Drugs and vaccines alone won’t save the world from ‘World War E’ .

The exploding global Ebola pandemic has just been given a memorable meme: “World War E.”

And World War E, I predict, won’t be won by soldiers firing bullets. Nor can it be eradicated by the limited, arrogant and monopolistic ways of a profit-driven medical system that disparages every system of medicine other than vaccines and drugs.

Those who wish to survive a global pandemic — if indeed it escapes Africa and takes hold in Europe or North America — will need to expand their options to include natural medicines and potent antiviral herbs which are readily available right now. Some can even be grown at virtually zero cost on a balcony or porch.

“Spiraling out of control” – President Barack Obama

“It’s spiraling out of control. It is getting worse,” President Barack Obama announced in a speech today. “It’s spreading faster and exponentially. And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us.” – President Barack Obama, September 16, 2014. [1]

(Astonishingly, this is the quote from the President who refuses to secure the southern border of the United States. What is he thinking? He’ll send troops to Africa, but he won’t send troops to our own border?)

Despite the severity of the problem, no one in the U.S. government is daring to recommend people do anything other than wait around for a vaccine. There are no recommendations for people to boost their immune protection, grow their own antiviral herbs or stop taking all the toxic pharmaceuticals that deplete immune function and make people more vulnerable to infections.

That’s why western medicine alone will fail to solve the problem of viral pandemics. Only through a layered public health approach that blends western medicine with natural medicine can the world hope to stop the wave of pandemics now threatening human civilization. Vaccines might even have some role to play in a global pandemic, but waiting around for vaccines at the exclusion of all else is not merely foolish; it’s extremely irresponsible on the part of governments and medical institutions. Also, it’s extremely likely that vaccines won’t be sufficiently tested before they are unleashed on humans, thereby turning the entire population into guinea pigs.

That’s the subject of Episode Five of my FREE online course entitled Pandemic Preparedness. Hear all six episodes right now, free of charge, at www.BioDefense.com

The MP3 audio files are unprotected and freely downloadable. The course offers a full accounting of why western medicine alone will fail to protect us, and it provides detailed, practical information on natural antiviral cures which have been used for thousands of years throughout human history to save lives during pandemic outbreaks.

This free course is offered with the intention of:

1) Saving lives
2) Strengthening national security and health redundancy
3) Preventing human suffering

What you’ll learn may save your life

Here’s some of what you’ll learn in Episode Five of “Pandemic Preparedness” available now at www.BioDefense.com

– Why most people falsely believe the hospital will solve their medical problems

– Why hospitals becomes hubs of spreading disease during a pandemic

– Understanding how Ebola really spreads: it can be distributed through the air via aerosols (“Official” sources are NOT admitting this!)

– An Ebola patient can contaminate surfaces by merely touching them, turning them into Ebola time bombs

– Ebola causes patients to experience violent convulsions that can fling blood and body fluids around the room, infecting anyone else in the room

– Hospitals in the U.S. are already spreading superbugs like MRSA, proving that even first-world hospitals utterly fail to halt the spread of infectious disease

– Hospitals have zero treatments available for Ebola; at most they can offer “supportive care” which primarily consists of hydration

– Survivors of Ebola are people who saved themselves; no doctor ever cured anyone of Ebola

– In an outbreak, ambulances and medical transport vehicles will quickly become infected with the virus

– Right now, nothing is proven to work against Ebola, so everything is “experimental”

– The western medical system condemns all natural cures, even if they work

– Modern medicine absolutely does not want to embrace natural medicine as being safe, effective or affordable; this recognition would collapse the sham of the pharmaceutical monopoly

– Every plant synthesizes its own powerful antibiotic medicine

– People who die from Ebola die from ignorance; those who live will be saved by knowledge and wisdom

“What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.” – Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, printed in the New York Times on Sep. 11, 2014

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/046901_world_war_e_ebola_pandemic_survival_medicine.html#ixzz3DaEQ1WDn

Prescription Drug Deaths Keep Rising: CDC .

Deaths from prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2011, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 1999, there were 4,263 deaths linked to opioid drugs but, by 2011, the number had climbed to nearly 17,000, the researchers found, adding that it likely climbed even higher.

“The numbers we’re seeing are definite underestimates,” said Dr. Holly Hedegaard, injury epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics and one of the lead authors of the CDC report. The researchers used death certificates to conduct their research, but specific drugs weren’t named in about 25 percent of drug poisoning deaths, Hedegaard said.

Her team found that the problem goes beyond opioid pain drugs alone. According to the new CDC report, the number of deaths linked to a combination of opioids with benzodiazepine drugs, like Xanax or Klonopin, was also on the rise. In 2011, nearly a third of opioid related deaths occurred in combination with benzodiazepines – a considerable jump from only about 13 percent in 1999.

The report also concluded that the group that saw the greatest increase in death rates was Americans between 55 and 65 years old.

“This is not the typical age group that you would associate drug use with,” said Dr. Robert Waldman, an addiction medicine consultant not involved with the research. “These are people that have pain medicine via a prescription.”

Over the past decade, Waldman said, the medical community has begun to place more emphasis on treating pain symptoms. While this has led to relief for many experiencing such symptoms, he said, it may have also led to more aggressive treatment of pain – and with it, more use of prescription painkillers.

“The amount that [opioids] are administered by well-meaning physicians is excessive,” he said. “Most physicians are people-pleasers who want to help and want to meet people’s needs, and they are more inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt until you are shown otherwise.”

Still, the rise in deaths at least appears to be slowing down in younger age groups. Signs of this plateau were first seen in 2006 in the 15-24 age group. Around that same time, the rise in deaths started to slow in other age groups, as well – likely due to a combination of increasing drug awareness, law enforcement activities and drug treatment programs.

Waldman said those approaches may be the best hope of tackling the opioid problem, along with strategies like prescription monitoring programs, limiting the number of pills dispensed, and requiring hard copies of prescriptions for opioids rather than allowing patients to call in for refills.

“Opioids are a last resort and should be used when nothing else works,” Waldman said. “All they do is provide symptomatic relief without relieving the underlying cause of the pain.”

Doctor’s Take

When people hear that drugs, in general, accounted for 90 percent of injury-related deaths in 2011, the temptation is to think of illicit substances such as heroin and cocaine. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that opioids prescribed by doctors are to blame, too.

The numbers released by the CDC remind us that even the most common painkillers can have serious consequences. The report shows the opioid problem permeates all age groups, and everyone needs to be educated on the risks of opioids.

The important thing to remember is that everyone has a part to play. Parents should talk to their kids – and even their parents – about the risks of opioids. Schools should refocus their drug education efforts, and doctors must emphasize these risks during patient appointments. All of these conversations need to get louder. The message that opioids are addictive and dangerous needs to be heard.

FDA Approves Movantik (naloxegol) for Opioid-Induced Constipation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Movantik (naloxegol), an oral treatment for opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic non-cancer pain.
Opioids are a class of drugs that are used to treat and manage pain. A common side effect associated with the use of these drugs are that they reduce the gastrointestinal tract’s motility, making bowel movements difficult and causing patients to strain, have hard or lumpy stools or experience a sensation of incomplete evacuation. Movantik belongs to a class of drugs called peripherally acting opioid receptor antagonists, which are used to decrease the constipating effects of opioids.

“Supportive care products such as Movantik can lessen the constipating side effects of opioids,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Movantik’s safety and effectiveness were established in two clinical trials of 1,352 participants who had taken opioids for at least four weeks for non-cancer related pain and had opioid-induced constipation. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 12.5 mg or 25 mg of Movantik or placebo (sugar pill) once daily for 12 weeks. The trials were designed to measure the change in the number of bowel movements per week from the start of the study.

Results of the first trial showed that 44 percent of participants receiving 25 mg of Movantik and 41 percent of participants receiving 12.5 mg of Movantik experienced an increase in bowel movements per week, compared to 29 percent of participants receiving placebo. The second trial showed similar results.

Common side effects of Movantik include abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache and the experience of excessive gas in the stomach or intestinal area (flatulence).

The FDA is requiring a postmarketing study to further evaluate the potential risk of cardiovascular adverse events in patients taking Movantik. In June, the FDA held a public meeting to discuss what studies might be required to assess the cardiac safety of peripherally acting opioid receptor antagonists, including Movantik, intended to treat opioid-induced constipation.

Movantik is distributed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, based in Wilmington, Delaware.

Source: FDA

Innovative Israeli Brain Procedure Broadcast Live to 12,000 American Doctors .

An Israeli medical team performed an innovative life-saving procedure while 12,000 American doctors watched via live broadcast. 

A cutting-edge brain catheterization procedure was performed at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem while being broadcast live to 12,000 American doctors in Washington.

The procedure, another example of Israel’s important medical innovations, significantly diminishes the threat to the patient undergoing the operation. The revolutionary stent is covered with a microscopic net that opens up against the arterial wall and can prevent the passage of particles toward the brain, thus preventing cerebral-vascular accidents during its implantation.

The life-saving procedure was debuted in Israel and viewed by American clinicians attending the TCT (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics) Conference, the world’s largest and most important educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine.

Shaare Tzedek Medical Center

Shaarei Zedek is one of 21 hospitals from around the world to participate in the conference and broadcast live medical procedures.

“This is a World Debut”

The medical team performing the procedure was rigged with audio and visual equipment so as to better present the technique to their audience. Two advanced broadcasting stations were set up at the entrance to the hospital to relay the event to the expectant spectators in the US. They received a step-by-step explanation of the ground-breaking treatment.

“This is a world début for this stent, which provides a first-rate solution to the problem,” says Dr. Yaron Almagor, director of the Invasive Cardiology Unit at Shaare Zedek. “There is no doubt that this is a world-class innovation which can revolutionize the treatment of the carotid arteries and will minimize cerebral damage in the future.”

Researchers find one type of algae able to adapt to warming oceans

A team of German biology researchers has found that at least one type of algae appears able to adapt to rising ocean temperatures and the accompanying increased acidification. In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the team describes how they subjected algae specimens to warmer and/or more acidic water over a year’s time and the changes in the algae that came about as a result.

In general, scientists don’t expect many species to evolve to meet the challenge of a warming planet—the temperature rise is happening faster than most species could adapt to it, thus little work has been done to see which if any might be able to do so. In this new effort the team in Germany studied the tiny marine Emiliania huxleyi—a type of phytoplankton that grows in groups into large floating masses that serve as food to a wide variety of fish and other sea creatures. They were chosen because of their fast reproduction rate—up to 500 generations in a single year, or more than one a day, on average. This of course makes them more likely to be able to evolve to meet a rapidly changing environment.

The researchers started with many samples of the algae as they now exist, keeping them in flasks in their lab. As time passed, some were transferred to flasks containing warmer and/or more . Those that survived were put into even warmer or more acidic water. This continued for a year during which time the algae evolved to survive in their rapidly changing environment—which eventually included water temperatures as high as 80°F, representing the worst-case scenario for water ocean increases over the next century or so. The team reports that the individual algae became smaller, but they also grew faster, suggesting they might form even bigger or denser real world plumes.

The researchers acknowledge that their experiments were carried out in a rather sterile environment, sans predators, viruses and other dangers to their survival, thus the results are preliminary at best. But still, they do indicate that some species might survive the impending changes to the ocean, and some might even thrive, even as many, many others are likely to disappear because they aren’t able to evolve as quickly.

Although ocean warming and acidification are recognized as two major anthropogenic perturbations of today’s oceans we know very little about how marine phytoplankton may respond via evolutionary change. We tested for adaptation to ocean warming in combination with ocean acidification in the globally important phytoplankton species Emiliania huxleyi. Temperature adaptation occurred independently of ocean acidification levels. Growth rates were up to 16% higher in populations adapted for one year to warming when assayed at their upper thermal tolerance limit. Particulate inorganic (PIC) and organic (POC) carbon production was restored to values under present-day ocean conditions, owing to adaptive evolution, and were 101% and 55% higher under combined warming and acidification, respectively, than in non-adapted controls. Cells also evolved to a smaller size while they recovered their initial PIC:POC ratio even under elevated CO2. The observed changes in coccolithophore growth, calcite and biomass production, cell size and elemental composition demonstrate the importance of evolutionary processes for phytoplankton performance in a future ocean.

EEG Study Findings Reveal How Fear is Processed in the Brain .

Diagramatic representation of brain waves – EEG trace. 

An estimated 8% of Americans will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lifetime. Brought on by an overwhelming or stressful event or events, PTSD is the result of altered chemistry and physiology of the brain. Understanding how threat is processed in a normal brain versus one altered by PTSD is essential to developing effective interventions.

New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas published online today in Brain and Cognition illustrates how fear arises in the brain when individuals are exposed to threatening images. This novel study is the first to separate emotion from threat by controlling for the dimension of arousal, the emotional reaction provoked, whether positive or negative, in response to stimuli. Building on previous animal and human research, the study identifies an electrophysiological marker for threat in the brain.

“We are trying to find where thought exists in the mind,” explained John Hart, Jr., M.D., Medical Science Director at the Center for BrainHealth. “We know that groups of neurons firing on and off create a frequency and pattern that tell other areas of the brain what to do. By identifying these rhythms, we can correlate them with a cognitive unit such as fear.”

Utilizing electroencephalography (EEG), Dr. Hart’s research team identified theta and beta wave activity that signifies the brain’s reaction to visually threatening images.

“We have known for a long time that the brain prioritizes threatening information over other cognitive processes,” explained Bambi DeLaRosa, study lead author. “These findings show us how this happens. Theta wave activity starts in the back of the brain, in it’s fear center – the amygdala – and then interacts with brain’s memory center – the hippocampus – before traveling to the frontal lobe where thought processing areas are engaged. At the same time, beta wave activity indicates that the motor cortex is revving up in case the feet need to move to avoid the perceived threat.”

For the study, 26 adults (19 female, 7 male), ages 19-30 were shown 224 randomized images that were either unidentifiably scrambled or real pictures. Real pictures were separated into two categories: threatening (weapons, combat, nature or animals) and non-threatening (pleasant situations, food, nature or animals).

While wearing an EEG cap, participants were asked to push a button with their right index finger for real items and another button with their right middle finger for nonreal/scrambled items. Shorter response times were recorded for scrambled images than the real images. There was no difference in reaction time for threatening versus non-threatening images.

EEG results revealed that threatening images evoked an early increase in theta activity in the occipital lobe (the area in the brain where visual information is processed), followed by a later increase in theta power in the frontal lobe (where higher mental functions such as thinking, decision-making, and planning occur). A left lateralized desynchronization of the beta band, the wave pattern associated with motor behavior (like the impulse to run), also consistently appeared in the threatening condition.

This study will serve as a foundation for future work that will explore normal versus abnormal fear associated with an object in other atypical populations including individuals with PTSD.

This work was supported by the Berman Laboratory of Learning and Memory at The University of Texas at Dallas and the Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair.


Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Team refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass.

Rice University scientists who created a deicing film for radar domes have now refined the technology to work as a transparent coating for glass.

The new work by Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues could keep glass surfaces from windshields to skyscrapers free of ice and fog while retaining their transparency to radio frequencies (RF).

The technology was introduced this month in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

The material is made of , atom-thick strips of carbon created by splitting nanotubes, a process also invented by the Tour lab. Whether sprayed, painted or spin-coated, the ribbons are transparent and conduct both heat and electricity.

Last year the Rice group created of overlapping nanoribbons and polyurethane paint to melt ice on sensitive military radar domes, which need to be kept clear of ice to keep them at peak performance. The material would replace a bulky and energy-hungry metal oxide framework.

The graphene-infused paint worked well, Tour said, but where it was thickest, it would break down when exposed to high-powered radio signals. “At extremely high RF, the thicker portions were absorbing the signal,” he said. “That caused degradation of the film. Those spots got so hot that they burned up.”

The answer was to make the films more consistent. The new films are between 50 and 200 nanometers thick – a human hair is about 50,000 nanometers thick – and retain their ability to heat when a voltage is applied. The researchers were also able to preserve their transparency. The films are still useful for deicing applications but can be used to coat glass and plastic as well as radar domes and antennas.

Rice University’s high-density graphene nanoribbon film are fabricated in a multistep process. Credit: J.M. Tour/Rice University

In the previous process, the nanoribbons were mixed with polyurethane, but testing showed the graphene nanoribbons themselves formed an active network when applied directly to a surface. They were subsequently coated with a thin layer of polyurethane for protection. Samples were spread onto glass slides that were then iced. When voltage was applied to either side of the slide, the ice melted within minutes even when kept in a minus-20-degree Celsius environment, the researchers reported.

“One can now think of using these films in automobile glass as an invisible deicer, and even in skyscrapers,” Tour said. “Glass skyscrapers could be kept free of fog and ice, but also be transparent to. It’s really frustrating these days to find yourself in a building where your cellphone doesn’t work. This could help alleviate that problem.”

This scanning electron microscope image shows a closeup of nanoribbon network in Rice University’s high-density graphene nanoribbon film. Credit: A.O. Raji/Rice University

Tour noted future generations of long-range Wi-Fi may also benefit. “It’s going to be important, as Wi-Fi becomes more ubiquitous, especially in cities. Signals can’t get through anything that’s metallic in nature, but these layers are so thin they won’t have any trouble penetrating.”

He said nanoribbon films also open a path toward embedding electronic circuits in that are both optically and RF transparent.

Micro needles a new way to insert drugs .

The microneedle patches, which can range from the size of a phone sim card to the size of a mobile phone, are applied to the skin like a normal medical plaster. What makes Donnelly’s system special compared to similar emerging ‘needleless injection’ platforms is that his array of just over 300 microneedles — each just over half a millimetre high — are made of biocompatible hydrogels that are not toxic to the human body, but can also take up biological fluids and so lead to new ways to monitor metabolites, such as blood sugar in diabetes, in the sick and healthy.

watch the video.URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cNwVvcXLiWc

High-Dose Aspirin After MI Still Common

Many patients with myocardial infarction (MI) were discharged from U.S. hospitals on high-dose aspirin, even if they were at high risk for bleeding, researchers reported.

In an analysis of aspirin dosing practice patterns in the more than 200,000 patients in the U.S. from 2007 to 20011, 60.9% of patients with acute MI were discharged on high-dose aspirin (325 mg), 35.6% were on low-dose aspirin (81 mg), and 3.5% on other doses, wrote Sandeep R. Das, MD, MPH, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues.

In addition, 56.7% of patients with an in-hospital major bleeding event were also frequently discharged on high-dose aspirin, they wrote online in Circulation.

The researchers also found that the majority of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients received low-dose aspirin, even though guidelines call for the use of high-dose aspirin in this population.

Findings from the analysis point to the need for large-scale efforts to educate clinicians and patients about the benefits of low-dose aspirin in the secondary prevention of acute coronary syndrome, the researchers noted.

“Wide variability in the proportional use of high-dose aspirin across centers suggests significant influence from local practice habits and uncertainty about appropriate aspirin dosing,” Das and co-authors wrote.

In Support of Low-Dose Aspirin

Aspirin is a well established treatment for secondary prevention following MI, but the optimal daily dose has been the subject of debate. Secondary prevention with low-dose aspirin is widely recommended outside the U.S., while national guidelines historically recommended daily doses of high-dose tablets, the researchers noted.

But evidence from recent clinical trials clearly support a more favorable risk/benefit profile for lower-dose aspirin following MI, and these trials have led to guideline changes.

A 2003 analysis of data from the Clopidogrel in Unstable Angina to Prevent Recurrent Events (CURE) trial demonstrated no significant difference in efficacy for low-dose aspirin (≤100 mg) versus high-dose aspirin (≥200 mg), but the researchers reported an increase in bleeding complications among high-dose aspirin users.

Results from a 2010 analysis of patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for acute coronary syndromes showed no significant difference in coronary events between patients randomized to high-dose (300 to 325 mg) versus low-dose (75 to 100 mg) aspirin. Overall bleeding complications were not significantly different between the two aspirin groups, but there was a higher incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding in the high-dose aspirin users.

High-dose aspirin use was also associated with increased GI bleeding but no improvements in efficacy in a 2009 meta-analysis of aspirin use for primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease.

“Together these data suggest that low-dose aspirin is safer and provides similar efficacy versus high-dose aspirin,” the current researchers wrote.

Study Details

Joint practice guideline updates in 2012 and 2013 from the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association reflect the new data.

“These data and guidelines indicate a strong preference for low-dose as compared with high-dose aspirin after MI,” Das and colleagues wrote, adding that “there are no recent studies evaluating temporal changes in aspirin dosing for acute MI in the U.S., and contemporary data on patterns of aspirin dosing are needed to better understand the implications of new recommendations for aspirin dosing after MI.”

In an effort to address this lack of information and better understand the implications of new recommendations for aspirin dosing after MI, Das and colleagues evaluated practice patterns using data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry’s Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network (ACTION) Registry-Get With The Guidelines (GWTG).

The study population included all 213,344 patients who experienced acute MIs and were prescribed aspirin at discharge from 603 participating U.S. medical centers enrolled in the registry between January of 2007 and March of 2011.

Patients who were discharged with recommendations to take dosages other than 81 mg or 325 mg daily were excluded from the analysis, as were patients treated at hospitals reporting data for fewer than 25 patients.

Triple therapy was defined as concurrent aspirin, warfarin, and thienopyridine use at discharge.

Compared with patients discharged on low-dose aspirin, those discharged on high-dose aspirin were younger and more likely to be male. They were less likely to have atrial fibrillation, a history of congestive heart failure, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes mellitus, or hypertension. Patients discharged on high-dose aspirin were more likely to report recent tobacco use.

Patients receiving angioplasty, with either a drug-eluting or bare-metal stent, were the subgroup with the highest prevalence of high-dose aspirin recommendation at discharge (73.7%).

The subgroup analysis also revealed that 48.4% of patients who underwent CABG and 44.6% of patients managed without revascularization were discharged on high-dose aspirin. Also, 48.4% of patients who received a blood transfusion were discharged on high-dose aspirin.

High-dose aspirin was administered to 50.8% of patients discharged on aspirin alone, 68.6% of those prescribed aspirin and clopidogrel, and 26.0% of those prescribed aspirin and warfarin.

Of the 9,075 patients discharged on triple therapy, 44% were discharged with high-dose aspirin.

PCI was strongly associated with a recommendation for high-dose aspirin use at hospital discharge in a multivariable hierarchical model, and to a lesser extent so were younger age, male sex, being a smoker, and presentation with ST-segment-elevation MI.

Concurrent thienopyridine, warfarin, or thienopyridine plus warfarin use were all associated with a lower likelihood of high-dose aspirin use compared with aspirin alone. Patients with diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, or peripheral arterial disease were also more likely to be prescribed low-dose aspirin at discharge.

Variance Among Hospitals

The researchers reported a 25-fold variance among hospitals in the proportion of patients discharged on high-dose aspirin, with some hospitals discharging fewer than 10% of patients on high-dose aspirin and others discharging 100% on the 325-mg daily dose.

When stratified by PCI, high-dose aspirin use was higher overall compared to the distribution for medically treated patients, but there was considerable variation across hospitals among both groups.

A modest but statistically significant association was observed between the proportion of high-dose aspirin use at discharge and hospital performance scores, with higher performing hospitals using more high-dose aspirin (Spearman correlation 0.21, P<0.0001).

There were limitations to the study, including the fact that the registry is voluntary. As a result, participating centers are generally larger, and tertiary care centers tend to be over-represented, the authors explained. Also, only treatments and events that occurred during the index hospitalization were captured so there was no information on clinical events or potential changes in aspirin dosing after discharge.

Nonetheless, the authors stressed that “a substantial gap exists in the U.S. between the accumulated data, the most recent acute coronary syndrome and PCI U.S. practice guidelines, and contemporary aspirin dosing patterns as described here.”

They argued that post-acute coronary syndrome patients should no longer be prescribed high-dose aspirin at discharge, regardless of the approach to PCI.

They also called for the addition of aspirin dosing to hospital-based quality reports as a way to “rapidly align practice patterns with the current evidence basis and guideline recommendations. Such changes would be expected to have favorable impact on bleeding complications in patients with MI.”

Robo-Hawks fly around to terrorize real birds

Birds are nice enough, unless you work at places like airports, farms, and landfills, in which case they’re the sworn enemy. Today, there are a variety of tools and technologies for spooking unwanted birds—we’ve graduated from scarecrows to flash-bang grenades and other sophisticated armaments—but Nico Nijenhuis is undoubtedly working on the coolest. He’s building robot hawks that trick lingering critters into thinking they’re about to get snacked on.

Founder Nico Nijenhuis with a robird.

Nijenhuis, a 27-year-old based in the Netherlands, is the mind behind Robirds, a line of robotic birds of prey. He’s hoping to sell them to the aviation and waste management industries under the name Clear Flight Solutions. (Company tagline: “We create birds.” Fair enough!) Nijenhuis is currently testing remote controlled Peregrine Falcons and eagles with promising results. By the end of the year, he’s hoping to have fully autonomous robot birds on offer.

The endeavor got its start a few years back when Nijenhuis was a student of applied physics and fluid dynamics at the Technical University of Twente in the Netherlands. He was trying to figure out what to do for his Masters thesis and asked his adviser if there was an experimental project he might work on. The adviser grabbed a crude prototype of a mechanical bird off a shelf, handed it to Nijenhuis, and said, “Figure out how this works, and how to make it better.”

The Difficult Problem of Flapping-Wing Flight

Creating machines that mimic birds might seem like a straightforward proposition, but it’s not, in large part because we still aren’t totally sure how birds work. “From a scientific point of view, we don’t truly understand flapping-wing flight,” Nijenhuis says. When wings are fixed, we’re fine. We can run tests and calculate forces and as a result have been able to develop planes that take us all over the globe. “But the minute wings start moving, we really have a problem,” Nijenhuis says. “It’s all about very complex, three-dimensional flow. What a bird actually does is so complex that it’s incredibly difficult to mimic.”

With his Robirds, Nijenhuis had to figure out which parts of flapping-wing flight he could actually simulate. The big concept ended up being flexibility. Instead of just flapping from one joint like a rigid two-by-four, bird wings deform across their entire length as they move through the air.

For the Robirds, Nijenhuis complemented the basic hinging motion with a pitching motion on the wing tips–the further outward you go, the more the heavy-duty foam wings deform upwards and downwards. The result, when paired with some on-board sensors and sophisticated stabilization software, is a fairly convincing approximation of bird flight.

You can crash these things into the ground at 50 km/h and almost nothing will break
Nico Nijenhuis

Getting close to the mark is important for the Robirds to do their job. Nijenhuis says two things are needed to trigger birds’ flight instinct: a silhouette and wing movement. “If it doesn’t look like a predator, they don’t care. And if it doesn’t move like a predator, they don’t care either.”

As far as the look goes, the Robirds rely on a 3D printed body, which comes right out of the machine with full falcon colors, modeled after photographs taken by the Clear Flight team themselves. The body is made of a glass-fiber nylon composite, which is both lightweight and rugged. “You can crash these things into the ground at 50 km/h and almost nothing will break,” Nijenhuis says.

Up Next: Making the Robirds Autonomous

That’s important too. In the early going, crashes were very much part of the process. The current version of the Robirds are remote controlled, and you have to be a fairly experienced RC aircraft pilot to fly them. The falcon model can fly up to 50 mph. But Nijenhuis and his team—currently a group of three Masters students and two researchers in robotics and mechatronics—are currently working on an autopilot system which they hope to finish by the end of the year. Robird handlers would be able to define a preset area in which the birds could fly, or draw out a pre-programmed flight path on a tablet app, hurl the thing into the air, and the birds would do the rest.

Why are we so fat? The multimillion-dollar scientific quest to find out

The Robirds are currently being trialed in the Netherlands. At one landfill, they’ve seen a 75 percent decrease in bird visits. The ones that do return have their heads on a swivel. They know there are predators about–which gets to the big selling point of Robirds. While flash bangs might scare birds, they’re only short term measures. The birds often end up coming back. With Robirds, Nijenhuis says, “there’s a natural reason for the birds to stay away.”