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Medicine United Kingdom Science

Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve Implant 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-you-want-something-done-right dept.
nametaken writes "In 2000, Tal Golesworthy, a British engineer, was told that he suffers from Marfan syndrome, a disorder of the connective tissue that often causes rupturing of the aorta. The only solution then available was the pairing of a mechanical valve and a highly risky blood thinner. To an engineer like Golesworthy, that just wasn't good enough. So he constructed his own implant that does the job better than the existing solution--and became the first patient to try it."
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Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve Implant

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  • Karma Beating.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nanospook (521118)
    It's good to be born for a purpose..
  • Inventor CV (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saija (1114681) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:12PM (#35016378) Journal
    here [edtltd.co.uk]
  • by PatPending (953482) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:12PM (#35016382)
    Fuck POPSCI, here's the link to the original article [theengineer.co.uk] (Warning: graphic photographs)
    • by noidentity (188756) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:36PM (#35016474)

      'It seemed to me to be pretty obvious that you could scan the heart structure, model it with a CAD routine, then use RP [rapid prototyping] to create a former on which to manufacture a device,' explained Golesworthy. 'In a sense, conceptually, it was very simple to do. Actually engineering that was significantly more complex.'

      Golesworthy believes that projects such as this demonstrate that the interface between engineers and the rest of the world isn't functioning in the way it should. 'When it does function, huge advances can be made in a very short time period, on very little money,' he said. 'We have changed the world for people with aortic dilation and we have done it on a fraction of the cost.'

      In May 2004, Golesworthy became the first recipient of his own invention after undergoing surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Since then, 23 patients have successfully had the implant fitted and another seven are hoping to undergo the procedure. According to Golesworthy, the technique will soon replace the Bentall procedure and could be used to treat other heart conditions.

      Wrapping the aorta with artificial material isn't a new idea. More than 20 years ago, US surgeon Francis Robicsek attempted to fashion an external, hand-tailored support for the aorta. The proposal was made before the widespread use of CAD, MRI and RP. Materials such as polypropylene, nylon and knitted Dacron were proposed, with Dacron being the most popular. However, attempting to accurately recreate the shape of the aorta using material cut during surgery proved extremely difficult and the technique never caught on. Instead, off-the-shelf composite valve conduits were offered as a more realistic solution. 'Technology has allowed us to revisit the idea,' said Golesworthy. 'The aorta is such an extraordinary shape that you can't possibly do it by a "taking a yoghurt pot I prepared earlier'. The only way was to bring scanning, CAD and RP together.'

      • by sycodon (149926)

        "...interface between engineers and the rest of the world..."

        What interface?

        • by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:27AM (#35016950) Homepage

          Communications. The people that design your meds and implants are doctors and PhD's. They actually have very little understanding of solving problems in the real world. I work in the field as a support staff but actually graduated in industrial electronics. I recently had to explain 3 PhD's from the EE department how to interface a 10MHz optical signal with a coax cable - they were going to rework the whole link, I recommended they buy a media converter.

          • by slackergod (37906)

            It seems to me that our general body of knowledge is growing so large, and economic competition is so fierce, that people are being forced to specialize on particular areas, to the point that they lack even introductory knowledge about other fields of study. Case in point: this paper [diabetesjournals.org], where a doctor basically rediscovered calculus.

      • In May 2004, Golesworthy became the first recipient of his own invention after undergoing surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

        In May 2004...? Kudos to the guy and all, but this "news" is older than Youtube. Bush was still in his first term of office, and Slashdot had a usable interface.

      • You missed this quote

        'My aorta was dilating all through that period,' said Golesworthy. 'When you've got the scalpel of Damocles hanging over your sternum, it motivates you into making things happen and so they do...to me it seemed like a ridiculously obvious solution. The only way to do this was with CAD and RP. It shouldn't have taken an engineer to realise that, but it did.'

        Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/in-depth/analysis/uk-engineer-develops-own-life-saving-implant/1006877.article#ixzz1CE3SD5am [theengineer.co.uk]

        That's really putting your life on the line, you don't see bravery like that very often.

        I also quite like the code which took the quote and links back to the original article with a standard copy and paste

      • by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:18PM (#35020844) Journal

        Golesworthy believes that projects such as this demonstrate that the interface between engineers and the rest of the world isn't functioning in the way it should.

        On the contrary, I feel that the interface between doctors and the rest of the world isn't functioning in the way it should. Much of engineering is focused on customer needs, where as doctor's tend to have an attitude of superiority that breaks down communication. The field of biomedical engineering [wikipedia.org] aims to fix that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:39PM (#35016490)

      (Warning: graphic photographs)

      I sure hope so; all these ascii photographs around the webs have been driving me nuts.

    • That's not a graphic photo. Try looking up Fournier's gangrene. THAT is graphic. (No link, it's up to you. Googling the images is NSFW, but mainly because it's disgusting.)
      • I hate you.


      • by vlueboy (1799360) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:06AM (#35016894)

        It's a perineum gangrene (pubic area) acording to the internet. Grangrenes are painful rotting of living tissue and require amputation lest you get infected from the necrotic tissue; I suppose its picture has lots of black tissue where you expect skin colors, pus, gore, lots of rotting and hanging skin, and unkempt pubic hairs, and badly decayed sexual organs; male and female.

        We see tons of hearts on TV, and they're beating --not rotting-- while being operating on, unhealthy as they may be at the moment. No, there's no need to see a picture of your proposed comparison to sober up. But thanks for letting us inspect how bad things can get.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for the link. Wish /. did more 'informative' linking when it calls for it, as it does here.

      As for the story, this guy is BADASS, and I applaud the medical community in this case for keeping an open mind. Using MRI, CAD, RP (rapid prototyping) would probably seem pretty obvious for a lot of possible medical solutions, especially after diagnosis.

      Onto the gripes.... Is there REALLY that much of a disconnect between the medical industry, bio-engineering, if this falls within that scope, and giving patie

    • by crovira (10242)

      A hardware hacker extraordinaire.

      My hat is off to him

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:15PM (#35016390)

    I knew a conceptual artist who tried the same thing.

    I miss him.

  • Harder-core still, of course, would be designing and implanting it yourself. While quite rare, DIY abdominal surgery is possible and documented....
  • by prakslash (681585) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:31PM (#35016454)
    As an engineer by training, I find this to be very cool.

    I myself suffer from a physical... ahem.. shortcoming.
    So, just like this engineer, I designed and constructed a solution using a banana and some duct tape.
    My wife loves it!
    After reading this article, I am thinking I will go ahead and publicize my invention.
    Another yay for engineers!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As a biomedical engineer and cardiac surgeon in training, this makes me ridiculously excited!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I myself suffer from a physical... ahem.. shortcoming.
      So, just like this engineer, I designed and constructed a solution using a banana and some duct tape.
      My wife loves it!

      Do you ever get to join in?

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Engineers don't have wives.

      But the Sheep will love it I bet.

  • by Mahonrimoriancumer (302464) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:34PM (#35016468) Homepage

    Stories like this make me proud of my alma mater, Colorado School of Mines, for having a bio-medical engineering minor for mechanical engineers. We need more engineers working in medicine.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They should have a full Biomedical Engineering major program of study. Then you can be proud.

    • Moreover, I think increased cross-disciplinary study for engineering majors would be beneficial all around. At least at the engineering school I attended, it seemed common for most engineering students to have tunnel vision in their area of study. Part of this was due to the rigor of the curriculum not leaving much time for unrelated coursework, but I think it would make for a more well-rounded and effective engineer to allow for and encourage technical electives to be taken in many engineering disciplines.
  • by Coraon (1080675) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:34PM (#35016470)
    Tony Stark? Because if so I want to talk to him now about building a few other upgrades for me.
  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:38PM (#35016480)

    Do it yourself ;-)

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:46PM (#35016522) Homepage Journal
    There's no need - and hasn't been for a long time, at least 15-20 years - to put in a mechanical valve just for aortic valve disease. There are cadaveric (organ-donor) valves and porcine (pig-heart) valves available. They don't last as long as the mechanical ones, but they don't need anticoagulation. Given that he had Marfan syndrome, however, it's quite likely that the problem was a valve-and-aortic-root problem, just like the Bentall procedure I did the anesthesia for today, which does better with a mechanical valve. His solution is impressive: no quibbles on that here. Imaging a heart to get dimensions is hideously difficult. Getting a 3D model of the aorta is some fine engineering in itself.

    However, he has mostly transferred the problem downstream - the root of the aorta is the most elastic part of a very elastic vessel, and transmitting the higher pressure downstream (which his aorta-corset will do) will lead to increased ballooning of the segment closest to the heart. The hard part is to make sure that that segment can handle it for the remainder of his expected lifespan.
    • The hard part is to make sure that that segment can handle it for the remainder of his expected lifespan.

      As long as it handles it without fail for the rest of his life, isn't that long enough? Oh, wait...

      • by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:18AM (#35016686) Homepage Journal
        Reminds me of the greatest Pratchett quote ever:

        "Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life."
        • Yes, exactly. I like this wording, as it hides the punch line better:

          Build a man a fire and he's warm for the day;

          set a man afire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

        • Not true.

          I've been on fire (literally), and I'm bitterly cold during the winters. The assumption is that one cannot be "on fire" and survive. I'm proof that is not true.

          BTW, Stop Drop n Roll doesn't always work. Sometimes it just lights the ground on fire.

          • Terry Pratchett. He writes humor. Humor infused with a lot of fantasy elements, much in the same way that Douglas Adams wrote humor with some sci-fi elements. His statements may not be literally true in all cases. Work with me here.
    • by Graff (532189)

      There are cadaveric (organ-donor) valves and porcine (pig-heart) valves available. They don't last as long as the mechanical ones, but they don't need anticoagulation.

      But they do need immunosuppressants. That's still a heck of a trade-off!

      I guess that anticoagulants might be worse than immunosuppressants but they both introduce plenty of complications.

      • But they do need immunosuppressants

        Organs, yes. Cadaveric valves, no. Porcine, yes. That's why the cadaveric valves have become more popular. Sorry, I should have made that more clear.

        • by Graff (532189)

          Organs, yes. Cadaveric valves, no. Porcine, yes.

          Ahh, I wasn't aware that the cadaveric valves didn't require immunosuppressants. How do they achieve that? I imagine they can somehow strip off the markers which would trigger an immune response.

          That definitely makes a great case for using a cadaveric valve, I wonder why they didn't go that route.

          • by Kilrah_il (1692978) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @03:59AM (#35017448)

            When you transplant an organ, it is connected to blood vessels and thus is exposed to the immune system. When you put in biologic valves, no blood vessels are connected and there is no immune rejection. We do not understand completely why they are not rejected, because obviously they do get some blood, since they aren't ischemic, but I believe it has to do with the lack of good blood supply.
            BTW, as far as I know Porcine valves also do not need immunosuppresion, same as corneal implants.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Whow. . . no wonder your gas-passer. . . no bedside manner--at all!

    • I thought GE had scanners for sale that can do just that? Take a 3D MRI of a heart beating and display/record it in real-time. At 80 beats a minute, and 30 frames a second, not that much would be needed to collect still images of the heart in the same position of every beat. Recording it in 3D also makes a CAD scan of the heart easy to create.
    • Physics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Roger W Moore (538166) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:03AM (#35016886) Journal

      the root of the aorta is the most elastic part of a very elastic vessel, and transmitting the higher pressure downstream (which his aorta-corset will do)

      I'm not a medic but I am a physicist and what you say does not make sense from a physics point of view. If you take a bulge in a pipe containing a flowing liquid and squeeze it back down to the diameter of the rest of the pipe you do not increase the pressure lower down. In fact, if anything, you will reduce it because the narrower pipe will have a larger pressure drop along it due to viscous flow.

      This is not the same as squeezing a closed, static system, like a balloon where squeezing it at one point reduces the volume considerable which does increase the pressure causing the unrestricted part to bulge. Yes, technically there is a volume change by restricting the aorta but surely this is only a small fraction of the total circulatory system and even then wouldn't this just cause the body to eventually reduce the amount of blood in circulation by that amount?

      So unless, I have over simplified something (not taking account of the pulsed flow for example), I don't see from a purely physics perspective how it would make the pressure lower down any higher and so make the situation worse. There may be medical reasons for for increased concern but not the pressure reason you state above.

      • The pulsed flow is indeed exactly what you needed to take into account. The heart pumps out some amount of blood when it contracts, and the elasticity of the aorta makes this pressure change less abrupt downstream. If you keep the aorta from expanding, the pressure peaks downstream will be higher. Average pressure should remain about the same.
      • Re:Physics (Score:4, Informative)

        by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:37AM (#35018254) Homepage Journal
        The aorta is more like a balloon, less like a pipe. The graft is not very large, maybe 5-6 cm in length. In effect, you have moved the beginning of the aorta downstream a few cm. The aorta is supposed to expand with each beat and absorb the blood squeezed out by the heart, then shrink back down to size during diastole. This graft means that the first part of the aorta can't do that, and so the next part will have to. Soon, it too may need a jacket...
      • Given that his heart needs to maintain the same blood flow, it will need to generate higher pressures to get the blood through the less elastic aorta. That will increase the strain on his heart (W = PV, V is constant, P is increased), though presumably it will return it towards normal from a low level, rather than increase it to a dangerously high level. I am not a doctor either (whimsical account name!)...
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Well, the issue isn't so much that there's more pressure than normal - it's that the existing part couldn't cope with the pressure. Reinforcing it shouldn't pose any issues as long as the pressure level was normal to begin with.

    • A cadaveric valve lasts for about 8 years, give or take. I didn't see anywhere the engineer's age, but I can assume he is somewhere in his 40's or 50's. That means he will have to replace the valve about 4-5 times, assuming he reaches 80. I myself wouldn't like the idea of another 4-5 open heart surgeries in my lifetime. OTOH, at an older age, the valve may last longer (10-15y), and thus there might not be a need to replace it.
      Today a biological valve is usually reserved for older patients, while younger on

      • by kabloom (755503) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:50AM (#35019720) Homepage

        The life expectancy of someone with Marfan syndrome was 32 +/- 16 years in 1972, and is now 41 +/- 18 years [nih.gov] (all you need to see from that link is the abstract). If I could guess that the increase has to do with improved treatment technology (rather than improved management strategies), then someone getting surgery for Marfan syndrome is probably in their 20s or 30s, because they're unlikely to live too much longer than their late 30's or early 40's without surgery.

  • About 20 years ago my father had his aortic valve replaced (due to plaque buildup). He got a mechanical valve. While they were in there they did a bunch of bypasses for which they had to take venus grafts from his legs. I asked his cardiologist why there weren't any synthetic grafts. Harvesting the veins just seems like an opportunity for infection to me. He just said that there weren't any and seemed uninterested in the question. BTW, Mehmet Oz, Dr. Oz from TV, did the surgery. He had just done Frank Tor
    • by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:32AM (#35016774) Homepage Journal
      Living tissue (like a vein) is the most infection-resistant substrate. Infection is a major worry when using artificial graft material, because there isn't and won't be any blood supply to the graft. Synthetic grafts would be grossly inferior to venous grafts, which themselves are poor substitutes for arterial grafts (but there are remarkably few redundant arteries, so the question is generally moot).
      • by lseltzer (311306)
        So then the implant discussed here would be a major infection concern too?
        • Yes. Even worse, really, since it's outside the bloodstream (and therefore will have minimal exposure to immune cells).
          • by lseltzer (311306)
            Now that I think about it, my father went on antibiotics at the least little thing because they were worried about an infection (is it "seating"or "seeding"?) in the metal valve. I've never heard this as a concern for artificial joints. My mother's got a knee, an elbow and both shoulders.
            • "Seeding"; the concern is that an infection will land on the valve, set up shop, and spit off little blobs of bacteria throughout his system - the seeds. Bone infections are quite serious, and very difficult to eradicate, but because the entire blood volume of a human being doesn't pass through every bone, people generally don't get an infection there if it doesn't set in immediately post-op. Joint replacements are done in rooms that have laminar flow systems to make sure that the only air hitting the surg
  • What BS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jack9 (11421) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:12AM (#35016638)

    I have had 3 aortic valves implanted throughout my lifetime. Starting at the age of 2. I've also survived a Konno procedure and aortic stem reformation the last time around.

    First of all, Warfarin is pretty fucking safe. If I take an extra 5mg pill once a week, nothing happens. Out of all the thinners, it's not exactly aspirin mild, but it's not horrendously dangerous. Like all drugs, bodies react differently and while I'm ridiculously allergic to tetracycline, I'm middle of the road for reactions to warfarin (over 30 years of it). It's always shock and awe so a news story can give infotainment. Within my lifetime thinners have gained a lot of traction (due to aging boomers). Look up replacements for warfarin. It's big money and the idea that I'll be on warfarin for the rest of my life is unrealistic. Yes I'll be on something, but that's par for a mechanical valve.

    The prosthetic design he came up with, is for his specific problem, weak aortic tissue which involves the stem. As mentioned in the article, a prosthetic aorta isn't a new idea. I'm not exactly sure it's any better an idea than it used to be, nor is anyone else, with a sample size of 30ish. The meat of the story is how the prosthetic is customized. Scan, 3d model, manufacture, affordably. That is pretty radical, from the perspective of current internal medicine. This whole thing sounds like a medical device ad. What I'm more interested in, aortic valves and thinners, they demonize or don't talk about at all. Pity.

    • First of all, Warfarin is pretty fucking safe. If I take an extra 5mg pill once a week, nothing happens. Out of all the thinners, it's not exactly aspirin mild, but it's not horrendously dangerous.

      I agree. I've been on it for 25 years without incident. The most I've ever taken extra was 2.5mg, but I have forgotten to take my 10mg dose 2 days in a row, and had no problems as a result. Perhaps other people react differently, but from my experience, I have a hard time thinking of it as risky or dangerous.

    • I don't believe that the implant is a prosthetic aorta at all; rather, it is wrapped around the aorta to prevent further dilation. In that light, it seems like a huge advance for people facing this problem because they will no longer need a replacement of any kind. Warfarin may not be as bad as the article makes it out to be, but I'm sure that it would be better to not be taking any thinners if you didn't have to.

      The new method may not address the same problem that you have but it's certainly a worthwhile i

    • One of the problems with warfarin is that there is a lot of variability between patients. The main clearance enzyme for warfarin, CYP2C9, has reduced function in around roughly 25% of patients due to genetic polymorphisms. The target for warfarin, VKORC1, is highly variable due to genetics and the substrate concentrations, vitamin K, can vary greatly with dietary intake. Warfarin also has a narrow therapeutic window. If concentrations are too high there can be bleeding problems and at concentrations too
  • Well. This is amazing, though PET is well known for its possible thrombosis within 10 years post-surgery. Maybe he would need a materials scientist when designed for this.
    • by robbak (775424)

      As it is an external stent, around the outside of the arota, not inside it like a endovascular stent, I wouldn't think that thrombosis would be an issue.

      In related news, Firefox's spell-check doesn't know much about things medical.

  • Someone should get him a plague that says Putting Your Heart into Design and an award... just amazing.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because there's no reward like a talking plague?

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:33AM (#35016784) Homepage

    software engineer!

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:53AM (#35016858) Homepage Journal

    Okay, I'm a big fan of good engineering and all, but you gotta have some SERIOUSLY heavy-metal nards to be the first guy on the table for your own device for something like this!

    Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!

    Kudos and major man points!

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Do note this was back in 2004. Since then, at least 23 other patients have benefit from his pioneering!

      Not only is his pair cast iron, but they've helped others live as well! Shit!

  • talk about packing your own parachute...

  • by 2Bits (167227) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @01:41AM (#35017004)

    Just a few comments, and all the negative comments already: big deal, there is nothing new here.

    You know what, when I hear news like that, it really gives me more confidence in technical people (engineers, scientists, geeks, etc). The guy got a heart problem, he got the skills (with the help of doctors and others, probably) to design the best solution for himself, and in the meantime, for other people too. And guess what, he even got the ball to install it on himself first. And it seems to work just fine. What can be more cool, more geeky, more nerdy than that? Sure, it's only "a small sample of 30ish", as someone said here. So what? Even if this solution only applies to one person, it is still a fucking cool solution.

    For me, I'd like to hear news like that everyday, that's news for nerds, stuff that matters. If I had kids, I would tell them this, and other similar stories, as bed-time stories everyday.

  • they say the romans made aquaduct engineers stand under the arches they'd built when the sluices were first opened. would that more life-critical work could be made fully salient to the people doing it....
    • My supervisor used to work for Boeing and apparently they had a rule that if you designed something for civilian aircraft you had to be on the flight when it was tested. Presumabbly for this reason.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @02:39AM (#35017182) Homepage Journal
    Homer: What if instead of donating one of my old worn out kidneys, I gave grandpa that artificial kidney I invented...
    Marge: Oh Homer, that was just a beer can with a whistle glued to it...
  • This is an anomaly. The medical community(doctors in particular) doesn't cotton to these sorts of antics from outsiders. Just wait to this becomes more widely known amongst the Doctor fraternity. It will become like mid-wifery - a fringe practice prone to potentially costing your baby its life.
    • by malloc (30902) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:10PM (#35020730)

      This is an anomaly. The medical community(doctors in particular) doesn't cotton to these sorts of antics from outsiders. Just wait to this becomes more widely known amongst the Doctor fraternity. It will become like mid-wifery - a fringe practice prone to potentially costing your baby its life.

      To clarify, you mean how many Obstetricians consider mid-wifery "a fringe practice prone to potentially costing your baby its life", despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary?[1]

      [1] See Google, really

      • by Rutulian (171771)

        Well, doctors tend to be a conservative bunch for a number of very good reasons. New ideas take time before they get traction, and there is enough experience to make them confident recommending it to their patients. Some doctors are more comfortable recommending experimental techniques...I'm not sure if that makes them better doctors. I would prefer established practices unless there was a compelling reason to try something different (as in the article's case).

        As for the OB comment, I just had a baby daught

        • by malloc (30902)

          You'll note I said "many" OBs, not all. But if you are around much you will find in some circles an incredibly arrogant and ignorant attitude among some OBs.

          I suggest if you have another child you (well, your wife and kid) would benefit from looking at the real situation with mid-wifery, and the real outcome statistics since in the end that's all anyone (should) care about. Many types of complication can be dealt with by midwives, others are just as easy to take care of when they co-ordinate with the hosp

  • I was put on Warfarin (blood anti-coagulant, also used in some rat poisons, for the non-chem/pharm nerds) for half of last year after a bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots in both lungs, for the non-med nerds), following surgery.

    Warfarin is a cheap drug and does not seem to affect one's health, even long-term (comparing notes with a friend who is on a lifelong prescription due to heart valve replacement). It however IS quite a b*tch for someone who loves to tinker in the workshop or garden. The sligh

  • With all the stories we've had on here about the Red Cross suing game makers for use of their logo, has Slashdot really just put a Red Cross logo on all its health articles?
  • when he gets a cease and desist order from some submarine patent holder that vaguely mentions something similar.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead