Columnist David Suissa, the founder of OLAM magazine, has challenged theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to visit a three-year old Gaza paraplegic who is being cared for by Israel.
Hawking shocked the entire Israel political spectrum, from left to right, by his boycotting President Shimon Peres annual “Presidential Conference’ because of the “occupation.”
Hawking who is severely handicapped by a deteriorating disease and is confined to a wheelchair, is able to communicate through a device that is run by a computer chip designed and developed in Israel.
“Instead of getting upset at Hawking, I would rather we invite him to visit the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel HaShomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, Suissa wrote in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.
There, he would meet a three-year-old Arab toddler with no arms and no legs, named Mohammed al-Farra.
“Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his care.
“As soon as he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treatment. As reported in Huffpost, his genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system and crippled his bowels, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.
“Since then, he has spent his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather lives with him. Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israeli doctors, who have arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.”
Suissa asked, “I wonder what kind of boycott Hawking would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learning about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals?
“Well, I can think of at least one: It would be a boycott of every country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week will show President Barack Obama a series of technological products by Israel’s high-tech industries in the framework of a special exhibit that will be set up in President Obama’s honor.
The products that were chosen are in the fields of renewable energy, the war on traffic accidents, medicine, search and rescue, and robotics.
After touring the “Israeli Technology – For a Better World” exhibit at the Israel Museum, President Obama will meet with the next generation of Israeli scientists – young people from Haifa, who won an international robotics competition that was held in the United States last year.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will present to President Obama seven products that were chosen by a professional committee from among proposals presented by Israel’s universities.
National Information Directorate head Liran Dan said, “There are two principal messages that we would like to emphasize during the visit. First and foremost is the deep connection between Israel and the US. Alongside this, we would also like to present to the world the products of the future that originate in Israel and which will be used in many places around the world.”
The chosen products are, in the field of energy alternatives – Phinergy;
In the field of the struggle against traffic accidents – Mobileye;
In the field of medicine – BNA technology by ElMindA , MiniDesktop and Rewalk; and
In the field of search and rescue – robot snake
The seventh product is a “robot waiter” that was designed by Haifa junior high school pupils and which was developed with guidance from Technion researchers.
The device was the winner in an international robotics competition that was held in the United States last year. It shows how a robot might serve a handicapped person in his home. The robot is 35 centimeters tall and uses sensors to orient itself in its surroundings and perform tasks that it has been programmed to do.
Phinergy has developed an aluminum-air battery designed for electric vehicles, and which allows a significant increase in travel range – three times that of a regular electric vehicle. The technology will allow for a reduction in
Mobileye, a global pioneer in developing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), is to develop and market vision-based systems that will help drivers keep passengers safe on the roads and decrease traffic accidents by warning about dangerous situations and even braking the vehicle when necessary. To date, Mobileye’s technology has been implemented and launched by BMW, Volvo, GM and Ford in over one million vehicles.
ElMindA’s Brain Network Activation technology platform provides a non-invasive tool for the visualization and quantification of BNAs of specific brain functionalities, disease development and rehabilitation from injuries, reactions to treatment, psychiatric and neurological problems, and pain.
The robot snake is designed to enter spaces in collapsed structures with minimal disturbance. The robot assists in location and rescue operations and is unique in its manner of crawling and is very flexible thanks to its great number of segments.
Each joint is motorized and has a computer, sensors, wireless communications and batteries. Its head carries a camera. Thanks to its flexible structure, the snake is able to crawl through wreckage without causing additional structural collapses and provide vital information about inaccessible areas.
The Rewalk approach aims to give persons with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, an experience that is as close to natural walking as possible. The ReWalk exoskeleton suit uses a patented technology with motorized legs that power knee and hip movement. Battery-powered for all-day use, ReWalk is controlled by on-board computers and motion sensors.
The MiniDesktop is a headset that enables computers to be controlled by brainwaves or facial movements. The computer is controlled without a mouse or keyboard by means of a headset that images the user’s brainwaves from 14 separate points. The system, which was developed by three software engineering graduates from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is designed to serve the physically handicapped who could not otherwise operate a computer or other devices.
The Israeli start-up Gelesis is in advanced talks with a large pharmaceutical company to develop its pill that makes fat people feel their stomachs are full, resulting in less food intake and a loss in weight.
The pharma company was not identified by Israel’s Globes business newspaper, which said that Gelesis soon will publish results of a recent clinical trial of the pill.
Instead of asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the product as a nutritional supplement or medical device, the Israeli company wants to offer it is a medicine to increase its market appeal.
The value of the deal with the foreign pharmaceutical company could reach hundreds of millions of dollars. The unidentified company will invest millions of dollars for developing the pill and will pay royalties on sales, Globes added.
The slim-down pill is made from indigestible edible fiber taken before a meal. The pills, after coming in contact with water, inflate and make food more viscous, keeping it in the stomach longer, and creating the sense of being sated.
A study of the pill’s effects several years ago showed a high rate of those who said they felt they had enough to eat, while only 16 percent reported they suffered side effects of discomfort, which Gelesis may be able to reduce by changing the dosage for certain individuals.
Obesity is a leading cause of death, and the leading treatment for obesity is through surgery.
The obesity treatment market currently includes various appetite suppressants, but the leading solution for morbid obesity is stomach bypass or reduction surgery. Although other products for filling the stomach are under development, Gelesis’ edge is that its product works with food.
A small number of diet drugs are on the market or are being studied by the FDA, but their success has been limited.
Besides Gelesis, at least one other company, EntroMedics, has developed a system to limit the expansion of the stomach and control hunger sensations. However, clinical trials last month were disappointing.
On March 1, 2001, Claude Knapp was murdered by a suicide bomber while taking a shared taxi from Tel Aviv that exploded around the Mei Ami Junction. He was 29 years of age. Nine other people were injured. Claude’s dog survived this terror attack, however, unlike his owner, yet was traumatized for the rest of his life, refusing to bark like other dogs traditionally do. It demonstrates that animals, just like people, can suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. As can be expected, life was never the same after that point for Claude’s mother and two other siblings.
Claude Knapp was murdered in a terrorist attack.
Since that time, Daniele Knapp, Claude’s mother, who presently lives in Afula, has been an outspoken advocate against terrorism and against foreign funding reaching terrorists. She went as part of a delegation with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to The Hague, where she was interviewed by Spanish, French, and German reporters. Daniele also spoke at an event organized in Boston by the Israel Project. Unfortunately, the Palestinian who murdered Daniele’s son, Ziad Kilani, was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.
Daniele does not comprehend how Palestinian suicide bombers and their families can be so cruel. She claims that she can never understand parents who just lost their children yet hand out sweets and candy after their children are dead or just murdered Jews. According to Daniele, “Having a child is a gift from Hashem and someone who doesn’t appreciate that is something terrible. To fight is not the most important thing.” She was thus critical of Arab forces, such as those actually in Syria, who preferred weapons over humanitarian aid for needy children.
It has been about twelve years since Daniele lost her son. She deals with her grief mainly by becoming a volunteer medical clown where she cheers up people who suffer from various illnesses. According to the Simchat Halev Organization where she studied to be a clown:
Every one needs to laugh—especially children and adults who are hospitalized with serious medical conditions. Laughter not only raises a patients’ spirits; it’s been proven to reduce anxiety, speed the recovery process and simply make life better. And that’s what Simchat Halev is all about. Simchat Halev is a magical organization that creates laughter, humor and happiness in environments where, most often, nothing seems funny—like hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.
Daniele has gone to numerous events to help needy children, where she would hand out balloons, magic, engage in dolls theatre and make people laugh, and to entertain children inside of bomb shelters. This past Purim, she visited a child who had cancer. According to Daniele, usually the children are very happy whenever she comes to them. Indeed, one parent wrote to her stating,
I saw you and Y***** in the pictures and you both have a real and happy smile from the heart. I too get emotional when I see this. And to know that he told everyone about how wonderful it was with you, about him being happy and joyful – this is a true present a person could wish for. Even though I never met you, I know and feel from your letters your love and attention and caring for people. You give them your heart, you care for everyone personally, and they feel it. The wonderful love within you is unique. You are unique.
By making underprivileged children laugh and smile, Daniele is truly doing a mitzvah. Yet it is important to note that Daniele is doing this all in the memory of her beloved son, Claude. She claimed,
I believe joy is one of the things that can cure the sadness. I think that every one can do his own joy. […] Dr. Hunter Patch Adams has a philosophy we should be very creative and to push people to be happy and trust that this happiness will give them strength, and if we keep crying about what has happened to us, then we will never enjoy our life.
Daniele’s clown name is DR Caramel. When visiting the sick, there is no color or religious difference and this proves that we should bring joy and love to everyone who has suffered.
A new Israeli study suggests that people in their 80s should throw away the low cholesterol diet and go for the French Fries and steak.
Researchers at the Belinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, located adjacent to Tel Aviv, tested 500 elderly patients over a period five years and reported that those with higher cholesterol live longer. The average age of the patients was 82.
Dr. Abraham Weiss, deputy director of the Department of Geriatrics, said that cholesterol, long thought to be risk to good health and a contributing cause to heart disease and brain damage, is actually good for people once they reach the Golden Age.
The Maariv newspaper reported the researchers’ conclusions Thursday and pointed out that the patients were not given any drugs to reduce cholesterol during the study.
Every person is different, but Dr. Weiss estimates that the surprising findings indicate that cholesterol has a reverse effect for the elderly and actually helps soften the arteries.
He warned that the study should not be accepted as conclusive but that doctors should think twice before assuming that it is advisable to give the elderly drugs that lower cholesterol.
Those under the age of 80 should continue to keep their cholesterol levels low.
February is American Heart Month in the United States, and the U.S.-based Home Access Health Corporation advised this week, “We all know people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke unexpectedly; that’s why it’s important for people to manage their cholesterol levels as part of an overall approach to good health.”
But once you get to the 80s, you might be able to healthily go back to eating chicken liver, b utter, whipped cream and lots of puddings.
Israeli scientific breakthroughs are restoring freedom and ease to the lives of millions of patients throughout the world.
A breakthrough medical smartphone devised by an Israeli company will not only enable patients to consolidate ongoing medical tests and diagnostics in one handy place, but will also provide them the freedom of travel and ease of use lost with conventional medical monitoring.
LifeWatch Technologies , based in Rehovot, has introduced the new LifeWatch V Android-based phone, the first of its kind smartphone device to measure blood glucose levels, oxygen saturation, blood glucose levels, stress levels, heart rate, and body temperature, as well as chart diet, provide reminders to take medications, and even measure daily activity through embedded sensors. Data and results are provided to the user and to third parties such as healthcare providers or caretakers, via email or text message. The device wirelessly interacts with a remote cloud-based environment, enabling users to take advantage of related complementary medical and wellness-related services. And it makes and receives regular phone calls. Medical information will also be sent to one of LifeWatch’s US emergency call centers – one for each time zone – with a center currently in development in Israel.
CEO Dr. Yacov Geva told Israeli science and technology website Israel21c that the device is particularly useful in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, and said he thinks it is particularly appropriate for children, because it will not only enable parents to monitor health data while permitting children to conduct normal lives at school and elsewhere away from home, but will allow parents to keep an eye on the regularity of testing so they can provide reminders if they see a test is being missed during the day.
The stainless steel-framed phones will be manufactured by TechFaith Wireless Communication Technoogy of China according to Israeli specs and industrial design, and will provide interface options in Hebrew, English, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese. The device will cost between $500 and $700 a unit, and will likely be on the market next year, pending approval in the EU and the US.
New technology may be developed to assist the speech of those unable to communicate due to paralysis or disability, thanks to a joint study between scientists at Haifa’s Technion and UCLA who have uncovered how brain cells encode the pronunciation of vowels in speech.
Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study showed that different parts of the brain are engaged in the pronunciation of different vowel sounds.
The study was conducted by Professor Shy Shoham and Dr. Ariel Tankus of the biomedical engineering faculty at Haifa’s Technion and Professor Itzhak Fried of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, in partnership with the neurosurgery department at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The study was based on knowledge about the brain’s predictable responses to bodily movements, and followed 11 American epileptics whose conditions could not be controlled with medication.
Data was gathered when the patients, who suffered from damaged portions of the brain, had electrodes implanted in their brains to measure neuron activity as they spoke.
The team studied how and where the neurons encoded vowel articulation, and learned that the two parts of the brain associated with the saying of vowels respond in different ways and to different vowels.
The scientists lauded the discovery as a potential starting point for developing neuro-prosthetic devices or brain-machine interfaces to decode the brain’s firing pattern for speech.
Providing freedom from severe clinical depression which has not responded to medication or therapy, the doctors at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem are performing a radical experimental procedure involving a “brain pacemaker”, which will provide Deep Brain Stimulation via electrodes implanted in the patients’ brains. Four Israeli patients are taking part in the trial, and another six are being recruited.
The treatment is covered in Israel by medical insurance, with patients being eligible only after failing at least three different drug treatments and electro-convulsive therapy.
The new device will deliver electric currents to areas of cranial overactivity to help regulate the mood.
So far, the treatment has achieved a 70 percent success rate.