Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

While Theresa May remains Prime Minister of Britain, her party, the Conservative Party, won Thursday’s general election but lost its majority in Parliament.

The next scheduled general election was not until 2020. May requested this general election, called a snap election, in April, when polls indicated it would strengthen the then-slight majority the Conservatives held in Parliament. Talks to establish the specifics of Britain’s departure from the European Union are set to begin June 19. Last year, British voters decided to leave the EU, but many of the specifics of the United Kingdom’s new relationship with the rest of Europe have yet to be established. May and the other Conservatives favor a “hard Brexit”, in which Britain would lose its current level of access to Europe’s single market and have to deal with higher tariffs and more complicated customs processes but it would regain full control of its borders with respect to trade and immigration. An increase in the number of Conservative Parliamentary seats would have supported this plan.

“Officially Theresa May is still the partner in Brexit negotiations,” said senior German MP Stephan Meyer, “but the political reality is different after this disastrous defeat. I can’t imagine that May will be able to remain prime minister.”

Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission said, “As far as the Commission is concerned we can open negotiations tomorrow morning at half past nine […] First we have to agree on the divorce and exit modalities, and then we have to envisage the architecture of our future relations. I do hope that the result of the elections will have no major impact on the negotiations we are desperately waiting for.”

A Parliamentary majority requires 326 of the organisation’s 650 seats. The Conservative Party holds 318 outright, including May’s own seat in Maidenhead, and the Labour Party holds 262, having gained about 30 in this election. In Britain, the leader of whichever political party has the most seats becomes Prime Minister, though they are also formally appointed by the monarch. Theresa May became leader of the Conservative Party on July 11 of last year and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II two days later. Cases in which no political party wins outright are called a hung Parliament, and then two or more parties rule together in coalition. Britain had a coalition government from 2010 to 2015. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has pledged an unofficial alliance with the Conservatives, which would bring them up to 328.

This would make May the second Prime Minister in a row to call an election with unexpected results. David Cameron called for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, not expecting the voters would reject it.

May’s current ministry said most of her senior officials, including Treasurer Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, will remain in the Cabinet.

May met with Queen Elizabeth II yesterday to request her permission to form a government in her name, a traditional formality.

Friday, July 6, 2018

On Tuesday, Sweden defeated Switzerland 1–0 and England defeated Colombia 4–3 on penalties in the FIFA football World Cup in the Last 16 knockout phase. Sweden is now scheduled to play England in the quarter-finals.

Friday, March 28, 2008

2008 Taipei International Cycle Show (Taipei Cycle) & Taipei International Sporting Goods Show (TaiSPO) not only did a best reunion with conjunctions of the launch of Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition and the concurrent cycling race of 2008 Tour de Taiwan but also provide opportunities and benefits for sporting goods, bicycle, and athlete sports industries to establish the basis of the sourcing center in Asia and notabilities on the international cycling race.

Although the Taipei cycle was split from the TaiSPO since 1988, but the trends of sporting good industry in Taiwan changed rapidly and multiply because of modern people’s lifestyles and habits. After the “TaiSPO Innovation Award” was established since 2005, the fitness and leisure industries became popular stars as several international buyers respected on lifestyle and health.

For example, some participants participated Taipei Cycle and TaiSPO with different product lines to do several marketing on bicycle and fitness equipments, this also echoed the “Three New Movements” proposed by Giant Co., Ltd. to make a simple bicycle with multiple applications and functions. As of those facts above, Wikinews Journalist Rico Shen interviewed Ideal Bike Corporation and Gary Silva, designer of “3G Steeper” to find out the possibilities on the optimizations between two elements, fitness and bicycle.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela –The Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on February 14, 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela. Brazil and Venezuela signed agreements of cooperation on many areas. According to the Brazilian government this was a strategical encounteur. This meeting is the first of three meetings that President Lula will have with South American Presidents in three days. The scheduled meetings are with the presidents of: Venezuela (February, 14), Guiana (February, 15) and Suriname (February, 16).

President Lula was accompanied by the following comitiva: the Minister of Development, Industry, and External Trade Luiz Fernando Furlan, the Minister of Finance Antônio Palocci, the Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim, the Minister of Health Humberto Costa, the Minister of Mines and Energy Dilma Roussef, the Minister of Tourism Walfrido Mares Guia, the President of Petrobras José Eduardo Dutra, the President of National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) Guido Mantega, the President of Eletrobrás Silas Rondeau Cavalcante Silva and the Special Secretary for Aquaculture and Fisheries José Fritsch. In addition a delegation of executives representing enterprises from Brazil accompanied the President.

The Brazilian Ministry of External Relations told the trip aims the construction of a strategical alliance and commercial integration between both countries. The Brazilian Presidential Advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia said:”With this gesture, Brazil will consolidate one of its major political goals, which is the constitution of a South American community of nations”. He added: “These agreements with Venezuela are strategical. We want this agreement as a model for other agreements in the region.”

According to President Lula the integration of the Latin America is the priority number one of his government. Days before the arrival in Venezuela and commenting about the trip Lula said: “We’re going to do the same thing in Colombia and in other countries in which integration is no longer a campaign speech but part of the way we deal with real things, day to day”.

The integration of the Latin America is the politics repeatedly proposed by Lula during the meetings of the Foro de São Paulo. According to him and the others members of the Foro there must be a integration among all the left parties and governments of Latin America. The union aims to be an alternative and opposing force to the politics and influence of the richest countries, mainly the United States. Among the organizations which are usually participants of the Foro de São Paulo are: Communist Party of Cuba, Colombian Communist Party, Communist Party of Bolivia, Communist Party of Brazil, Workers’ Party, Paraguayan Communist Party, Peruvian Communist Party, Socialist Party of Peru, National Liberation Army, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, Tupamaros.

On December 4, 2001 during the 10th edition of the Foro de São Paulo in Havana Lula said:”A shoal of small fish may mean the finishing of the hungry in our countries, in out continent. We should not think as the History ended on our journey by the Earth. Even it happens just once, or with one gesture, let’s effectively contribute to the improve the life of millions of human beings who live socially excluded by this neoliberal model.”[1]

In Venezuela, once again, he brought out the integration wish: “This is the biggest dream I am carrying, that we can negotiate collectively, not like one country, but like a set of countries so we can do that our people may have the chance to conquer the full citizenship.”

Contents

  • 1 Economic cooperation
  • 2 Military cooperation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References

News briefs:April 23, 2010

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 Correction — August 24, 2015 These briefs incorrectly describe BP as ‘British Petroleum’. In fact, such a company has not existed for many years as BP dropped this name when becoming a multinational company. The initials no longer stand for anything. 
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Edgar Lungu, the current President of Zambia, is to undergo medical treatment aboard after collapsing while on stage in Lusaka on Sunday during a ceremony for International Women’s Day. The Presidency announced yesterday that Lungu will have throat surgery abroad.

Doctors on Sunday diagnosed him with malaria. Lungu spoke to the press from hospital on Sunday saying “I am looking forward to going home. Doctors have done their tests and they have found traces of malaria, but they are doing further tests and they will let me know what next after before the end of the day”.

A later announcement identified his condition instead as a narrowing of the oesophagus, which he had previously received treatment for three decades ago. Despite not announcing where Lungu would head to be treated the Presidency did say he would undergo a “high-tech medical procedure which is currently unavailable in Zambia”.

Lungu, who only became the Zambian President in January, has previously dispelled rumours of his health. During the election he fought back against comments about his health calling it a “smear” campaign against him.

Some in Zambia have claimed the presidency is “jinxed”. Lungu’s predecessor Michael Sata died in October of last year at the age of 77 in London, England. Sata died only six years after serving President Levy Mwanawasa died following a stroke.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The International Labor Organization (ILO), a branch of the United Nations concerned with labor and workers’ rights issues, issued a report Wednesday explaining how the global economic crisis could create a global employment crisis by the end of the year.

“By the end of 2008 working poverty, vulnerable employment and unemployment were beginning to rise as the effects of the slowdown spread,” the report states. “If the recession deepens in 2009, as many forecasters expect, the global jobs crisis will worsen sharply.” Even for those who keep their jobs, the report predicts that “earnings and other conditions of employment will deteriorate.”

In a worst-case scenario, the ILO says 51 million jobs could be lost in 2009, meaning that 7.1% of the world’s working population would be out of a job. In a more realistic scenario, the report foresees a loss of 30 million jobs, with a global unemployment rate of 6.5%. The unemployment rate has increased in recent years, from 5.7% in 2007 to an estimated 6% in 2008.

Even the report’s most optimistic scenario for this year, a loss of 18 million jobs at an unemployment rate of 6.1%, is not much different than the ILO’s October 2008 prediction of 20 million jobs lost this year due to the financial crisis.

The report warns that developing countries in South Asia and Subsaharan Africa will be harshly affected by the economic crisis. Although working poverty – defined as having daily wages of US$2 or less – is on an overall decline, these regions are still characterized by poor working conditions, low salaries, and an insecure job market. This will only worsen in 2009, according to the ILO.

“Taking into account that a wage and salary job in poor regions may still not ensure all the components of a decent job, it becomes understandable that only a minority of working people have a job that is well paid, respects their fundamental rights and ensures some security in case of job loss, personal or family illnesses, or other difficulties.” The report says that by the end of 2008, nearly 53% of workers around the world could be in “vulnerable employment”.

In terms of actual unemployment, however, developed countries are the ones most likely to be affected by the downturn, as they are more tied to the global financial system. The unemployment rate in the European Union and other developed economies increased by 0.7 percentage points in 2008, the largest increase of all regions. “Globalization combined with rapid technological advances is another challenge for labour markets in the region,” the ILO says. “It is important for workers and employers to be ready and able to adjust quickly to change and to stiffer competition.”

A wage and salary job in poor regions may still not ensure all the components of a decent job…

Still, the unemployment rate of 6.4% in these developed countries is far less than in North Africa and the Middle East, which had unemployment rates of 10.3% and 9.4% respectively. East Asia had the lowest unemployment rate of the regions at 3.8%.

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The report urged global economies to take cooperative measures, including working with the United Nations, in order to stem the economic crisis. It also asks governments to address the “negative social consequences of globalization” by placing on emphasis an social justice-based programs targeted toward women, youth, and other “vulnerable groups”.

In particular, the ILO says governments should establish public infrastructure projects such as road construction, expand health insurance and unemployment benefits, and focus on the creation of green jobs when devising their stimulus plans. “When governments design fiscal stimulus packages, it is important that they consider employment-related goals, including explicit employment growth targets,” the report concluded.

“In the world, there remains a huge untapped labour potential, and economic growth and development could be much higher if everyone was given the chance of a decent job.”

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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18
Jan

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.

Cialis blog controversy is major war of words

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Friday, February 3, 2006

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company is currently engaged in a war of words with John Mack, editor of the monthly newsletter Pharma Marketing News. Mack and Eli Lilly are debating the origin of the Cialis Blog, a long-running Web site containing information about the popular anti-impotence medication Cialis. The Web site features information about Cialis’ clinical trials and commentary from Lilly ICOS executives.

Mack has suggested that Eli Lilly and Company sponsors the Cialis Blog. However, Lilly ICOS has asserted that it has nothing to do with the Web site.

Mack disputed Eli Lilly’s version of events calling the Cialis Blog “too far-fetched to be believed” and an example of Lilly’s “incredible incompetence.” Another blog, Envisioning 2.0, notes that the “Cialis blog is not endorsed by the powers that be at Lilly ICOS, according to Lilly spokesperson Kindra Strupp.”

Pharmaceutical Executive first mentioned the Cialis blog in an October 2004 article about pharmaceutical blogging. The author of the story assigned responsibility for the blog to Lilly ICOS without attribution.

Other bloggers have posted comments on Envisioning 2.0 and Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog suggesting that the Cialis Web site may be unofficial. They cite evidence from a WHOIS search indicating that Mircea Piturca of Romania apparently registered the blog.

Mack and bloggers commenting on the debate have all urged Eli Lilly to take action against the site. They all believe it is in the company’s best interest to have the site shuttered.