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Extreme voltage could be a surprisingly delicate tool in the fight against cancer

17 min read
Illustration: Bryan Christie Design
Illustration: Bryan Christie Design
Illustration: Bryan Christie Design

40 Thousand volts, four thousand amperes, and over one hundred million watts squeezed into a cubic centimeter. You’d think that would be enough to vaporize just about anything, and it certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of electricity you’d want to apply to your body. But if our research continues to succeed as it has, years from now we’ll be asking some cancer patients to do just that. And it might just save their lives.

The trick is to apply that gargantuan jolt for only a few billionths of a second. That’s so brief a time that the energy delivered is a mere 1.6 joules per cubic centimeter—barely enough to warm a thimbleful of water by a third of a degree Celsius. But these powerful, ultrashort voltage pulses do something nothing else can—harmlessly slip past a cell’s exterior to shock the vital structures within.

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The Aftershocks of the EV Transition Could Be Ugly

To avoid unintended consequences, bring realism to the table

10 min read
CEO of Dodge Brand standing on a podium next to a Dodge Charger Daytone SRT concept all-electric muscle car. Behind him a giant screen displaying the sentence: The Rules Have Changed.

Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge Brand, Stellantis, introduces the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept all-electric muscle car on August 17, 2022 in Pontiac, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The introduction of any new system causes perturbations within the current operating environment, which in turn, create behavioral responses, some predictable, many not. As University of Michigan professor emeritus and student of system-human interactions John Leslie King observes “People find ways to use systems for their own benefit not anticipated by designers and developers. Their behavior might even be contradictory to hoped-for outcomes.”

“Change rides on the rails of what doesn’t change,” King notes, “including people being self-serving.”

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Portable Life-Support Device Provides Critical Care in Conflict and Disaster Zones

The compact unit is equipped with an innovative ventilator that recovers oxygen exhaled by the patient

5 min read
A soldier carrying a MOVES SLC portable life support unit walks over to an injured person on the ground.

Thornhill Medical's mobile life-support device, called MOVES SLC, has been used by military medical teams for five years. The unit can be slung across the shoulder and includes a circle-circuit ventilator and oxygen concentrator that eliminate the need to carry heavy, dangerous high pressure O2 cylinders.

Thornhill Medical

This is a sponsored article brought to you by LEMO.

A bomb explodes — medical devices set to action.

It is only in war that both sides of human ingenuity coexist so brutally. On the one side, it innovates to wound and kill, on the other it heals and saves lives. Side by side, but viscerally opposed.

Dr. Joe Fisher is devoted to the light side of human ingenuity, medicine. His research at Toronto’s University Health Network has made major breakthroughs in understanding the absorption and use of oxygen by the body. Then, based on the results, he developed new, highly efficient methods of delivering oxygen to patients.

In 2004, together with other physicians and engineers, he created a company to develop solutions based on his innovations. He named it after the Toronto neighborhood where he still lives — Thornhill Medical.

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