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Comment Re:Unutterable bollocks (Score 1) 39

From TFA: "one in which a virus, used in gene therapy to halt the effects of retinal degeneration, was planted on the retina itself, a procedure only made possible by R2D2’s unprecedented precision."
Also bollocks. Retinal gene therapy (which so far has really got no further than proof-of-concept) has been going of for a while. There was (among several examples) a very brief gene therapy study in Moorfields Eye Hospital in London for Leber's Amaurosis a few years back, It basically showed you can get the gene into the retina, but so far nobody has significantly benefited in real life.

Comment Unutterable bollocks (Score 2) 39

"First operation inside the human eye" my arse. *Every* modern cataract operation is an operation inside the eye. The membrane-peeling described in the link is a standard vitrectomy operation. I have two colleagues who between them do several a week and have done for years. So far (not very) as this is anything new at all, it is automated assistance to a human surgeon.

This is basically regurgitated publicity handout crap.

Comment XPS 13 (Score 1) 288

Very happy with the touch-screen XPS 13 and Ubuntu. Basically no trouble that I didn't create myself.

Specifically, I immediately tried to upgrade to 16.04 from the (working-fine) out-of-the-box 14.04, which failed, and then discovered that there was bug in the Ubuntu installer so it couldn't cope with the SSD.
But all work-roundable with pretty minimal googling. I might have been more worried if I wasn't used to setting up linuxes on laptops (first time I did it, I needed a framebuffer for the video. Tell that to 'the young people of today, they don't believe you.) But surely the same is true for pretty such anyone who would actually *want* linux on a laptop?

The only other real problem I had was video (working, but tearing), which all got better with xorg-edgers. Again, not difficult to solve with a bit of searching.
Since then, it All. Just. Works. So to speak. And it's very nice hardware.

Comment Re:That's nice.... (Score 5, Informative) 30

Nonsense. Diabetic retinopathy is very treatable. (It's actually probably the most valuable thing I myself do during my working week.)
Certainly it doesn't always work in every case. But that's true of any treatment you care to mention.
Panretinal photocoagulation (with lasers) has saved the sight of hundreds of thousands of people. Over the past few years, on top of this, there have been major advances using antiVEGF treatments like Lucentis/ranibizumab.
It is *eminently* worthwhile for diabetics to be screened for eye disease. The problem is not that we can't treat it - it's that treatment is best done *before* the patient notices any problem. Hence, screening.

Comment Re:Government running things ... (Score 1) 302

What is this "cataract medication" of which you speak?
Last I heard, the only thing for cataracts was surgery. I'm an eye surgeon. That's what I'm going to be doing tomorrow morning. I hope. The organisation failed to replace our microsurgical instruments to cut costs (you need several sets to run an operating list) and last week I had to cancel half the operations.

The thing about not doing cataract operations if the other eye could still see well has never been NHS policy. It *has* been implemented by individual health boards because they had no bloody money to pay for it because our wonderful government thinks that we should have a system like you enlightened Americans where the insurance companies in the middel can rip off both the sick and the health workers and make big donations to the ruling party from their pickings. It is deliberately starving the NHS of funding in order to drive people into private healthcare.

This has nothing, absolutely nothing, with whether government knows better than ordinary people. In fact, it's driven by government ideologues who want to destroy health care provision for everyone too poor to support them with big fat donations. I believe you have such creatures in the USA too?

Comment Re:But really that's not how it works. (Score 1) 228

Exactly.
If you read the words "the gene for ..." relating to human beings in anything other than a medical context, you can be 95% certain that reading further is a waste of your time.
This reveals a basically magical, not scientific, idea of what "genes" are. Or a scammer.

Even in medical contexts, there is a vast gap between identifying a genetic variation associated with a disease and figuring out what the gene actually does and how the disease actually arises. It's the *beginning* of the real research.

A lot of this crap works along the lines of "Ooh, people with abnormalities in this gene can't speak" from which is deduced "Eureka! we've found the gene for language!"

Comment Mass Media coverage with no Peer Review (Score 4, Insightful) 215

The dead giveaway on Theranos is the splurging of publicity in mass mainstream media without anything at all published in relevant peer-reviewed specialist journals.

As soon as anyone asks why they would do that, the answer is obvious. You'd think.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 316

There is, as a matter of fact, a right answer to this question, if you do interpret it in the usual way with "or" as XOR, at least when the bullet is high-velocity.

The answer is "chest."

The key is "high velocity." This means that if the bullet is stopped by your body, the kinetic energy will cause massive tissue necrosis. Head or guts, you're just dead. Limb, you'll lose it if you live.

Chest, if it goes through heart or aorta, you're dead. But most of the space is lung, and the bullet will go straight through you, and with luck and prompt care you may survive pretty much intact.

I was told this by a South African trauma surgeon with great experience in this very area, in the context of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.

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