Just look how far Holograms have come!

hololens

This short video is about medical education but will give you a glimpse of how quickly hologram technology is advancing. Be prepared to be astonished.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/hololens-holoanatomy-award-jackson-hole-science-media-awards/

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For a quote on stair lifts and low platform lifts from a true professional contact Steve Killey on 0409931 446 or at: http://www.liftme.com.au/aboutus.html

Why this blog is called “stand on the shoulders of giants”

sir-isaac-newton-quote

“Stand in the shoulders of giants” is a quote from Sir Isaac Newton.

Sir Isaac was an outstanding scientist and mathematician. He literally changed the way we think about the world. He revolutionized our ideas about light. He invented the world’s first reflecting telescope.

He had an amazing insight into gravity as the sticky stuff that holds the universe together.

He invented calculus, making it possible for people to measure curved areas and determine the rate at which things change.

And, by the way, he also served as the Warden and Master of the Royal British Mint.

With his insights world knowledge took a giant step forward. When he was pressed to explain how he could make so many important discoveries and inventions, Isaac revealed how he. In the reply to the question he explained:

“If I have been able to see further than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

If it was good enough Sir Isaac Newton then it’s good enough for me. This blog is all about finding the right giants. Not to stand on their shoulders in my case because in my present condition that presents a problem. Rather to find giants with the very best ideas in research and those giants that are not held back by problems or difficulties. And, of course, this blog contains a few of my own experiences and reflections since my injury.

Support our supporters

Barb and Frank Ryan have been strong supporters from day one, with Barb visiting me daily in the first months. Even now they visit once, more often than not twice a week. Frank (Ryans Law Offices) provided invaluable advice in the early days of fundraising as well as sourcing items for the fundraiser. You can contact Frank for legal advice on (0408 810 854)

Hydrogel Research

Hydrogels

Once a spinal cord is damaged scarring occurs as nature’s way of preventing further damage. Unfortunately this scarring prevents the nerves from regenerating. There are various research projects underway to overcome this problem.

One approach is the use of hydrogels. Jellies, like aeroplane jelly, are edible hydrogels we all know. Medical hydrogels are water-based materials that can be injected as liquids into the injured part of the spinal cord. This is what makes hydrogels so useful. They are easily injected, and once in place, they set like edible jellies and hold their position.

More than this, hydrogels can form a bridge across the damaged area of the spinal cord reconnecting the brain and spinal cord.
Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte, junior group leader at DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen, heads up a research team investigating innovative and exciting ways of using hydrogels for spinal cord repair.

The group has a firm and clear goal. They are tailoring the physical, chemical, and biological properties of these gels “for spinal cord regeneration and to regain functionality”. Fingers crossed!

Click here to read more about this exciting development

“recognize me” head up one of Australia’s most experienced and highly qualified trophy businesses. Whether you need a single trophy or hundreds of trophies please give them the opportunity to quote. You can contact Peter on (07) 3715 5812 or visit the recognizeme website

Is this the greatest Australian ever?

Howard

Q: What can you do with 6 bed pans, a biscuit tin, a dog bowl, some china plates and a bronze letterbox?

A: Well, if you’re Howard Florey you could make the world’s 1st antibiotic, save over 50,000,000 lives, win the Nobel Prize, and, as a bonus, get your face on the Australian $50 note.

In 1938 Howard Florey and Ernst Chain were get-ahead medical researchers at Oxford University. They had set themselves the task of producing penicillin as the world’s 1st practical and effective antibiotic.

Discovered 11 years earlier, penicillin was proving impossible to make in useable quantities. It was an unstable mold. Added to this, enormous amounts of a moldy “soup” had to be made and this soup only produced minute amounts of the active ingredient.

There were other problems. When injected into the body, penicillin took about 4 hours to take start working but within 2 hours it had either been dissolved in the stomach or had been flushed out in the urine. Penicillin left the body before it had a chance to do its work.

And, of course, money was a problem. Florey and Chain’s application to the British Medical Society for research money resulted in a grant of $50 (even in 1938, $50 didn’t even buy a whole lot of test tubes!)

World War II broke out. Food, petrol and clothes were rationed. Medical equipment was virtually impossible to get. Resolute, Florey and Chain stuck to their task. Chain discovered that refrigeration would stabilize the mold. Since they had no fridges, they made their own. Experimenting, they found that bed pans were the best way to grow the mold (the soup could easily be poured out from underneath the mold.) So they cornered the bed pan market.

Against all odds they scrounged and improvised all the equipment they needed. Florey’s determination to get what he needed earnt him the nickname among the Oxford Scholars as “the bushranger of research”.

Florey and Chain’s first human experiment with penicillin was on a man dying from a rose thorn infection. The pair exhausted every ounce of penicillin made from months of soup making. Their meagre supplies of penicillin were so precious that they recycled the patient’s urine to capture even a speck of the antibiotic flushed out of his body.

Florey and Chain persevered. They worked and worked and worked until they discovered practical ways to make penicillin a viable, effective antibiotic. They proved you don’t need ideal conditions to succeed. Everything seemed against them yet they prevailed.

Sir Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia in 1949, remarked that Howard Florey “had the essential attributes of greatness: courage, integrity, tremendous drive and unswerving sense of direction.”

Dr. John Best said that “Florey is probably the greatest Australian who has ever lived.”

Mohammed Ali was one of the greats of the square ring. He was a three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer and winner of an Olympic Light-heavyweight gold medal. Sports Illustrated crowned him “Sportsman of the Century”. Ali was master of the lightening quick jab. He was also the master of the cutting remark. He once insulted an opponent with “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”

Howard never had much to work with. All he had were everyday items, found in kitchens and hospital wards. Yet he developed a product that has saved millions of lives.

extract from “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants” Gerard Stevenson

© 2007 well imagine that Pty Ltd

Next Time: what are hydrogels and can they be used to repair spinal cord injuries?

Extraction at the dentist’s!

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Just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you escape the important events in life. . . like going to the dentist!

While I was in hospital I did require some dental work and had a mobile dentist come and attend to that work. However, I have been keen to get back to our family dentist for a regular checkup, now sadly overdue.

Sue had been for her checkup a month earlier and did a reconnoitre to see if I would be able to get into the dentist’s rooms. She reported back that I could use the back entrance. It would be a tight squeeze but I would be able to get the chair through the doorway, down the corridors and into the surgery itself.

I would have to remain in my chair during the examination since there would be no way to hoist me into the dentist’s chair. Given the amount of forward and back tilt I have in this chair no one anticipated that this would be a problem.

I arrived at the surgery with plenty of time to navigate my way through the building. It was a tight fit. I have “puff and sip” controls on my chair. This means that I can move the chair forward, backwards, left and right by using my breath.

The controls on the chair are sensitive enough to allow me to turn around tight corners so I managed to get into the surgery. The plan was that I would park parallel to the dentist’s chair. Which I did. I was parallel but facing the wrong direction! A little bit more puffing and sipping and I was in place.

Dr Harley Moffat has been our family dentist for nearly 35 years. Needless to say we think he is a great dentist and I thought all this effort was well worth it to see him again.

After his examination on my teeth he said that I needed a small filling which could be done immediately or on the next visit.

I opted to have it done straightaway. He gave me an injection in the gum, the filling was completed easily and I was set to go home.

Then the unforeseen happened. When I tried to puff my way out of the surgery I couldn’t get the chair to move as I wanted. The left side of my gum was numb from the injection and, hard as I tried, I couldn’t move the chair forward. The right side of my gum was fine and when I blew into the straw I was like a man in a row boat with one oar, just going around in circles.

There are attendant’s controls on the back of the chair and Sue took over driving. Unfortunately she doesn’t get much practice at driving because I insist on controlling the chair all the time. Anyway, the inevitable happened and I became wedged in the doorway. Couldn’t go forward. Couldn’t go back. Stuck! Four of us were stuck were stuck. I was stuck in the doorway and Harley, Deb the dental nurse and Sue were stuck in the surgery.

We put the chair in neutral and eventually the 3 others, with a lot of pushing back and forward, got me free. Sue snaked the chair and me down the corridors and out into the waiting van.

There was an extraction that day at the dentist. I never anticipated it would be me being extracted-distracted from a doorway!

Support our supporters: Sallyanne-Reflect Photography

Reflect Photography is an award winning, boutique photography studio based in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne specialising in photography for businesses.

http://www.reflectphotography.com.au/

Next Time: Some consider him the greatest Australian ever. We stand on his shoulders!

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What is a tracheostomy? What is “leak” speech?

What is a tracheostomy? What is “leak” speech?

As a result of my injury the nerves controlling my diaphragm don’t work. Because my diaphragm doesn’t work neither do my lungs. As a result I now need a machine to pump air in and out of my lungs. This machine or ventilator, could be used to force air through my mouth or nose into my lungs. This would require me to wear a mask all the time, making conversation and eating impossible. Not a happy outcome!

The solution is a tracheostomy (which is what I have). A tracheostomy is a surgical incision in the windpipe (trachea) that allows a plastic tube with an inflatable cuff to be inserted into the windpipe.

The ventilator can then be attached to the plastic tube and air can be pushed in and out of my lungs, bypassing the mouth and nose. At the end of this post is part of a video that Gary Hegadus (professional film maker and good friend), my wife and I made in conjunction with the Austin Hospital. In the video Prue Gregson, Senior Speech Pathologist, with the assistance of Trache Tom (a 3-D model) explains how a tracheostomy works.

What is “leak speech”?

The cuff in my tracheostomy tube can be inflated or deflated. When the cuff is inflated air is forced directly from the ventilator in and out of my lungs. However, when the cuff is deflated air is able to leak out across my vocal chords. This leakage across my vocal cords allows me to speak. Hence the expression “leak” speech.

The video gives a visual demonstration of the plastic tube, the inflatable cuff and how air leaks across the vocal cords.

Click here to view the video.

Support our supporters

Steven Killey (Lift Me-stairlifts and low platform lifts) has been a keen and practical supporter in lots of ways. His latest venture is to raise funds for an exercise bike for me. He recently competed in the“Wings for Life” run and raised over $2000 towards the bike. For a quote on stairlifts and low platform lifts from a true professional contact Steve on 0409 931 446 or at: http://www.liftme.com.au/aboutus.html

Next Time: An extraction at the dentist’s

Make a comment! Ask a question! Start a conversation! Start by pressing the Write a comment button below

We make the front page

Warrandyte-Diary_Banner_45th-Year

Sue and I feature on the front page of the July issue of the Warrandyte Diary newspaper. Thanks to Sallyanne-Reflect Photography- for the great pic (http://www.reflectphotography.com.au/)

click here to see the front page of the Warrandyte Diary

Next time: What is a tracheostomy? What is “leak” speech?

Support our supporters

Steven Killey (Lift Me-stairlifts and low platform lifts) has been a keen and practical supporter in lots of ways. His latest venture is to raise funds for an exercise bike for me. He recently competed in the “Wings for Life” run and raised over $2000 towards the bike. For a quote on stairslifts and low platform lifts from a true professional contact Steve on 0409 931 446 or at: http://www.liftme.com.au/aboutus.html

We’re the superhumans!

It’s only a 3 minute video but is packed with 160 superhumans. If nothing else watch it for the high jumper, or maybe the drummer, or is it the ballroom dancing scene? I don’t know. Just watch it and be astounded.

Link to “We’re the superhumans”

Still coming: what is a tracheostomy? What is leak speech?

Support Our Supporters

Belinda has been our website designer and advisor for the last 10 years. Recently she has also become our social media consultant. She is experienced and full of good ideas. Her advice is always practical. She is always quick to respond to any questions we have with a clear explanation. You can visit Belinda’s website: http://budgetwebsites.melbourne

Two words that made all the difference

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I spent two weeks in an intensive care unit (ICU) after my injury. The first week was in ICU at Alfred Hospital. I have no distinct memories of that week. I do have memories of the second week in ICU at the Austin Hospital. I was still obviously heavily sedated and I remember hallucinating. I would like to report that it was some sort of visionary experience with exotic images. However I can’t. I saw this pulsating, squirming wall of dark brown, black and orange living panels, both ugly and menacing.

Every few hours the nurses would turn me to prevent pressure sores developing. Unfortunately, my spinal cord was still in shock from the fall and, as a consequence, my heart was prone to stop. This had happened several times. It distressed nurses and meant I required CPR each time. It’s no fun waking up with someone standing over you saying “Ah, you back!” So, when the doctor recommended I have a heart pacer inserted to prevent this happening it was an easy decision.

I was also incredibly thirsty. I was “nil by mouth”, so I produced no saliva. This, combined with the air-conditioning, meant my mouth was always dry. I craved ice cubes to suck on. I fantasised about frozen Coke which is peculiar because I have never really been a Coke drinker-neither before going into ICU nor since leaving it.

I became an expert negotiator. With no voice, only clicks and winks, I found ways to convince nurses to give me the occasional ice cube, breaking the nil by mouth policy. Unfortunately, within minutes of finishing an ice block, the unquenchable thirst would return.

There is one indelible memory though. I was drifting in and out of consciousness. My sister had come to visit me and was about to leave. I remember nothing of the visit, how long she’d been there, anything she might have said. As she went to leave she bent over my bed as if to kiss me goodbye on the cheek. She went past my cheek, though. She stopped at my ear. She whispered two words: “Stay Strong!”

Words have power. I sometimes forget what can be achieved with our words. Words can encourage. Words can fortify our spirits. They can anchor the ship in stormy weather. And that’s what these two words “Stay Strong!” did for me. They encouraged, they fortified, they anchored me. They were a vote of confidence! They were a simple reminder that I had the strength to get through this. Bravo!

Next time: John Flynn somehow, against all odds, started the Flying Doctors in the Australian outback. We discover his secret.

Support our supporters

Barb and Frank Ryan have been strong supporters from day 1, with Barb visiting me daily in the first months. Even now they visit once, more often than not twice a week. Frank (Ryans Law Offices) provided invaluable advice in the early days of fundraising as well as sourcing items for the fundraiser. You can contact Frank for legal advice on 0408 810 854

so

He drives a car with his eyes

Gerard Stevenson at Austin Hospital with nurses

Dr Jordan Nguyen is a biomedical engineer. Riley Saban is a 13-year-old kid with cerebral palsy. Together they develop extraordinary, cutting edge technology that gives young Riley superhuman powers.

Riley uses his eyes to achieve incredible effects. I encourage you to watch these videos because they demonstrate the amazing pace at which technology is providing solutions for people who have very limited movement.

Of course I have a particular interest in this story myself because I use my own eyes to navigate around my computer.

More than this though, its a great story about the power of infectious enthusiasm. It’s up to you to judge who has most infectious enthusiasm!

You can watch the story about Riley on ABC iview. To do so, go to ABC iview, click on programs, go to Catalyst, click on Superhuman part 1

or simply click on the links below

Part 1: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/catalyst/SC1502H015S00

Part 2: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/catalyst/SC1502H016S00

Next time: The two words when I was in ICU that made all the difference.

Support Our Supporters

Belinda has been our website designer and advisor for the last 10 years. Recently she has also become our social media consultant. She is experienced and full of good ideas. Her advice is always practical. She is always quick to respond to any questions we have with a clear explanation. You can visit Belinda’s website: http://budgetwebsites.melbourne