Surgeons Save a Newborn’s Life with the Support of 3-D Printing

A team of surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital saved the life of a one-week-old baby with the aid of a 3-D printed model of the child’s heart. The 3-D model was used as a guide for surgery on the child, who was born with a complex and deadly form of congenital heart disease (CHD).
Dr. Emile Bacha, director of congenital and pediatric cardiac surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and his team performed surgery when the baby was just one week old and weighed only 7 lbs. With the aid of the 3-D model, the team was able to repair all of the heart’s defects in a single procedure. Typically, babies born with this complex form of CHD require a series of three or four life-threatening surgeries.

 “The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with CHD, but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,” said Dr. Bacha, who is also chief of the division of cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and the Calvin F. Barber Professor of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S).

“In the past, we had to stop the heart and look inside to decide what to do. With 3-D printing technology, we are able to look at the inside of the heart in advance, giving us a road map for the surgery,” he added.

Prior to the surgery, a team of doctors led by Dr. Anjali Chelliah, a pediatric cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and assistant professor at P&S, diagnosed the baby with CHD while he was still in the womb, allowing time to develop the optimal treatment plan. After the baby was born, Dr. Chelliah worked closely with Materialise, a company that specializes in 3-D printing for healthcare, to create a model of the child’s heart with data taken from a low-dose CT scan performed just one day after the baby.

Only two days after receiving the data, the printer was able to produce an exact replica of the heart, allowing the doctors to understand every detail of the congenital defects.
Dr. Bacha and Dr. Chelliah are optimistic that 3-D printing technology will continue to improve outcomes for patients.

“After the success of this surgery, it’s clear that 3-D models can be successfully used to help surgeons in complex procedures,” said Dr. Bacha. “This technology is the future, and we are proud that NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is leading the way.”

The 3-D printed model of the baby’s heart was paid for by Matthew’s Hearts of Hope, a non-profit organization that supports CHD patients and their families.

Originally posted at


Nature | News by Ron Cowen  || 18 March 2014

The evidence of gravitational waves from the early Universe found by researchers working at the South Pole has been hailed as a landmark discovery in cosmology, astronomy and physics. The announcement was made by astronomer John Kovac on 17 March at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. … Here Nature has collected reactions from leading researchers.

Please go to the open access article in Nature to read the comments (and see who made them) …

‒ ”… many great intellectual discoveries are never confirmed at the time when the authors are still alive. I’m not dead yet and they are already seeing this gravitational-wave signal.“ [Comment from one of the discoverers/creators of the theory of cosmic inflation]

‒ "Nobel prize material, no question. It’s not everyday that you wake up and learn something fundamentally new about the Universe, a telegram from the very earliest moments of the Universe.  … just in time for the one-hundredth birthday of Einstein’s general [theory of] relativity next year.”

‒ “If the BICEP2 result holds up, this is really big — as important as the discovery of dark energy, cosmic microwave background anisotropy or the Higgs boson. …”

Top  Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, with the BICEP2 telescope on the right. [Robert Schwarz/University of Minnesota]
Middle/Bottom: credit: BICEP2 Collaboration / Nature Magazine, 17 March 2014

Hints and Strategies

Searching the deep web should be done a bit differently, so use these strategies to help you get started on your deep web searching.

  • Don’t rely on old ways of searching. Become aware that approximately 99% of content on the Internet doesn’t show up on typical search engines, so think about other ways of searching.
  • Search for databases. Using any search engine, enter your keyword alongside “database” to find any searchable databases (for example, “running database” or “woodworking database”).
  • Get a library card. Many public libraries offer access to research databases for users with an active library card.
  • Stay informed. Reading blogs or other updated guides about Internet searches on a regular basis will ensure you are staying updated with the latest information on Internet searches.
  • Search government databases. There are many government databases available that have plenty of information you may be seeking.
  • Bookmark your databases. Once you find helpful databases, don’t forget to bookmark them so you can always come back to them again.
  • Practice. Just like with other types of research, the more you practice searching the deep web, the better you will become at it.
  • Don’t give up. Researchers agree that most of the information are hidden in the deep web is some of the best quality information available.
Researchers inject dengue into vaccinated volunteers and find 100% were protected
Large-scale trials have now been rushed forward.
By Fiona MacDonald

Researchers have trialled an experimental dengue vaccine on a group of volunteers, and have shown that, six months later, 100 percent of them were protected from the virus, even after having dengue directly injected into their system.

Dengue is similar to Zika in that it’s spread by Aedes mosquitoes, and is on the verge of reaching epidemic levels in southeast Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, with more than 390 million people being infected with one of the four dengue strains every single year. This is the first time a vaccine has been shown to prevent infection, and the results are so promising, it’s now been rushed through into large-scale phase 3 clinical trials.

“The results of this work are very straightforward and quite conclusive,” one of the researchers involved in the trial, Beth Kirkpatrick from the University of Vermont, told The Washington Post. “The bottom line is that the vaccine appears to be 100 percent efficacious.”

HIV vaccine that transforms cell DNA brings fresh hope

Vaccines normally train the immune system to fight an infection.

Instead, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California have altered the DNA of monkeys to give their cells HIV-fighting properties.

The team describe it as “a big deal” and want to start human trials soon. Independent experts say the idea is worth “strong consideration”.

This technique uses gene therapy to introduce a new section of DNA inside healthy muscle cells.

That strip of DNA contains the instructions for manufacturing the tools to neutralise HIV, which are then constantly pumped out into the bloodstream.

Experiments, reported in the journal Nature, showed the monkeys were protected from all types of HIV for at least 34 weeks.

As there was also protection against very high doses, equivalent to the amount of new virus that would be produced in a chronically infected patient, the researchers believe the approach may be useful in people who already have HIV.

Lead researcher Prof Michael Farzan told the BBC: “We are closer than any other approach to universal protection, but we still have hurdles, primarily with safety for giving it to many, many people.

Dr Anthony Fauci, of the US National Institutes of Health, said: "This innovative research holds promise for moving us toward two important goals: achieving long-term protection from HIV infection, and putting HIV into sustained remission in chronically infected people.”

Mathematicians have discovered a strange pattern hiding in prime numbers
They're not as random as we thought.
By Fiona MacDonald

Mathematicians are pretty obsessed with prime numbers - those elusive integers that can only be divided by one and themselves. If they’re not creating cool artworks with them or finding them in nature, they’re using computers to discover increasingly larger primes.

But now a group of researchers has found a strange property of primes that’s never been seen before, and it violates one of the fundamental assumptions about how they behave - the idea that, for the most part, they occur totally randomly across integers.

The pattern isn’t actually found within the primes themselves, but rather the final digit of the prime number that comes directly after them - which the mathematicians have shown isn’t as random as you’d expect, and that’s a pretty big deal for mathematicians.

Researchers design the most precise quantum thermometer to date
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Jun 11, 2015
External image
Researchers from the UAB and the University of Nottingham, in an article published in Physical Review Letters, have fixed the limits of thermometry, i.e., they have established the smallest possible fluctuation in temperature which can be measured. The researchers have studied the sensitivity of thermometers created with a handful of atoms, small enough to be capable of showing typical quantum-s
Full article

3-D Printed Prosthetics: Crowdsourcing a Solution for Disabled Kids
Johns Hopkins Medicine hosts event for 3-D printing enthusiasts who provide kids with affordable and durable prosthetic hands.

Most kids take swinging a baseball bat for granted. For children missing a hand or fingers due to congenital disabilities, that simple act can feel like reaching for the stars. Prosthetic limbs are expensive and quickly outgrown, leaving many families without options. But recently, a group of volunteers and professionals joined forces to put more durable, less constrictive and much less expensive prosthetic hands within the grasp of thousands of children — all for free.

On Sept. 28, 2014, Johns Hopkins Medicine hosted a symposium titled Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open Source 3-D Printed Prosthetics for Underserved Populations. The event included workshops on strategy, techniques and policy regarding 3-D prosthetics. Johns Hopkins trauma surgeon Albert Chi, the e-NABLE organization, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and other leaders in medicine and industry donated 3-D printed prosthetics to children with upper limb differences.

The event brought 21st century practices and technologies to almost 500 prosthetists, printer owners, parents, kids and wounded warriors. It provided a forum for 3-D printer owners who donate free prosthetic limbs, allowing them to share specs and meet with the professionals and families who can benefit from their work.


Photos: Three-year-old Rayden Kahae was born with fingers missing on his right hand because of a condition called amniotic band syndrome. (source URL)
A frozen tardigrade has been brought back to life after 30 years
And it gave birth to 14 healthy babies!
By Bec Crew

A tardigrade that had been frozen solid for more than 30 years has been brought back to life by researchers in Japan, and has gone on to produce 14 healthy babies. That’s record-smashing stuff right there, because before this tough little water bear came back to life, the world record for reviving a frozen tardigrade was nine years.

The researchers also thawed out an egg that was collected and frozen with the tardigrade in 1983, and not only did a healthy baby hatch from it six days later, but it went on to successfully produce offspring of its own.

Just a few months after scientists debated the unprecedented amount of foreign DNA that is or isn’t looped up into the tardigrade genome, and the discovery that they turn into ‘bioglass’ when they desiccate, a team from the National Institute of Polar Research in Japan has managed to bring a frozen Antarctic tardigrade (Acutuncus antarcticus) back to life with its reproductive organs fully intact.

Peanut butter sniff test confirms Alzheimer’s

A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler might be a way to confirm a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida, came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity when she was working with Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida.

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