How Drones Logistics Redefined Blood Delivery in Rwanda

Delivering good is always a challenge, and it’s a particularly hard challenge in a mountainous country like Rwanda. An ambitious company known as Zipline noticed that drones could solve this geographic challenge by just going over the terrain. And if it works, they should deliver one of the most time sensitive cargo that exists: blood. Now when a rural health clinic needs new blood they call Zipline who dispatch a drone.

Their system is efficient, safe, and is a good model for other countries with similar logistic challenges.

“It’s so good. And it’s not just good for Rwanda,” says Timothy Amukele, a pathologist who is not involved with the research team or Zipline, but who previously ran a medical drone group with projects in Namibia and Uganda. (Amukele is currently the global medical director for ICON Laboratory Services, which helps run clinical trials.) Drone applications for global medicine have been touted for years, but researchers have lacked concrete data to back up that promise, says Amukule: “This is more than just guys playing with toys.”

“Drones are not easy,” he continues. “To actually make this a success, where they’re getting blood and packing it safely and releasing the drones and monitoring the flight and bringing them back—and for five years covering 80 percent of that country—it’s just really impressive.”

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Decrease Blood Pressure By Simply Changing Your Diet

I love knowledge and it’s exciting that a meta-analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine has concluded that a vegetarian diet is perfect for decreasing blood pressure!Meta-analysis of research data is the assessment of a multiple research papers related to the same issue and sometimes the meta-analysis can disprove existing assumptions, in this case the meta-analysis confirms what many already thought!

Plus, researchers found that “the effect sizes are similar to those observed with commonly recommended lifestyle modifications, such as adoption of a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg, and are approximately half the magnitude of those observed with pharmaceutical therapy,” they wrote in the study. A weight reduction of 5 kilograms is equivalent to about 11 pounds.

Read more at Huffington Post.

Turing Skin into Blood

Researchers have found a way to get blood from skin cells, no not by cutting people. More specifically they can use skin cells to produce blood – something that was thought impossible. This will have huge positive effects on people requiring blood treatments.

Among the first applications McMaster will pursue is to eliminate the need for bone-marrow registries that seek to match cancer patients to donors against very long odds. Instead, the new process could turn patients into their own ideal donors, said McMaster vice-president and dean of health sciences John Kelton, himself a hematologist.

The director of Canada’s Stem Cell Network said the McMaster discovery is significant and could soon lead to what called “personalized blood cells”.

It is also important because it suggests skin cells can be converted into other types of cells, such as muscle or pancreatic cells, said Michael Rudnicki.

Read more at TheSpec.com

Cuff the Heart

A new cuff can help save heart attack victims by limiting blood flow.

Ischemic preconditioning involves using the device to interrupt blood flow in the arm, off and on over a period of 35 to 40 minutes: the cuff is inflated for five minutes, then deflated for five minutes, with the procedure being repeated consecutively four times.

Once at the hospital, the patient receives routine heart attack treatment, including cardiac angioplasty. Preconditioning using the cuff may still be going on throughout this procedure, which uses a tiny inflatable balloon to open up narrowed or blocked blood vessels to the heart.

Researchers, whose paper appears in Friday’s issue of The Lancet, found that those heart attack patients randomly assigned to have preconditioning had an overall reduction in heart muscle damage of 30 per cent, compared to those not treated with the cuff.

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