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Posts Tagged ‘test’

Israeli Missile Defense Test a ‘Milestone’

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

New York — Israel’s test of a missile defense system was declared a “major milestone” in its efforts to establish viable barriers to a missile strike.

The test of a joint Israeli-American system was conducted Friday morning over the Mediterranean Sea, CNN reported. A statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry said the test “provides confidence in operational Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.”

The test comes amid mounting speculation that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities within the year. Israeli officials said the test had been scheduled more than a year ago.

Israeli Innovation: Blood Test to Detect Multiple Cancer Types

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Researchers at Soroka Medical Center and Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva are saying they’re past the preliminary stage of developing a unique method that may provide early detection of many types of cancer, using a simple blood test. Clinical tests which were performed recently yielded detection in close to 90 percent of patients.

“The research is still using small-scale clinical tests,” said Prof. Joseph Kapelushnik, head of the center’s children’s meta oncology department. “But our aim is to develop an efficient, cheap and simple method to detect as many types of cancer as possible.”

Early detection, coupled with a rapid assessment and a quick and effective response is viewed as the best and most cost-efficient ways of dealing with cancer. But the process of detection can be cumbersome and costly, and each procedure reveals only a limited number of cancer types.

Prof. Kapelushnik’s team developed a unique method which makes it possible to detect cancer cells through a blood test, using infrared light. A sample of only one cubic centimeter (less than a teaspoon) is placed in an instrument which examines the spectrum and yields results which point out the presence of cancer in the patient’s body.

“We’ve managed to distinguish between different types at a rate of around 90 percent sensitivity,” said Prof. Kapelushnik. “The data is limited for now, and we’ll have to test thousands of patients to determine that the method works, but at the moment we are pleased with the results.”

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Johnson & Johnson, to name just one team, are among groups of scientists who are in the process of seeking a simple blood test that may be able to identify cancer cells in the blood stream. But Prof. Kapelushnik thinks his research is at a more advanced stage than competing, similar efforts.

“We should be able to detect the cancer before it had a chance to metastasize,” he says. “And this can mean fewer treatments, less suffering and many more lives saved.”

The Soroka University Medical Center is the largest medical center in southern Israel, and the second largest in the country.

Looking For The Perfect Match

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Fair Lawn, New Jersey’s Ezra Fineman is looking for his perfect match. He is smart, has brown hair, and a great smile. Ezra is also two years old and is looking for a bone marrow donor. After contracting a severe case of pneumonia at five months old, Ezra was diagnosed with Hyper IgM syndrome, a rare primary immune deficiency. Affecting only one in every one-two million people, the syndrome keeps his body from producing antibodies, leaving him with a heightened susceptibility to infection. While Ezra still runs and plays like other toddlers, he must get IV Immunoglobulin treatments every few weeks, take prophylactic antibiotics, and use extra caution against germs in public places. Despite these treatments and precautions, serious complications still arise. The only cure for Ezra is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Robin and Evan Fineman, Ezra’s parents, have been working with the bone marrow registry, Gift of Life, since October 2010 in their quest to find Ezra’s bone marrow donor. Gift of Life, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is headed by founder Jay Feinberg, who recently celebrated the 16th anniversary of his own bone marrow transplant. Gift of Life focuses on patients in the Jewish community, as it would be more likely for them to find a match within the Jewish population. The search for Ezra’s match has gone global, with donor drives being held across the United States from Phoenix to New York, as well as Bialystok and Warsaw in Poland. The cost to process each potential donor’s sample, taken by a simple swab of the cheek, is $54. While each potential donor is encouraged to fund their own test, many people can’t afford to, and over 13,000 samples are still waiting to be tested due to lack of funding. While financial donations to Gift of Life are encouraged, the Finemans – who have raised over $100,000 for testing – are also trying to target their drives as much as possible to increase the chance of finding Ezra’s match.

Feinberg has personally been analyzing test results to see if they are on the right track. “Ezra’s DNA has an anomaly, a rare genetic crossover, that is making his search especially challenging,” says Feinberg. His antigens or markers are matching most closely with people of Eastern European descent, particularly those of Polish and Hungarian ancestry. “Robin has been working with a genealogist to discover Ezra’s ancestors’ cities of origin. The Holocaust has a huge impact until this very day on patients like Ezra. We are missing all of the bloodlines of people that would have been here today to donate,” explains Feinberg.

“It was amazing that over 200 people showed up for the drive in Bialystok,” Robin said. “With the language barrier, we weren’t even sure it was going to happen.” The Finemans, while still waiting for Ezra’s donor, are thrilled that nine potential donors for other patients have been found, and that one transplant has been performed so far through efforts on Ezra’s behalf.

Joining the bone marrow registry and donating is actually easier today than when Jay Feinberg was looking for his perfect match.  For more information about having a drive in your area, contact Robin Fineman at Help4Ezra@gmail.com, or go to www.giftoflife.org/help4ezra, to order or sponsor a test kit. You can also visit Help4Ezra on Facebook. The actual donation procedure is much less invasive than it used to be.

Feinberg stresses the importance of all eligible participants joining the registry. “People ask, ‘what are the chances that I’ll be a match?’ but that can’t be further from the truth. They can be the one.” Feinberg should know, as 50,000 people were tested during his search for a donor. His perfect match was the 50,000th person to register at the very last drive to be held on his behalf.

Random Thoughts A Month Into The Season

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


   A local Orthodox attendance record was set at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Sunday Chol Hamoed Pesach as an estimated 500 frum fans were in the stands. They saw a good game as the Tigers downed the White Sox 3-0 on a beautiful sunny day. Seven families from my shul returned with suntans and they reported many shuls were represented in all sections of the downtown ballpark, about a 20-minute ride from my dugout.

 

*     *     *

 

   It’s great to see Cleveland have a great April. The Indians finished the month with an 18-8 record, the best record in the American League. Only the Philadelphia Phillies over in the National League matched the Indians’ record.

 

   If you want to visit a nice downtown ballpark and a nice Jewish community, take a trip to Cleveland. Only about seven miles straight up Cedar Street from the home of the Indians is Taylor Road, the main street in Cleveland Heights, hub of the Orthodox community. If you continue up Cedar, it takes you through other adjoining communities.

 

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   Remember the good old days when we didn’t have to check our e-mails and people didn’t walk around with phones attached to their ears? And when we never heard of something called a “pitch count”?

 

   Pitchers were expected to finish what they started and the good ones did. In 1963 Warren Spahn was 42 years old but the great lefty enjoyed his 13th 20-win season. Amazing.

 

   Even more amazing was a game on July 2 of that year. Spahn started for the old Milwaukee Braves (for you younger fans, the Braves would move to Atlanta a couple of years later; the present-day Milwaukee Brewers wouldn’t come into being until 1970) and faced off against the great Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (who would finish the 1960s as the winningest pitcher of that decade) in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park.

 

   Both pitchers were still in the game, hooked up in a scoreless duel, when Willie Mays homered in the bottom of the 16th inning to tag Spahn with a 1-0 loss. Until Mays’s homer, each pitcher had yielded only eight hits.

 

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   Good riddance to Manny Ramirez. As many of you know, he abruptly quit the Tampa Bay Rays when it became known that he failed his second drug test and faced a 100-game suspension.

 

   Tampa Bay overpaid him and gave him another chance after he failed in a short stint with the Chicago White Sox last season. Two years ago he wore out his welcome with the Dodgers when he failed his first test and served a 50-game suspension. Manny had a short run as a celebrity among celebrities as Hollywood became “Mannywood.”

 

   Ramirez quit with a .312 lifetime average, 2,574 career hits and 555 career homers. Who knows how many of Manny’s round-trippers were performance-enhanced? There should, however, be a separate wing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for the steroid stars. They were great players and would still have been great without the added pump.

 

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   I still can’t believe Andy Pettitte retired with a 240-138 career record. I thought the 38-year-old Pettitte would come back in May or June and try to win 10 games to reach 250 victories, giving him a much better shot at the Hall of Fame. His career ERA over 16 seasons is a pretty fair 3.88.

 

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   Bengie Molina is the only player to be traded during the season and then face the team from whom he was traded in the World Series. Molina, who ended 2010 with the Texas Rangers, received two World Series rings. The veteran catcher has a silver ring for being on the losing team (Texas) and a gold one for being with San Francisco for the first few months of the season.

 

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   When will Ichiro Suzuki reach 3,000 career hits? The steady 37-year-old Seattle outfielder, who’s had ten straight seasons of more than 200 hits, started this season with a career average of .331 and 2,244 hits.

 

   Ichiro got a late start in the majors as he starred in Japan’s big leagues before coming to this side of the ocean. Besides the bat, Ichiro can beat you with his speed, glove and arm. He’s a certain Hall of Famer.

 

 

   To order Irwin Cohen’s book on how an Orthodox Jew got into the baseball field, send a check for $19.95, payable to Irwin Cohen, 25921 Stratford Place, Oak Park, Mi 48237. Cohen, president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, can be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Survivor’s Guilt

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

In my previous three columns (1-7, 1-21 & 2-04-2011) I wrote about my experience with thyroid cancer – a disease that I actually had twice, almost nine years apart. I was very lucky that this is a very curable carcinoma, and even more fortunate that I never felt any real discomfort or pain from the two surgeries and radioactive iodine treatments I underwent. Even when I was very hypothyroid – a prerequisite for the radioactive iodine to have the maximum affect on any cancer cells that were not removed by the surgery – I still felt fine. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism are sluggishness, depression, loss of appetite, weight gain (that’s me on a good day), fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches, dry skin, brittle nails and hair and memory loss. (If an elderly family member is getting forgetful or seems to be thinking more slowly, please have his/her thyroid checked to determine if hypothyroidism is a possible cause, before assuming it is Alzheimer’s or dementia. Hyperthyroidism means that not enough thyroid hormone is being produced, a condition that often is quickly remedied by medication).

If indeed I had any of these symptoms, they were not severe enough to get my attention.

While physically I had a relatively easy time of it, emotionally, I was on a dizzying merry-go-round. I was terrified – especially while waiting to hear test results; elated when the news was good; numb – not wanting to think of what lay ahead; angry; grateful that I felt well; optimistic; pessimistic; proud that I was given this test; ashamed that I was given this test – sometimes all at the same time.

However, there was one very strong emotion that I didn’t at all anticipate, one that would sink its barbed teeth into my psyche: Guilt. Guilt because I didn’t “suffer” enough – that not only did I survive, but I did so with out paying “my dues.”

I know these feelings are not unique – there is even a medical term for this emotional reaction, called “survivor’s guilt.” Often, a person can’t help feel some measure of guilt for having gotten through a life-threatening trauma when others did not.

When I was dealing with my first bout of thyroid cancer almost 18 years ago, two of my friends were being ravaged by other, more vicious and debilitating malignancies. Their ability to function, to live, was slowly and insidiously being whittled away and destroyed. Both were ultimately niftar at relatively young ages.

I would often wonder why I was spared. We all had children who were dependant on us; we all had “unfinished businesss.” From where I stood, I certainly wasn’t better than them, nor more deserving to live. Why did they suffer and lose the battle they had fought with such mesirat nefesh and bitachon, while my fight was, in comparison, a non-event?

You definitely feel great pride, and of course, joy when you are given a clean bill of health after facing a potentially lethal event – whether you survive an illness, a car accident, a fire or an act of violence that others succumbed to. You walk around feeling like you’re special, even superior. You’re a survivor! I too from time to time had “gloat” moments. Yet, I also felt very confused as to why I was chosen to live, when others weren’t.

I know this question has haunted many survivors of the Holocaust – and because of my own experience, I gained much insight into the mindset of this community which my parents, a”h were also a part of. I came to understand that there is a driving need for survivors of any calamity to justify their survival, to validate their continued existence, and ultimately, assuage the unforgiving guilt that gnaws on their souls. They are driven to excel, to make a difference, to do something amazing – or to produce children who will.

Collectively, there was relentless pressure on children of Holocaust survivor parents to be the best academically and/or socially. Excellence wasn’t good enough. You had to get the highest mark in your math test; you had to be the most popular kid in your class. For many of the children who understandably fell short of these often-unrealistic goals, praise was sparse and compliments were few.

But because I too am a survivor, I now understand what fueled this hunger for super achievement. Holocaust survivors were wracked with guilt for being able to walk in the fresh air; to eat and drink and partake in whatever pleasures life has to offer. Many of their family members were murdered in their youth; they never reached the milestones that were their birthright – growing up; getting married; having children; growing old. I remember my mother, who was very beautiful and very sharp (everyone who met her walked away with this opinion) lamenting to me that her brother and sisters were so much better looking and smarter than her, and were more deserving than she of surviving. They perished in their twenties. She was her family’s only survivor.

She, and I imagine the typical survivor, subconsciously could not forgive themselves for living while their siblings, children, nieces, nephews, parents, etc. were prematurely and unnaturally dead. For them, the only way to mitigate the grinding guilt was to either achieve greatness on their own or raise amazing children. Thus they could rationalize and excuse the fact that they lived when the others didn’t. They could silently shout out to themselves, “I survived so I could give birth to my son, the brilliant, life-saving neurosurgeon.” This was their ticket to a guilt-free existence.

I’m not so hard on myself. I don’t need to win, for example, the Nobel Prize in Literature, to make sense of why I am still here, why I was given a “mild” cancer as opposed to a “vicious” one. My job, my purpose, my task is to be b’simcha. Like laughter, I hear it’s contagious!

Selecting The Right Color Foundation

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

          This week’s column will help you in selecting the right color foundation for your skin undertones. There are three categories of undertones that a person can fall into: red, yellow, and olive. To determine what undertone you are, you must first look at the undertones of your selected foundation. Pour out some foundation onto a plate or even your hand, and spread it. You’re not focusing on how light or dark the shade is; you’re focusing to see what the base color of the foundation is.  You’ll most likely see a red or yellow color in the depths of the foundation. Only a couple of companies make foundation with a green undertone in it. Therefore, chances are, if you have an olive undertone, you may have to find and add a green color corrector into a yellow-based foundation, so you don’t end up looking jaundice.

Now for the test: take a drop of the foundation on the plate, dip your finger into it, and rub a small strip onto the inner part of your arm. Again, don’t worry if the color is the deepest shade.  After gently rubbing it in, does it look like the color would “disappear” into the arm had the shade been the right one?  If you notice after testing a color that it is yellow and just sits there, you probably have a red undertone, and vice versa.

Now that you’ve determined what undertone you are, choose the shade or shades closest to the skin on your face as your eyes perceive it. Swipe the shade you feel is closest to your skin on the side of your jawline and neck – if the color completely disappears into your neck, then that’s your color. You want the color to “disappear” into the neck so there is no line of demarcation and no need to apply foundation past your face area.  Another suggestion: while you are in the store doing a swatch test, go outside with a mirror and look at your face in the natural light (not direct sunlight) – this will help you see if the color is a true match or a shade too light or too dark.

Sharona Silva is a makeup artist, specializing in airbrush makeup, who works in the New York City area. Sharona recently launched her own skin care line for all types of skin. Please submit questions to tips@sharonasilva.com. Questions may be used in future columns; all inquiries will remain anonymous. Visit www.sharonasilva.com for more information.

An MRI That Went Awry

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I joined the Jewish Press Emunah family four years ago when I wrote about my fall down a flight of stairs while holding my granddaughter. Baruch Hashem, my 16-month-old granddaughter came out without a scratch, but I became paralyzed and needed six months of rehab. Hashem saw fit to save me, and to help me recuperate.

Later, I wrote about the delicate spinal surgery I had to undergo to correct residual physical problems. Once again, with Hashem’s help, my surgery was successful.

Here now is an update on Hashem’s latest miracle that occurred last week: After going to my neurosurgeon for an annual routine checkup, he suggested I have an MRI. All seemed well when I was done. I was surprised, however, that the MRI lasted only 15-20 minutes, whereas my previous ones had lasted closer to 40 minutes. I called Dr. R., the head of the radiology department, and asked him to please read the results so that I would not have to wait too long for the results.

Dr. R. reprimanded me in a nice way. He said that I should have called him before the MRI so that he would have made sure to have an experienced technician administer the test, since my case was complex due to my spinal injury. He promised to call me back when he got to the hospital.

I kept my cell phone on all evening. I forgot to close the phone when I went to sleep and, lo and behold, at 6:30 a.m. I received a call from this angel. Dr. R. admonished me again for not letting him know about my MRI in advance, since he had found reason for concern. He had noted significant changes when comparing the present and previous MRIs, and he felt that I might need further surgery. He reiterated that a better-trained technician would have taken more time and administered more advanced tests, so that the results would be clearer. He insisted that I come in for another MRI that morning, free of charge. He promised to personally supervise this test.

Needless to say, I was quite nervous at the prospect of further surgery. After the test was done, Dr. R. calmed my fears by reassuring me that this test, which was more accurate and more detailed, showed that no surgery was necessary. I was stunned. My personal angel had appeared again, and Hashem had once again spared me from further stress and risky surgery.

Had Dr. R. not intervened, my first MRI would have been submitted. The neurosurgeon would have read the report and would probably have recommended surgery. I was spared this trauma due to this wonderful messenger, the head of the department, who took the time to care.

My elderly mother, may she live and be well, recites the complete Book of Tehillim every day. I believe that it is in her zechus, and hopefully in mine as well, that I merited having this personal angel come to my rescue. I express my appreciation to Hashem for always being at my side and for sending me the proper messengers at the critical junctures in my journey to good health.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/an-mri-that-went-awry/2010/07/15/

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