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Comment: But is it even usable? (Score 5, Interesting) 208

So at 185TB per tape with the write speed of LTO6 "at speeds up to 400MB/s (1.4TB/hr)" [optimal]....~132 hrs per tape. But in reality 300 MB/s or 1 TB/hr so about 176 hr/tape. 168 hours in a week.....Next weekly back up starts before the first one finished.....

Yeah, I know, they're not all level 0 get the idea....sometimes it might be better to have 2 smaller tapes, than 1 large.

Comment: Re:Sucky Surgeon (Score 1) 56

by quantumghost (#46819255) Attached to: Closing Surgical Incisions With a Paintbrush and Nanoparticles

FWIW, silica nanoparticles have a GRAS certificate from the FDA and can be used in food products. Also, silica is chemically pretty stable at our body temperature and the only thing it can do is adsorb water.

Enteral (oral/GI administration) ingestion of a chemical is radically different then parenteral administration (through the skin or means other than through the GI tract). There are drugs that are safe one way, and deadly the other, and vice-versa. The human body is very fickle in that regards. Silica is very dangerous if inhaled.

In fact, I'm surprised that it even had the effect of binding the tissue together (maybe provided a porous network for the blood to come in through by capillary forces and coagulate? Your guess is probably better than mine).

It may initiate a wild, but localize inflammatory reaction. A concern then would be is it really _limited_? Widespread inflammation can be deadly.

That being said, the toxicity needs to be evaluated, but we can be optimistic.


The particles used in the experiment were super fine (only 50 nm in diameter) and synthesized using wet chemistry. Sigma Aldrich sells the LUDOX TM-50 that was used in the experiment readily in dispersion form at 28.30 EUR/L. This looks pretty scalable. If somewhat larger silica particles also exhibit the desired effects (i.e. if the glue effect is due to the high specific surface area, rather than the small particle size), then fumed silica can also be used which can be produced by the ton. The high temperatures of silica synthesis will also guarantee that the environment is pretty sterile (at least in the reactor, the engineers will "only" have to make sure that it stays that way until packaging, but it should be viable).

My problem is not with sterility. My problem is that most industrial chemical processes use heavy metals and other toxic substances as catalysts or intermediates....or that the intermediate steps that are difficult to eliminate may be toxic. This is why a pharmaceutical plant is vastly different from an industrial plant. The tolerance level is _much_ lower for pharmaceuticals. I tried looking up their analysis of LUDOX, but couldn't find it, the MSDS sheet did not list any minor components, but did list the silica as "chemically produced". I think you get my point.

Comment: Re:Sucky Surgeon (Score 5, Interesting) 56

by quantumghost (#46799211) Attached to: Closing Surgical Incisions With a Paintbrush and Nanoparticles

Is it just me, or does that guy really suck at suturing? I'm not a physician (never even played one), but I've watched instructional videos, and that didn't look like how the pros do it. The pros can suture and tie a knot way faster. If you suture like that then obviously glue would be better!

I felt really bad for whatever mammal that was (dog? rabbit?), especially because of the suturing job..

FWIW, the animal did appear to be adequately anesthetized as it did not flinch with the incision or suturing, and, no, he was not good, he barely knew what he was doing:
- wrong scalpel. That was a 10 blade used for long linear incision (e.g. > 10-40 mm). He should have used an 11 or 15 blade which are smaller and better suited to precision cuts, which these were not - he hacked at the skin instead if cleanly incising (so the technique was bad, the blade was dull, and he used the wrong blade).
- he did not use a pair of forceps to grasp the skin putting him self at risk of a needle-stick injury.
- needle entry was not perpendicular to the skin
- he used PDS suture (it looked purple) , which is _never_ used on skin (especially externalized). Prolene is used for an external knot, or vicryl or monocryl for a subcuticular suture
- the suture looks to be a 3-0 or 4-0....that's what I would use to close an adult human (5-0,which is smaller, for the face). Should probably be using 5-0 or 6-0 here. Then again, this guy would probably break that suture since he doesn't have the manual dexterity or technique. - he should have used a horizontal or 2 vertical mattress sutures to close the defect, not a single simple suture
- he didn't tie square knots and his tying was worse than a medical student's (who don't know how to suture either)
So I may just be nitpicking but, then again, that's what I do as an academic surgeon who trains upcoming surgeons.

But to actually address the article: It looks promising. I have questions about:
A) potential toxicity (nanoparticles can behave in less predictable way in-vivo) [large volumes of iron can be toxic to the body hemosiderin leading to iron overload], also silica is sometimes not well tolerated by the body
B) I would like to see this applied in a larger model (porcine would be good), with a large volume hemorrhage (analogous to a human GSW or stabbing wound) to see if the tensile strength of this seal scales up and to see if a large volume of blood will wash it away rendering it useless.
C) Does it withstand the detergent like properties of bile?
D) What percentage of normal tensile strength does this technique afford? Sutures physically hold tissue together to prevent separation under shear stress - how much strength does this stuff afford?
E) Does the substance affect normal wound healing (scar tissue is a normal, appropriate response, in an adult, to tissue injury; less scar may mean abnormal or poorer wound healing)
F) Will it be scalable (yes you can produce it in a lab easily enough, but can you make medical grade easily?)
G) Can it cause injury to adjoining tissue? The edge of the wound is hypoxic (low oxygen concentration), will this be toxic to these at risk tissues?

It is a long way from the lab to clinical use, but this appears promising. Look forward to seeing how the technology plays out. And won't put me out of a job, but if it works out it may make my job easier and give better outcomes.

Comment: Re:Scary (Score 1) 30

by quantumghost (#46446743) Attached to: LABONFOIL: A Portable Bond-Style Lab

If you'd ever had a colonoscopy, you'd really appreciate the non-invasive method of detecting colon cancer. It was mentioned in TFA, BTW.

Sorry, but this device ain't gonna fix that. As per their webpage they use a test for CEA as a marker for recurrence of cancer. This is not even an effective screening test, and nothing that isn't already available. Better get your prep ready, you're gonna get probed again!

Comment: Re:'Radiation Free' (Score 5, Interesting) 35

With tumors surely more traditional X-rays could only help matters (radiotherapy-lite)

Lol....nice try. External beam radiation therapy (XRT) ....varies depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated. For curative cases, the typical dose for a solid epithelial tumor ranges from 60 to 80 Gy, while lymphomas are treated with 20 to 40 Gy. Whereas a CT scan (the cardiac one being the highest dosing) tops out at 40-100 mGy or 2-3 orders of magnitude less.

In reference to the article, it is an interesting concept. Will need some work to improve its general applicability. By this the SFRP2 is only specific for colorectal and myelomas, so the technique is very limited. Also, please note that ultrasound is horrible to use around bowel, especially colon...the gas in the colon very effectively blocks the sound waves and you get very poor/incomplete images. Besides, colonoscopy is the gold standard for screening and has the advantage of being therapeutic or allowing tissue biopsies which can seal the diagnosis. Granted most need at least some sedation, but at 10 year intervals for most, this is a pretty acceptable tradeoff.

The only other question I have is the applicability....again, even if they can increase the scope of the detection, a full scan of the body for mets would be very unsatisfactory using if we start talking about sarcomas, renal cell, breast cancer, yeah, I could see this working out. Lung, brain, ENT cancers, not so much.

Comment: Re:not useless at all... (Score 1) 351

by quantumghost (#46037709) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You

so since you have spread the infection for one day, before you were showing symptoms, you might as well go ahead and spread it for several more days afterwards?

horsehockey. one day worth of germs 3 days worth of germs.

stay at home when you are sick.

Didn't say that, reread it....

therefore you will not be able to ever stop the flu, at least not without a better vaccine (no, don't go pulling that Jenny McCarthy shit [] or I'll have to slap you); we can just mitigate some of the spread

I'm saying that you have already started passing the flu on, before you feel it. You can still mitigate it, but you won't ever get rid of it. The original poster does not know/understand the concepts of latency and incubation:

When you're sick enough to (feel you) need medication, stay at home.

My point was, it is already too late. Your best defense in not getting sick is to practice good hygiene, not relying on other people to stay home.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 351

by quantumghost (#46036355) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You
I'll say that the outcome is hardly surprising. Nice to see some numbers attached, though.

When you're sick enough to (feel you) need medication, stay at home. Don't spread germs all over the workplace / auditorium / public mass transport.

Nice idea, but almost useless....

What this basically means is that you are infectious the day before you show symptoms.....therefore you will not be able to ever stop the flu, at least not without a better vaccine (no, don't go pulling that Jenny McCarthy shit or I'll have to slap you); we can just mitigate some of the spread. It is incumbent upon the uninfected to keep from getting infected, as those who are will not know they are until its too late.

The science is that fever is an adaptive response to an infection. Yes, fever is what makes you feel like crap, but it changes the kinetics of viral (and bacterial replication). Ever notice that microbiological (especially bacterial) incubators are set to 37 deg C? That's the sweet spot for replication....change it and you put the invader at a disadvantage. Modern medicine unfortunately has taken on the dogma that: "If it ain't right, it needs to be fixed", a few (and growing) are starting to learn that not all that is wrong is bad....I continually rally against treating fevers less than 40 deg C (above that is concern for brain injury), but I have an uphill fight against an entrenched culture.

My personal strategy? I take the anti-pyretics so i can sleep or function, but reintroduce the elevated temperature by bundling up and keeping my core above 37 deg C. This is not scientific, just what works for me, YMMV and I won't be held responsible if you up and die from the flu as this is not my official advice.

Comment: Re:Brought to you by (Score 2) 124

by quantumghost (#45478175) Attached to: New Smart Glasses Allow Nurses To See Veins Through Skin
This is not quite new....I've seen IR based devices over 8 years ago, I first saw this tech in 2005 and it was pretty mature at the time. I can't recall which company it was, but a quick google serarch shows this company has been doing something similar for 4 years. The article is grabbing headlines because they packaged it into a eye-glass format.

Comment: Re:Does the glasses pose any danger to the eyes ? (Score 3, Informative) 124

by quantumghost (#45478027) Attached to: New Smart Glasses Allow Nurses To See Veins Through Skin

From TFA:

That technology from Epson when applied to game, users do not put on those wearable display for hours and hours every single day, they only put them on when they play games.

On the other hand, nurses working in the hospitals may end up wearing the glasses which projects infrared lights many hours each days.

My question being --- Would prolonged exposure to infrared light poses any danger on the eyes of the wearer ?

Unlikely. IR light has a longer wavelength and thus less energy than normal "visible" light, this is why we can't see in the infrared - the photons are not energetic enough to cause a conformal change in one of the double bonds in rhodopsin. This also partial explains why we can't see in the UV spectrum. The only variable will be the intensity of the light potentially causing thermal damage, but I doubt this would be that powerful enough for that. In addition, starting IVs is not the only thing nurses do....I'd guestimate that it is only about 5% of their daily work load on the general med-surg floors (where most patients have an IV already) and probably no more than 10-15% of the ED RNs.

Comment: Re:I wish I could say this stage was unnecessary (Score 2) 99

by quantumghost (#45337365) Attached to: Robotic Surgery Complications Going Underreported

Now here's the robotic surgery any better, or offer benefit above, laparoscopic surgery?

Ultimately it will be since the entire purpose of inserting the robot in the process is to provide finer control and filter out accidental motions that could cause mistakes and complications with traditional, hands-on-the ends-of-sticks laparoscopy.

You would think that that might be the case. An engineer would think that way...I know I did when I was an engineer.

However, you are wrong. You don't understand how surgery is performed. For starters, this is more biology class than chemistry or physics....this is not a photoelectric cell where light above X wavelength will fail to excite the atom out its orbital to produce a current. This is 2 kg of fertilizer (plus or minus 200 g) will produce more robust flowers then 1 kg will. You are dealing with inherently unstable organisms that are extremely fault tolerant because the have to exist in a fault filled world.

The "finer control" is useless (I've seen older surgeons with a horrible tremor perform the most masterful procedures). We're not dividing cell layers, we're dividing tissue planes which usually start to tease apart with gentle traction. We rarely measure things out, and exacting measurements are never used (at least in abdominal surgery which is the vast majority of robotic cases are, cardiac cases usually use blanks to measure the fit of valves and neurosurgeons and ophthalmologists who arguably require the finest motor control do well without a robot and will likely never use one anyway). Say I find a tumor in the colon. I am required to resect back 5 cm on either side...but I will get equally good results at 6 cm, or 7cm. Hell, as long and I leave some of the colon, the patient will do well. A lot of what I do is dictated by where I see the many cases I have to remove the problem area, plus an extra margin. This is not a 2x4 where it has to fit in precisely, this is a piece of tissue with potentially unseen disease that requires an adequate margin of resection and a good blood supply to heal. In addition, I think you underrate the level of precision a bare surgeon's hands have, and overrate the about of tolerance the human body has.

Most complications are acts of omission not commission. Meaning, you did something without knowing it (using the electrocautery too long or not realizing that it was too close to another structure resulting in transfer of thermal injury). This type of problem will not - can not - be overcome with the robot. Other causes of complications include equipment malfunction or mis-use (such as a stapler failing), and ultimately poor surgical judgement. So basically, a robot adds nothing to reducing the complication rate, and rather adds a new level of complexity to the problem. Is that an improvement?

I spent two years looking into ways to use the precision of the robot to improve general surgery. Came up blank. We designed a few new attachments for it....but they mostly mimicked things that already existed for open surgery, or were needed to overcome some constraint imposed by the robot.

Right now it's use is limited by the number of approved procedures and the pack of wolves salivating at the prospect for waves of lawsuits against the manufacturer and operators. This limits the amount of data being produced to evaluate its effectiveness.

The only real future applications will be for tele-surgery, which with global travel being what it is, still hasn't reached any level of significance other than: "Hey we can do this!"

Comment: Re:I wish I could say this stage was unnecessary (Score 3, Informative) 99

by quantumghost (#45335795) Attached to: Robotic Surgery Complications Going Underreported

When I was in medical school (decades ago), we had a lecture by one of the pioneers of endoscopic gall bladder surgery (cut some 1-2cm slits and use long-handled tools and a tiny camera to cut/remove/etc) which I well knew was already preferable to the "open procedure" that slashed the patient open (classic surgical proverb: you can never have too much exposure) so you could have the working space to reach in and do it with your big mitts)

I was a big fan, but as a student of both philosophy and the history of science I had to ask how he justified performing the procedure *before* (until) he got the complication down to the level of the standard open incision. He was outraged (as were my classmates) and tersely stated that he had gotten consent (not knowing that I'd done a thesis on the inadequacies and inherent ludicracy[sic] of getting "informed consent", especially based on information from the surgeon who wishes to do the procedure).

It was a sincere question, one that I felt could not answer to my own satisfaction (his answer didn't help; he'd simply been looking to "the medical advance" and had never been trained in genuine ethics), but despite that, I feel that he had done the right thing, and that tens of millions have greatly benefited since.

I think you answered your own question right there. The benefits of the procedure outweighed the risks. Informed consent, even for risky surgery, is still long as you properly inform the patient of the risks and benefits of the procedure. The patient gets to make their own decision. I consent patients for emergent (crash) procedures on a frequent basis. They are so sick that they may not survive the operation; however, without one they will certainly die. Most choose to take the risk. (Some decide that enough is enough and wish to be made comfortable, which is a valid option)

Now you can always argue that the patient, not being a physician, will never truly understand the risks, but that's the imperfect world we live in. OTOH, if this physician did not go through all of the risks, then that's another story.

Though not all would-be 'medical advances' end so salubriously, the sad fact is, we don't know any better way -- and I'd wager that we'll have workable fusion generators long before we have a better usable method for making medical advances. "First, do no harm" was a simplistic principle suited to the era before Christ when a doctor was as/more likely to do harm as/than good. (Note that the Hippocratic Oath forbids surgery outright)

We are now skilled enough that some of our advances seem "too good to deny to all comers" without full data -- but where are we to get that data, except by trial (and error). We are not yet advanced enough that MOST of our attempts at medical advance are so beneficial, nor are we advanced enough to have a much better alternative to "try it and see".

Now here's the robotic surgery any better, or offer benefit above, laparoscopic surgery? I will say with a decent amount of authority, there are very few procedures that have any advantage done robotically (namely those deep in the pelvis) - but note, they can still be done laparoscopicallyor even open. But there are very inherent risks....the robot removes all haptics from the surgeons hands (versus being mildly reduced in laparoscopic procedures). The first exercise you ever do with a robot is rip a piece of suture never get to feel how much tension is on it - so you "learn" what the limits look like, as opposed to feel like. There are other things inherent to the robot that also make it more difficult such as clutching (think of how you lift your mouse to move it back to the center of the mouse pad when you try to scroll a long distance) and the lack of knowledge of where your instruments are pointing.

To a lot of surgeons out there, robotic surgery is a solution looking for a problem. The worst part is....the uninformed public things that "robotic surgery" must be better. It is not. It is mostly a marketing tool. A robot will not make a poor surgeon better, it just gives them an excuse to hide behind....

Disclaimer: I am a surgeon. I have used the robot (but not been certified in it is use), and I refuse to become certified A) because it offers no benefit in my elective cases B) it is contraindicated in my emergent cases (the majority) and C) as I stated, I do not believe in the benefits.

Couldn't something like this be practiced on animals first? If you want to stay in good w/ the ASPCA, become a vet for a while (seriously). Secondly, are there cases (extreme obesity?) where endoscopic or laproscopic procedures have a particular advantage, such that the possibly greater risks of the new procedure are outweighed by the known risks of a standard procedure for such cases?

The certification process, as I understand it, requires you to perform surgery using animals for the initial certification, later, you perform several surgeries on people while being proctored.

There are several surgeries that are much easier, and less morbid when done laparoscopically, but they can still be done open. There is no surgery that is done currently that must be done laparoscopicallyor via a robot - all can be done openly - and open is the fall back when you encounter problems laparoscopicallyor via robot.

For those who have not seen it, this link shows a video that (on my quick perusal) adequately shows a simple procedure done with the robot.

Comment: Re:not flaming (Score 1) 232

by quantumghost (#45297011) Attached to: Artificial Blood Made In Romania

having to clone red cells

Red cells have no nucleus, how do you "clone" them?

Grow them from stem cells, perhaps.

One could grow them from stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, normocytes, or a myriad of other cells. You see, mature RBCs do not have nuclei, but normoblasts or less mature RBCs do....when they mature they eject their nuclei. Anything less mature than a regular RBC is fair game.

Comment: Re:not flaming (Score 4, Insightful) 232

by quantumghost (#45292045) Attached to: Artificial Blood Made In Romania

Would something like this be accepted by groups like Jehovah's Witness' that do not accept blood transfusions?

That would be a good question. Having worked at a hospital that took over as the regional "bloodless center", I witnessed a wide variety of behaviors from JWs. Some were not very "orthodox" and would take blood, others only after consultation with their elder, others steadfastly refused. Apparently there is a lot of variation amongst individual "churches", but INAJW..

I'll tell you, a "bloodless" liver transplant is not for the faint of heart. I've been involved with a few transplants that required > 100 units of packed red cells. Doing these with none.....that stressed our skills to the max. And before you think that liver transplants can and therefore should be done bloodless...not all of bloodless ones survived. This would be a nice breakthrough.

It's interesting that this is still a cellular based concept, having to clone red cells and somehow transferring the hemerythrin. The linked article did not specify much detail.

Comment: Re:4^4 (Score 3, Informative) 141

by quantumghost (#45177327) Attached to: Reprogrammed Bacterium Speaks New Language of Life

Codons are sets of three letters. Every creature has its own unique codon table - every three letters (GATC) make up one codon, so there are 64 possibilities.

Almost. Every species has its own take on tRNA codong, but there is a lot of similarity up to the Kingdom level

But the fun thing is that many codons actually code for the same amino acid, but take different times to complete the process. Either because some molecular rotation is taking place or just because it's a time delay to allow folding to complete elsewhere. Then sometimes the sequence is used in reverse order (creating a back-to-front version of whatever is made) and sometimes even the sequence of letters is read with an offset of one or two letters, so essentially one group of letters can code for six different chains of amino acids.

Uh, no...not molecular rotation or time delay....this is actually more of a planned overlap. Pretty neat how nature planned this one. And as for mRNA being converted to a protein using tRNA (tranlation), it is strict one-way encoding (5' to 3' IIRC). dsDNA (but not ssDNA) (transscription) may be read in either direction, but mRNA not so (is is very much like ssDNA)

"Engineering without management is art." -- Jeff Johnson