Jewel talks Art of Mindfulness and sings “Hands,” Discusses Song’s Origin

Wednesday, 29 April, 2020

2020 April 28, great  101.1 CBS-FM radio interview by Brad Blanks, “Brad Blanks Discusses the Art of Mindfulness and Meditation with Jewel “All meditation is being constantly present”

And I googled around and found this GREAT clip “Jewel Sings “Hands,” Discusses Song’s Origin” to watch!

Here is “Jewel – Hands (Official Music Video)”


Your #covid19 control measures have got to be exponential – New Quote I Love

Friday, 27 March, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

“”This is a virus (#SARS-CoV-2 / #covid19) that once it does take off, it is going to move and increase exponentially, … your control measures have got to be exponential as well to get in front of it. So small incremental measures won’t work.”” – Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO


Better Angels Swimming Naked #covid19

Friday, 20 March, 2020

 

20200319 - Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period

20200319 – Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period

Breaking news update (20200320 ~9:20am): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his March 20th press conference announced Canada & US have agreed to turn back asylum seekers to stop spread of covid19. (news link, CBC News, “Canada to turn back asylum seekers, close border at midnight to stop spread of COVID-19”).

The reciprocal agreement on irregular migrants, which Trudeau called an “exceptional” and temporary measure, was signed earlier today. The development comes just one day after the government announced all border-crossers would be under quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and that the federal government was looking for space to shelter the arrivals.

I decided to leave this post up for the record.

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After reading a news report of “Ottawa taking charge of housing asylum seekers during 14-day isolation period“, I have to admit small part of me would rather see the asylum seekers stop coming to Canada during #covid19. But the better angels in me realize legitimate asylum seekers crossing the border are fleeing grave dangers like wars, deadly personal persecutions (e.g. for merely being gay) and have little choice.

Famed investor Warren Buffett likes to say,

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Warren inspired me to cook up this version:

Only in a global pandemic like covid19 do you discover a country’s true character and if her better angels have been swimming naked.

It is heartbreaking to see covid19 has killed thousands around the world and has harmed even more and some survivors will forever live with serious multi-organ injuries. One may argue it is even more heartbreaking see people around the world succumbed to succumbed to covid19-induced hatred and racism in United States, Hong Kong, and around the world. For our collective souls may be irrevocably harmed or extremely difficult to mend.

NOTE: News story is using an old photo from Aug 2017, Canada still has wintry conditions.

References:

1) 20200311, The Lancet, “Comorbidities and multi-organ injuries in the treatment of COVID-19”

2) 20200318, Yamiche Alcindor’s tweet (with video), “My Q: Are WH officials using term “Kong-Flu” to describe coronavirus wrong? And, are you concerned that term “Chinese virus” will put Asian-Americans at risk of being targeted?
Pres Trump: “Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent.”
Full video below.”

3) 20200229, The Lancet, Roger Yat-Nork Chung, Phd, Minnie Ming Li, Phd “Anti-Chinese sentiment during the 2019-nCoV outbreak” (or via Lancet direct)


Italian death toll overtakes China’s as #covid19 spreads – Can China’s number be trusted?

Thursday, 19 March, 2020
Italy vs China data - JHU Med - Screen Shot 2020-03-19

Italy vs China data – JHU Med – Screen Shot 2020-03-19

#Sobering day as //Italian death toll overtakes China’s as virus spreads// (20200319, City News 1130)

* 3405 reported deaths out of 41,035 cases in Italy (quoting JHU Med map data taken as of 20200319 ~3pm data)

* 3249 reported deaths out of 81,155 cases in China

* Let me try to address the widespread distrust in China’s numbers by some HongKongers and Chinese around the world. The dictatorial ruthless Xi BJ gov is rightfully to be distrusted but hear me out …

An #Exponential growth in cases and deaths mean that cases and deaths double in N number of days, say 5-6 days. Thinking like an Epidemiologist (which I am NOT) so lets have a #ThoughtExperiment.

China might be under reporting few (even a large number of) cases here and there BUT the exponential power of #covid19 in its growth and kill figures as China was in an uncontrolled growth phase means that thousands and thousands of deaths need to be hidden.

#ThoughtExperiment In just one (1) month, assuming exponential growth in 5 days. An initial Day01 deaths of 2,000, after just SIX (6) doubling, means that you have 2,000 x 64 = 128,000 deaths on Day30!

Try hiding ~128,000 deaths without having their families and loved ones willing to die to overturn the government!

Of course, if you still don’t trust my #ThoughtExperiment, no problem. Trust that #covid19 doesn’t really give a beep of what we think. It will keep on infecting and killing until it has no one to kill. So Xi as any dictatorial ruthless emperor wants to do, he wants some people to rule over and not to have them all died under his rule.


#covid19 news, research, vaccines, drugs

Monday, 2 March, 2020

Here are some #covid19 news, interesting research, vaccine, drug info. I’ll try to add to this post periodically if I can. (Last update: 20200310, Created: 20200302)

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20200310 (Tweet thread with paper link) Insightful & important #covid19 paper from Harvard

//Conclusion: Even after the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23, the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients continued to rise, exceeding local hospitalization and ICU capacities for at least a month. Plans are urgently needed to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 outbreaks on the local healthcare system in US cities.//
//The demand for inpatient and ICU beds for COVID-19 in the US: lessons from Chinese cities// Many thanks to //Ruoran Li *1; [@ruoranepi] Caitlin Rivers 2; Qi Tan 3,4; Megan B Murray 3; Eric Toner 2; Marc Lipsitch 1 [@mlipsitch]//

20200309 NYT Opinion – This Is Life Under Lockdown in Italy – Your tickets for concerts and soccer games are useless. Your children can’t go to school. Even Mass is canceled.

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20200309, WHO “Coronavirus outbreak: WHO calls threat of COVID-19 pandemic “very real” | FULL”

20200309, Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. officials announce Canada’s first COVID-19 death

20200309, Coronavirus outbreak: 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta | FULL

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20200306, “Live from WHO HQ – Daily Press Briefing on COVID-19 –Coronavirus 6MARCH2020”

20200306, CNN podcast, “Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction”

20200304 NPR, “How Computer Modeling Of COVID-19’s Spread Could Help Fight The Virus” (~4 minutes)

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20200305, Live from WHO HQ – Daily Press Briefing on COVID-19 –Coronavirus 05MARCH2020

20200302, CNBC, How this Canadian start-up spotted coronavirus before everyone else knew about it

Ref: 20200304, U of T’s Kamran Khan on how his startup used AI to spot the coronavirus before anyone else: CNBC

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20200304, NPR, (~4 mins) “How Computer Modeling Of COVID-19’s Spread Could Help Fight The Virus”

20200304 CBC News, “Trudeau appoints new cabinet committee for COVID-19 response and warns of economic impact”

The committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, will complement the work done by the Incident Response Group, meeting regularly to co-ordinate and prepare for a response to the health and economic impacts of the virus.

‘All possible measures’ to limit COVID-19 impact

Trudeau said the committee will work with provincial, territorial and international partners to make sure Canada’s response “takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread of the virus in Canada.”

Other ministers on the eight-member committee include Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Kirsty Duncan, deputy government House leader and scientist who wrote a book [BMJ book review of “Hunting the 1918 Flu: OneScientist’s Search for a Killer Virus” by Kirsty Duncan] on the origins of the 1918 Spanish flu, will also be a core participant of the meetings.

20200304 NYT “Inside China’s All-Out War on the Coronavirus Dr. Bruce Aylward, of the W.H.O., got a rare glimpse into Beijing’s campaign to stop the epidemic. Here’s what he saw.” #covid19 #TheydWhipYouThroughaCTScan #WayneGretzkyOfViruses
Good questions and insightful/nuanced answers. Don’t be dogmatic and blindly mistrust WHO. *Blindly* anything is bad science. #TeachableMoments

//Dr. Aylward, who has 30 years experience in fighting polio, Ebola and other global health emergencies, detailed in an interview with The New York Times how he thinks the campaign against the virus should be run.//
//[Q] Are the cases in China really going down?

[A] I know there’s suspicion, but at every testing clinic we went to, people would say, “It’s not like it was three weeks ago.” It peaked at 46,000 people asking for tests a day; when we left, it was 13,000. Hospitals had empty beds.

I didn’t see anything that suggested manipulation of numbers. A rapidly escalating outbreak has plateaued, and come down faster than would have been expected. Back of the envelope, it’s hundreds of thousands of people in China that did not get Covid-19 because of this aggressive response.

[Q] Is the virus infecting almost everyone, as you would expect a novel flu to?

[A] No — 75 to 80 percent of all clusters are in families. You get the odd ones in hospitals or restaurants or prisons, but the vast majority are in families. And only 5 to 15 percent of your close contacts develop disease. So they try to isolate you from your relatives as quickly as possible, and find everyone you had contact with in 48 hours before that.

[Q] You said different cities responded differently. How?

[A] It depended on whether they had zero cases, sporadic ones, clusters or widespread transmission.

First, you have to make sure everyone knows the basics: hand-washing, masks, not shaking hands, what the symptoms are. Then, to find sporadic cases, they do fever checks everywhere, even stopping cars on highways to check everyone.

As soon as you find clusters, you shut schools, theaters, restaurants. Only Wuhan and the cities near it went into total lockdown.

[Q] How did the Chinese reorganize their medical response?

[A] First, they moved 50 percent of all medical care online so people didn’t come in. Have you ever tried to reach your doctor on Friday night? Instead, you contacted one online. If you needed prescriptions like insulin or heart medications, they could prescribe and deliver it.

[Q] But if you thought you had coronavirus?

[A] You would be sent to a fever clinic. They would take your temperature, your symptoms, medical history, ask where you’d traveled, your contact with anyone infected. They’d whip you through a CT scan …

[Q] Wait — “whip you through a CT scan”?

[A} Each machine did maybe 200 a day. Five, 10 minutes a scan. Maybe even partial scans. A typical hospital in the West does one or two an hour. And not X-rays; they could come up normal, but a CT would show the “ground-glass opacities” they were looking for.

(Dr. Aylward was referring to lung abnormalities seen in coronavirus patients.)

[Q] And then?

[A] If you were still a suspect case, you’d get swabbed. But a lot would be told, “You’re not Covid.” People would come in with colds, flu, runny noses. That’s not Covid. If you look at the symptoms, 90 percent have fever, 70 percent have dry coughs, 30 percent have malaise, trouble breathing. Runny noses were only 4 percent.

[Q] The swab was for a PCR test, right? How fast could they do that? Until recently, we were sending all of ours to Atlanta.

[A] They got it down to four hours.

[Q] So people weren’t sent home?

[A] No, they had to wait. You don’t want someone wandering around spreading virus.

[Q] If they were positive, what happened?

[A] They’d be isolated. In Wuhan, in the beginning, it was 15 days from getting sick to hospitalization. They got it down to two days from symptoms to isolation. That meant a lot fewer infected — you choke off this thing’s ability to find susceptibles.

[Q] What’s the difference between isolation and hospitalization?

[A] With mild symptoms, you go to an isolation center. They were set up in gymnasiums, stadiums — up to 1,000 beds. But if you were severe or critical, you’d go straight to hospitals. Anyone with other illnesses or over age 65 would also go straight to hospitals.

[Q] What were mild, severe and critical? We think of “mild” as like a minor cold.

[A] No. “Mild” was a positive test, fever, cough — maybe even pneumonia, but not needing oxygen. “Severe” was breathing rate up and oxygen saturation down, so needing oxygen or a ventilator. “Critical” was respiratory failure or multi-organ failure.

[Q] So saying 80 percent of all cases are mild doesn’t mean what we thought.

[A] I’m Canadian. This is the Wayne Gretzky of viruses — people didn’t think it was big enough or fast enough to have the impact it does.

[Q] Hospitals were also separated?

[A] Yes. The best hospitals were designated just for Covid, severe and critical. All elective surgeries were postponed. Patients were moved. Other hospitals were designated just for routine care: women still have to give birth, people still suffer trauma and heart attacks.

They built two new hospitals, and they rebuilt hospitals. If you had a long ward, they’d build a wall at the end with a window, so it was an isolation ward with “dirty” and “clean” zones. You’d go in, gown up, treat patients, and then go out the other way and de-gown. It was like an Ebola treatment unit, but without as much disinfection because it’s not body fluids.

[Q] How good were the severe and critical care?

[A] China is really good at keeping people alive. Its hospitals looked better than some I see here in Switzerland. We’d ask, “How many ventilators do you have?” They’d say “50.” Wow! We’d say, “How many ECMOs?” They’d say “five.” The team member from the Robert Koch Institute said, “Five? In Germany, you get three, maybe. And just in Berlin.”

(ECMOs are extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines, which oxygenate the blood when the lungs fail.)

[Q] Who paid for all of this?

[A] The government made it clear: testing is free. And if it was Covid-19, when your insurance ended, the state picked up everything.

In the U.S., that’s a barrier to speed. People think: “If I see my doctor, it’s going to cost me $100. If I end up in the I.C.U., what’s it going to cost me?” That’ll kill you. That’s what could wreak havoc. This is where universal health care coverage and security intersect. The U.S. has to think this through.

[Q] What about the nonmedical response?

[A] It was nationwide. There was this tremendous sense of, “We’ve got to help Wuhan,” not “Wuhan got us into this.” Other provinces sent 40,000 medical workers, many of whom volunteered.

In Wuhan, our special train pulled in at night, and it was the saddest thing — the big intercity trains roar right through, with the blinds down.

We got off, and another group did. I said, “Hang on a minute, I thought we were the only ones allowed to get off.” They had these little jackets and a flag — it was a medical team from Guangdong coming in to help. […]

[Q] Isn’t all of this impossible in America?

[A] Look, journalists are always saying: “Well, we can’t do this in our country.” There has to be a shift in mind-set to rapid response thinking. Are you just going to throw up your hands? There’s a real moral hazard in that, a judgment call on what you think of your vulnerable populations.

Ask yourself: Can you do the easy stuff? Can you isolate 100 patients? Can you trace 1,000 contacts? If you don’t, this will roar through a community.

[Q] Isn’t it possible only because China is an autocracy?

[A] Journalists also say, “Well, they’re only acting out of fear of the government,” as if it’s some evil fire-breathing regime that eats babies. I talked to lots of people outside the system — in hotels, on trains, in the streets at night.

They’re mobilized, like in a war, and it’s fear of the virus that was driving them. They really saw themselves as on the front lines of protecting the rest of China. And the world.

[Q] China is restarting its economy now. How can it do that without creating a new wave of infections?

[A] It’s a “phased restart.” It means different things in different provinces.

Some are keeping schools closed longer. Some are only letting factories that make things crucial to the supply chain open. For migrant workers who went home — well, Chengdu has 5 million migrant workers.

First, you have to see a doctor and get a certificate that you’re “no risk.” It’s good for three days.

Then you take the train to where you work. If it’s Beijing, you then have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Your temperature is monitored, sometimes by phone, sometimes by physical check.

[Q] What’s going on with the treatment clinical trials?

[A] They’re double-blind trials, so I don’t know the results. We should know more in a couple of weeks.

The biggest challenge was enrolling people. The number of severe patients is dropping, and there’s competition for them. And every ward is run by a team from another province, so you have to negotiate with each one, make sure they’re doing the protocols right.

And there are 200 trials registered — too many. I told them: “You’ve got to prioritize things that have promising antiviral properties.”//

20200301 CBC Radio, Cross Country Checkup – ASK ME ANYTHING 5 lessons about COVID-19 from doctor who led WHO mission to China – Bruce Aylward took questions from callers on Cross Country Checkup

20200304 CNN, “Canceling SXSW festival won’t make the community safer, Austin health officials say” [Note: Time will tell if this decision is wise or not. I worry not. They may change this decision later too. Will see.]

20200303 Science Mag “Indonesia finally reports two coronavirus cases. Scientists worry it has many more

But epidemiologists have long said COVID-19’s absence in the world’s fourth most populous nation was implausible, given the large number of visitors—both for tourism and business—from nearby China. A modeling study based on the number of travelers from Wuhan, published by a team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on bioRxiv on 11 February, concluded that even then, it was unlikely that Indonesia did not have a single COVID-19 case. (Indonesian Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto called the study insulting and later said the lack of cases was the result of prayer.)

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20200302 (hope we don’t need this but SK is cool in this efficient way to do test and get sample) //South Korea is pioneering a coronavirus drive-through testing station that officials say is faster and safer than going to a hospital or clinic// [HT @klustout]

20200303 WHO, “Coronavirus outbreak: World Health Organization says virus death toll has surpassed 3,100 worldwide”

20200303 Vox, “China’s cases of Covid-19 are finally declining. A WHO expert explains why. “It’s all about speed”: the most important lessons from China’s Covid-19 response.” [HT Kai “Also highly recommend reading this great interview by @juliaoftoronto with mission head Bruce Aylward:”]

“Q: Julia Belluz
In the elderly, what explains the high death rate? Is it something about deterioration of the immune system with age or the higher probability you have [of developing] other illnesses as you age?

A: Bruce Aylward
I think it’s the latter. These people are dying of an inflammatory process in their lungs. It’s not an infectious process, like a bacterial or viral infection. It’s inflammatory, like we see with SARS. We’re not sure of the mechanism. We do know the proportion of people who die who had cancer was half compared to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is a little bit lower than those two, and cancer lower again.”

Read the rest of this entry »


News Clippings 20200120

Monday, 20 January, 2020

I’ll try to add to my collection of News Clippings regularly if I can. Here are a few added on 20200120:

20200120 Guardian, (part 1 of 2) #HumanToHumanTransmission Very sad to learn [14] medical staff had been infected! “China confirms human-to-human transmission of coronavirus

//China’s National Health Commission has confirmed human-to-human transmission of a mysterious Sars-like virus that has spread across the country and fuelled anxiety about the prospect of a major outbreak as millions begin travelling for lunar new year celebrations.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and head of the health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.//

20200120 China CCTV, “新型冠状病毒如何防控?会否重复SARS疫情?钟南山:呈现人传人特点

(part 2 of 2) #HumanToHumanTransmission Very sad to learn 14 medical staff had been infected! Via Chinese source: //Pulmonologist ZHONG Nanshan, leads an expert group to investigate the #WuhanPneumonia, said human-to-human transmission is confirmed. Also 14 medics have been infected by the novel coronavirus, reports state media CCTV.//

//疫情发展到什么阶段?
钟南山 [国家卫健委高级别专家组组长钟南山院士]:呈现人传人特点 有14个医护人员感染 […]

武汉减少输出是非常重要的一个方面,武汉会有很严格的筛查检测措施,特别是体温检测,体温高的不建议离开武汉。预防和控制最有效的方法是早发现早治疗,确诊病例的隔离治疗非常重要,这个冠状病毒没有特效药,但是现在正在进行一些动物试验观察,科学研究要跟上。春节期间,估计得病的人数还会有增加,要防止传播,防止出现超级传播者。//

[HT @chiangst]

xxxx


Jann Arden: My mom ‘will forget me at some point’ because of Alzheimer’s

Monday, 20 November, 2017

I watched Jann Arden‘s interview on CBC National last night and was very touched and found it informative. From CBC Tweet, ““She will forget me at some point.” Singer-songwriter @jannarden sat down with @adriearsenault and opened up about caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s.

This Q&A at timecode 7:37 was especially moving.

“Q: You asked her [your mom] at one point if she thought she would forget you?

Jann: “She said, ‘My mind might but my heart won’t.‘”

Full interview: Jann Arden: My mom ‘will forget me’ because of Alzheimer’s

Over the years, the following three movies dealing with Alzheimer’s/Dementia have informed & touched me deeply about the challenges faced by those affected and their families and friends.
1) The Notebook (2004) [K: I LOVE this movie so much in so many ways!]
2) Away from Her (2006) [K: This is a less well known film starring  Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent that I really like and enjoy. It was expertly directed by star turned director Sarah Polley.]
3) Still Alice (2014) [K:  Julianne Moore won an Academy Award as best actress for this film and Julianne really did an amazing job.]


Warren Buffett PBS NewsHour interview

Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

June 26, 2017 America should stand for more than just wealth, says Warren Buffett

PBS, June 26, 2017, Here is Warren Buffett’s first tax return, filed at age 14

Warren Buffett says GOP health reform bills are relief for the rich


Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy will ‘revolutionize’ treatment of brain diseases

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

CBC News had a great Facebook LIVE Q&A session with neurosurgeons Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. And a great news report (with video)  “No scalpel, no drill: Medical procedure to treat uncontrollable hand tremor a ‘game changer’“. Here is an excerpt,

“The technology “will open up a new era that will revolutionize the way brain diseases will be treated, eventually benefitting millions of patients,” says Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of physical sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He also helped develop the technology. […]

Doctors hope to apply the technology in the treatment of other diseases like Parkinson’s and epilepsy.”

(Note: In the LIVE Q&A you can hear neurosurgeon Dr. Nir Lipsman talk about Parkinson’s disease and this new procedure at timecode 3:03.)

Here is a video “Neurosurgery – with sub-titles, ending with MR image” with subtitle text.

Reference: New England Journal of Medicine, August 25, 2016 “A Randomized Trial of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor” (PDF file)

P.S. On a personal note, it may be way too early to speculate but I do wonder how far can the procedure go (its first pilot study published in 2013 as reported in NEJM), I do wonder openly/hopefully if one day it could be used to help patients with glioblastoma like my friend Maria’s husband Sean had unfortunately suffered. Well, after a quick search, I managed to find this 2014 study reported in NIH, “First noninvasive thermal ablation of a brain tumor with MR-guided focused ultrasound


Mending Broken Paris Hearts – Meet the Man with No Pulse

Monday, 16 November, 2015
Total Artificial Heart (video screen capture sample) Photo credit: SynCardia Systems

Total Artificial Heart (video screen capture sample) Photo credit: SynCardia Systems

I wrote a lengthy post (partly to try to mend our broken Paris hearts metaphorically) after a Google Hangout with my super cool and magical Paris friend Laurent  on the Saturday morning post-Paris Attacks. With Laurent‘s permission and help in providing some photos, this is a medical and technical post about why he is “magical” to me. And how a heart can be “mended” literally.

You see, Laurent had a major heart incident in June 2014 so he had to be implanted with a temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH info from US nih.gov) 17 months ago! He is literally being kept alive by the magic of a cutting edge TAH as he awaits a new heart. (I included the above sample picture. It may not be the exact model inside Laurent but it is a good picture and will give you some idea.) Note that a temporary TAH is approved for “bridge to heart transplantation” and is NOT supposed to be a “destination therapy“.

(Important Disclosure/Warning: I am not a medical doctor or researcher. I do not work for and am not related to SynCardia Systems nor Stanford University. Please always consult your own heart doctors and healthcare professionals for their expert advices. I am not an expert of artificial heart devices, and I don’t even play a doctor like House M.D on TV!)

After you read the above Important Disclosure/Warning, I want to say, as a tech-geek, I really enjoy my chat with Laurent and appreciate the photos and links he provided. Laurent’s and my hope is that this post may be of some use to some people waiting for their heart transplants or in similar predicament. Of course, at the end of the day, all errors and mistakes in this post are mine. And consult your own heart doctors and healthcare professionals for their expert advices!

The following is a picture of Laurent’s SynCardia Systems Companion 2 Hospital Driver (C2 Driver) docked with a companion Caddy (pdf fact sheet and 2013 PR press release).

One of the machines that is keeps my Paris friend Laurent alive.

One of the machines that is keeps my Paris friend Laurent alive. The other is his total artificial heart (TAH). Photo credit: Laurent

The C2 Driver‘s pushes air in and out of the two artificial ventricles of Laurent’s total artificial heart (TAH) implant. A side “benefit” of a total artificial heart is Laurent has no pulse which means a flat electrocardiogram if he does one.

With permission, here is a photo of two tubes going in.

Two tubes connected to the total artificial heart (TAH). Photo credit: Laurent

Two tubes connected to the total artificial heart (TAH). Photo credit: Laurent

And here is a photo of an emergency standby machine, Read the rest of this entry »


Ignorant talk of “Boys using girls bathroom” illuminated by BBC doc “Me, My Sex and I”

Thursday, 28 February, 2013

Me My Sex And I - 2011 BBC doc

Two news items have been hotly discussed online recently:

New Massachusetts rules allow transgender students to choose their own bathroom“, Yahoo News (The Daily Caller), Feb 25, 2013

His or Hers? Transgender child locked in school bathroom debate“, CTV News, Feb 28, 2013

So I thought to spend a few minutes to look up an insightful documentary I watched in 2011 to try to illuminate the important issue that there are NO 100% male or 100% female. I am NOT 100% male. The real scientific reasoning is complex but not that difficult to understand. The human stories and the human impact take more compassion to appreciate and accept.

Here is the insightful BBC documentary “Me, My Sex and I” last broadcast on Oct, 2011. Someone posted the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87XvVdLaWT8 that you can watch (video is flipped but you can still get most of the important points).

NOTE: I moderate comments on this post, any comments that appear to be made without watching the documentary or understanding the issues first will be deleted.

Update 2015, Aug 5th: If this link doesn’t work (deleted as per BBC/others request), just search for the documentary title in YouTube and you may find it.

Me, My Sex and I


Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Earlier this month I had a fascinating interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, head of University of Calgary Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Syed is one of the lead researchers behind neurochip − “a microchip with the ability to monitor several functions of the brain.Neurochip is “a novel lab-on-a-chip technology that, through an ultra-sensitive component built directly on the microchip, also enables direct imaging of activity in brain cells.”

In one fascinating part of the interview, Dr. Syed talked about Parkinson’s patients who have really bad tremors and don’t respond to drugs anymore. Currently, surgeons insert a deep brain stimulation electrode to allow the patients to stimulate the electrode themselves which release dopamine to stop the tremors. Unfortunately, the electrode can continue to stimulate the brain cells beyond the limit. Resulting in what is known as excitotoxicity. (Too much dopamine constantly being produced and brain cells being over excited.) In essence, nobody is there to tell the electrode when the stimulation is enough and can be stopped to avoid damage because there is no loop going back to tell it. Dr. Syed suggests implanting a two-way link where machines (capacitors and transistors) and the brain cells can talk to each other to better control the stimulation loop and avoid/reduce the problem of excitotoxicity.

Have a watch of my extensive interview with Dr. Syed to hear of his explanations and the background info in his own words for the latest advancement in research in neurochip.

As an alumnus of University of Calgary, it makes me really proud to see cool research done in Calgary, Alberta. At the same time, near the end of the interview, I asked Dr. Syed about the challenges of getting the required funding for the research program to succeed and to keep doing cutting edge researches right here in Calgary. Given the achievements his team has made so far, I would hate to see any of these world class scientists leaving Canada to go to United States/China, etc because our three level of governments and private industry partners are not putting in the needed funding to keep doing these ground-breaking researches that can lead to better medical devices, better drugs, etc right in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

On a personal note, a very close friend has Parkinson’s and I hope the device Dr. Syed talked about can be developed, tested, and approved soon so that my friend and other Parkinson’s patients can benefit.

News references:

University of Calgary, UToday “New advances for neurochip

CTV News (with video), “U of C researchers achieve major milestone

Calgary Herald, “New microchip helps take detailed images of brain – University of Calgary researchers achieve new milestone


Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference

Monday, 25 June, 2012

Chris Keefer - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 01

Faria Kamal - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 02

My personal thanks to the doctor and medical student who spoke up on our behalf. Shame on our Canadian government. Shame on us Canadians that we are not more aware of this problem. Canadians are BETTER than the actions of our current government in power!

According to the YouTube clip info, the names of the doctor and medical student speaking up are Chris Keefer and Faria Kamal respectively. I applaud Chris and Faria’s brave protest, risking retribution from the Harper government and their hospital administration.

Shame on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference

See CBC News, “Refugee health cuts protest cuts off Oliver announcement

TorStar, “A new low for refugees in Canada

The issue (a website) as posted in the YouTube clip info.

Chris Keefer & Faria Kamal - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 03


Robbie Babins-Wagner, Calgary Counselling centre, interview at 2012 Brett Wilson’s Garden Party

Friday, 22 June, 2012

It was my pleasure to meet & interview Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner PhD, CEO of Calgary Counselling centre at 2012 Brett Wilson’s Garden Party. Here is the interview video.

Note: This year’s charitable focus is Eating Disorders – “the slowest form of suicide” and “over 300K (net) was raised for #EatingDisorders – prevention/treatment”. And Calgary Counselling centre is one of Brett’s selected charities for the 2012 Garden Party.


‪Suzanne Somers‬ discusses regrowing her breast (FDA-trial) after lumpectomy

Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

Suzanne Somers - pix 01

Suzanne Somers‬ is best know as Chrissy Snow in Three’s Company, sex symbol, and in recent years an advocate for alternative medical treatments. This reporter has the pleasure of chatting with Somers‬ in a Fox LA Google+ Hangout few days ago. Somers‬ talked about having breast cancer, had a lumpectomy, and then earlier this year underwent a new (and controversial) procedure of regrowing her breast using her own stem cell.

Suzanne Somers‬ Fox LA Google+ Hangout

During the Fox LA G+ Hangout, this reporter asked and Somers‬ confirmed that she is the first woman in United States to undergo the procedure to regrow breast, performed by an American doctor, and most importantly, in an FDA-approved clinical trial. Upon further research, this reporter found that Somers‬ also talked to CNN Anderson Cooper about the new procedure as seen in this video.

Anderson Cooper‘s show segment Suzanne Somers on New Procedure for Breast Cancer Patients

In this MSNBC Today show report Somers said (emphasis and link added),

“Well, I lost my breast to — most of my breast to cancer 11 years ago. It was called a lumpectomy, but when they took the bandages off it was rather shocking. And I heard that Dr. Kotaro Yoshimura in the University of Tokyo had successfully regrown the breasts of 400 Japanese women. So I brought him over, put him together with a doctor in Los Angeles . We applied for an IRB , which is an institutional revue board, which qualifies me for a clinical trial.”

Note: – In 2007, BBC reported, “Kotaro Yoshimura, a surgeon at the Tokyo University medical school, said more than 40 patients had been treated.

– Here is a Wikipedia page for institutional review board.

See also this People Magazine report.

Cautions & Warnings

This reporter wants to make it clear that this report and Somers‬‘ personal experience should NOT be taken blindly as advice, or worst, as medical advice. It is extremely important to seek proper medical advice from licensed medical doctors/surgeons to help you understand the full risks vs. benefits of any new medical procedures.

Deep down, this reporter wants to be optimistic and hope that new procedure can help survivers of breast cancer. At the same time, this reporter is obliged to suggest and interested readers to read this serious cautioning NYT article by Barron H. Lerner, M.D., professor of medicine and public health at Columbia University Medical Center.

Note: This article is cross-posted on Examiner.com.


Jeff Chiba Stearns “Mixed Match” doc interview – mixed/multiethnic people’s additional challenges when dealing with life threatening blood diseases such as leukemia

Thursday, 5 April, 2012

Mixed Match - pix 01 - Maya Family and Rosanna

I first interviewed the award-winning filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns when he came to Calgary with his last film in 2010. Today, I had the pleasure to interview Jeff again to talk about his latest documentary Mixed Match, mixed/multiethnic people’s additional challenges when dealing with life threatening blood diseases such as leukemia, and how can we help.

Here is my video interview with Jeff Chiba Stearns, director of Mixed Match.

Because of the under representation of mixed/multiethnic/ethic people in the national bone marrow registries, please join the registry in Canada (OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network) or United States (Be The Match Registry).

Mixed Match - pix 05 - One_Match_Drive

Mixed Match - pix 06 - Jeff_joining_registry

Have a read of the myths & facts about Bone Marrow Donation to dispel myths like

“Donating is painful and involves a long recovery.”

“All bone marrow donations involve surgery.”

To raise the needed funds to complete the film, Jeff has a crowdfunding page for Mixed Match on indiegogo. So far $5,340 has been raised towards his $25,000 funding goal. Please consider helping him finish Mixed Match by donating before April 27, 2012.

Mixed Match - pix 04 - Valerie_Sun_Interview2

Mixed Match - pix 02 - Maga_Hospital_Still1

Mixed Match - pix 07 - Krissy with Jeff and Athena

More photos here.


Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re Netherlands court’s decision to let her officially change her gender to female

Friday, 30 March, 2012

Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re Netherlands court’s decision to let her officially change her gender to female

Here is my video Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re court’s decision to change her gender to female.

See Maya’s original news announcement. Check out more Google+ posts from Maya.


Cardiac rehabilitation most effective immediately following heart attack

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

A healthy heart is important to us all and especially key for people that have a heart attack. I’ve added emphasis to the following article. [HT Marta]

October 27, 2011
Cardiac rehabilitation most effective immediately following heart attack

By Kathryn Sloniowski

Calgary, AB —New research from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine has found that patients who have experienced a heart attack are more likely to participate in, and complete a cardiac rehabilitation program when they have access to it within 14 days of hospital discharge. Cardiac rehabilitation is a series of educational and exercise components aimed at teaching participants how to live a healthier lifestyle, subsequently reducing risk factors for future heart related illness. Components include topics such as nutrition, physical fitness and mental wellness.

“The proven benefits of participation in cardiac rehabilitation are multi-faceted,” says Dr. James Stone, co-author of the study and member of the University’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. “They include living longer, less-frequent hospital admissions, requiring fewer heart procedures and having better control of the risk factors that cause coronary artery disease.”

The study, published in this month’s issue of Canadian Journal of Cardiology, included a total of 469 patients, Read the rest of this entry »


Rethink Breast Cancer presents: Your Man Reminder App

Thursday, 13 October, 2011

Rethink Breast Cancer presents: Your Man Reminder App. The free app that uses hot guys to remind you to check your breasts.

HT to my friend Michelle, Rethink Breast Cancer team member and artistic director of Breast Fest.


Worth Reading: Michael Douglas headlines fundraiser for McGill, Berkshire Hathaway Insider Trading/Shareholder Suit, Herzog/McCarthy/Krauss talk science & art

Tuesday, 19 April, 2011

* CBC News, “Michael Douglas began cancer journey in Canada – Star will headline Montreal fundraiser for head and neck cancer

* Alice Schroeder, Berkshire Hathaway Insider Trading, Shareholder Suit [Here is a link to the shareholder suit filing http://www.scribd.com/doc/53362856/kirby-v-sokol]

* Filmmaker Werner Herzog, novelist Cormac McCarthy, and physicist Lawrence Krauss talk about the connection between science and art (NPR Science Friday).


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