Sunday 16 June 2013

Could a 'welding torch' banish the caesarean scar? 

New technique could spell end of staples and stitches

  • An Israeli firm has developed a method of ‘welding’ together surgical wounds
  • Mothers-to-be undergoing c-sections could be among the first to benefit
  • Plasma is channelled through a pen-like device to close wounds smoothly

DAILY MAIL 16 June 2013

Women having caesarean sections could soon be saying goodbye to staples, stitches and unsightly scars – thanks to a medical version of a welding torch.

An Israeli firm has developed a stitch and staple-free method of ‘welding’ together surgical wounds which it claims creates neater joins.

It says that mothers-to-be undergoing c-sections could be among the first to benefit, with treatments carried out as soon as this autumn.

The company says that it takes just three or four minutes to seal a c-section wound and that scarring is minimal
The company says that it takes just three or four minutes to seal a c-section wound and that scarring is minimal

It is hoped the new way of closing wounds will also be suitable for burns victims and cosmetic surgery patients.

IonMed’s device is based on plasma – a charged form of gas normally only seen in lightning bolts and in the intense light produced by welding torches.

The plasma used in the BioWeld gadget is much cooler, ensuring it does not damage delicate tissue. At around 40C it is hot enough to make the skin tingle but not cause pain.

However, it still produces a very powerful flame and when channelled through the tip of a pen-like device, it welds a thin film of specially-designed material – based on a naturally occurring sugar – over the wound, closing it. It is hoped eventually the thin film can be dispensed with and the powerful plasma alone will be enough to seal wounds.

In three clinical trials on women undergoing c-sections, in which an eight-inch incision is made along the bikini line, the wounds healed better than the stitches and staples currently in use. The company says that it takes just three or four minutes to seal a c-section wound and that scarring is minimal.

Mothers-to-be undergoing c-sections could be among the first to benefit, with treatments carried out as soon as this autumn

The gas is also said to encourage the growth of blood vessels, ensuring the area that was operated on receives a good supply of blood. It is also anti-bacterial, so should reduce the risk of wounds becoming infected.

Although many c-section wounds that are sealed by stitches or staples heal well, a recent study found that up to 44 per cent of women still had a raised, red scar six months on.

Gian Carlo Di Renzo, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology in Perugia in Italy, described BioWeld’s results as ‘very encouraging’.

He added: ‘As surgeons, we seek better ways to connect tissue, to minimise damage to healthy tissue and obtain better clinical and cosmetic results for patients.’

Ronen Lam, vice president of business development at IonMed, the company behind BioWeld, said: ‘No one has done this before.

‘Using plasma enhances the complex wound healing process.

‘Doctors can learn how to use this very quickly. There is almost no learning curve.’

BioWeld was invented by Ronen Lam’s brother Amnon, who was a medic in the Israeli army before becoming a project manager at a firm that uses cold plasma to create semiconductors. He came up with the idea of combining his combat medical experience with cold plasma technology.

The company has submitted documentation for approval so that BioWeld can be used by doctors and hospitals in Europe.

It says approval process should take a matter of months, meaning the new system could available for use on patients by the autumn.

Hospitals will have to pay around £2,500 for the equipment, plus around £10 to £15 for the kit needed for each caesarean operation.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Psychobibi in command

Israel’s foreign diplomacy has never been its strongest asset, but there is no denying the dedication of the underpaid, under-resourced employees of Israel’s foreign service. Now the hard-pressed diplomats of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have taken the unprecedented step of refusing to assist ministers of their own government, officers of the Israel Defense Forces or the Shin Bet secret service traveling abroad.

The sanctions are a last-ditch protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’swholesale destruction of the Foreign Ministry, which is being carved up salami-style in a bizarre strategy that is in danger of wrecking what little is left of Israel’s tattered international diplomacy. Here’s how Netanyahu, himself a former deputy foreign minister, is picking the ministry to pieces.
1. Refusing to appoint a foreign minister

Does Israel even need a foreign minister? Not according to Netanyahu, who has decided to leave the post open pending the hoped-for acquittal of Avigdor Lieberman, currently standing trial on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during statements at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on November 21, 2012. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
2. Pretend foreign minister #1: the Public Diplomacy Ministry

In 2009, Netanyahu re-styled the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs as the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs under Likud Party loyalist Yuli Edelstein, thus stripping the Foreign Ministry of its lead role in Israel’s foreign information strategy—usually known by the Hebrew word hasbara (“explanation”). Israel’s hasbara has always been dreadful, but under Edelstein—whose gentlemanly manner masks a right-wing religious-messianic fanaticism forged under brutal Soviet oppression—it reached a new, uncoordinated nadir. The new ministry took over the Government Press Office, which handles the registration of resident and visiting journalists, re-locating it from its ramshackle but accessible central Jerusalem building to an unmarked and impossible-to-find suite of rooms above a girls’ college near the Malcha Shopping Mall miles from the center. The ministry’s lowest point was its release of the hallucinatory Gaza Hasbara Rape video in which Israel was depicted as a sexually abused young woman in a bizarre encounter with a male therapist.

Monday 10 June 2013

SVT Swedish TV interview, June 10, 2013

My interview (in English) about religious conflict in Israel and the Women of the Wall