When it comes to internecine conflict, there’s no truer truism than the adage that in a fight between elephants, the ants perish. Look no further than the civil war currently ravaging Sudan. Hospitals are bearing much of the brunt unnecessarily. Per Reuters,
The few hospitals still operating in Khartoum after Sudan's sudden explosion into war have bodies lying unburied, bullets crashing through windows and terrified medics staying away as artillery pounds nearby. Doctors and hospital staff describe harrowing conditions with no water for cleaning, little electricity for life-saving equipment and food running out, forcing them to send sick patients home and turn away the injured. Many of Sudan's best hospitals are concentrated in the central Khartoum streets where the most intense fighting between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces is taking place, requiring doctors and patients to brave gunfire and bombardment. At least 270 people have died since the violence erupted at the weekend, Sudan's health ministry estimates, while for the more than 2,600 people injured in the fighting as well as the many others already needing treatment, the rapid collapse of the healthcare system spells disaster. "The hospitals now serving the wounded are so few, with limited number of doctors, so there's overcrowding of wounded," said Esraa Abou Shama, a doctor at Sudan's health ministry.
As conditions deteriorate in the country, the tragedy grows exponentially. https://bit.ly/3H5ZbkA
Sometimes, when you try and do the right thing, it’s possible for you to do the wrong thing inadvertently. That appears to be the case with regards to drug prescription guardrails being placed on the telehealth industry. Per the Associated Press,
Online prescribing rules for controlled drugs were relaxed three years ago under emergency waivers to ensure critical medications remained available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed a rule that would reinstate most previously longstanding requirements that doctors see patients in person before prescribing narcotic drugs such as Oxycontin, amphetamines such as Adderall, and a host of other potentially dangerous drugs. The aim is to reduce improper prescribing of these drugs by telehealth companies that boomed during the pandemic. Given the ongoing opioid epidemic, allowing continued broad use of telemedicine prescribing “would pose too great a risk to the public health and safety,” the proposed rule said. It also cracks down on how doctors can prescribe other less-addictive drugs, like Xanax, used to treat anxiety, and buprenorphine, a narcotic used to treat opioid addiction. The proposal has sparked a massive backlash, including more than 35,000 comments to a federal portal and calls from advocates, members of Congress and medical groups to reconsider certain patients or provisions. “They completely forgot that there was a population of people who are dying,” said Dr. Lonny Shavelson, a California physician who chairs the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying, a coalition of doctors who help patients access care under so-called right-to-die laws.
Clearly, it’s time for a bit of a tweak. https://bit.ly/3L0Q4TC
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In today’s day and age, an increasing number of products have mobile versions available which rely on lithium batteries for power. That has made the white metal the new oil. Countries with large deposits of lithium are doing everything possible to maximize their profits, particularly by granting foreign mining firms access. Per Reuters,
In Argentina's mountainous north, a strong pipeline of lithium projects close to coming online looks set to unlock a wave of production that could see its output of the key electric vehicle battery metal as much as triple within the next two years. The world’s fourth largest producer of the silvery-white metal sits within the so-called "lithium triangle" and has been luring investment from Canadian to Chinese mining firms with a regional and market-led model, even as a wave of resource nationalism has spread in the region. Neighboring Chile, the region's top lithium producer, last week unveiled plans for a state-led public-private model, spooking investors. Bolivia has long maintained strict control over its huge though largely untapped resources, while Mexico nationalized its lithium deposits last year. In Argentina, despite state energy firm YPF (YPFD.BA) starting to explore for lithium last year, the sector has largely been driven by private enterprise and regular approvals of new projects as the government has looked to bring in more export dollars through mining, a rare bright spot amid economic turmoil.
Better strike while the iron’s hot. A new technology can appear on the scene at any moment, rendering lithium yesterday’s news. https://bit.ly/3HaWaQ9
Contrary to popular belief, NASA does more than just launch rockets and space crafts into space. Much of their research deals with ancillary fields that make space flight possible. A recent paper published by scientists at NASA touts a new material that can be used in spacecrafts. Per NASA,
NASA has demonstrated a breakthrough in 3D printable high-temperature materials that could lead to stronger, more durable parts for airplanes and spacecraft. A team of innovators from NASA and The Ohio State University detailed the characteristics of the new alloy, GRX-810, in a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Nature. “This superalloy has the potential to dramatically improve the strength and toughness of components and parts used in aviation and space exploration,” said Dr. Tim Smith of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, lead author of the Nature paper. Smith and his Glenn colleague Christopher Kantzos invented GRX-810. Smith and his team employed time-saving computer modeling, as well as a laser 3D printing process that fused metals together, layer-by-layer, to create the new alloy. They used this process to produce the NASA logo pictured above.
GRX-810 is an oxide dispersion strengthened alloy. Tiny particles containing oxygen atoms spread throughout the alloy enhance its strength. https://bit.ly/440NGVi
It’s really refreshing to see people take a stand for something they believe in, regardless of the expense to themselves. It doesn’t happen often these days but when it does, it’s amazing. That’s how it feels to see an entire editorial department resign en masse in response to a practice they deem morally wrong. Per Nature,
More than 40 editors have resigned from two leading neuroscience journals in protest against what the editors say are excessively high article-processing charges (APCs) set by the publisher. They say that the fees, which publishers use to cover publishing services and in some cases make money, are unethical. The publisher, Dutch company Elsevier, says that its fees provide researchers with publishing services that are above average quality for below average price. The editors plan to start a new journal hosted by the non-profit publisher MIT Press. The decision to resign came about after many discussions among the editors, says Stephen Smith, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, UK, and editor-in-chief of one of the journals, NeuroImage. “Everyone agreed that the APC was unethical and unsustainable,” says Smith, who will lead the editorial team of the new journal, Imaging Neuroscience, when it launches. The 42 academics who made up the editorial teams at NeuroImage and its companion journal NeuroImage: Reports announced their resignations on 17 April.
The NeuroImage editors say that the fees exclude many scholars who are based in countries where research is not well funded. They think that the fees don’t reflect direct article costs, and say it is wrong for publishers to make profit from science that they haven’t funded. https://bit.ly/3AppazG
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
IMAGE CREDIT: Petr Adam Dohnálek.