NIckGorton writes: "Research is now underway in the US to seek FDA approval for an artificial liver. The Extracorporeal Liver Assist Device (ELAD) filters blood through a cartridge containing immortalized human liver cells with fiber tubes running through that allow the patients blood to interact with them. This allows the matrix of liver cells to perform both the metabolic (cleansing the blood of toxins/waste) and synthetic (producing albumin, clotting factors, etc) functions of the patient's failing liver. A small trial in China showed a statistically and clinically significant difference in 30 day survival with ELAD.
This sounds like where renal dialysis was in the 70s: really expensive and dangerous and you will probably die anyway. However in patients with acute liver failure (ex: toxin exposure), ELAD might give them enough time to regenerate their liver and obviate the need for a transplant. At a minimum it may help transplant recipients survive longer and be healthier when they undergo surgery.
On a related note, if you haven't talked with your family about your wishes regarding organ transplantation yet, please do so! Just checking that box on your DL isn't enough, because your next of kin is the final decision-maker."
NIckGorton writes: The father of modern heart surgery died this week at age 99. He was integral to the development of pretty much everything in modern cardiovascular surgery: bypass (heart-lung machines that made open heart surgery for the first time possible possible), coronary artery bypass surgery (he did the first one ever), carotid endarterectomey (again he performed the first one ever), the development of Dacron graft blood vessels, and the development of MASH units. He was a consummate geek and there are numerous surgical instruments that bear his name. He was also the first surgeon to videotape surgeries — in the 1960s. He was considered by the NEJM to be the single greatest surgeon alive until two days ago. In his career he performed over 50,000 heart surgeries and practiced medicine (though not surgery) until the day he died. Paradoxically in 2005, he underwent the Debakey procedure which he pioneered, to treat the aortic dissection he suffered.
NIckGorton writes: Wired has posted a story about a website that will send an email to your loved ones excatly six days after the rapture (or when three of their staffers fail to log in to check their email for six days, whichever comes first.) For $40 yearly, they will send a post-rapture email to 62 people and maintain 150 megabytes of documents encrypted by something that could be as complicated as a decoder ring (to give the recipient access to your banking, brokerage, hidden valuables, and powers of attorneys). Otherwise, since there will be no bodies, your junk will be locked up in probate until the 7 year reign of the Antichrist is over. Which would obviously suck. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/06/service-lets-yo.html
NIckGorton writes: A sexually frustrated seal was caught on camera attempting to have sex with an unconsenting penguin. The description of this unusual behavior was published in the Journal of Ethology, complete with interspecies pron. According to one of the authors and witnesses to the event: 'At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin, but then we realised that the seal's intentions were rather more amorous.' The researchers speculated that the seal, who was too inexperienced to get access to females, in a state of frustrated sexual arousal turned to a penguin for release.
NIckGorton writes: "A report, "Allocation of Ventilators in a Public Health Disaster," in the current issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness evaluates the ethics of deciding who gets (and who doesn't get) ventilator support (and hence who lives and dies) in a public health disaster like a flu pandemic. When a pandemic hits, it will not be pretty. On a good day we are using a large percentage of the vents we have. With even double the current usage, we will be in a crunch. With tens of thousands (if not more) of additional people potentially needing ventilator and ICU support, we will be hosed. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/health/25vent.html?ex=1364184000&en=af4c518e965534b8&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink"
NIckGorton writes: Bush uses 9th veto of his presidency to stop Congress' attempt to prevent interrogation techniques like waterboarding whose use is prohibited by the military and law enforcement agencies in the us (aka torture).