No No Na-Nose!
Dr. Hossam Haick, of Technion (The Israel Institute of Technology), has been featured in the news recently for being the leader in inventing an “artificial nose” capable of “smelling” incipient disease on the breath of seemingly perfectly healthy people, an incredible increase in early detection technology.
AS Dr. Haick mentions in the video above, by the time a person knows he or she has cancer, the cancer is already at stage 2 or 3, vastly reducing chances of surviving the disease.
Dr. Haick’s “electronic nose”, a nanotechnology marvel of exquisite precision, detects “volatile biomarkers” that in their complex “neural” array indicates the presence of cancer, or another significant disease, even when no other symptoms of the disease are present.
While focusing on lung, breast, colon, prostate and head-neck cancers, Dr. Haick and his team of approximately 40 researchers are conducting clinical trials in 19 hospitals worldwide. These trials are following 8000 patients as they try to accurately detect at earliest stages one of 17 different diseases.
Dr. Haick reports an 89% early detection success rate for breast cancer, and a 100% early detection rate for lung cancer. For all 17 diseases being monitored, the average success rate for early detection is an astounding 86%.
With inevitable microminiaturization, Dr. Haick expects his artificial nose to soon be incorporated into smartphones, becoming so-called sniffphones.
Dr. Haick is considered by MIT to be one of the top 35 young scientists in the world, but that did not stop security at Ben Gurion airport from hassling him, even though he is a Christian arab citizen of Israel.
Yes Virginia, There Really Is A Santa Claus
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neurodegenerative disease that attacks the myelin sheath that protects the nerves connecting the brain to the muscles it controls. When the myelin sheath is damaged or gone, the nerve itself is subject to degeneration and failure.
MS comes in at least two varieties and a range of intensities. The most common variety is intermittent recurring MS. The symptoms of speech slurring, unstable gait and other symptoms wax and wane to the consternation of the person afflicted, but over time, degeneration increases relentlessly.
A less common form of MS (about 15% of all patients) is primary progressive MS, where once the degeneration starts, it increases consistently and relentlessly, without periods of apparent remission.
Recent theory on MS progression has focused less on T immune cells going haywire and attacking the myelin sheath, and more on B immune cells, which don’t attack the myelin sheath but somehow oddly “egg on” the T cells. The theory goes that in the absence of B cells, T cells are much less likely to attack the myelin sheath.
Recent clinical trials on a new monoclonal antibody drug called Ocrelizumab show very promising results. Ocremizulab selectively attacks the B cells, yielding significant decrease in functional loss of motor control.
The two trials for use on MS patients exhibiting intermittent recurring MS show a decrease of 46% loss of motor function over the trial period, compared not to a placebo but to the standard current drug of choice, interferon beta.
Ocrelizumab showed less but significant improvement for primary progressive MS (PPMS) over a placebo, with the improvement (decrease in loss of motor function) of about 25%.
What’s astounding about Ocremizulab and PPMS is that heretofore there has been no therapy at all to treat PPMS.
You can learn more about Ocremizulab here.
Was Jesus Born On December 25th?
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, the answer to a question that has plagued me for years (excerpt from the Tribune):
The overwhelming majority of Christians mark the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25. But there’s no biblical reason to celebrate Christmas on this particular day.
According to the Gospel of Luke, shepherds were watching their flocks at night at the time Jesus was born. This detail — the only clue in the Gospels about the timing of the birth — suggests that Jesus’ birthday was not in the winter, as shepherds would have been watching their flocks only during the lambing season in the spring. In the colder months, the sheep probably would have been corralled.
As late as the third century, Christians didn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus. The earliest discussion of the birthday is found in the third-century writings of Clement of Alexandria, who raises seven potential dates — none of which correspond to Dec. 25.
The first record of a celebration of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25 comes from a fourth-century edition of a Roman almanac known as the Philokalia. Alongside the deaths of martyrs, it notes that on Dec. 25, “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”
Some have argued that the date of Jesus’ birth was selected to supplant pagan festivals that were held at the same time. But while Pope Julius I set the date of Christmas (for Western Christians) in the fourth century, Christians did not deliberately adapt pagan rituals until the seventh century, when Pope Gregory the Great instructed bishops to celebrate saints’ feast days on the days of pagan festivals.
The real reason for the selection of Dec. 25 seems to have been that it is exactly nine months after March 25, the traditional date of Jesus’ crucifixion (which can be inferred from other dates given in the New Testament). As Christians developed the theological idea that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same date, they set the date of his birth nine months later.”
If You’re Going To Canada
Don’t drink the water.