Surgery is obviously complicated and recovery times from surgeries can be really fast or seem to drag on forever. In order to drastically speed up recovery times of people who have to have their chest opened up doctors are now using superglue to help heal the bones effected.

Superglue is harmless in our nice bodies and the glue used in the surgery is actually derived from natural sources.

Instead of it taking six to eight weeks for the bone to fuse back together, “we do it in 24 hours.” The glue makes it rock solid within a day.

A study released Sunday suggests the use of adhesive in chest surgery reduces the normal recovery time by half. Patients have less physical disability in the first six weeks after surgery and can breathe deeply sooner, Dr. Fedak reports. He adds that patients are able to cough with less discomfort and require significantly less medication such as narcotics to manage pain.

No complications or side effects from the glue were reported among the 55 patients in the randomized controlled trial.

The procedure has the potential to improve post-operative care for an estimated 1.4 million open-chest surgeries performed worldwide each year, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Read the rest of the article at The Globe.

Thanks to Astrid for the find!

Soldiers to Use Virtual Reality

Canadian soldiers returning from the war in Afghanistan will soon be using virtual reality to help recover from the survivable wounds of war. It should only be a matter of time before others are able to access this advanced technology too.

People learning to use an artificial limb or recovering from a stroke will be able to walk, drive or even swim through a variety of virtual environments without leaving the safety of the hospital — almost like on the holodeck of the fictional Starship Enterprise.

“With [post-traumatic stress disorder], the therapy is often on reintroduction of the scenarios that caused it in the first place,” he said.

“With this, you can virtually create the scenario that caused it in the first place — whether it’s on the battlefield, a car accident — and gently re-introduce the individual. That’s what allows a person to get back into their real life without the fear of constant flashbacks.

Read more at the CBC.

Maybe in the future soldiers can use virtual reality to fight their wars in.

Rebuilding Haiti: Solar Power Essential

Repairs and rebuilding has been going on in Haiti after the powerful earthquake hit the country about two weeks ago. They aid teams have run into a problem around energy – there’s not enough diesel. Things that rely on solar power are still working – bizarrely the traffic lights are on such thing. The good news that comes from all of this is the revived interest in renewable power for disaster recovery.

We can all benefit from this research into renewable energy sources for disaster recovery.

Solar setups are quick to install, mobile, and relatively inexpensive compared to the price of rebuilding a damaged electricity grid. They can also be incredibly robust. Alan Doyle, a science editor at MSNBC, recently wrote that a single solar water purification system, recovered from the rubble by the Red Cross, is now purifying 30,000 gallons (over 110,000 liters) of water a day.

Sol Inc, a US-based solar street lighting company, has sent a first shipment of lights for roadways, food distribution, and triage sites. This may sound mundane, until you imagine trying to perform street-side surgery or find family members in the dark. The LED lights can also withstand hurricane force winds – no small thing in a country that has also recently been hit by tropical cyclones. Sol Inc has promised to match donations for people wanting to contribute to the program.

Communications are another crucial need being met by solar. China’s ZTE corporation has donated 1,500 solar cellphones and 300 digital trunking base stations. The same technology was used in China when an earthquake hit the Sichuan Province in May of 2008. A similar project is being set up by a group from Holland.

Renewable energy in Haiti is not a new. Walt Ratterman, CEO of non-profit SunEnergy Power International was working on the electrification of Haitian hospitals at the time of the quake. He is currently still missing.

Keep reading at WorldChanging.

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