was replaced with new treatments such as therapy and administration of medications.  By the 1970’s the lobotomy died out all together, and was banned in many countries.

From the article: 

As international groups pull staff from the three countries, airlines suspend commercial flights and neighboring countries close their borders, some have argued that it will be next to impossible to contain the outbreak — that public health systems are too weak, the cost of providing effective care too high and health workers too scarce.

But Ebola has been stopped in every other outbreak to date, and it can be stopped in West Africa, too. The crisis we are watching unfold derives less from the virus itself and more from deadly and misinformed biases that have led to a disastrously inadequate response to the outbreak.

These biases, tragically, live on, despite evidence that disproves them again and again.

Just 15 years ago, Western experts said confidently that there was little that rich countries could do to stop the global AIDS crisis, which was killing millions of people in Africa and elsewhere.

LGBT women face a dangerous problem when it comes to health care 

New data is shedding light on the difference in well-being between LGBT and non-LGBT Americans, and it’s highlighting a crucial, yet overlooked fact about the community: LGBT people, but LGBT women in particular, are less likely to have a primary care doctor or to be able to afford health care in the first place.

These insights are courtesy of new Gallup polling numbers that examined the physical and financial well-being of LGBT people, as well as their access to health insurance and doctors. Gallup’s data revealed that on average, LGBT people are far more likely that their straight counterparts to be uninsured, while LGBT women in particular are more likely than non-LGBT women, non-LGBT men and even LGBT men to lack a personal doctor, by a 13-point margin.

Their health is suffering | Follow micdotcom

koodles said:

Honest Question Here: When did it become your right to have someone else pay for your birth control?

Honest question back-atcha: When did it become your right to have someone else pay for your Viagra and penis pumps?

Insurance coverage is not the same as someone else paying for your medications. When women pay for medical insurance, they expect to have the medications they need covered by it. Simple as that.

The doctor won’t see you now

Tonya Battle had been working as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, for 24 years. Her employment record was spotless — by all accounts she was one of the most knowledgeable and capable care providers on the NICU floor. Even so, it wasn’t so surprising when, in the fall of 2012, one infant’s father asked to speak to Battle’s supervisor: Health is extremely personal, and no matter how skilled a health care provider, there will be times when communication with a patient breaks down. It’s common for a patient to ask for another doctor or another nurse.

What was shocking, however, was the note posted on the department assignment clipboard the next day: “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY.”

Continue reading.

Photo: Tetra/Getty Images

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Some Republican politicians are throwing their support behind over-the-counter birth control, though only if it comes with a bunch of concessions (like eliminating Plan B, Obamacare, etc).

Ana Kasparian talks about why that’s still not a fix-it for the GOP. Birth control availability is imperative, but it shouldn’t mean sacrificing comprehensive health care so that women can also regularly consult with doctors and stay safe and healthy. 

A cut finger cost this guy how much?!

New Jersey man Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski recently found out the hard way that the cost of American medicine is totally out of control. Two days after slicing his finger open on the claw end of a hammer, Hanusz-Rajkowski sought medical attention at Bayonne Medical Center’s emergency room when the cut didn’t seem to be healing.

After a brisk visit in which Hanusz-Rajkowski did not see a doctor and did not receive stitches, he got a bill in the mail for $9,000. Essentially, Bayonne charged him months’ worth of pay for some gauze and a tetanus shot.

Here’s the breakdown:

- $8,200 for visiting the E.R.

- $180 for a tetanus shot

- $242 for “sterile supplies” (presumably, the bandage)

- $8 for antibacterial ointment

- Hundreds more for a few moments of the nurse practitioner’s time.

This is all after insurance.

There is a silver lining thanks to Obamacare | Follow micdotcom 

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