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September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Tel Aviv University’

Israeli Eye Surgery Breakthrough Uses Stitch-free Cornea Transplants

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

An Israeli scientist at Tel Aviv University has developed a new optical fiber that can seal incisions in the eye without using stitches.

The procedure will radically change the way cornea transplants are performed, cutting short the long, drawn-out painful recovery period.

Professor Avraham Katzir, head of the Applied Physics Group at the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy, suggested a new technique called “temperature-controlled laser bonding” for use in sealing the incisions in eye surgery. The technique is described in a recent issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Using optical fibers made of silver halides to deliver an infrared laser beam, the surgeon can carefully heat spots on the edges of an incision where an infrared detector helps monitor the temperature, keeping it between 140 to 150 degrees Farenheit. This creates a strong bond without causing thermal damage, according to the researchers.

Katzir has already received approval to conduct experiments with the procedure on live animal models.

Medical science is moving towards the least invasive model, he says. This technique can be used – and he has tried it – in endoscopic surgery as well. Using thin and flexible optical fibers inserted through the endoscope to facilitate laser bonding within the body, healing is faster and more successful, with “almost no scar tissue.”

There is a broad future ahead for this technique, Katzir pointed out. Fiber optic laser surgery can be used in endless applications.

Israeli Researchers: Smartphone App May Help Parkinson’s Patients [video]

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Many patients in the latter stage of Parkinson’s disease are at high risk of dangerous, sometimes fatal, falls. One major reason is the disabling symptom referred to as Freezing of Gait (FoG) — brief episodes of an inability to step forward that typically occurs during gait initiation or when turning while walking.

Patients who experience FoG often lose their independence, which has a direct effect on their already degenerating quality of life. In the absence of effective pharmacological therapies for FoG, technology-based solutions to alleviate the symptom and prolong the patients’ ability to live independently are desperately being sought.

CuPID is a project three years in the making and the product of an eight-member European Union-funded consortium including researchers at Tel Aviv University. It strives to provide personalized rehabilitation for patients with Parkinson’s disease who experience FoG or other gait disturbances.

CuPID is a home-based, personalized rehabilitation tool in the form of a Smartphone app that harnesses wearable sensors, audio biofeedback, and external cueing to provide intense motivational training tailored to each patient. The results are monitored remotely by medical professionals, who provide quality care while enhancing patient compliance.

The CuPID app just completed its pilot run and is being fine-tuned for more widespread use. It utilizes small sensors placed on a patient’s shoes that measure a person’s gait in “real-time.” If certain deviations from a pre-set norm emerge, an audio message alerts the patient to change his or her walking pattern immediately to avoid a dangerous situation.

Tel Aviv University Prof. Jeffrey Hausdorff said:

FoG is a leading cause of disability in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It often occurs during ‘walking transitions’ associated with turning, starting, stopping, and moving in open spaces. It can also occur when people approach narrow spaces, such as doors or elevators, and in crowded places. Recognizing such situations is a very powerful key for prevention — and this is one of the features of this program.

Prof. Hausdorff and his team at Tel Aviv Medical Center conducted a pilot study on 40 subjects: 20 patients with Parkinson’s disease who used the CuPID app and 20 patients who carried out conventional exercises and did not use the app. The results are promising and the investigators are currently exploring the possibility of a larger follow-up study to further demonstrate the app’s efficacy. Tel Aviv University Dr. Anat Mirelman, who co-directed the project, explained that FoG episodes resemble a short-circuit in the brain, rendering it unable to generate the appropriate stepping pattern, often leaving the patient in an untenable and frustrating situation. The app is designed to circumvent that difficulty. She said:

FoG reduces patients’ independence. Patients become afraid of walking by themselves and this leads to self-imposed restrictions in mobility. When their feet get stuck to the ground, their bodies lunge forward — it’s very frightening. People often end up in wheelchairs, and this is a vicious cycle, as it places more reliance on the assisted-living infrastructure.

“The program now integrates the expertise of a patient’s physical therapist, who establishes what is considered a patient’s ‘normal’ or ‘strong’ walking pattern,” said Prof. Hausdorff. “It’s unobtrusive and has the potential to reduce dependence on Parkinson’s medication that has detrimental side effects. How much or how often the app is used depends on how advanced the disease is, but since the system is so small and non-invasive, it can be used just about anywhere.”

Israeli Scientists Start to Bring Star Trek Tricorder to Life

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering are in the process of bringing the iconic Star Trek “tricorder” to life.

The essential multi-functional tool used on board the Starship Enterprise as it explored new worlds on its five-year mission in space was used to sense, compute and record data in a non-threatening manner.

So too is a new optical component and imaging processing software developed by Professor David Mendlovic and his doctoral student Ariel Raz.

Mendlovic states the obvious: “A long list stands to gain from this new technology. We predict hyperspectral imaging will play a major role in consumer electronics, the automotive industry, biotechnology and homeland security.”

The two men came together with a team of researchers at the Unispectral Technologies firm and patented an optical component based on existing microelecctromechanical (MEMS) technology that can be used in mass production and is compatible with standard smartphone cameras. The combination of the optical component and newly designed software, however, go further than the current smartphone cameras by offering superior imaging performance and hyperspectral imaging capabilities, Mendlovic said.

“The optical element acts as a tunable filter and the software – an image fusion library – would support this new component and extract all the relevant information from the image,” he said. It works both in video and still photography,” he added.

Ramot is the tech transfer company for Tel Aviv University, and acted to consolidate key intellectual properties. It financed the engineering team to go ahead with the research and development phase of the project, as well as the business development.

Funders for Unispectral include Momentum Fund, backed by Tata Group Ltd and Temasek, based in Singapore. SanDisk also has an interest in the project.

Unispectral is already moving forward to advance discussions with smartphone makers, automotive companies and wearable device manufacturers.

The future is near; closer than one might realize.

Israeli Foundation Awards $1 Million Prize to Wikipedia Founder

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Israel-based Dan David Foundation has awarded this year’s Dan David Prize for scientific, technological, and cultural accomplishments to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, among other prominent honorees.

The three annual $1 million prizes are administered by Tel Aviv University and named for late philanthropist Dan David. In the past, it has been awarded to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen.

In addition to Wales, who is being honored for founding the world’s largest online encyclopedia, the foundation is spreading this year’s prizes among historians Peter R. Brown and Alessandro Portelli as well as scientists Cyrus Chothia, David Haussler, and Michael Waterman.

The award ceremony will take place in May.

Israeli Start-Up May Charge Your Smartphone in 30 Seconds (Video)

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

An Israeli startup company called StoreDot has unveiled a prototype charger that can re-energize a phone battery in 30 seconds.

The new technology was based on research for Alzheimer’s disease at the nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University, but the prototype still needs to be developed into a smaller batter to be of commercial use. The amino acids identified in the research are used for the new charger.

The StoreDot is optimistic it will succeed and projects that the new charger will be on the market by the end of 2016.

One of the rumored investors who have plunked down more than $6 million so far is Samsung.

“We are about one year from a functional prototype that will be inside the device,” StoreDot’s CEO and founder Dr. Doron Myersdorf told TechCrunch. “Right now we show a battery that extends beyond the form factor of the smartphone. So in one year we’ll have reached the size, and in two years we’ll reach the required energy density for the entire day.

“So we are talking about three years for a commercial ready device. So I assume it will be three years before you can actually purchase it on the market.

“We’ve demonstrated an iPhone display that the active material which emits light is a bio-organic material that is created by our compounds. This will be the first ever bio-organic display. We already demonstrated all the colors… we can bring the entire RGB spectrum for the display so now it’s all a matter of being able to reach the lifetime and the efficiency similar to cadmium.”

StoreDot needs approximately an additional $20 million to further develop the prototype and set up a manufacturing facility.

Tel Aviv U. Cancels Talk by Former Arab Prisoner for Land Day

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Tel Aviv University has cancelled the appearance at a campus event of a former Arab prisoner jailed by Israel for his activities on behalf of the terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Mohammed Kana’ane, an Arab-Israeli who spent four-and-a-half years in prison, was invited to speak Monday by the left-wing Hadash and Balad student groups at a conference for Land Day, which marks the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 during riots over a government decision to expropriate land for what it called security purposes.

Land Day took place on March 30.

“In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana’neh’s participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event,” the university said in a statement released late Sunday. The statement said that other Land Day events would go forward as planned.

A Sunday protest on campus by Jewish student groups called for the speech to be canceled.

The university last week had issued a statement saying it would allow the event to go forward in an effort to respect students’ right to freedom of speech, which it apparently thought includes screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

JTA contributed most of the material for this report.

Israeli Researcher: Chewing Gum Cause of Migraines in Teens

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Teenagers who love chewing, smacking and bubble-popping gum may be giving themselves a headache, according to research by Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center. His findings, published in Pediatric Neurology, could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.

Dr. Watemberg noticed at Meir’s Child Neurology Unit and clinics that many patients who reported headaches were daily gum chewers. Teenage girl patients were particularly avid chewers — a finding supported by previous dental studies.

He asked 30 patients between six and 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum daily to quit chewing gum for one month. After a month without gum, 19 of the 30 patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches. To test the results, 26 of them agreed to resume gum chewing for two weeks. All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Dr. Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

Aspartame, a common ingredient found in sugarless gum, has long been suspected of causing neurological damage. Prior to the European Food Safety Authority recently declaring the artificial sweetener as safe, studies have suggested it may provoke headaches in susceptible individuals. However, the Israeli researchers believe that the amount of aspartame released in gum is likely to be low because the flavor of gum is typically lost after the first few minutes of chewing. Rather, they believe the likely reason for the link between gum-chewing and headaches is the stress on the TMJ.

“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” Dr. Watemberg said in a statement. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

A possible explanation for the association that exists between chewing gum and headaches is the stress placed on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the skull and jaw meet. Chewing gum causes unnecessary wear and tear of the cartilage that acts as a shock absorbent in the jaw joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort, Dr. Ben Kim, who is not not involved in the study. told the website Medical Daily.

Gum chewers use eight different facial expression when they chew. If used excessively, this can create chronic tightness in two of these muscles that are located near an individual’s temples. Therefore, the nerves that are on this area of the head feel extreme pressure, which can lead to chronic, reoccurring headaches.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-research-cites-teens-chewing-gum-as-cause-of-migraines/2013/12/19/

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