Rewired nerves control robotic leg [Article]

A 32-year-old man whose knee and lower leg were amputated in 2009 after a motorcycle accident is apparently the first person with a missing lower limb to control a robotic leg with his mind. A team led by biomedical engineer Levi Hargrove at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in Illinois reported the breakthrough last week in the New England Journal of Medicine

Why I changed my mind on weed [Article]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon, and the CNN’s chief medical correspondent. He’s been a strong & vocal critic of the medical application of the millenial-old plant known as cannabis, or marijuana. He recently came out with a documentary, and an apology:

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

He has this to say:

We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

Of course, American lead on this matter has meant that the natural plant – eeed I say it, something that grows aplenty in nature! – has been made illegal around the globe, & helped create a thriving industry.

More than an apple a day [Article, Video]

Leo Babauta gave up meat to become a vegan. But as he explains, eating a vegan diet doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthy diet, despite what many believe.
If you care about your health, (and less about pharma companies profits), please take the time to watch this video (which runs for an hour) by Dr. Greger called  More than an apple a day: Preventing our most common diseases.

3D printing in a medical environment saving a baby’s life [Article]

No longer science fiction: how 3D printing in a medical environment gave 18-month old Kaiba Gionfriddo a new lease of life. His lungs were blocked, and needed a splint to carve a pathway through his blocked airway. They printed the splint to exact specifications of the baby’s, using a powder called PCL (polycaprolactone). Doctors then took the splint, measuring just a few centimeters long & 8mm wide & surgically attached it to Kaiba’s collapsed bronchus. They saw results within moments:

“When the stitches were put in, we started seeing the lung inflate and deflate,” Green said. “It was so fabulous. There were people in the operating room cheering.”

the Pharma companies drug war in India [Article]

The Indian Supreme Court’s decision to allow Indian makers of generic drugs to continue making copycat versions of the drug Gleevec (manufactured by Novartis) is lauded by Richard Stallman who has this to say:

Novartis responded to the decision by threatening to arbitrarily withhold other drugs from India, causing sick people there to die. Presumably these will be drugs which are in fact patented, drugs not affected by this decision. That shows this is not a self-protective reaction, but a murderous threat. In the absence of free exploitation treaties such as the WTO, India would respond to the threat by making those drugs locally. Novartis’ death threats are mere bluster, unless the WTO gives them force; and that reveals the murderous nature of the WTO. As for the pretense that the abuse of medical patents is “necessary” for the sake of research, we already know this is bogus. The big pharma companies spend more on advertising and corrupting doctors than on research, and little of their research goes into life-saving drugs anyway. Patents on drugs should be banned except in the wealthiest countries. There is a very simple solution: get rid of the WTO. It undermines democracy and it does harm to people in many other ways