Children’s hospital installs pirate-themed CT-scanner to make medical test a little less scary.


A New York children’s hospital recently purchased a a pirate-themed CT scanner to make the medical tests less of a ‘horrible, scary chore’. 

Child patients lay down on a mock plank which then slides into the scanner, a hoop in the shape of a ship’s wheel. Swash-buckling pirate animals decorate the walls to distract the children from the test.

GE provided the scanner to New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and gave the hospital two choices for a child theme – fish or pirates – sparking a heated debate among the staff. 

An exam adventure: A new CT scanner at a New York City children's hospital helps distract patients from the stressful test

An exam adventure: A new CT scanner at a New York City children’s hospital helps distract patients from the stressful test

Tough choice: The hospital was given two choices for a children's scanner by manufacturer GE, either pirates or fish

Tough choice: The hospital was given two choices for a children’s scanner by manufacturer GE, either pirates or fish

Dr Carrie Ruzal-Shapiro, the hospital’s chief of pediatric radiology, said the pirates won out because they ‘were cute’ and the scanner was installed in August.

And so far the reaction has been positive. Registered nurse Naomi Hawkins told Buzzfeed that the best response she’s gotten is a patient saying: ‘Hurry up and get out so I can play’.

Although the test only lasts a minute, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get children prepared for the test, which can be stressful. 

‘It allows children to imagine all sorts of things,’ Dr Ruzal-Shapiro told the New York Daily News. ‘So it doesn’t seem like a horrible scary chore.’

Decision: Dr Carrie Ruzal-Shapiro, head of the pediatric radiology department, said they chose the pirates because they were cute

Decision: Dr Carrie Ruzal-Shapiro, head of the pediatric radiology department, said they chose the pirates because they were cute

Not so bad: Dr Ruzal Shapiro said the decor helps make the test a little less of a 'horrible, scary chore'

Not so bad: Dr Ruzal Shapiro said the decor helps make the test a little less of a ‘horrible, scary chore’

Prep: The test only takes a minute, but around 10 to 15 minutes to prepare patients for

Prep: The test only takes a minute, but around 10 to 15 minutes to prepare patients for

Procedure: Patients are set up on the table which resembles a plank and are then pushed into scanner in the shape of a ship's wheel

Procedure: Patients are set up on the table which resembles a plank and are then pushed into scanner in the shape of a ship’s wheel

Before the test, nurses get kids settled onto the table and hooked up to an IV. The room’s decor helps kids take their mind off the IV and the anxiety of the test.

The children being scanned could be dealing with something as serious as cancer to checking on bone fractures.

The hospital’s radiology department conducts about five to 10 scans in the room every day, on patients ranging from infants to 21-year-olds. 

‘The teens roll their eyes at the cat with the eye-patch and the hippo mermaid,’ Dr Ruzal-Shapiro said. ‘But they like it as much as the kids.’

Entertained: Imagery of swash-buckling animals like monkeys and tigers adorn the walls to give patients something to look at

Entertained: Imagery of swash-buckling animals like monkeys and tigers adorn the walls to give patients something to look at

Patients: The hospital performs between five and 10 scans a day on patients as young as infants and as old as 21

Patients: The hospital performs between five and 10 scans a day on patients as young as infants and as old as 21

Different issues: Those getting scanned could be dealing with something as serious as cancer or just a fractured bone

Different issues: Those getting scanned could be dealing with something as serious as cancer or just a fractured bone

Never too old: While teens roll their eyes at the decorations, Dr Ruzal-Shapiro says that they like it just as much as the younger ones

Never too old: While teens roll their eyes at the decorations, Dr Ruzal-Shapiro says that they like it just as much as the younger ones

Source: Daily Mail.

Prevalence of Indoor Tanning Among Young White Women.


Physician counseling, legislation limiting commercial use by minors, and FDA warnings about the adverse effects of tanning beds are needed to stem use by an alarming percentage of young tanners.

Indoor tanning before age 35 increases melanoma risk by up to 75%, and melanoma risk increases by 1.8% with each additional tanning session per year. Use before age 25 increases nonmelanoma skin cancer risk by up to 102%. Melanoma incidence is increasing, especially among young, non-Hispanic white women. Indoor tanning may be a causative factor, but prevalence data are limited.

Investigators used the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of high school students and the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of adults aged 18 to 34 years to study indoor tanning prevalence among non-Hispanic white women. Both surveys are conducted by the CDC. Indoor tanning was defined as use of a tanning device at least once in the prior 12-month period, and 10 or more times in that period constituted “frequent” use.

Of 2527 non-Hispanic white female high school student respondents (grades 9-11; age range, 14-18 years) to the YRBS, 29% had engaged in indoor tanning; 17% of all responders and 57% of ever-tanners tanned frequently. The prevalence and frequency of indoor tanning increased with age. Of 1857 non-Hispanic white female respondents to the NHIS (age range, 18-34 years), 25% engaged in indoor tanning, 15% frequently in the previous year. In these respondents, prevalence and frequency of indoor tanning decreased with age. In both surveys, the prevalence was highest in the South and Midwest.

COMMENT

These data show that indoor tanning is rampant among non-Hispanic white women, especially older high school girls. Although WHO has classified ultraviolet radiation as a class I carcinogen, the tanning industry is a thriving, largely unregulated $2 billion industry. In my office, an American Academy of Dermatology poster describing the dangers of indoor tanning has triggered many comments from parents and teens, with many saying they thought tanning was safe. Appearance-focused interventions and education are helpful for teenagers, but eliminating deceptive advertising claims and preventing access by minors are also crucial.

Source: NEJM

Why Aren’t There More Cancer Vaccines?


Blame America’s lousy patent system.

Six years from now, when my daughter turns 11, she will get a three-part human papillomavirus vaccine that will reduce her chances of getting cervical cancer by around 70 percent. Currently a little over half of American girls get the HPV vaccine, a public health intervention that will prevent tens of thousands of cancers. It’s one of modern medicine’s few success stories in finding a means of preventing cancer.

Maybe the reason we have so few cancer vaccines is that they’re harder to develop than treatments for patients who already have cancer, which are more common. But in an as yetunpublished study, economists Eric Budish and Heidi Williams teamed up with patent lawyerBen Roin to argue that the scarcity of preventive measures and relative abundance of late stage cancer treatments can also be blamed on the distorting effects that the U.S. patent system has on medical research.


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The duration of patent protection in the U.S. is 20 years. All drug innovations get patented at the time of discovery, but late-stage cancer treatments will work their way through the clinical trials required for FDA approval much more quickly, since the effect on patient survival will be apparent within a couple of years. That means fewer years of the patent clock ticking without revenues coming in. For a preventive treatment like the HPV vaccine, the 20 years of patent protection will be long expired before any clinical trial can show whether lives are being saved, which in turn makes vaccines far less alluring investments for biotech companies. It’s yet another indication of America’s patent system’s desperate need for a makeover.

To appreciate what’s wrong with the American system of granting fixed-length, 20-year patents, you first need to understand why we grant patents—and make them expire—in the first place. A patent gives an inventor ownership over her intellectual property, in much the same way a homeowner holds title to her house. This affords the inventor a period of exclusive rights to profit financially from the fruits of her innovation. Without this protection, who would go through the time and trouble of inventing anything in the first place, when someone could just take the idea and run with it?

At the same time, this license to exploit an idea for private gain needs to be balanced against the social benefits that come with universal access to new knowledge. After a patent expires, other innovators can build on earlier breakthroughs and competitors can market similar products without worrying about licensing contracts, patent litigation, or other headaches. The need to encourage invention and to let ideas be free leads to the compromise of giving patent protection for a limited period of time. Thanks to patent protection, we have biotech companies that spend billions developing next-generation drugs, and thanks to patents’ limited lifespans, we have generic manufacturers waiting to rush in with lower prices as soon as the patent ends.

patent terms distort R&D is simple. In most cases, inventors need to file for patents early on in the process, before they even enter trials, lest word get out and competitors beat them to the patent office. Consider a drug that takes two years to bring to market. Given our 20-year patent term, the drug’s manufacturer would get 18 years of patent protection after the drug goes on sale. Now consider a drug that takes 18 years to bring to market. Its manufacturer would get only two years of protection once it hits the market. For drugs that take more than 20 years to develop, there won’t be any post R&D patent protection at all.

The heart of the new study shows how these incentives have affected biomedical research in America over the past few decades, with a focus on cancer. Why cancer? Obviously, given the suffering caused by the disease, we care a lot about anything that might be holding back the development of better treatments. And if you’re interested in the connection between time to commercialization and biotech investments, cancer affords an additional set of advantages. The lag between invention and going to market is dictated primarily by the length of trials required for Food and Drug Administration approval, and trial length, in turn, is determined by patients’ survival rates. Generally, to get approval for a new cancer drug you need to show that patients live longer. It doesn’t take long to determine whether a new treatment adds months of life in the case of metastatic cancers (those that have spread throughout the body): 90 percent of patients with such cancers are dead in less than five years. But it can take more than a decade to see whether survival is affected for localized cancers that remain confined to a single organ. And for treatments aimed at cancerprevention—the holy grail of cancer research—it could take multiple decades to prove a treatment’s efficacy.

Using records from the National Cancer Institute, the authors link data on survival rates by cancer type (e.g., prostate) and stage (i.e., local versus regional versus metastasized) to clinical trial data on treatments targeted at a particular stage-type (e.g., metastatic prostate). They find that there are many more trials for deadlier cancers, a pattern that persists after they account for other considerations such as the frequency with which a cancer occurs or the type of individual (gender and age) most likely affected by it. Their calculations indicate that a 10 percentage point increase in the five-year survival rate of a given cancer type leads to an 8.7 percent decrease in R&D investment, an enormous effect when you consider the fact that metastatic cancers have an average five-year survival rate of 10 percent, versus 70 percent for localized cancers.

It’s not exactly wrong to devote resources to improving the prospects of metastatic cancer patients—theirs is the deadliest type. But as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: We’d be saving more years of life if we had more research on early-stage treatment and vaccines that prevented people from facing metastatic cancers to begin with. The authors provide some rough (and highly speculative) calculations for how many lives might have been saved with a better-designed patent system, and come up with a figure of 890,000 life-years saved for patients diagnosed in 2003 alone.

There are exceptions to the rule that late-stage cancers attract more research resources, but many of these exceptions only serve to reinforce the study’s findings. For example, there are a lot of clinical trials for treatment of breast cancers of every stage. Call it the Betty FordSusan Komen effect—the breast cancer awareness movement has been enormously effective at raising money for research. But within breast cancer types, the general pattern of more trials for metastatic than localized cancers still holds.

Given the study’s findings, you wouldn’t expect any cancer prevention drugs to have been developed. In fact, there are six such FDA-approved treatments. But these were either developed with public money, meaning profits weren’t a consideration, or gained FDA approval using so-called “surrogate endpoint” trials, where a treatment’s effectiveness is determined by a biological marker other than death. That turns out to have been the case for the HPV vaccine. Gardasil, developed by Merck, was approved on the basis of the presence of “atypical cervical cells” rather than patient survival, so the trial lasted only around four years. In fact, for leukemia and other cancers of the blood, where a treatment’s efficacy can be shown based on the surrogate endpoint of white blood cell counts, the negative relationship between cancer survival rate and number of trials disappears, as one might expect given that survival time doesn’t affect trial length.

Removing this distortion to research incentives would seem to be straightforward: Allow biotech companies to apply for patents at the time of invention, but only start the patent clock ticking after clinical trials are completed. But even if the authors’ theory is well-reasoned, legislative practice is quite another matter. Kevin Sharer, CEO of biotech giant Amgen from 2000 to 2012, sums up the prospects of any major patent reform as a “150 foot putt”—in other words, impossible. Many competing factions would surely see any attempt to change patent law as an opportunity to twist the rules in their favor, making intellectual property reform another casualty of Capitol Hill gridlock.

There has been some progress in changing the way the patent system adversely affects research. The FDA can, for example, grant a drug “market exclusivity,” which allows the original inventor the exclusive right to market a drug in the United States for a period of time following regulatory approval.Legislation was passed in 2010 that should strengthen the power of those arrangements: Some classes of drugs are now given 12 years of market exclusivity, which puts short- and long-trial drugs on a more equal footing. (This is in addition to a patent extension of 50 percent of the time a treatment spends in trial, for up to an additional five years, as a result of the 1984 Hatch–Waxman Act, which evidently didn’t have much of an impact on cancer research at least.) But only about a third of new inventions are covered by the new market exclusivity rules. For the bulk of new discoveries—so-called small molecule drugs—the patent system remains the same as it’s been since the early ’80s. (And very short trial drugs will still end up with longer market protections. For example, a three-year trial drug like Abiraterone, a prostate cancer treatment, could still get 17 years of exclusivity.)

The authors of the new study argue that the law should go even further and actually give long-trial drugs more protection than short-trial drugs following approval, instead of less (and also potentially cut back protection for short-trial drugs). Their argument has two parts: First, drugs with short trial times also tend to have lower development costs, so they’d get done even without the extra protection. Second, since drugs with long trial times tend to focus on prevention or early-stage treatment, they may have higher societal payoffs than drugs that spend just a few years in development.

Yet such legal innovation would surely have unanticipated consequences: For every well-meaning rule change, creative legal teams would develop new and unexpected ways of gaming the system. It’s for this reason that ex-Amgen CEO Sharer says that the rule-makers had better “shine a laser beam” on the particular disease classes where they hope to encourage innovations. Sharer points to the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, which gave seven years of market exclusivity, along with tax incentives, for drugs that treat rare diseases that would go uninvestigated without greater incentives.

It’s likely that many industries besides biotech suffer from the same distortionary effects of the 20-year patent rule—biotech is hardly unique in the long lag between discovery and commercialization. And other areas of research may not have the workaround of extending protection through regulators like the FDA. So if you consider the implications of this new study more broadly, it’s yet another argument that American legislators need to find the political will for a long-overdue overhaul of the patent system, and a responsibility to do it in such a way that logic and reason do defeat the lobbying assault that would accompany it. American business isn’t exactly renowned for forward thinking, with executives rarely looking beyond the next quarter’s earnings. The last thing they need is an ill-designed patent system to further encourage their short-sightedness.

Source:Slate.com

Doctors Asked to Counsel Teens About the Dangers of Smoking.


Doctors already have a hefty checklist of topics to go over with their patients. Will they be able to squeeze in discussions about the health hazards of tobacco during office visits?

The recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, that primary-care physicians start counseling younger patients about tobacco updates the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advice from 2003. At that time, the task force of experts could not find enough evidence to ask physicians to intervene with talks about tobacco during checkups with teens and adolescents. Since then, however, the panel says more studies have shown that conversations with physicians can have an impact in reducing smoking and other tobacco use among teens.

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The members analyzed trials that were designed to either prevent smoking among adolescents or to encourage them to quit. Youngsters who were told about antitobacco programs by their primary-care physicians were 19% less likely to start smoking than peers who were not provided with such information. Compared with other methods such as group sessions to discuss the health risks of tobacco; videos and pamphlets that provided information on tobacco; or even prescription forms preprinted with antitobacco messages, having conversations with health care professionals, either in the doctors’ office or over the phone, appeared to be the most effective.

That’s encouraging for physicians who have long struggled to help adult smokers to quit. “We now know that the smokers that have the most difficulty quitting are the smokers that start in their teenage years and smoke into young adulthood. Those are the smokers that may never be able to quit smoking, and that’s recent data,” says Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist and pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not on the panel. “It seems incumbent upon pediatricians and internists who have experience with these patients to counsel those patients at exactly that time.”

Rates of cigarette smoking among teens have stalled, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still using tobacco. Some have switched to cigars, which are less expensive, often flavored, and even crafted to look like cigarettes. While teen tobacco use dropped significantly in the U.S. between the years 1997 and 2003, beginning in the early 2000s, these declines started to reverse as states cut funding for tobacco-control programs. From 2009 to ’11, tobacco use remained steady, with about 1 in 5 high school students using some form of tobacco.

(MORE: Secondhand Smoke Is More Damaging for Teen Girls Than Boys)

Will the USPSTF recommendation help bring tobacco use down again? Already pressured to cover a significant amount of health information in a short office visit, Horovitz says doctors may find it difficult to throw another important health issue into the mix. “There’s counseling on diet, exercise, fastening your seat belt [and] nutrition; and smoking cessation measures are a part of the annual physical too,” he says. To make time for discussions about such lifestyle factors and how they affect their health, Horovitz says he allots an hour for each such visit.

Discussing such lifestyle behaviors, including tobacco use, is easier if doctors and patients have a long-standing relationship that is built on trust and familiarity. “All patients will talk about stress, and I ask questions that are pointed enough that they will volunteer that information. When you take care of a patient over a few years, there is trust and confidence in the doctor-patient relationship, and the patient will be more spontaneous in giving you facts that they might not give a doctor at first or if they don’t have a consistency in who they see,” says Horovitz.

Since not all patients have such interactions with their doctors, the task force also identified some other strategies that could help physicians to help their teen tobacco users to quit. For instance, some cessation programs send reminder text messages to teens’ smartphones, while some states, including New York and Rhode Island, have gone after their wallets by increasing the price of cigarettes. Mass-media antismoking campaigns and laws that target retailers selling cigarettes to underage customers are also effective. In an editorial accompanying the new recommendations, Dr. Michael Steinberg of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Cristine Delnevo of the Rutgers School of Public Health also argue for raising the smoking age from 18 to 21, since that would make it much harder for younger people to purchase tobacco products and therefore discourage them from smoking regularly.

With the new recommendation, doctors are being asked to join antitobacco efforts for teens, based on the latest data that suggests they can have a significant impact on whether or not their young patients smoke. It’s just a matter of finding the time to discuss how smoking and tobacco can affect teens’ health, and making such conversations a priority during the office visit.

Source: Time.com

How Trust Can Bring More Abundance into Your Life.


 

Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something. ~Eric Hoffer

 

I believe in what I do and what I have to say, so when I saw this new video circulating Facebook I just had to share it with you.

abundance

It’s called ‘The Art of Asking” and it’s a TED talk by Amanda Palmer (You can watch the video at the bottom of this post).

The Penny Drops!

What this brave and courageous woman had to say resonated so much with my soul, it left me shell-shocked for about an hour while I tried to process this invaluable information and apply it to my entire life.

What stood out for me were the similar experiences of self-doubt:

Is what I’m doing of use to others?

Should I get a ‘real’ job?

Am I just kidding myself?

I have 3 passions in life; every one of them has brought me to these questions (and brought me to my knees!).

Careers with Bad Reputations 

I started out as a musician in a band but…

My Limiting Belief:  Musicians are bums and lay-abouts, they don’t earn money. No-one takes you seriously.  Get a real job.

Then I pursued my love for art and I became a full-time artist but…

My Limiting Belief:  You can’t make money being an artist, you’ll struggle all your life.  Get a real job.

Then — oh God forbid — I started to write!  And…

My Limiting Belief:  Writers are poor, they don’t earn money.  If you don’t make it onto the Best Sellers list you’ll never make it.  Get a real job.

Money, Monks and Misunderstandings

The worst part of it was that I am a ‘spiritual’ writer and there is a hefty stigma that you should not earn money off spiritual advice.  After all, stereo-typically monks, nuns and Buddhists are humble, simple, poor people.

I also tend to shudder when I see a sight offering spiritual advice accompanied by a paid subscription.  However, I’m the one with the problem — everyone has a right to earn money.

Money is an energy swap.  I give you, you give me.  The figure of eight is complete and everyone walks away with an equal exchange.

I am one of those people who cringes when I have to ask for money.  Something in me thinks that it’s like begging and that is shameful.  I seriously need to get over it if I’m going to keep up my chosen career.  If I don’t, there’s a nice cashier job waiting for me at my local grocer.

The Two Common Stumbling Blocks

Asking for this ‘energetic exchange’ or money brings a strange dichotomy.  The problem, as I see it, lies with these two things:

Self-belief/love — Do you believe that your product/service/talent is worth it?  I.e. are you worth it? Are you creating/providing a service from a place of love and passion?  Or is this a means to an end?  From my experience, if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re in big trouble when it comes to integrity.  Doubt will creep in where there is no passion.

Fair exchange — Here’s the humdinger.  What to charge? Yikes, I’ve encountered so many people who suffer big time with this.  They either charge too little for their expertise or they charge too much.  In the latter case, it’s just because they may be in a profession where there is potential to charge a lot but they are not experientially there yet.  They shoot themselves in the foot by charging professional prices with beginners experience.

The Solution

Love what you do.  Have a burning passion for what you do.  Trust in your clientele or the people you exchange your services with.  If there is a way that you can let them determine what you are worth, then go for it.  Trust that they will reimburse you with fairness and integrity.

I’m not saying everyone will give you what you or your services are worth but it’s in my experience that more people than not, will compensate you appropriately when given the chance.

Letting as Opposed to Making

In the video, Amanda Palmer said that instead of asking how to make people pay for services you should let them pay.  That was my ‘a-ha’ moment.

With our economies in collapse and the entire global population wondering if money will even be present in our future, this novel idea of trust in commerce rings bells in my head.

We are moving into a new consciousness on this planet — heart-centered living — and this kind of energy exchange just might work!

Let’s Put Integrity to the Test

I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is (pun intended!).  I’ve just self-published my second book, ’Carpe Diem or Bust — a Spiritual Guide to the Good Life’, and I want to share it with the world — whether I make money from it or not.

Of course, I’d like to make money as I’ve also got bills to pay but I believe in this book so much that I’d rather it got read than having it be just another Amazon book statistic. That’s not why I wrote it.

I know it will help people but I also know that a lot of people won’t read it because they can’t afford the luxury of buying books right now.  So, in light of what has just been discussed, I am offering my book to you for free.

Source: Purpose Fairy

 

This Little Sticker Works Like an Anti-Mosquito Force Field.


Mosquitos were born to bite us, and aside from lighting worthless tiki candles, haplessly swatting them away, or resorting to spraying toxic DEET all over ourselves, there’s really not a whole lot we can do about it. Imagine then, if you could be encapsulated in an anti-mosquito bubble simply by wearing a small square sticker. Not only would it save mosquito-magnets like myself some really uncomfortable moments, it could be a major game changer in the way we prevent mosquito-borne illnesses like Malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus.

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The good news is that a sticker like this is not some far away concept dreamed up by scientists in a lab–it’s actually a real thing that you’ll likely be able to find on the shelves of your local Walgreens sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Essentially, the Kite Patch is a little square sticker that emits a cloak of chemical compounds that blocks a mosquito’s ability to sense humans. According to its developers, users simply have to place the patch onto their clothes, and they become invisible to mosquitoes for up to 48 hours. This is big news for developing countries like Uganda, where residents have little beyond mosquito nets and toxic sprays to combat the illness-spreading insects.

That’s exactly where Kite’s creators, a collaborative team made up of innovation venture capital group ieCrowd and Olfactor Laboratories, intend to ship these off to as soon as they’re done blowing past their second goal on global crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. Launched just last month, the campaign surpassed its original goal of $75,000 in just four days and is now gunning for a new goal of $385,000 (currently at $336,000).

Though the Kite seems a little fantastical, it’s backed by some legitimate technology. Back in 2011, Dr. Anandasankar Ray, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside (and founder of Olfactor Labs), found that certain chemical compounds can inhibit the carbon dioxide receptors in mosquitoes. These smelly compounds, which act like a anti-mosquito force field, are able to disorient the bugs, whose main method of tracking down humans is through our exhalation of CO2.

The findings were considered a breakthrough moment in the field, but the technology was far from ready to be applied to a consumer product mostly because the compounds were toxic and wouldn’t be able to pass through FDA and EPA approval. “It wasn’t ready to be placed into a product that could mean something globally,” explains Grey Frandsen, Vice President at ieCrowd. That’s where his company came in.

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ieCrowd basically functions as the belt of an innovation assembly line, guiding an idea through the necessary steps so it can become a widely distributed, (hopefully) world-changing product. It begins with acquiring the intellectual property, like they did with Dr. Ray’s research. From there they provide all of the business infrastructure, marketing, and general support so subsidiary companies can focus exclusively on developing new technology. In the case of the Kite Patch, ieCrowd worked with a group of scientists at Olfactor Laboratories, a research facility in Riverside, Calif. that developed a new targeted library of chemical compounds based on Dr. Ray’s original research.

Olfactor’s non-toxic compounds work against mosquitoes’ long-range abilities to detect humans through CO2, as well as dampening the insect’s short-range ability to sense us from our basic human odors. These chemicals, which give off a “faint pleasant smell,” will be applied to a small sticker, which Frandsen notes is the cheapest, easiest, and most adaptable way to design a spatial insect repellant. The patches will then be shipped off to Uganda for field testing, which should begin before the end of the year. “Really, what we’re doing is creating a rapid scientific development process, a rapid prototyping process and then a very aggressive go to market strategy,” Frandsen says of ieCrowd’s method.

The product has had a little help along the way, namely from the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. “The big names behind us have helped us advance the science,” Frandsen says. “But those grants do not cover product development.” All of the money raised from the Indiegogo campaign will be funneled into extensive field testing. Originally, the testing was going to provide 20,000 patches (around 1 million hours of coverage) to one district in Uganda. The extra money raised will double the number of Kite Patches shipped and expand the coverage to four million hours in three political districts in the country.

“This technology is too important to just funnel directly to the Walgreens.”

The idea is to refine the Kite as much as possible during the field testing and hone in on three main goals, the first being to analyze the adaptability of the patch. So, is it easy to apply and wear? Does it work well both at morning and at night? Does it fall off people’s clothing at after a certain point? The second is to test the effectiveness of the technology in harsh conditions found in places like Sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists have yet to determine exactly how far the sticker’s spatial radius extends and will be looking to see how it reacts to wind and extreme weather. Lastly, the field testing will evaluate how the sticker interacts with and can supplement current malaria prevention technology like bed nets.

“We’re looking at: What are any shortfalls specifically relating to the design that we can solve for that don’t come from testing it with 100 people in the Canadian Rockies or in Florida?” Frandsen says. “So there’s this real life, real world use and evaluation of that.” The Kite has reportedly performed well inside the highly-controlled confines of a lab, but Frandsen says the most vital evaluation will come from the Kite Patch’s time in Africa.  “It’s a really unique way of doing product development,” he says of the extensive field testing. “It’s a lot easier to deal in private-equity markets or investments and just finish it.” But, he continues, “This technology is too important to just funnel directly to the Walgreens. It needs to be part and parcel of people’s daily lives all over the world.”

Source:weird.com