Health News – NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News http://nocamels.com NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:39:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Fear-Free World? Israeli Scientists Succeed In Erasing Memory Of Fear In Mice http://nocamels.com/2017/03/turn-down-brain-erase-traumatic-memories/ Sun, 26 Mar 2017 12:24:38 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=53393

Erasing traumatic memories sounds like science fiction, but Israeli scientists have now managed to erase the memory of fear in mice. If humans erase unwanted memories from their brains in the future, films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could become reality.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researcher Says He Can ‘Erase’ Memory Of Addiction

In a study conducted at Israel’s Weizmann Institute, researchers succeeded in shutting down a neuronal mechanism by which memories of fear are formed in the mouse brain. After the procedure, the mice resumed their earlier fearless behavior, “forgetting” they had previously been frightened.

“This research may one day help extinguish traumatic memories in humans – for example, in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” the researchers said in a statement.

Cognifit Is A Gym To Train Your Brain

According to lead researcher Dr. Ofer Yizhar, “the brain is good at creating new memories when these are associated with strong emotional experiences, such as intense pleasure or fear. That’s why it’s easier to remember things you care about, be they good or bad; but it’s also the reason that memories of traumatic experiences are often extremely long-lasting, predisposing people to PTSD.”

SEE ALSO: The Memory Of Starvation Stays In Your Genes For Three Generations

In the study, Yizhar’s team examined the communication between two brain regions: the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala plays a central role in controlling emotions, whereas the prefrontal cortex is mostly responsible for cognitive functions and storing long-term memories.

Previous studies suggested that the interactions between these two brain regions contribute to the formation and storage of averse memories, and that these interactions are compromised in PTSD; but the exact mechanisms behind these processes were unknown.

In the new study, the researchers first used a genetically-engineered virus to mark those amygdala neurons that communicate with the prefrontal cortex. Next, using another virus, they inserted a gene encoding a light-sensitive protein into these neurons. When they shone a light on the brain, only the neurons containing the light-sensitive proteins became activated.

These manipulations, in the field of optogenetics – a technique extensively studied in Yizhar’s lab – enabled the researchers to activate only those amygdala neurons that interact with the cortex, and then to map out the cortical neurons that receive input from these light-sensitive neurons.

Once they had achieved this precise control over the cellular interactions in the brain, they turned to exploring behavior: Mice that are less fearful are more likely to venture farther than others. They found that when the mice were exposed to fear-inducing stimuli, a powerful line of communication was activated between the amygdala and the cortex. The mice whose brains displayed such communication were more likely to retain a memory of the fear, acting frightened every time they heard the sound that had previously been accompanied by the fear-inducing stimuli.

“Alleviating the symptoms of fear and anxiety”

Finally, to clarify how this line of communication contributes to the formation and stability of memory, the scientists developed an innovative optogenetic technique for weakening the connection between the amygdala and the cortex, using a series of repeated light pulses. Indeed, once the connection was weakened, the mice no longer displayed fear upon hearing the “scary” sound. Evidently, “tuning down” the input from the amygdala to the cortex had destabilized or perhaps even destroyed their memory of fear.

Yizhar says his research, recently published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, is focused on a fundamental question in neuroscience: How does the brain integrate emotion into memory? “One day, our findings may help develop better therapies targeting the connections between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, in order to alleviate the symptoms of fear and anxiety disorders.”

Now let’s just hope these brain-erasing capabilities won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Photos: Coral Gables Art Cinema/Universal Studios

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Israeli 3D Printing Technology Helps Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twins http://nocamels.com/2017/03/simbionix-3d-printed-models-surgery-doctors/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:41:23 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51581 From 3D-printed shoes to 3D-printed cars, 3D technology is changing everything around us, even the medical world. An Israeli company has developed innovative software for 3D printing anatomical models that enable doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery using a 3D model that matches the anatomy of the patient. This innovative technology can even help them prepare for extremely complex operations, such as separating conjoined twins.

The company behind the software is Israel’s Simbionix, which 3D Systems bought for $120 million three years ago. At a recent medical conference, Colorado-based 3D Systems exhibited this new Israeli development, which allows doctors to print in three dimensions the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure and study it while holding it.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

MacDonald Twins, twins joined at the head

“As complicated as it gets”

Perhaps the most phenomenal application of this Israeli technology is in helping separate conjoined twins. Jadon and Anias McDonald were born joined at the skull and shared blood vessels. Last fall, when they were 13 months old, they were finally separated during a 27-hour operation performed by doctors at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, supported by 3D Systems technologies and training sessions.

The remarkable surgery was made possible thanks to a dedicated team that included several members of 3D Systems’ healthcare division, who were present in the operating room for the surgery, along with nearly 40 other healthcare professionals.

Using medical scans and imaging of the twins, 3D Systems was able to create 3D models to facilitate planning of the complex procedure. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Goodrich, who has told the media “this is about as complicated as it gets.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/twin-boys-conjoined-at-head-successfully-separated-at-childrens-hospital-at-montefiore-after-more-than-20-hours-of-surgery-300349057.html

Custom devices tailored to the patient’s anatomy

Another example of a surgery that can apply this innovation is aneurysm repair, which can be done as an open operation or by using a minimally invasive technique where surgeons introduce tools through the femoral arteries in the groin and eventually place a stent-graft to repair the aneurysm.

During the course of the implantation, surgeons must pay great attention to maintain blood flow to vital arteries that originate from the abdominal aorta. The procedure becomes more complex when the aneurysm involves arteries to the kidneys and intestines. In such cases, stent-graft repair requires the use of custom devices tailored to a patient’s anatomy.

Improving safety 

“Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the US,” Susan Vetrone of 3D Systems tells NoCamels. “Our goal is to improve patient safety through advanced medical education.”

Combining 3D printing and healthcare, this project was spearheaded in Israel, but is “used by renowned surgeons in the US,” she says. It showcases “how our training tools help prepare future surgeons.”

3d printing software for surgeons

3D models used in classes 

Dr. Jean Bismuth of Houston’s Methodist Hospital and Dr. Jason Lee from Stanford University Medical Center have long been collaborating on teaching vascular surgery trainees. Their insight and experience were key to developing a complex training course which was brought to life by the 3D printed models created by 3D Systems.

SEE ALSO: 3D Printing: How The Technology Brings Energy And Hope To The Third World

According to Bismuth, “in the future, we hope to train and practice these procedures using pre-operative CT information as a tool for deciding how to most efficiently operate on a particular upcoming patient.”

Course attendees practiced the procedure, as it is performed in the OR, using a 3D printed model based on patient CT

Practicing the procedure using a 3D printed model based on a patient’s CT

3D Systems can also combine 3D printed models with virtual reality (VR) medical simulators, which creates a one-of-a-kind blended reality experience for surgical training and planning, which can be personalized based on patient-specific data.

Photos: 3D Systems/Simbionix, Christine Pogliano GrossoThe Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

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Sweet Dreams: New Cannabis Sleep Aid Developed In Israel http://nocamels.com/2017/03/israeli-cannabis-sleep-aid/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:56:55 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=53527 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

American pharmaceutical company CannRx and accelerator iCAN: Israel-Cannabis have partnered to launch a sleep aid, called ican.sleep, made from cannabis extracts. The product will be the first pharmaceutical-grade cannabis formulation for sleep on the market, and could be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry in Israel, said Bill Levine, the executive chairman of CannRx Technologies.

The product will consist of a precise cannabis formulation that will be inhaled by users for a rapid onset. The formulation will also determine the duration of users’ sleep.

“You take a puff or two, depending upon the dosage, and basically within ten minutes you’ll be drowsy enough to sleep,” Levine said. “We can give you a predictable, dose dependent response every single time.”

Sleeping woman

The companies announced the new product at the CannaTech medical cannabis conference in Tel Aviv this week. CannRx and iCAN plan to launch the sleep supplement globally following patent trials this year.

SEE ALSO: Research: Small Quantities Of Marijuana Protect Against Brain Damage

Similar, existing products are meant to be swallowed and are unpredictable, since medical cannabis products tend to be hard to control, Levine said.

The sleep aid could provide an inroad to the US market, said Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of iCAN.

SEE ALSO: Turning High-Tech Into ‘High’ Tech: Behind Israel’s Blooming Medical Cannabis Industry

Israel’s progress in successfully medicalizing and controlling cannabis was a common theme at the CannaTech conference, which is meant to highlight the innovation and normalization that is happening with medical cannabis in Israel, Kaye said.

“We’re doing more research in Israel than anywhere else. We have destigmatized better than other places, and we have an approach to medicalizing cannabis, rather than legalizing cannabis,” Kaye said.

marijuanabuds

To read the full article, click here

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The Secret To Eternal Life? Hydras Know Where To Regrow Lost Body Parts http://nocamels.com/2017/03/hydras-regenerate-body-parts-where-needed/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:25:02 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=52767 Hydra, a small freshwater animal, knows exactly where to regenerate lost body parts, and its “trick” could someday be used to regenerate human muscles, a new Israeli study suggests. And, if the hydra can infinitely regenerate itself, perhaps it knows the secret to immortality.

Until recently, it was thought that hydras – small, tentacled animals that can literally be shredded into pieces and regrow into healthy animals – use chemical signals to regenerate body parts, but researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology now suggest that hydras have structural memory that guides the regeneration of cells in the right direction.

Recently published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, the study suggests that pieces of hydras have structural memory that helps them shape their new body plan according to the pattern inherited by the animal’s “skeleton.” Previously, scientists thought that only chemical signals told a hydra where its heads or feet should form.

SEE ALSO: Parasite Genetically Related To Jellyfish Could Defy Everything We Know About Animals

Hydras use a network of tough, stringy protein fibers to align their cells. When pieces are cut or torn from hydras, this pattern (called “cytoskeleton”) survives and becomes part of the new animal. The pattern generates a small but potent amount of mechanical force that shows cells where to line up.

This force can serve as a form of “memory” that stores information about the layout of animal bodies. When pieces of hydra begin the regeneration process, the scraps of hydra fold into little balls, and the cytoskeleton has to find a balance between maintaining its old shape and adapting to the new conditions.

Hydra attached to a substrate

“If you take a strip or a square fragment and turn it into a sphere, the fibers have to change or stretch a lot to do that,” the study’s senior author, biophysicist Kinneret Keren of the Technion, said in a statement.

However, some portions retain their pattern. As the little hydra tissue ball stretches into a tube and grows a tentacle-ringed mouth, the new body parts follow the template set by the cytoskeleton in fragments from the original hydra. The main cytoskeletal structure in adult hydra is an array of aligned fibers that span the entire organism. Tampering with the cytoskeleton is enough to disrupt the formation of new hydras, the researchers found. In many ways, the cytoskeleton is like a system of taut wires that helps the hydra keep its shape and function.

Regenerating human muscles?

In one experiment, the researchers cut the original hydra into rings which folded into balls that contained multiple domains of aligned fibers. Those ring-shaped pieces grew into two-headed hydras. However, anchoring the hydra rings to stiff wires resulted in healthy one-headed hydras, suggesting that mechanical feedbacks promote order in the developing animal.

SEE ALSO: Smart Plant Drugs Birds Into Forgetting Their Bitter Taste

Hydras are much simpler than most of their cousins in the animal kingdom, but the basic pattern of aligned cytoskeletal fibers is common in many organs, including human muscles, heart, and guts. Studying hydra regeneration may lead to a better understanding of how mechanics integrate with biochemical signals to shape tissues and organs in other species.

heart

Photos and video: Technion, Frank Fox

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Miracle Pill: A Decade On, Israeli-Designed Drug Gleevec Still Battles Leukemia And Saves Lives http://nocamels.com/2017/03/gleevec-drug-fights-leukemia-cml/ Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:41:14 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=53277 Just 15 years ago, the prognosis for someone diagnosed with myeloid leukemia (CML) was extremely bleak. But now, thanks to a decade-long study on an Israeli-designed drug, that’s no longer the case.

Sam Fields, a Jewish-American professional hockey player, was diagnosed with CML in 2003 at the age of 27.  At the time, his doctors told him he only had two weeks to live. “They gave me a death sentence,” Fields said in an interview.

Amazingly, Fields, who is now 40-years-old, has been cancer free for almost 15 years. He attributes his being alive today to Gleevec, a cancer drug which was still in an experimental phase in 2003 when he first started taking it, but which has now come full circle.

SEE ALSO: Breastfeeding May Reduce Risk Of Childhood Leukemia, Study Shows

Mel Mann was a 37-year-old major in the U.S. Army with a wife and a five-year-old daughter when he was diagnosed CML and given three years to live. In August 1998, Mann was one of 20 patients that started the Phase I clinical trial for the drug STI571, now known as Gleevec. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2001 and Mel is still taking the drug today, making him one of the longest living Gleevec patients.

An 11-year study, 83.3% survival rate

Dr. Brian Druker, who led the original clinical development of Gleevec, co-authored the worldwide study which included 1,106 participants at 177 cancer centers in more than 16 countries. The study, published in the March 9th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that Gleevec keeps chronic CML at bay a full decade into treatment — with no signs of additional safety risks.

The story really begins  back in 2001, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) granted priority review for imatinib mesylate, sold under the name Gleevec, as an oral therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML.

The nearly 11-year long follow-up study showed an estimated overall survival rate of 83.3 percent. According to the National Cancer Institute, prior to Gleevec’s 2001 FDA approval, fewer than 1 in 3 CML patients survived five years past diagnosis.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Find Why Leukemia Recurs After Successful Chemotherapy

“The long-term success of this treatment confirms the remarkable success we’ve seen since the very first Gleevec trials,” Dr. Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research in the OHSU School of Medicine, said in a statement. “This study reinforces the notion that we can create effective and non-toxic therapies.”

Gleevec: Shutting down cancer cells without harming healthy ones

The discovery of Gleevec ushered in the era of personalized cancer medicine, proving it was possible to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones.

Gleevec was the first drug on the market to directly target the cancer-causing cells in CML, while leaving healthy cells alone. Fast-tracked through clinical trials and approved by the FDA in 2001 for treatment under certain circumstances, Gleevec held out the promise of turning a fatal disease into a manageable condition. Time magazine even put the drug on its cover and dubbed it a “bullet” against cancer.

Inspired by Israelis

Gleevec was in fact invented in the 1990’s by biochemist Nicholas Lyndon, although it’s success is most often attributed to Dr. Druker, who pioneered its use for the treatment of CML.

But Druker’s work was built on groundbreaking scientific research carried out in the 1980’s by an Israeli researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Professor Eli Canaani, working together with visiting American hematologist Robert Gale. At Canaani’s lab in Israel, he and Gale were the first to discover that when two key genes had a deviation in which they swapped pieces of genetic material, the result was a fused protein that triggered the cancer.

Gleevac, Time magazine

“This was the first demonstration that a cancer-specific DNA rearrangement joins two specific genes and causes a fusion of their encoded proteins to form a cancer protein,” Canaani said in a statement.

Eli Canaani

Prof. Eli Canaani of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science

The abnormal fusion, known as the Philadelphia translocation or Philadelphia chromosome, results in a gene called BCR-ABL. Gleevec works by inhibiting the fusion of the BCR and ABL genes.

Until Canaani’s discovery, doctors knew about the binding of the two genes, but had not understood its significance.

“Along came Eli Canaani and Robert Gale, and they showed that a new gene that isn’t present in any normal cell is actually created. It then became apparent to everybody in the field that this new gene could be driving the formation of the cancer cells,” Druker explains.

“If Dr. Brian Druker is the father of Gleevec, then Professor Eli Canaani is the grandfather,” Eric Heffler, national executive director of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, a charity that supports cancer research in Israel and funded Canaani’s research said.

He shoots, Gleevec scores

Hockey player Fields was very straightforward when talking about the option of taking Gleevec.

“I had two choices,” Fields said in a recent interview. “I could quit or I could fight, and I wasn’t about to quit. If this is the only shot I have, why not try it and die than not try it and die?”

For Fields and Mann, and many others. it ended up saving their lives.

Photos and video: Israel Cancer Research Fund, Courtesy

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3D Virtual Reality Therapy Could Help Repair Damaged Limbs, Israeli Study Finds http://nocamels.com/2017/02/3d-virtual-reality-therapy-repairs-limbs/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 09:32:09 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51211 A combination of traditional physiotherapy and cutting-edge technology may improve the motor skills and mobility of an impaired hand by letting the more mobile hand “lead by example” through virtual reality training, a new Israeli study suggests.

Typically, patients suffering from hemiparesis — the weakness or paralysis of one of two paired limbs — undergo physical therapy. “But this therapy is challenging, exhausting, and usually has a fairly limited effect,” Prof. Roy Mukamel of Tel Aviv University, who led the research, said in a statement. “Our results suggest that training with a healthy hand through a virtual reality intervention provides a promising way to repair mobility and motor skills in an impaired limb.”

SEE ALSO: Virtual Reality Therapy To Treat Fear Of Flying

physiotherapy, hands

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

As part of the study, 53 healthy participants completed baseline tests to assess the motor skills of their hands, then strapped on virtual reality headsets that showed simulated versions of their hands. The virtual reality technology, however, presented the participants with a “mirror image” of their hands — when they moved their real right hand, their virtual left hand would move.

In the first experiment, participants completed a series of finger movements with their right hands, while the screen showed their “virtual” left hands moving instead. Next, participants placed motorized gloves on their left hands, which moved their fingers to match the motions of their right hands. Again, the headsets presented the virtual left hands moving instead of their right hands.

The research team found that when subjects practiced finger movements with their right hands while watching their left hands on 3D virtual reality headsets, they could use their left hands more efficiently after the exercise. But the most notable improvements occurred when the virtual reality screen showed the left hand moving while in reality the motorized glove moved the hand.

Tricking the brain

“We effectively tricked the brain,” Mukamel says. “We manipulated what people saw and combined it with the passive, mechanical movement of the hand to show that our left hand can learn even when it is not moving under voluntary control.”

SEE ALSO: DouxMatok Tricks Your Brain

According to the researchers, this research could be applied to patients in physical therapy programs who have lost the strength or control of one hand. “We need to show a way to obtain high-performance gains relative to other, more traditional types of therapies,” Mukamel says. “If we can train one hand without voluntarily moving it and still show significant improvements in the motor skills of that hand – we’ve achieved the ideal.”

The researchers are currently examining the applicability of their novel VR training method to stroke patients.

virtual-reality

The study was conducted by Prof. Roy Mukamel of TAU’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, along with his student Ori Ossmy. It was recently published in Cell Reports.

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Wake Up! Daydreamers More Likely To Suffer From Sleep Deprivation http://nocamels.com/2017/02/personality-trait-predicts-sleep-deprivation/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:04:25 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51539 A new experiment performed on Israeli Air Force jet pilots reveals a new personality trait that predicts who is more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. The study’s results are crucial to recruiters of professionals who are required to function well in extreme situations, such as pilots, combat soldiers and firefighters.

According to Ben-Gurion University researchers, people who tend to daydream, get absorbed in reading a book or watching a movie to the point of ignoring their surroundings are those who will feel more tired as a result of sleep deprivation and will have a harder time returning to full alertness even after an eight-hour night of sleep.

IAF pilot preparing for a flight

IAF pilot preparing for a flight

The researchers – led by BGU‘s Dr. Nirit Soffer-Dudek and Major Shirley Gordon of the Israeli Air Force – contend that a personality trait called “dissociative absorption” is key.

“Dissociative absorption is the tendency to involuntarily narrow one’s attention to the point where one is oblivious to the surroundings,” the researchers explain. “It involves a temporary lack of reflective consciousness, which means that the individual may act automatically while imagining vividly, bringing about confusion between reality and fantasy.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Research Finds Parents’ Interrupted Sleep Is The Equivalent Of No Sleep At All

1200px-Sleep_woman

There is a vast professional literature about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation, including its effect on mood, cognitive function, and motor function. At the same time, “there have been very few studies that identified who would be especially affected by sleep deprivation,” according to BGU. “This study is the first to posit and identify the role of dissociative absorption.”

“Especially crucial to people who must function in extreme situations”

The question of who is more affected by sleepiness is relevant to the general population, but it is “especially crucial when it comes to people who must function in extreme situations with very little sleep, such as pilots, combat soldiers, professional drivers and others,” Soffer-Dudek and Gordon said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Reveal What Lack of Sleep Does To Your Brain

The research team conducted experiments on IAF pilots and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) officers (those who operate military drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles). As part of their training, pilots and RPA officers participated in a four-day seminar exposing them to the subjective and objective effects of fatigue. The purpose was to emphasize the importance of adhering to an orderly and sufficient sleep routine during operational activity.

“People who tend to daydream have difficulty regulating the transition between different states of consciousness and transitioning between different awake and sleep states,” says Dr. Soffer-Dudek. “Therefore, any disruption to their sleep-wake cycle generates an especially strong shakeup of their system, and the person has a harder time fighting off sleepiness.”

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Curry

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Curry calls for rescue teams at Ground Zero three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The study, recently published in the scientific journal Consciousness and Cognition, is the initial publication on this topic; the researchers hope that this personality trait may be instrumental in sorting people for key roles in the future.

Photos: Hernan Sanchez, IDF

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Listen Up: Study Shows Your Voice Can Tell If You Have Heart Disease http://nocamels.com/2017/02/voice-heart-disease-cad-beyond-verbal/ Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:32:46 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49963 The common expression,”I can hear it in your voice” is most often said during phone calls. It’s uttered when one side in the conversation picks up on how the other side is really feeling based on verbal clues. Now an Israeli company is taking emotional voice analysis to a whole new level with technology that can detect heart disease just by listening to us talk.

Beyond Verbal, an Israeli startup which makes voice recognition software to analyze human emotion, has announced the results of a new study on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) patients, conducted together with the Mayo Clinic. The research, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, shows that voice analysis can be used to identify the presence of CAD by establishing a strong correlation between certain voice characteristics and CAD. The study represents a significant breakthrough in this field, proving that there is a connection between distinct voice features and health conditions, which can significantly improve continuous monitoring and reduce remote healthcare costs.

CAD: The most common, and deadly, heart disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle can’t get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the hearts’ blood supply, causing permanent heart damage. Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. Heart failure means the heart can’t pump blood well to the rest of the body. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.

When screening for the disease, there was a great need for simple and noninvasive tests that could also improve the accuracy of risk estimation models. This is where Beyond Verbal realized they could use their technology to provide unique insight. In the past, Beyond Verbal has found voice signal characteristics that can be associated with various conditions such as Autism and Parkinson’s. The company then joined forces with the Mayo Clinic in order to research this same concept with CAD patients.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App

Beyond Verbal, Beyond Verbal Team

CEO Yuval Mor (2nd from right) with the Beyond Verbal Team

A 19-fold increase

After conducting the double blind study, which included 120 patients referred for elective coronary angiography and corresponding control subjects, one voice feature was shown to be associated with a 19-fold increased likelihood of CAD. This is the world’s first study to suggest a link between voice characteristics and CAD, and holds the potential to assist physicians in estimating the pre-test probability of CAD amongst patients with chest pain.

“A patient’s voice is the most readily available, easy to capture, and rich output the body offers,” Yuval Mor, CEO of Beyond Verbal said in a statement. “We are very excited to be able to work with Mayo Clinic on such a breakthrough research, studying the potential of using the human voice in healthcare monitoring and specifically CAD.”

2.5 million voice samples on file

Beyond Verbal has recently announced the availability of the Beyond mHealth Research Platform to facilitate the global collaboration between hospitals, research institutes and universities in the research to find vocal biomarkers. Founded in 2012 by Yoav Hoshen and Yuval Mor, Beyond Verbal has collected more than 2.5 million emotion-tagged voice samples in more than 40 languages to analyze human emotions, and secured their technology with multiple granted patents. Working off the concept that vocal intonation can provide significant insight into the inner-workings of human beings, the company is expanding its research on the connection between vocal intonations and health issues. The company has raised $10.1 million in funding in total.

Beyond Verbal plans to repeat the experiment in China and Israel to determine if the same correlation will show up in different languages. They will also test for any voice characteristics linked to other cardiovascular diseases.

The future: Diagnosis by voice recording?

Beyond Verbal’s CEO suggests that in the future doctors could diagnose medical conditions remotely by analyzing patients’ voice recordings.

“The idea eventually is to give people an app so we can check on them and tell them if everything is OK,” Mor told the New York Daily News. “We are opening the door for something completely new that can make a huge difference in the medical community.”

Beyond Verbal, CAD, Heart disease, voice

Photos: Beyond Verbal

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How Israel’s 3D Printing Industry Is Paving The Way To The Future http://nocamels.com/2017/02/israel-3d-printing-startups-technologies/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:24:42 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51757 The future has arrived. The ability to create a three-dimensional object using a simple printer is a reality in today’s world.

Merely three decades after 3D printing was invented, Israel is already the manufacturer of roughly 40 percent of all 3D printers worldwide, Ziv Sadeh, VP sales at Israeli 3D printing company Su-Pad, tells NoCamels.

The prices of these printers vary depending on their intended use and the quality, but many of them can now be purchased by anyone for use at home. While a consumer 3D printer costs a few hundred dollars, a professional printer – up to $1 million. But beyond their prices, the applications of 3D printing are very broad, used today to create anything from objects like toys and clothes, to sophisticated medical equipment.

3d printer

The process of 3D printing is relatively straightforward. A digital file of the desired item is created and stored on a computer, which is then sent to the 3D printer for printing. However, creating the file from scratch is very technical and can currently only be done by trained programmers. According to Sadeh, as 3D printers proliferate in the market, children will be taught how to do this programming on their own. But that’s a while away.

3D printing “live” organs?

In the meantime, physicians are already using these printers to create anatomy mock-ups, so they can get the clearest view possible and know exactly where to cut once in surgery. They also use them to create medical devices that can match the exact need of any patient at a fraction of the price in a fraction of the time.

Medical professionals are even looking for ways to create live tissue on 3D printers, which could one day, hopefully, eradicate the need for donors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

Human stem cells are already being 3D-printed in Israel by Nano Dimension. Founded in 2012, the startup has created a worldwide name for itself. In addition to manufacturing PCB’s (printed circuit boards) which connect electronic devices through conductive tracks, Nano Dimension’s breakthrough has been to discover how to print stem cells at high resolutions and high volumes.

syqe-inhaler-new

Another Israeli company, Syqe Medical, is using 3D printing for medical marijuana purposes. Its Syqe Inhaler is a 3D-printed device used to inhale medical cannabis. In addition to being healthier for your lungs, the Syqe Inhaler can distribute the dosage of medical marijuana with a higher accuracy than a standard medical marijuana cigarette, according to the company. Marijuana cigarettes make it difficult for doctors to accurately measure how much marijuana to distribute.

SEE ALSO: World’s First Precision Medical Marijuana Inhaler Hopes To Remove Stigma Of Smoking The Green Stuff

The Inhaler is also said to eliminate the feeling of a “high” for patients, which some don’t like, while still relaxing the patient and relieving their pain. Last year, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – one of the largest drug companies in the world – signed a distribution and cooperation agreement with Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.

Another strong evidence attesting to Israel’s strength in 3D printing is the acquisition of Simbionix by the company 3D Systems for $120 million in 2014. Simbionix is considered a leader in 3D virtual reality surgical simulation and training. Just last year, the company presented its cutting-edge software for printing anatomical models that enables doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery. Using this innovative technology, the doctor can 3D print the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure on, and study it while holding it.

Not only plastic objects 

Israeli 3D-printing pioneer Objet, which was founded some 20 years ago, is considered to be Israel’s first major 3D-printing company. In 2012, Objet merged with American printing giant Stratasys, making it one of the largest and most profitable 3D printing companies in the world. The current CEO of Stratasys is Israeli Ilan Levin, who previously served as the president of Objet.

SEE ALSOIsraeli 3D Printer Company Objet Merges With American Stratasys

Stratasys, which has headquarters in the US and in Israel, creates 3D printers ranging in price from $10,000-$400,000; some of these are used by large corporations to create prototypes of their products.

But while most 3D printers use plastic, Israeli startup XJet, founded in 2008, is a pioneer in 3D printing using liquid metal, making the resulting product stronger and more durable.

These and other 3D-printing technologies developed in Israel prove the country is set to become a 3D-printing powerhouse in the years to come.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

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Israeli Study: Viruses Exchange Infection Strategies, Plan Attacks Together http://nocamels.com/2017/02/viruses-coordinate-attacks-communicate-infection/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:34:17 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=52052 Viruses may be stealthy invaders, but an Israeli study reveals a new, chatty side of some. For the first time, viruses have been “caught” communicating with one another. This communication – short “posts” left for kin and descendant viruses – helps the viruses “reading” them to decide how to proceed with the process of infection.

According to the study, during infection, viruses secrete small molecules into their environment that other viruses can pick up and “read.” In this way, they can actually coordinate their attack, turning simple messages into fairly sophisticated infection strategies.

In the future, this discovery could lead to new anti-viral treatments.

SEE ALSO: Why Studying Mosquito Habitats And The Evolution Of The Zika Virus Can Help Halt The Epidemic

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

Conducted at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the study reveals that many viruses face a choice after they have infected their hosts: to replicate quickly, killing the cell in the process, or to become dormant and wait.

HIV, herpes and a number of other human viruses behave this way and, in fact, even the viruses that attack bacteria – called phages, or bacteriophage – face similar decisions when invading a cell.

SEE ALSO: One Israeli Researcher Is Outsmarting HIV To Cure AIDS

Interestingly, Prof. Rotem Sorek and his team at the Weizmann Institute discovered the communications between phages almost by accident. “We were looking for communication between bacteria infected by phages, but we realized that the small molecules we found had been sent by the phages themselves,” he said in a statement.

To find evidence for this communication, the team grew bacteria in culture and infected them with phages; they then filtered the bacteria and phages out of the culture, leaving only the smallest molecules that had been released to the medium. When they grew more bacteria on the filtered medium, infecting them with the same phages, they were surprised to find that the new phages became dormant rather than killing the bacteria.

The team isolated the communication molecule, eventually discovering that it is a small piece of protein called a peptide; they also identified the gene encoding it. They found that in the presence of high concentrations of this peptide, phages choose the dormancy strategy, so they named it “arbitrium,” the Latin word for decision.

Don’t get too gung-ho 

“At the beginning of infection, it makes sense for the viruses to take the fast-replication, kill-the-host route,” explains Sorek, “but if they are too gung-ho, there won’t be any hosts left for future generations of viruses to infect.”

At some point, the viruses need to switch strategies and become dormant, he says. This molecule enables each generation of viruses to communicate with successive generations by adding to concentrations of the arbitrium molecule. Each virus can then ‘count’ how many previous viruses have succeeded in infecting host cells and thus decide which strategy is best at any point in time.

Prof. Rotem Sorek

Prof. Rotem Sorek

Once they had identified this communication molecule in one phage, the researchers were able to find similar molecules in dozens of related phages – each phage encoding a slightly different communication molecule. “We deciphered a phage-specific communication code. It is as if each phage species broadcasts on a specific molecular ‘frequency’ that can be ‘read’ by phages of its own kind, but not by other phages,” says Sorek.

He points out that the communication-based dormancy strategy he discovered was found in phages, but it may have broader implications. “We don’t really know how viruses that infect the human body decide to go dormant. It is possible that a similar strategy to that of the phages could be used by viruses that infect us.”

If the viruses that infect humans are found to communicate with one another in a similar manner, we might learn to intercept these messages and use them to our advantage, possibly creating new kinds of anti-viral drugs.

Photos: Weizmann Institute, NIAID

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Decriminalization Of Cannabis In Israel To Boost Medical Marijuana Research http://nocamels.com/2017/01/decriminalization-medical-marijuana-research-israel/ Sun, 29 Jan 2017 14:57:31 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51997 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The decriminalization of cannabis in Israel, endorsed Thursday by the public security minister, will help boost medical cannabis research and technologies, said Saul Kaye, a co-founder of ICAN: Israel Cannabis, a private equity fund with a focus on the weed.

“It will help in the general story of de-stigmatizing cannabis,” Kaye said. “Today’s news will help open the door to larger players, including the big pharma companies, seed growers and genetic researchers, who realize this is going to be big.”

SEE ALSO: Turning High-Tech Into ‘High’ Tech: Behind Israel’s Blooming Medical Cannabis Industry
marijuana, weed, cannabis, scale - by https://unsplash.com/@budding

In a move seen as paving the way for marijuana to be decriminalized, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Thursday he plans to dramatically change the way the Israeli penal code treats private, recreational use of the drug.

Speaking at a press conference to announce his decision, Erdan said he will be accepting a proposal put forward by the Anti-Drug Authority recommending the adoption of the “Portugal Model,” in which possession and use of the drug would be decriminalized and treated largely as a health issue.

“This would mean moving to administrative fines, and criminal prosecution would only be a last resort,” Erdan said.

The new tack will need to clear the cabinet, but with many lawmakers backing decriminalization, the move is seen as likely to gain ministerial approval.

SEE ALSO: Meet The ‘Designer’ Strains Of Marijuana Bred In Israel To Treat A Wide Range Of Illnesses

Israel is well-known as a pioneer in medical cannabis. Last summer, the government approved a Health Ministry plan to relax some of the medical cannabis requirements. The plan aims to expand the number of doctors who can issue cannabis prescriptions, remove limits on the number of marijuana growers, make cannabis available at approved pharmacies, and possibly eliminate the requirement for a permit from the Health Ministry, so that just a doctor’s prescription will be sufficient.

Last week, Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it will finance research in the field of medical cannabis.

“Once the government gets on board, the industry will follow, and it has a lot of money to spend,” said Kaye.”The industry today in Israel is worth a few hundreds of million of dollars. I believe we will see $1 billion invested in startups, R&D and technologies in Israel over the next 24 months.”

Health News - Study: Cannabis May Relieve Parkinson's Related Pain

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Get Budding

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Israeli Tech Cuts Prescription Errors, Harvard Study Shows http://nocamels.com/2017/01/israeli-tech-cuts-prescription-errors/ Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:24:28 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51818 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A new study by Harvard Medical School shows that software developed by Israeli startup MedAware helps reduce prescription errors, potentially saving the lives of patients.

Ra’anana-based MedAware has developed software that uses algorithms and machine learning based on data and patterns gathered from thousands of physicians who treat millions of patients. The data are used to identify and give alerts about prescription errors in real time.

The company says its self-learning, self-adaptive system is proven to dramatically reduce healthcare costs while improving patient safety.

capsules pills drugs pharmacy hand

The Harvard study analyzed records from almost 800,000 patients to assess the efficacy of MedAware’s software. The report found that MedAware’s technology identifies errors otherwise undetected by current systems in use, minimizes the risks arising from fatigued doctors who are used to getting false alerts from current systems, and reduces prescription errors with high accuracy.

SEE ALSO: Harmless? Herbal Medicines Could Interfere With Life-Saving Cancer Treatments

The findings, recently published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), showed that MedAware’s technology sets a new standard for prescription alerts and patient safety vis-à-vis traditional safety systems, which only detect a fraction of actual errors, and are not geared up to identify random or complex errors, like prescribing a medication used only in pregnant women for an elderly make, for example.

The current clinical decision support (CDS) systems that are used by physicians are not patient-specific and suffer from high false alarm rates — which create a phenomenon known as “alert fatigue,” in which physicians simply learn to disregard notifications, a statement issued by MedAware, which is a part of OurCrowd’s portfolio of companies, said.

Doctor_consults_with_patient

To read the full article, click here

Photos: NIH

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Israeli Wearable Tech Upright Improves Posture, Reduces Back Pain http://nocamels.com/2017/01/upright-wearable-tech-back-pain/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:20:33 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51690 With many of us sitting at our desks for hours every day, poor posture has become an epidemic, leading to widespread backache and other ailments.

According to Israeli startup Upright, back pain relief starts with good posture. And that’s why its posture trainer, which discreetly attaches to your lower back, trains you to stand and sit upright. Every time you slouch, it gently vibrates, reminding you to correct your posture.

The gadget – which costs $130 – comes with a mobile app, tracking your progress and offering customizable training programs.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startups Take Major Medical Competition By Storm, Win Top Three Awards

A leading cause of back pain

Founded in 2012 by Oded Cohen and Ori Fruhauf, Upright Technologies claims that by training for as little as five minutes a day, you can correct your posture.

The small startup of 13 employees claims it could help us get rid of our habit to slouch in a very creative way. Its tiny silicone device is invisible when placed under your shirt. It connects to your back via scotch tape, and reminds you to sit up straight. The idea for Upright was born after Cohen’s mother had experienced constant back pain. “I promised her I would find a way to relieve her pain,” Cohen tells NoCamels.

About three years ago, the company raised $155,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, more than doubling its original goal of $70,000. Immediately thereafter, Upright Technologies sold 1,700 units to customers around the world – and realized they had hit something big.

Upright wearable device prevents back pain

Capitalizing on the wearable technology trend

“We’re riding on two big waves right now – the wearable trend and the wellness trend,” Fruhauf says. “Everything is becoming wearable – from the iWatch, to the Google glasses, these devices are becoming more accessible to the wider public. On the other hand, we’re utilizing the wonderful wellness trend sweeping the world – to be healthier, look better, and mainly feel better”.

SEE ALSO: Wearable Device Livia Promises To ‘Turn Off’ Menstrual Cramps, Alleviate Period Pain

Using the app, the customers build their personalized training plans for better posture. Input your weight, age, and the number of hours you sit during the day, and the app will build your plan for you. Once the device is attached, a gentle electrical pulse is transferred, and a light vibration is felt every time you slouch. The vibration’s intensity and other features can be adjusted.

In addition, a physical therapist can answer any questions in real time through a chat feature. According the Upright, the training program can help whether you’re wearing the device for five minutes a day for a whole hour.

“It’s natural for us to slouch sometimes,” Fruhuaf says. “Upright trains your muscles to have the ability to sit up straight whenever you like.”

According to the company, hospitals the world over are using the device to help their patients, and “raving customer reviews have been gushing in, claiming an incredible back pain relief.”

More productive and alert

Upright can also help in the workplace. Nearly half of the labor force in America suffers from head, back or neck pains, which negatively impact their ability to work, costing US employers about $7 billion per year.

According to a study recently conducted by Upright and Ernst & Young, after a few weeks of consistent training with the device, E&Y Israel employees improved posture and decreased back pain. As a result, more than half of the participants felt more productive and alert while at work.

Upright wearable device prevents back pain

Upright Technologies recently won the first-place award at the MEDICA App Competition for Best Medical Mobile Solution. The competition was part of one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs. Last year, Upright presented at CES, the largest tradeshow of consumer electronics in the world, held in Las Vegas. So far, Upright Technologies has raised $3 million from investors.

While several clinical trials are ongoing in the US and in Israel, Upright is pending an FDA approval. However, Fruhauf is optimistic: “We’re very lucky to have founded a company based on a product that can truly change people’s lives for the better.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Sniffing Out Cancer: Israeli Prof. Finds Diseases Like Cancer And Parkinson’s Can Be Detected On The Breath http://nocamels.com/2017/01/disease-detection-smelling-breath/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:17:55 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51369 What if detecting cancer was as easy as breathing in and out? According to the results of a recent study, it is.

An international team of 56 researchers in five countries has confirmed that different diseases are characterized by different “chemical signatures” identifiable in breath samples.

The findings by the team led by Israel’s Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were published recently in ACS Nano.

SEE ALSO: Revolutionary Device Detects Deadly Diseases, Cancer, On The Breath

Although diagnostic techniques based on breath samples have been demonstrated in the past, until now there has not been scientific proof that different and unrelated diseases are characterized by distinct chemical breath signatures. Also, technologies developed to date for this type of diagnosis have been limited to detecting a small number of diseases.

17 diseases, 13 shared chemical components

The study of more than 1,400 patients included 17 different and unrelated diseases: lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease (two types), multiple sclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, preeclampsia and chronic kidney disease. Samples were collected between January 2011 and June 2014 from 14 departments at nine medical centers in five countries: Israel, France, the USA, Latvia and China.

The researchers tested the chemical composition of the breath samples using an accepted analytical method (mass spectrometry). They discovered that all 17 of the diseases contained the same 13 chemical components, albeit in different compositions.

Technion, breath diagnosis

Two breath samples were taken from each subject, one was sent for chemical mapping using mass spectrometry, and the other was analyzed in the new system, which produced a clinical diagnosis based on the chemical fingerprint of the breath sample.

“A unique fingerprint”

“Each of these diseases is characterized by a unique fingerprint, meaning a different composition of these 13 chemical components,” Prof. Haick explained in a statement. “Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint that distinguishes us from others, each disease has a chemical signature that distinguishes it from other diseases and from a normal state of health. These odor signatures are what enables us to identify the diseases using the technology that we developed.”

86% accuracy

With a new technology called “artificially intelligent nanoarray,” developed by Prof. Haick, the researchers were able to perform fast and inexpensive diagnosis and classification of diseases, based on “smelling” the patient’s breath, and using artificial intelligence to analyze the data obtained from the sensors. Some of the sensors are based on layers of gold nanoscale particles and others contain a random network of carbon nanotubes coated with an organic layer for sensing and identification purposes.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Decode Autism Genes

Haick’s team at first wondered if factors such as gender, age, smoking habits and geographic location would affect the technology, but found that it did not affect the reliability of the diagnosis.

“Our system has detected and classified various diseases with an average accuracy of 86%.,” Prof. Haick and his previous Ph.D student, Dr. Morad Nakhleh, explained in a statement.

They added: “This is a new and promising direction for diagnosis and classification of diseases, which is characterized not only by considerable accuracy but also by low cost, low electricity consumption, miniaturization, comfort and the possibility of repeating the test easily.”

Creator of the SNIFFPHONE

Haick is already well known for the SNIFFPHONE, a device he developed that can sense disease on the breath, much like a breathalyzer test. The SNIFFPHONE uses nanotechnology sensors to analyze the particles on the breath and can pinpoint exact diseases, like certain kinds of cancer, pulmonary and even the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

hossam haick detect cancer breath

A most accomplished professor

In addition to being a professor at Technion and head of three major European consortia, Prof. Haick has received many prestigious awards and grants, including the Marie Curie Excellence Award, the European Research Council grant, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Award and the Humboldt Senior Research Award (Germany). He has been included in several important lists, including the world’s 35 leading young scientists list published by MIT’s Technology Review, the Nominet Trust 100 list (London), which includes the world’s 100 most influential inventors and digital developments, and Los Angeles-based GOOD Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Prof. Haick also received the highest teaching award granted by the Technion, the Yanai Prize for Academic Excellence.

Hossam, Technion

Professor Hossam Haick

Breath: “an excellent material for diagnosis”

Haick’s group is not the first to use a patient’s breath to detect diseases. Back in 400 B.C., before the invention of modern medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates observed that a number of diseases could be detected on the breath.

“Breath is an excellent raw material for diagnosis,” Prof. Haick said in a statement. “It is available without the need for invasive and unpleasant procedures, it’s not dangerous, and you can sample it again and again if necessary.”

Photos and videos: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

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The Coolest Israeli Technologies Wowing The Crowds At CES 2017 http://nocamels.com/2017/01/israeli-technologies-startups-ces-2017/ Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:26:16 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=51296 From wearable technologies to artificial intelligence, the Israeli delegation to CES 2017 is showcasing a wide set of solutions for the consumer electronics industry, some of which are truly game-changing.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Startup Nation is home to some 500 consumer electronics companies in a range of fields: mobile devices, smart homes and smart TVs, video and gaming, automotive, wearables, Internet of Things and more.

Overall, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas this week, is showcasing 3,800 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology systems from 150 countries. Roughly 165,000 people are attending this year’s show, which runs January 5-8.

CES has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies, and is considered the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. The largest tradeshow of its kind, CES has been produced by the Consumer Technology Association for the past 50 years.

Here are some of the coolest, up-and-coming Israeli technologies at the conference:

SCiO: A molecular sensor built into a smartphone

Changhong, one of China’s largest consumer electronics makers, and Israeli startup Consumer Physics, maker of the SCiO handheld molecular sensor, unveiled the world’s first smartphone with a built-in material sensor at CES this week.

This smartphone will allow consumers to scan materials and immediately receive actionable insights based on their underlying chemical composition, such as the nutritional value of foods, alcohol content of drinks, purity of cooking oils, and identification of raw materials used in manufacturing.

scio-scanning-strawberries

This capability has the potential to change smartphones forever, just like the integration of cameras and GPS units have over the past decade. The smartphone is set to launch later this year.

Founded in 2011 by Damian Goldring and Dror Sharon, Consumer Physics has so far raised $11.5 million from investors. Backed by Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran (who invented the USB drive), Khosla Ventures and Israeli crowd-funding firm OurCrowd, Consumer Physics could very well change the way we interact with the world.

According to Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, Consumer Physics “truly brought science fiction to life. This new integration of their SCiO technology into the Changhong H2 phone will unleash a tsunami of applications that will allow users to better know and understand the world around us and to lead more healthy and productive lives.”

Beyond Verbal: Deciphering people’s moods 

Israeli company Beyond Verbal‘s cutting-edge, artificially intelligent technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time.

Having already analyzed millions of voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions.

The company’s technology can be applied in mobile apps, voice assistants, wearables, and a variety of other settings. Its software can also be integrated into existing products, helping devices and applications envision not just what users type, but also how they feel and what they mean.

SEE ALSO: Beyond Verbal’s Technology Interprets Trump’s Real Emotions

Founded in 2012 by Yoav Hoshen and Yuval Mor, the company has already been granted several patents and raised $10 million.

TytoCare: Telemedicine at your fingertips 

Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment and also save the money you would have paid for the visit.

Israeli startup TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which can detect and classify common diseases such as the flu or ear infections. The kit includes a stethoscope, an otoscope and a computer-vision camera that helps the user diagnose the problem. In case a doctor is needed, the device can also be used to connect with a specialist for a remote consultation.

Founded by Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has raised $18.5 million so far, with major drugstore chain Walgreens among its investors.

Radiomize: Reducing car accidents 

We all know texting while driving is dangerous, yet we still do it – we just can’t help ourselves. But safety doesn’t need to be comprised.

Founded in April 2015 by Shmuel Kaz and Gilad Landau, Israeli startup Radiomize works to reduce car accidents. Radiomize has created a steering wheel cover embedded with text-to-speech technology and a matching mobile app. This patented gadget fits most vehicles, allowing drivers to control their phones without taking their focus off the road. According to Radiomize, its technology can reduce distracted driving by 23 percent.

And, it can even help you choose your music without taking your eyes off the road.

Digisense: Monitoring infants and the elderly 

Founded by Eyall Abir in 2010, Digisense has developed a wearable, real-time monitoring solution for babies and the elderly, designed to respond to the needs of infants and geriatric patients.

The gadget, which clasps onto a diaper, helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It monitors hydration levels, urine quantity and quality, and minimizes irritation to the skin. For the elderly, this wearable device monitors quality of care, while empowering confidence, independence and dignity.

For use at home, hospitals or nursing homes, the device can be attached (using Velcro) to any diaper or cloth. This Internet of Things (IoT) device is noninvasive and provides data through an app. It can even tell you when the diaper is wet and the baby needs changing.

Mobileye’s most complex autonomous drive

As opposed to the budding startups featured above, Mobileye has been around for nearly two decades (founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Prof. Amnon Shashua); but its newest technologies being showcased at CES this week simply cannot be ignored.

Delphi Automotive and Israeli company Mobileye are presenting their cutting-edge driverless car at the show. Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver assistance systems that help prevent collisions, has contributed its innovative autonomous driving technologies to Delphi’s car.

Last month, the companies said they would hold the “most complex automated drive ever publicly demonstrated” in Las Vegas. The drive will tackle everyday driving challenges like highway mergers, congested city streets with pedestrians, cyclists and a tunnel.

Additionally, Mobileye, BMW and Intel announced at CES today that they will have 40 autonomous test vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

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Israeli Researchers Find Revolutionary Deep-Sea Bacteria Treatment For Prostate Cancer http://nocamels.com/2016/12/bacteria-laser-treatment-prostate-cancer-cure/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 11:43:40 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=50924 Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with roughly 40,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK every year, according to the National Health Service. Current treatments, such as radiotherapy and surgery, regularly cause lifelong incontinence. In addition, 90 percent of men who undergo such treatments struggle with erectile problems.

Using lasers and a drug made from deep-sea bacteria, Israeli scientists have now developed a non-surgical method to treat men in the early stages of prostate cancer, drastically improving their chances of completely eliminating the disease without the need to remove the gland.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Discover Why Cancer Recurs – And Fight Back

The novel approach, which has already been tested across Europe, eliminates tumors with minimal side effects. In the treatment, doctors inject a light-sensitive drug derived from deep-sea bacteria into a patient’s bloodstream, killing cancer cells without destroying healthy tissue.

Cancer Cell

“Excellent news for men”

The treatment, called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy or VTP, was developed by Prof. Avigdor Scherz and Prof. Yoram Salomon of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, in collaboration with the privately-owned company STEBA Biotech, and additional researchers from Europe.

Results of a clinical trial in 413 patients at 47 hospitals in 10 countries across Europe, most of which were performing VTP for the first time, showed that the drug, which is activated with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate, was so effective that 49 percent of patients go into complete remission, compared to 13.5 percent in the control group. That’s almost four times more effective.

“These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate,” Mark Emberton, a University College London urologist who led the trial, said in a statement. “This is truly a huge leap forward.”

SEE ALSO: New Israeli Cancer Vaccine Triggers Response In 90% Of Cancer Types

With successful trials already completed, and the results published in academic journal The Lancet, the scientists hope that this new treatment could be offered to patients within just a few years.

From the bottom of the ocean

As reported in the published study, WST11, the light-sensitive drug used, is derived from bacteria found at the bottom of the ocean. To survive with very little sunlight, they have evolved to convert light into energy with incredible efficiency. The Weizmann scientists exploited this feature to develop WST11, a compound that releases free radicals to kill surrounding cells when activated by laser light.

No significant side effects

Men with low-risk prostate cancer are currently put under active surveillance, where the disease is monitored and only treated when it becomes more severe. Radical therapy, which involves surgically removing or irradiating the whole prostate, has significant long-term side effects, so it is only used to treat high-risk cancers.

While radical therapy causes lifelong erectile problems and incontinence, VTP only caused short-term urinary and erectile problems which resolved within three months, the researchers said. No significant side-effects remained after two years.

test tubes blood lab

In the trial, only 6 percent of patients treated with VTP needed radical therapy, compared with 30 percent of patients in the control group.

“The fact that the treatment was performed so successfully by non-specialist centers in various health systems is really remarkable,” Emberton said in a statement.

Hope for the future

The VTP treatment is now being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a possible license, but it likely to be several years before it can be offered to patients more widely. If the trials continue to be successful, the treatment should be applied to other cancers, including breast and liver cancer, according to the research team.

Photos and video: Weizmann Institute of Science, Darryl Leja – NHGRI, NIH

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$100 Wheelchair Brings Hope To Disabled Kids In Third World Countries, Syrian Refugees http://nocamels.com/2016/12/hundred-buck-wheelchair-disabled-kids/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:20:10 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=50108 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Millions of disabled people lack minimal mobility as the Third World has a shortfall of 20 million chairs to serve them. Children aged five and older sometimes need to crawl to get around, or can’t attend school because of lack of accessibility.

So Pablo Kaplan, who served for almost 30 years as the vice president of Marketing at Keter Plastic, an Israeli manufacturer of plastic household and garden products, decided to come to their aid and set up the Wheelchairs of Hope project. The aim was to produce wheelchairs for disabled children in Third World countries.

SEE ALSO: UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall

After he spent three years working on the project, the first shipment of 250 wheelchairs for children in institutions in Israel and the Palestinian Authority is to be sent this month, with a batch for residents of the refugee camps in Syria soon to follow. Distribution of the wheelchairs is being done through institutions including the Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem and Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana.

To develop the optimal chair that can withstand harsh conditions but at the same time be comfortable for children, Kaplan contacted his friend and colleague back from his days at Keter, Dr. Amir Ziv Av, now the owner of engineering company Ziv Av Engineering Group. Together they developed a lightweight chair — it weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds) as opposed to the standard 15 kilograms — that can handle off-road conditions, requires zero maintenance and is robust and simple to assemble. More importantly, the chair costs just $100.

“We also took the child’s self esteem into our design,” said Kaplan. “It is a chair designed for children that looks more like a high chair and not like a medical device. It is not a wheelchair for adults adapted to children.”

SEE ALSO: ReWalk, The Revolutionary Israeli Tech That Allows Paraplegics To Walk, Nabs FDA Approval

The prototype of the product was created using a giant three-dimensional printer, the first of its kind in Israel. Funding came from private money and from a grant from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy, said Kaplan, an Israeli who was born in Argentina. The chair also passed all the international standards tests, he said.

The wheelchairs have a metal skeleton combined with plastic elements. “The parts that come in contact with the child are plastic,” said Kaplan in an interview. The first chairs are aimed at 5- to 9-year-olds, who are semi-active and can push themselves, he said. Alyn’s occupational therapy seating specialists provided the much needed insights for the design of the wheelchair.

Wheelchairs of Hope

To read the full article, click here.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Gut Microbes Contribute to Recurrent ‘Yo-Yo’ Obesity, Study Shows http://nocamels.com/2016/12/gut-microbes-recurrent-obesity-diet/ Sun, 18 Dec 2016 09:57:40 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49613 Following a successful diet, many people are dismayed to find their weight rebounding – an all-too-common phenomenon termed “recurrent” or “yo-yo” obesity. Worse still, the vast majority of recurrently obese individuals not only rebound to their pre-dieting weight, but also gain more weight with each dieting cycle. During each round of dieting-and-weight-regain, their proportion of body fat increases, and so does the risk of developing complications, such as fatty liver and other obesity-related diseases.

Now, researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have shown in mice that intestinal microbes – collectively termed the gut microbiome – play an unexpectedly important role in exacerbated post-dieting weight gain, and that this common phenomenon may in the future be prevented or treated by altering the composition or function of the microbiome.

SEE ALSO: Wait, What? Eating Carbs At Night Could Benefit Obese People

diet

The study, recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, was led by Dr. Eran Elinav and Prof. Eran Segal. They found that after a cycle of gaining and losing weight, all the mice’s body systems fully reverted to normal – except the microbiome. For about six months after losing weight, post-obese mice retained an abnormal “obese” microbiome.

“We’ve shown in obese mice that following successful dieting and weight loss, the microbiome retains a ‘memory’ of previous obesity,” Elinav said in a statement. “This persistent microbiome accelerated the regaining of weight when the mice were put back on a high-calorie diet or ate regular food in excessive amounts.”

According to Segal, “by conducting a detailed functional analysis of the microbiome, we’ve developed potential therapeutic approaches to alleviating its impact on weight regain.”

In a series of experiments, the scientists demonstrated that the makeup of the “obese” microbiome was a major driver of accelerated post-dieting weight gain. For example, when they depleted the intestinal microbes in mice by giving them broad-spectrum antibiotics, the exaggerated post-diet weight gain was eliminated.

SEE ALSO: Diet Startup ‘DayTwo’ Creates Unique Personalized Diets By Checking Your… Gut Bacteria

In another experiment, when intestinal microbes from mice with a history of obesity were introduced into germ-free mice (which, by definition, carry no microbiome of their own), their weight gain was accelerated upon feeding with a high-calorie diet, compared to germ-free mice that had received an implant of intestinal microbes from mice with no history of weight gain.

Next, the scientists developed a machine-learning algorithm, based on hundreds of individualized microbiome parameters, which accurately predicted the rate of weight regain in each mouse, based on the characteristics of its microbiome after weight gain and successful dieting.

Furthermore, they identified two molecules driving the impact of the microbiome on regaining weight. These molecules – belonging to the class of organic chemicals called flavonoids that are obtained through eating certain vegetables – are rapidly degraded by the “post-dieting” microbiome, so that the levels of these molecules in post-dieting mice are significantly lower than those in mice with no history of obesity.

The researchers found that under normal circumstances, these flavonoids promote energy expenditure during fat metabolism. Low levels of these flavonoids in weight cycling prevented this fat-derived energy release, causing the post-dieting mice to accumulate extra fat when they were returned to a high-calorie diet.

Transplanting fecal microbes to prevent recurring obesity

Finally, the researchers used these insights to develop new treatments for recurrent obesity. They implanted formerly obese mice with gut microbes from mice that had never been obese. This fecal microbiome transplantation erased the “memory” of obesity in these mice when they were re-exposed to a high-calorie diet, preventing excessive recurrent obesity.

Social Awareness: 'Big Brother' Study Sheds Light On Mice's Social Structure

 

Next, the scientists used an approach that is likely to be more unobjectionable to humans: They supplemented post-dieting mice with flavonoids added to their drinking water. This brought their flavonoid levels, and thus their energy expenditure, back to normal levels. As a result, even upon return to a high-calorie diet, the mice did not experience accelerated weight gain.

“We call this approach ‘post-biotic’ intervention,” Segal said in a statement. “In contrast to probiotics, which introduce helpful microbes into the intestines, we are not introducing the microbes themselves but substances affected by the microbiome, which might prove to be more safe and effective.”

Recurrent obesity is an epidemic of massive proportions, affecting nearly half of the world’s adult population, Elinav says. It predisposes people to common life-risking complications, such as adult-onset diabetes and heart disease. “If the results of our mouse studies are found to be applicable to humans, they may help diagnose and treat recurrent obesity, and this, in turn, may help alleviate the obesity epidemic.”

yo-yo-diet

The study was conducted by Christoph Thaiss, a Ph.D. student in Elinav’s lab. Thaiss collaborated with master’s student Shlomik Itav of the Elinav lab, Daphna Rothschild, a Ph.D. student in Segal’s lab, as well as with other scientists from the Weizmann Institute and elsewhere.

Photos: Courtesy

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Karate Kids Kick Cancer By Channeling Stress, Fear And Pain With Martial Arts http://nocamels.com/2016/12/karate-kids-kicking-cancer-martial-arts/ Thu, 15 Dec 2016 08:44:10 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49844 Having lost his own two year-old daughter, Sara Basya, to leukemia in 1981, Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg has a strong bond with children with cancer. A first degree black belt in the Korean art of Choi Kwon Do, Goldberg’s life took an unexpected turn when he began teaching breathing techniques to kids at an oncology camp he directed.

It all started when Rabbi Goldberg (or ‘Rabbi G’, as the young patients affectionately call him), a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Pediatrics at the Wayne State School of Medicine and a 2014 “Top 10” CNN Hero , walked into a room where a five year old child was undergoing treatment and was being held down while screaming. Goldberg stepped in and asked the nurses to give him a few minutes alone with the boy. In an effort to calm him, Goldberg decided to demonstrate some breathing techniques that are used in martial arts. “In martial arts, you learn that pain is a message that you don’t have to listen to,” Goldberg explains.

Within five minutes, the boy had learned a simple breathing technique and twenty minutes later he looked up at the nurse and asked her when she would do the procedure. However, she had already finished and the child had hardly noticed.

SEE ALSO: Program Promotes Arab/Israeli Peace Through Martial Arts

Not just for cancer patients

Goldberg’s commitment to ease the pain of very sick children, and his dream of bringing healing through the empowering focus of the martial arts, resulted in the creation of Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) in June of 1999. A non-profit organization, Kids Kicking Cancer provides weekly classes for both inpatient and outpatient children in the mind-body techniques found in the martial arts. Despite the word ‘cancer’ in the organization’s name, the program offers help and services, not just to cancer patients and their families, but to any child dealing with the challenges of serious or chronic illness.

Free of charge

Through an innovative program, also known as the Heroes Circle, which merges modern integrative medicine with traditional martial arts, Kids Kicking Cancer addresses the overwhelming needs of children with illness. Specially trained black belt martial artists, some of whom were once in the Kids Kicking Cancer program when they were children, go through an intensive 10-hour training course. They then go on to teach breathing, visualization, and relaxation techniques, in addition to traditional martial arts moves to help empower the children and provide them with a sense of Power, Peace and Purpose, which is KKC’s mantra. Martial arts classes, support during hospital and clinic procedures, uniforms, and transportation to and from classes are all provided to families at no cost. Children three and older, and their siblings, are eligible for the program.

From Detroit to Israel

Founded in Goldberg’s home city of Detroit, Michigan, Kids Kicking Cancer launched in Israel in 2013. The program has now expanded to 28 hospitals in the US & Canada, 15 in Italy, and six in Israel. The participating Israeli hospitals are: Shaarei Tsedek, Hadassah Ein Karem, and Alyn Hospitals in Jerusalem, the Sheba Hospital at Tel Hoshomer, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) and Schneider’s Children Medical Center in Petah Tikvah. In total, Kids Kicking Cancer is working with 3,000 children worldwide and 80 children in the six Israeli hospitals.

SEE ALSO: Israeli App Belong Helps Cancer Patients, Families Through Healing Process

The chairman of Kids Kicking Cancer Israel is Danny Hakim, a seventh degree Karate black belt with over 30 years teaching experience. Hakim has represented Australia, Japan and Israel in numerous international karate tournaments. His ability to see martial arts as a tool to empower children to create inner peace and universal focus led to his founding Budo for Peace in 2004. When he learned about Kids Kicking Cancer, he decided to bring it under the umbrella of Budo for Peace, which is funded by Israel’s Bank Hapoalim and a number of private foundations. KKC Israel’s instructors come from all sectors of the public, both Jewish and Arab. Hakim views the program as a model of coexistence.

Kids, Cancer, Kids Kicking Cancer, Danny,

Danny Hakim, Chairman of Kids Kicking Cancer Israel

A CNN Hero

Kids Kicking Cancer has been widely lauded in the press. In March 2012, Goldberg was featured in People Magazine in their “Heroes Among Us” feature. In August 2013, Kids Kicking Cancer was featured on Good Morning America and this year was the subject of an article in USA Today. In 2014, Rabbi Goldberg was recongnized as a “Top 10” CNN hero, a global program which honors individuals who make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid and make a difference in their communities.

Study: 85% feel less pain with KKC’s method

A new study from the Wayne State University School of Medicine found that Kids Kicking Cancer was effective for the vast majority of patients they studied.

“The martial arts have often been known to be invested in Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee types of activities,” Dr. Martin Bluth of the Wayne State University School of Medicine said in a statement. “So what we did is assess whether or not martial arts intervention using the meditative capacities and empowerment capacities … can have an effect on moderating or reducing childhood cancer pain.”

The research team worked with 64 children of varying ages to test their pain levels before, during and after their martial arts training. The study found that 85 percent of the students reported feeling less pain, thanks to Rabbi G’s method.

Sold-out charity benefit

A week ago, Kids Kicking Cancer Israel hosted a special benefit evening in Ra’anana, a central city in Israel, with all proceed going directly to KKC. Hundreds packed the municipal hall to watch Hollywood comedian Elon Gold perform his hilarious stand-up act, but not before two inspirational Israeli KKC kids, sisters Kayla and Gefen Feiler, stole the show when they demonstrated what they had learned from Kids Kicking Cancer. At one point the entire crowd stood up and following the girls’ lead, practiced the Breathe Break, a stress-relieving breathing technique trademarked by Kids Kicking Cancer. When they finished, the girls’ instructor told the crowd that Gefen, the younger sister who had cancer, is now in full remission.

Kids Kicking Cancer, Girls cancer, karate, cancer

Kayla (left) and Gefen (right), from Kids Kicking Cancer Israel

Not about learning, but teaching

Kids Kicking Cancer has already helped thousands of children around the globe deal with their pain in a more managable way and regain a sense of control over the chaos of their lives. The potential to reach millions of young patients is vast, but Goldberg insists that it’s not about teaching the children, but about “empowering kids to be partners in their own healing”. Goldberg’s aim is for the kids to see themselves as victors, not victims and for those same kids to provide ispiration and light to others facing life-challenges.

“It’s all about the children becoming teachers,” Rabbi Goldberg told the Detroit Free Press. “When children know they have a purpose — it changes everything.”

Photos and Video: KidsKickingCancer.com, CNN

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Turning High-Tech Into ‘High’ Tech: Behind Israel’s Blooming Medical Cannabis Industry http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israel-medical-cannabis-industry-marijuana/ http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israel-medical-cannabis-industry-marijuana/#respond Sun, 11 Dec 2016 11:45:38 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49153 Some of the recent studies coming out of Israel show that marijuana can heal bone fractures; is able to relieve the pain associated with Parkinson’s disease; and that small quantities of cannabis can prevent brain damage, and even halt the spread of cancer.

But cannabis is not only the subject of research and clinical trials in Israel, it’s also the focus of a host of startup entrepreneurs working to apply the benefits of marijuana to the commercial world. Large companies are also jumping on the green bandwagon: Israeli pharma giant Teva recently said it would market Syqe, a medical marijuana inhaler developed in Israel. Two other Israeli companies have already developed marijuana tablets.

Health News - Study: Cannabis May Relieve Parkinson's Related Pain

Israel is one of the first modern nations to investigate the medical benefits of marijuana. The local founding father of cannabis research, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University, has been studying the plant since the 1960s. Over the past decades, other researchers have joined him to explore the possible positive impact of cannabis on bones, our digestive system, and even our brain.

SEE ALSO: Professor Raphael Mechoulam, The Father Of Marijuana Research, Talks To NoCamels About His Studies And Breaking The Law In The Name Of Science

Sensing the commercial value of marijuana, a host of Israeli startups and companies – backed by one incubator and a couple of venture capital firms – have started to commercialize some of the researchers’ findings on the benefits of hemp, and now there are some 70 companies in the field, industry veteran Dr. Tamir Gedo, CEO of Israel’s BOL Pharma, tells NoCamels. In recent years, his company has conducted clinical trials with cannabis, showing positive results on leukemia, brain cancer (Glioblastoma, or GBM), psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and even autism, Gedo says.

Israeli cannabis startups – albeit growing and testing crops locally – are looking to the US for mass marketing, and not only to Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana first became legal. With California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts joining suit (Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passed medical pot measures on Nov. 8), Israeli startups could soon tap into a huge market.

Greater access to cannabis treatments

The newest invention – a marijuana tablet – is being developed by two local companies. Earlier this month, Israeli pharma company Therapix Biosciences, which develops cannabinoid-based drugs, completed the development phase of a unique formulation of a tablet for sublingual administration. The tablet is expected to be used in clinical trials for the treatment of impairments in cognitive functioning, including Alzheimer’s disease. Another Israeli company, OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp., announced a similar tablet back in October.

According to Ziv Turner, CEO of OWC, “there’s a substantial number of eligible patients who are uncomfortable smoking cannabis for medical purposes, leaving a large segment of the patient population without real access to treatment. We believe our tablet is a preferable administrative method for those, and many other patients, and will make a real difference in the way cannabis is administered.”

SEE ALSO: World’s First Precision Medical Marijuana Inhaler Hopes To Remove Stigma Of Smoking The Green Stuff

Another way to administer cannabis is through an inhaler. Israeli startup Syqe Medical has created an innovative, 3D-printed hand-held cannabis inhaler, which vaporizes tiny granules of cannabis in small doses. Those provide the relieving effects of marijuana, without having the mind-altering side effects that usually come with it. Earlier this year, giant cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris invested $20 million in Syqe Medical.

Weeding out the bad taste 

Another Israeli cannabis startup is Eybna, which has developed natural, terpene-based cannabis flavors with aromatic fragrances.

For those who would like to grow their weed themseves, Israeli startup Leaf provides a do-it-yourself kit for patients who use medical marijuana, so they can grow and crop their weed themselves – without soil!

weighing-weed-by-get-budding

Budding Israeli startups in the field of medical marijuana can get guidance and funding from local startup incubator iCAN- Israel Cannabis, which focuses on cannabis-related technologies with commercialization potential. According to Saul Kaye, founder and CEO of iCAN, the incubator enables “the most promising startups and innovators in Israel and abroad to create world-class products for the global cannabis economy.”

Different strains treat different conditions  

Israel pioneered marijuana research in 1964, when Mechoulam discovered Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, one of 70 cannabinoids (the active molecules in cannabis). THC is responsible for the ‘high’ feeling, while CBD is marijuana’s non-psychoactive component, which has been proven to have several health benefits. Cannabinoids are generally used to reduce pain, stress, as well as to increase appetite, among other uses.

Today, Israeli researchers lead the scientific world in cannabinoid research, inventing new methods of mapping the cannabis genome, while discovering new medical uses for the plant.

As experts increasingly consider marijuana to be a genetically modified organism (GMO) – produced in greenhouse-laboratories to treat specific conditions – Israeli scientists are using genetic markers to control molecule counts, and modify the plant, so it can better treat certain symptoms, thus helping millions of patients worldwide.

Israeli startup BreedIT, for example, is combining the power of science and technology with the medical power of cannabis, helping growers breed biogenetically engineered marijuana. Collaborating with doctors and researchers from the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, BreedIT manufactures agrobreeding systems for growers.

Agrobreeding is a computer-controlled breeding method that genetically modifies plants, and creates marijuana strains. This selective breeding method uses big-data computers and analysis techniques that provide growers and researchers with insightful plant information, including the amounts of active THC and CBD in marijuana.

One of the Israeli strains of marijuana is Avidekel, a non-psychoactive CBD strain for treatment of epilepsy grown by Tikun Olam, which means “heal the world” in Hebrew.

SEE ALSO: Cannabis Cure: Marijuana May One Day Be A Cure For Cancer, Israeli Study Shows

So far, eight farms in Israel are licensed to grow marijuana for medical uses, and certain doctors are allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, which will soon be sold in pharmacies across Israel.

And, if the Israeli government approves exporting medical marijuana grown in Israel (only medical devices can be exported as of now), Israeli farmers are looking at $250-$300 million in revenues a year, according to Israel’s Ministry of Finance.

Gedo believes the potential is much bigger. “By federal law, American companies and hospitals cannot perform clinical trials involving cannabis on human beings, but they can and do come to Israel generating dozens of groundbreaking studies based on cannabinoids,” he says, stating that BOL Pharma already works with half a dozen such companies. “This research will generate new cannabinoid based platforms which will form the basis of new drugs that will be used by US pharmaceutical companies in the future.”

According to Gedo, “Israel’s medical cannabis future lies in research and technology. That’s our strength. Bringing more international companies to Israel can generate more revenues than was previously estimated.”

A $6.7 billion industry

The legal cannabis market tops $6.7 billion in the US; medical marijuana is prescribed in the US for cancer, AIDS, asthma and glaucoma, as well as an antidepressant and an appetite stimulant. Cannabis is also used as an anti-convulsing agent, with many clinical studies still ongoing.

In the US, Israel and elsewhere in the world, the use of medical marijuana is expected to expand in the next decade, thanks to new growing methods and increasing government support. And, since there are so many cannabinoids to study, researchers hope to reveal additional uses for marijuana in years to come.

marijuana

Photos and videos: Get Budding, Syqe Medical, BreedIT

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Jaw Dropping: Lab-Grown Bones Successfully Transplanted In 11 Jaws http://nocamels.com/2016/12/lab-grown-bones-transplant-jaws/ Tue, 06 Dec 2016 13:54:39 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49915 Israeli biotech company Bonus BioGroup is growing live bones from patients’ own fat cells. And today the company reported that it successfully injected its lab-grown, semi-liquid bone graft into the jaws of 11 people in an early stage clinical trial evaluating bone loss repair.

The material, grown in a lab from each patient’s own fat cells, was injected into and filled the voids of the problematic bones. Over a few months it hardened and merged with the existing bone to complete the jaw, the company said.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Grows New Bones From Patients’ Fat

The transplant “was 100% successful in all 11 patients,” Ora Burger, the VP of regulation affairs, told Reuters. “Now we are going to conduct a clinical study in the extremities, long bones.”

The announcement was made in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Bonus Biogroup presented its results at the International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Spain yesterday.

Bonus BioGroup’s CEO Shai Meretski, who previously founded Pluristem Therapeutics, an advanced Israeli biomedical company that works with stem cells, told Reuters, “For the first time worldwide, reconstruction of deficient or damaged bone tissue is achievable by growing viable human bone graft in a laboratory, and transplanting it back to the patient in a minimally invasive surgery via injection.”

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Meretzki, with a bone sample

While the company’s announcement is encouraging, the technology is currently undergoing development and has yet to undergo more extensive clinical trials and approval by medical authorities regarding its effectiveness and safety. It is not yet generally available.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Teva To Market Syqe, The Revolutionary Medical Marijuana Inhaler Developed In Israel http://nocamels.com/2016/12/teva-markets-israeli-medical-marijuana-inhaler-syqe/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:24:22 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49745 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

In a world first, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical signed a distribution and cooperation agreement to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.

Under the agreement, Teva will be the exclusive marketer and distributor in Israel of an inhaler developed by Syqe Medical for the delivery of medical cannabis. The accord marks the first time that a major global pharma company has agreed to market a medical cannabis product, according to Syqe.

The Syqe inhaler has been used for more than a year at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital with the approval of Israel’s Health Ministry. This makes it the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.

As part of the agreement with Teva Israel, the Syqe inhaler is expected to receive Health Ministry approval for home use by next year.

SEE ALSO: Meet The ‘Designer’ Strains Of Marijuana Bred In Israel To Treat A Wide Range Of Illnesses

Israel’s reputation as a high-tech hub and a lax regulatory environment has allowed the startup nation to become a leader in cannabis technology, with dozens of local firms focusing on the medical field. The international medical cannabis market is forecast to be worth approximately $20 billion within a decade. About 1 percent of the global population are potential medical cannabis users at some point during their lifetime.

“A deep commitment to patients coping with pain” 

“Teva Israel is entering the field of medical cannabis out of a deep commitment to patients coping with pain, which is one of the company’s core therapeutic areas,” said Teva Israel CEO Avinoam Sapir, who also serves as Teva’s director for Africa and the Middle East, and as director of Innovation in Emerging Markets. “State-of-the-art technology and groundbreaking medical devices — such as those developed by Syqe Medical, and which generate tremendous therapeutic value for patients and medical staff alike — integrate perfectly into the strategy of Teva Israel.”

Health News - Study: Cannabis May Relieve Parkinson's Related Pain

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Meet The Coolest Israeli Companies On Wall Street http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israeli-technology-companies-wall-street/ http://nocamels.com/2016/12/israeli-technology-companies-wall-street/#respond Sun, 04 Dec 2016 11:53:35 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49365 Israel is the largest foreign presence on Wall Street following China and Canada. Some 70 Israeli companies are currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with many technology firms listed on NASDAQ.

“The level of Israeli equities listed on Wall Street is yet another example of Israeli innovation and the strong US-Israel relationship,” Daniella Rilov, executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League, said during a New York Stock Exchange event dedicated to Israel last month.

trading floor equities stocks 1200px-Sao_Paulo_Stock_Exchange

Until recently, Israeli companies were often criticized for their eagerness to “sell out” quickly in pursuit of an early “exit,” instead of offering their shares to the public. But in recent years, Israel has seen dozens of its companies going public in Tel Aviv, London, New York and elsewhere in the world.

From web design to driverless cars, here are five of the coolest Israeli companies on Wall Street:

Mobileye

Making driving safer and potentially saving lives, Israeli company Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) develops driver assistance technology to prevent accidents, but is also one of the major developers of autonomous car technologies. Its systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs, providing advanced warning for drivers and thereby preventing car accidents.

SEE ALSO: Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

Most recently, Mobileye announced it will collaborate with car maker BMW and technology giant Intel to manufacture a driverless car by 2021.

Founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology, Mobileye raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, the largest-ever Israeli IPO. With a market cap of $8.5 billion, shares of Mobileye now trade for $39.

ReWalk

The brainchild of Dr. Amit Goffer, revolutionary exoskeleton ReWalk (NASDAQ: RWLK) enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs.

For individuals with spinal cord injuries, standing and walking around freely remains a dream. But using the exoskeleton walking device ReWalk, wheelchair-bound individuals are now able to move freely.

At the forefront of medical technology, ReWalk’s exoskeleton is powered by a computer and motion sensors that work together to mimic natural gait. The innovative system corrects itself to pick up slight changes in the user’s center of gravity; it can be adjusted to a functional walking speed; and even enables users to climb and descend staircases.

In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.

Founded by Goffer in 2001, ReWalk could soon make wheelchairs obsolete.

Caesarstone

Founded in 1987 by Israel’s Kibbutz Sdot Yam, Caesarstone (NASDAQ: CSTE) designs, engineers and manufactures stone surfaces. In recent years, it has become successful in the US luxury residential market, making Sdot Yam one of the richest kibbutzim in Israel.

In 2014, this kibbutz (a collective community traditionally based on agriculture) sold the majority stake of its Caesarstone’s shares to the public for $260 million, a hefty amount for its 400 members, who are now wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

With a market cap of over $1 billion, Caesarstone’s shares now trade for $29. The company has several manufacturing facilities in Israel and in the US.

SEE ALSO: A New Kibbutz? WeWork’s Urban Community WeLive Could Revolutionize City Living

Caesarstone pioneered the quartz surfaces, which consist of up to 93 percent quartz (a mineral found in nature). According to the company, this type of surface retains “the cool tactile qualities of nature’s strong stones, while offering freedom of design with enormous application possibilities, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, flooring, wall paneling, furniture and more.”

While Caesarstone’s products are highly functional, their stunning designs have become widely popular among upscale interior designers around the world.

Caesarstone

Wix

Until recently, creating a website was a skillful task reserved for professional designers and web masters. But since Israeli company Wix launched its do-it-yourself platform a couple of years ago, anybody can create and publish their own websites, with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools and stunning templates.

Since the basic design (and domain name) package is free, 94 million small businesses (including hotels and restaurants) and individuals around the world are using Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) to build and maintain their web and mobile sites. With a market cap of $2.2 billion, Wix’s shares trade for $51 on NASDAQ.

The company was founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan on the belief that the internet should be accessible to everyone to develop, create and contribute. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, with additional offices across Israel, Europe and the US.

Mazor Robotics

Mazor Robotics’ guidance systems enable surgeons to conduct spine and brain procedures in a precise manner.

Founded in 2001, the company’s intuitive interface helps surgeons plan operations in a virtual 3D environment, creating a surgical blueprint for better accuracy.

The story of Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ: MZOR) began at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The company was officially founded by Prof. Moshe Shoham and Mr. Eli Zehavi, but the work had begun years earlier with Shoham, the head of the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, conducting research to develop a new and innovative platform for surgery.

Photos and videos: Rafael Matsunaga, Wix, ReWalk, Mobileye, Caesarstone

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World AIDS Day: Israel’s PrePex Device Will Circumcize Millions To Cut HIV Risk By 60% http://nocamels.com/2016/12/africa-circumcision-prepex-hiv-aids/ http://nocamels.com/2016/12/africa-circumcision-prepex-hiv-aids/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:00:58 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49401 More than two-thirds of all people living with HIV, some 24.7 million in total, live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the benefits of circumcision, the removal of the foreskin of the penis, is a lower risk of HIV transmission. “There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent,” the WHO states.

Last week, Israeli-American entrepreneur Tzameret Fuerst, the former CEO of Circ MedTech, the developer of PrePex, a non-surgical circumcision device, addressed the ninth annual Geektime Tech Conference in Tel Aviv. PrePex, the first medical device in Israel’s history to be approved by the WHO, allows for the performing of circumcisions on a mass scale, with no incisions, bleeding, or injected anesthesia.

PrePex has already been used in more than 250,000 procedures in 13 countries in Africa and Asia. In total, the company has delivered more than 1 million devices which, according to mathematical models, would prevent approximately 150,000 new HIV cases.  In addition, there are currently over 1,000 PrePex trained healthcare providers, 16 PrePex training centers and the company is collaborating with more than 45 NGOs on the ground.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Doctors Teach Male Circumcision To African Doctors To Combat Aids

The circumcision procedure, which usually happens when a boy is a baby (although some brave men opt for it in adulthood) is also practiced in Judaism and Islam as a religious ritual. Circumcision is widespread in the U.S., and according to a recent review by the Mayo Clinic, 77 percent of male babies born in hospitals are later circumcised.

However, until very recently, circumcision has not been widely practiced in sub-Saharan Africa due to the relatively high cost of the procedure, the need for a sterile environment and medical expertise – and the understandable reluctance of patients to undergo such a delicate procedure.

Enter PrePex, an ideal cost-effective circmucision device staring at just $12 per unit. A non-reusable device, with PrePex circumcisions can be carried out by lower-level medical professionals and nurses (a fact that is crucial in countries like Rwanda, which has just over 300 doctors treating a population of over 11 million) and does not require the sterile environment of an operating room.

A simple device

The PrePex device is made up of two rings and a special rubber strap. The rubber strap’s purpose is to cut circulation to the foreskin. The foreskin decays and falls off within a week, then the device is removed and the procedure ends.

pre_pex-hiv-circumcision-device-africa

PrePex device

At the conference, Fuerst explained how the company developed the product in 2009, after the WHO reported that circumcizing adult males can reduce the spread of HIV by 60 percent. A later study further explained that adult circumcision reduces bacteria on the penis, and thus the spread of the disease.

PrePex has been acknowledged by African governments as an effective means of scaling-up male circumcision programs and generating demand among men.  Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care recently included the PrePex device as an integral part of its national VMMC Action Plan with a target of circumcising 1.3 million men by 2018. South Africa and Uganda are in advanced stages of PrePex implementation, and have each set a goal of reaching more than four million men with male circumcision services. Other countries – such as Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Lesotho and Swaziland – are in varying phases of PrePex implementation.

Circumcising Rwanda

Rwanda is a country of over 11 million people of which three percent is HIV positive. In Rwanda, the Ministry of Health aims to circumcise 800,000 men by 2016, through a massive PrePex rollout. Fuerst traveled to Rwanda to oversee the procedure herself and held a joint press conference with the Rwandan Health Minister as well.

SEE ALSO: Breakthrough Israeli Device Will Circumcise 700,000 Rwandans To Prevent HIV/AIDS

“Circumcision is the most efficient tool to fight HIV/AIDS,” Rwanda Health Minister Doctor Agnes Binagwaho told the BBC.

tzameret fuerst

Tzameret Fuerst (speaking and pictured with Rwanda’s Health Minister)

“We are proud to demonstrate our commitment towards an AIDS-free generation together with our partners in the HIV/AIDS prevention field,” Circ MedTech’s CEO Eddy Horowitz said in a statement. “Through this initiative we can prevent transmission of diseases, reduce costs to public health systems and save countless lives.”

Currently available for ages 13 and up

The company says that the PrePex device is currently available for adult males and also for adolescent boys age 13 and above.

As for males under the age of 13, Circ MedTech Ltd. has received the CE Mark for the use of its PrePex Infant and PrePex Child devices, which will extend the range of safe male circumcision services to all ages worldwide. Clinical studies on the newly-developed PrePex sizes have resulted in positive outcomes and the devices for males under the age of 13 will be available in the near future.

“PrePex provides an easier, more convenient and cost-effective way of conducting male circumcision, both for patients and for healthcare providers,” Horowitz said in a statement. “With our introduction of the non-surgical device for infants and children, PrePex will improve the male circumcision experience for men, boys and infants worldwide.”

Health News: Israeli Device Used To Circumcise 700,000 Africans In The Fight Against HIV

The PrePex

International recognition

PrePex has been acknowledged by African Ministers of Health, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, US government officials and many others. The company has also won several awards as well. PrePex received the Gold Innovation Lions Award at the 2016 Cannes International Festival of Creativity; Laureate of the 2015 Tech Awards; and the GBH Health 2012 Business Action on Health Award. Also, it was just announced that Frost & Sullivan has recognized Circ MedTech Ltd. with the 2016 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation.

One of the many impressive endorsements came from none other than Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. In his 2012 Annual Letter, published on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website, he wrote: “Even in the ancient practice of circumcision, innovation has the potential to make a big difference. The new PrePex devices simplify the procedure and make surgery unnecessary. The first studies suggest that these devices are both safe and effective.”

Photos and Video: PrePex, Hoff Reshef

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Israeli Startups Take Major Medical Competition By Storm, Win Top Three Awards http://nocamels.com/2016/11/medical-startups-medica-app-awards/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:23:59 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49760 Three Israeli medical startups – UpRight, Biop Medical and TytoCare – have won the top awards at the fifth annual MEDICA App Competition for Best Medical Mobile Solution. Held in Dusseldorf, Germany, earlier this month, the competition was part of one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs, which attracted over 5,000 exhibitors from 70 countries.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top Israeli Startups Revolutionizing Everyday Healthcare

Of the 15 startups that made it to the final round of the competition, nine were from Israel. Each team had three minutes to pitch their mobile solution, followed by one minute for questions from the judges. Finally, after all the presentations were completed, the judges deliberated and chose the top three winners.

UpRight's team receiving the award

UpRight’s team receiving the award

UpRight: No more slouching

The first place, along with a €2,000 prize, went to UpRight, an app and a wearable device that help correct your posture. Founded in 2012 by Oded Cohen and Ori Fruhauf, UpRight’s discrete wearable device attaches to your lower back (under your shirt) and trains you to stand and sit upright. Every time you slouch, it gently vibrates, reminding you to correct your posture.

“We have a new Android app, improved features, and you can now finally find UpRight in retail stores in San Francisco and New York City,” Fruhauf tells NoCamels.

The company has so far raised $3 million from investors.

Biop Medical: Detecting cervical cancer

Biop Medical was awarded the second place, along with a €1,000 prize, for its innovative point-of-care testing device for the early diagnosis of cervical cancer, one of the most frequently occurring malignant tumors in women worldwide. The test is based on the notion that the characteristics of healthy and diseased tissue can be distinguished from each other optically, by using an automated system.

Biop’s optical device, which is pending an FDA approval, is used to view the cervix. The data are then analyzed on the IBM cloud using a special algorithm. The result is produced within minutes.

Founded in 2013 by CEO Ilan Landesman, BiopMedical is based in Netanya and has already raised $2.3 million from investors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli App Belong Helps Cancer Patients, Families Through Healing Process

TytoCare: Medical exams any time, anywhere

Third place, and a €500 prize, went to TytoCare, an Israeli startup that offers a telemedicine solution that enables virtual doctor’s visits and fairly comprehensive medical examinations to be carried out anywhere at any time.

Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment. TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which is able to detect and classify common diseases such as flu or ear infections. The kit includes a stethoscope, an otoscope and a computer-vision camera that helps the user diagnose the problem. In case a doctor is needed, the device can also be used to connect with a specialist for a remote consultation. The Tyto Stethoscope has already received FDA approval, and the other devices are FDA compliant.

Founded by Israelis Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has so far raised $18.5 million from investors. Among the startup’s investors is US drugstore chain Walgreens.TytoCare, throat, doctor

The other six Israeli companies among the 15 finalists were: Vision-care app 6over6; bed-wetting solution TheraPeeElfi-Tech  for personal health monitoring, patient monitoring and diagnostics; MyndYou analytics for improving cognitive care; Somatix data-analytics software platform for digital health; and the Medivizor personalized health information app.

Photos and video: UpRight, BiopMedical, TytoCare

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Edwards Lifesciences Buys Israel’s Valtech Cardio For Up To $1 Billion http://nocamels.com/2016/11/valtech-cardio-heart-valve-cardioband/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 09:42:32 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=49659

Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, a California-based medical equipment firm specializing in heart disease, announced Monday it is acquiring Valtech Cardio Ltd., an Israeli company behind the Cardioband System, for up to $1 billion.

SEE ALSO: A Heart Of Gold: Researchers Use Gold Particles To Heal Heart Tissue

Valtech‘s system treats the most prevalent heart valve diseases, including mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and tricuspid valve regurgitation. The uniqueness of the Cardioband System is that it is done through the skin, allowing doctors to perform the necessary reconstruction with a direct annuloplasty (a surgical technique for the repair of leaking mitral valves) delivered through arteries, negating the need for open-heart surgery. Although such devices are complex and expensive, they cut down on many of the risks and costs associated with serious surgeries, making them more attractive to national insurances as well as patients.

Pricetag: $690 million, could be as much as $1 billion

Edwards will pay Valtech $340 million in stock and cash up front, plus up to $350 million more in performance-based milestone payments over the next 10 years, for a sum total of $690 million. Before the sale’s completion, slated for early 2017, Valtech intends to spin off its early-stage transseptal mitral valve replacement technology program. Edwards has an option to buy it, which could add another $300 million to the deal, bringing the total to nearly $1 billion.

Founded in 2016 by CEO Amir Gross, Yossi Gross, and Peregrine Ventures and headed by Eyal Lifshitz and Boaz Lifshitz, Valtech is based in Or Yehuda, near Tel Aviv. The company has raised $70 million to date. Last year HeartWare signed an agreement to buy the company for $840 million but backed out of the deal in January.

SEE ALSO: This Company Invented A Machine Algorithm That Diagnoses Breast Cancer Earlier

“A toolbox of options” for medical treatment

According to the Mayo Clinic, Mitral valve regurgitation — also called mitral regurgitation, mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence — is a condition in which your heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close tightly, allowing blood to flow backward in your heart. As a result, blood can’t move through your heart or to the rest of your body as efficiently, making you feel tired or out of breath.

“As we continue to pursue multiple therapies to address the diverse needs of patients affected by heart valve disease, we saw an important opportunity to incorporate Valtech’s technologies into our comprehensive heart valve repair and replacement portfolio,” Michael A. Mussallem, Edwards’ chairman and CEO said in a statement. “We recognize that physicians will likely need a toolbox of options to treat their patients most effectively.  We are very pleased with the progress and future prospects of the multiple internal programs we have underway, and we believe the addition of Valtech’s talented team and mitral and tricuspid [valve] technologies will present even more opportunities to help patients.”

Valtech, Amir Gross, valtech cardio

Amir Gross (center) and the Valtech Cardio team

Photos and video: Valtech PR

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Diet Startup ‘DayTwo’ Creates Unique Personalized Diets By Checking Your… Gut Bacteria http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israeli-personalized-diets-startup-daytwo/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israeli-personalized-diets-startup-daytwo/#respond Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:52:23 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48878 High blood sugar level is a risk factor for many complications, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. That’s why doctors recommend we control our blood sugar levels by keeping a healthy, low-sugar diet.

But DayTwo, an Israeli startup spun off the Weizmann Institute, suggests that people have different responses to food. As it turns out, ice cream is less harmful to some people than others, and so are many other foods.

It all depends on the different microbes we have in our guts. By studying and analyzing your individual gut microbiome – the vast collection of bacteria that you host – DayTwo claims it can translate your unique gut bacteria into a personalized diet, potentially preventing diabetes and heart disease. The startup provides a cutting-edge test and app for a one-time fee of $500.

SEE ALSO: Could Personalized Diets Prevent Diabetes And Heart Disease?

DayTwo‘s product is based on research (published in the sceintific journal Cell) conducted by Prof. Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science; the research technology was licensed to DayTwo.

According to the researchers, some people respond to so-called healthy diets, while others don’t. They claim that bacteria in our intestinal tract vary among individuals, and therefore people digest food differently.

Your gut microbiome is the collection of all microbes that exist in your digestive tract and help you digest food. In our gut alone, we have about 100 trillion microbes, similar to the number of cells that we have in our entire body. Your microbiome is unique to you, and influences the way your body reacts to different foods.

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“The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice,” Segal said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: It’s Official: One Glass Of Wine A Day Improves Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes

Founded in 2015 by CEO Lihi Segal and Yuval Ofek, DayTwo is the brainchild of Segal and Elinav. The startup has already received funding from billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of successful Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point. His investment is estimated at a couple of million dollars.

“Foods that are perceived as healthy for everyone are not recommended for some people”

How does DayTwo work? First, you provide a stool sample, through a kit sent by DayTwo, along with your most up-to-date blood test results. DayTwo sequences the DNA of your gut microbes, the micro-organisms that help us digest.

Then, DayTwo’s technology predicts which foods are good for you. Analyzed by a patent-pending algorithm, the technology provides a unique nutritional profile designed just for you. The startup’s scoring system rates thousands of different foods and food combinations based on your gut microbiome analysis and lifestyle factors.

gut-bacteria-courtesy-of-daytwo

Then, you receive a nutritional report through a personalized nutrition app. The report provides you with specific food recommendations for normalizing blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. It generates food recommendations specific to your gut makeup, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The app also analyzes your daily eating routines and recommends healthy snacks.

According to CEO Lihi Segal, “our food recommendations are based on matching thousands of foods to the individual’s profile. The findings are very surprising: Foods that are perceived as healthy for everyone, such as rice, are not recommended for some people. In some cases, it turns out that foods like ice cream are not harmful.”

daytwo-app-courtesy

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Novel Treatment Reverses Effects Of Alzheimer’s Disease http://nocamels.com/2016/11/alzheimers-disease-reversed-treatment-cure-enzyme-gene/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/alzheimers-disease-reversed-treatment-cure-enzyme-gene/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:29:41 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48476 Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages brain cells, leading to memory loss and changes in brain functions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.4 million Americans live with the disease.

For years, researchers have been trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but despite some success in slowing the progression of the disease, it remains incurable.

Now, Israeli scientists are focusing on the genes that could be responsible for the neurodegenerative disease, rather than on the plaque that clogs affected brains (one of the distinctive features of Alzheimer’s). After treating mice that had the “bad” Alzheimer’s gene, the rodents were able to identify Coke bottles and perform other cognitively sophisticated tasks!

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Offers Hope For Alzheimer’s Disease With Unique Treatment

Social Awareness: 'Big Brother' Study Sheds Light On Mice's Social Structure

Potentially changing the paradigm of Alzheimer’s research, Tel Aviv University researchers have found that the APOE gene (which tells the body how to make a certain protein) has, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, two faces: a healthy form, called APOE3, and a disease-related pathological form, called APOE4. They have developed a novel mechanism with which to convert the “bad” APOE4 to the “good” APOE3. Using certain enzymes, the researchers reversed the effect of the “bad” APOE gene.

TAU’s Prof. Daniel Michaelson, who led the study, explains that the normal APOE gene provides the interface that moves lipids — naturally occurring molecules that include fats, cholesterol, vitamins and other components essential to the health of cells — in and out of cells. “Whereas the healthy APOE3 does so effectively, the bad form — APOE4 — is impaired,” he said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Study: People Who Treat Alzheimer’s Patients Should Have Creative Hobbies

The researchers devised an experimental approach to measure the “bad” features of APOE4, utilizing genetically manipulated mice expressing either good or bad forms of APOE. Mice with APOE4 exhibited impaired learning and memory, as well as damaged brain synapses, two pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.

The TAU team then showed how mice, which prior to the “conversion” treatment exhibited disoriented behavior and seemed “lost,” were able following treatment to locate a submerged island in the middle of an artificial pond. Mice that had forgotten familiar objects — like Coca Cola bottles — suddenly exhibited sharp object recognition.

“APOE4 is a very important and understudied target,” Michaelson says. “It is expressed in more than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients. Anti-APOE4 treatments are thus expected to have a major impact on the patient population.”

Elderly couple

The study, recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was led by TAU’s Prof. Daniel M. Michaelson and doctoral fellow Anat Boehm-Cagan, in collaboration with biotechnology company Artery Therapeutics.

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Extreme Athlete Lonnie Bissonnette Performs Daring BASE Jump With Revolutionary Israeli Wheelchair http://nocamels.com/2016/11/extreme-athlete-bissonnette-wheelchair-softwheel/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/extreme-athlete-bissonnette-wheelchair-softwheel/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 12:50:00 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48745 It’s not every day that a world champion can thank an Israeli startup for his life. Canadian extreme athlete Lonnie Bissonnette, one of the world’s greatest BASE jumpers – those people who deliberately jump off cliffs – has expressed his gratitude for SoftWheel, whose revolutionary wheelchair landed him safely during one of his most daring jumps.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Reinvents The Wheel – Literally

Using SoftWheel to win the Canadian Para-Bobsleigh Championship (powered-sled races) last month, Bissonnette, who became paralyzed after a 2004 jump, performed an extraordinary BASE jump using SoftWheel, which he later featured on his Facebook page.

One of the world’s most prolific BASE jumpers, Bissonnette was attempting a “quadruple gainer” (an outward facing, inward rotating flip) in 2004, on his 1100th BASE jump, off a 150-meter-high bridge, when his parachute failed to open.

He crashed into the river at a speed of 70 miles per hour, and suffered a spinal-cord injury leaving him paralyzed. Lucky to have survived that accident, he was told by his doctor he would never jump again.

But 12 months later, he was back “flying” in the sky. Fearlessly jumping off all four objects in B.A.S.E (Buildings, Antennae, Span, and Earth) again, he became the world’s first paraplegic BASE jumper to have jumped from all four of the objects. No wonder that his motto, as stated on his blog, is “never give up.”

lonnie bissonnette base jump extreme athlete

Reinventing the wheel 

While Bissonnette is proudly using Israeli technology to perform bold BASE jumps, many other paraplegics use SoftWheel on a daily basis. The company, which literally reinvented the wheel, has developed the next-generation wheelchair that can wheel down a flight of stairs, and move across any terrain.

With an inner-suspension system for shock absorption, SoftWheel’s innovative technology enhances user-ride capabilities, providing stability for wheelchair users, effectively reducing the level of daily pain and discomfort that can result from wheelchair use.

SEE ALSO: UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall

According to SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel, “we did not invent the wheel, but we did reinvent its technology, to a point where it significantly improves the riding experience, helping users to go further with less pain and increased comfort.”

SoftWheel’s integrated suspension technology has been on the market since 2014, giving thousands in 15 countries the freedom to go everywhere.

softwheel

From tractors to wheelchairs 

SoftWheel is the brainchild of Gilad Wolf, a farmer who found himself bound to a wheelchair for three weeks, after breaking his pelvis. Working with tractors, he noticed that they have a simple yet ingenious airbag-based shock-absorbing construct. He then built a wheelchair with a similar construct for each wheel.

Wolf’s invention is designed to absorb shock and can be adjusted for each rider. In regular wheelchairs, even premium ones, shock is spread evenly throughout the wheel, then transferred in its entirety to the rider. But SoftWheel’s wheelchair, called Acrobat, operates differently. When the wheel is subjected to impact, the inner suspension automatically shifts towards the source of the impact and then back to its position, in less than a second. This mechanism drastically reduces the shock felt by the rider, which makes it easier to traverse bumpy roads, go down curbs – or even stairs.

Photos and videos: Lonnie Bissonnette, SoftWheel

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Israelis Develop New Drug To Fight AIDS: “We Are Destroying The Cells, The Virus Will Not Awaken” http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israelis-hiv-aids-drug-cure-research/ http://nocamels.com/2016/11/israelis-hiv-aids-drug-cure-research/#respond Sun, 13 Nov 2016 12:27:37 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48741 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

HIV and AIDS patients may find new hope in a drug developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is currently being tested at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.

The drug was inserted into test tubes containing the blood of 10 AIDS patients currently being treated at the hospital, and was found to decrease the HIV virus count in the blood samples by as much as 97 percent in just eight days, Channel 2 reported Monday.

SEE ALSO: One Israeli Researcher Is Outsmarting HIV To Cure AIDS

hivvirus

The active ingredient in the drug is a peptide, or smaller version of a protein, that was developed by Abraham Loyter and Assaf Friedler at Hebrew University. The peptide causes several copies of the virus’s DNA to enter the infected cell, instead of just one copy, causing the cell to self-destruct.

HIV is currently treated with a cocktail of drugs that slow the progression of the infection in the body but never rid the patient of the virus entirely. These drugs have allowed doctors to treat AIDS as a chronic illness as opposed to a fatal one.

Loyter explained that the new approach is superior to previous efforts.

“With our approach,” Loyter told Channel 2, “we are destroying the cells, so there is no chance that the virus will awaken one day, because there are no cells, there will be no cells that contain the virus.”

SEE ALSO: Breakthrough Israeli Research Improves HIV/AIDS Treatment, Could Lead To Cure

Loyter explained that “the drug enhances certain processes in the body during the spreading of the virus and that enhancement kills certain cells.”

In a separate but related development, the Health Ministry announced last week it would begin distributing prophylactic drugs for the first time to populations at higher risk of contracting HIV. The drugs, when taken regularly, have been found to be effective in preventing the spread of HIV during contact.

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Courtesy

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Israeli App Belong Helps Cancer Patients, Families Through Healing Process http://nocamels.com/2016/10/belong-app-cancer-community-treatment/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/belong-app-cancer-community-treatment/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 12:20:18 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48145 When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their life takes a complete turn, and so do the lives of those around them. There is no protocol to follow, and many families are unsure about the best way to approach the process of getting their loved ones back to full health.

Israeli app Belong helps patients and their families tackle this daunting task and get advice from people in similar situations, as well as from physicians.

SEE ALSO: Skin Cancer Breakthrough: Melanoma Cure Within Reach

Founded in 2014 by CEO Eliran Malki, CTO Irad Deutsch, and COO Ohad Rubin, Belong has already raised $1.5 million from private investors.

The app, which is currently free, provides chats with physicians and researchers; information on clinical trials; community support; and discreet medical file sharing. “It is like a hospital on your mobile,” Malki says.

The idea to develop the app came after each of the founders had family members diagnosed with cancer. “We all felt there was a lack of information,” Malki tells NoCamels. “Our idea was to build a solution that would help people manage the fight, to get information at the right time, from patients like them, so they can make fewer mistakes.”

“Empowered patients live longer”

Malki gives the example of a man from Los Angeles whose wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. They went to three different physicians and received three different opinions. Then, the husband used Belong to ask for advice about the best approach and got feedback from patients with similar circumstances, as well as explanations from different physicians to help him decide on the best course of action.

“Our aim is empower patients and their families,” Malki says. “Empowered patients live longer.”

The app is to be used on a case-by-case basis, since no one path is right for everyone. “All the information in the app is for educational information, it’s not consulting or medical advice in any way,” he stresses.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Make Breakthrough Discovery In Fight Against Breast Cancer

Prof. Dorit Nitzan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, tells NoCamels that Belong’s greatest advantage is “being at arm’s reach with senior doctors, nurses and experts. They are accessible to all for free.”

Since its launch in January 2016, thousands of patients and family members have joined the Belong network, as well as hospitals, whose patients’ stress levels could be reduced by the app. The company is expected to charge healthcare providers, HMOs and insurance companies for the use of the app in the future. According to Belong, the app could save them money by better preparing patients for treatment.

doctor holding patient's hand

The information in the app is not monitored by Belong. The app has a similar approach to services like  TripAdvisor, where people share their experiences and users are left to make their own decisions at their own discretion. Users of Belong are encouraged to seek advice and opinions and then report back to their physicians to confirm the best approach.

Belong competes not only with similar apps, such as Cancer.Net, but also with Facebook groups and other online forums. However, Malki is confident. “We are growing by 30 percent every month,” he says. “We’re changing the way by which people are managing the process.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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No More Jet Lag! Israeli Researchers Beat Jet Lag By Reducing Plane’s Oxygen Levels http://nocamels.com/2016/10/less-oxygen-airplane-reduces-jet-lag/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/less-oxygen-airplane-reduces-jet-lag/#respond Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:17:23 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48567 Whenever you travel by plane across several time zones, you’re bound to experience jet lag. But this annoyance, which can keep you up for several nights after you land and disrupts your daily routine, could now be eradicated.

Israeli researchers have found that reducing oxygen levels on the plane can ease the effects of jet lag, and this finding could help airlines moderate cabin air pressure.

SEE ALSO: Study Reveals Oxygen-Rich Air Can Reverse Severe Brain Damage

airplane

The study, recently published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, has found that changes in surrounding oxygen levels can reset the circadian clocks of mice. It shows that changing the concentration of oxygen in cells by just 3 percent, twice a day, will reset mouse cells’ circadian clocks. This internal clock makes it possible for organisms to coordinate their biology and behavior with daily environmental changes in the day-night cycle.

Just like humans, mice are prone to jet lag after a sudden shift in daylight hours. During Asher’s experiment, mice were left to eat, sleep and run on their wheels in oxygen-controlled environments. Altering oxygen levels during their normal sleep-wake cycle did not change their circadian rhythms, but once mice experienced a six-hour jump ahead in daylight hours, varying oxygen levels helped them to faster adapt their eating, sleeping and running habits to the new time.

For example, the scientists saw that a small drop in oxygen levels 12 hours prior to the six-hour daylight shift, or two hours afterwards, put the mice back on their circadian schedules faster.

SEE ALSO: What Could Be Worse Than Tiny Airplane Seats?

Many biological processes follow a set timetable, with levels of activity rising and falling at certain times of the day. Such fluctuations, known as circadian rhythms, are driven by biological “clocks” based on a 24-hour period. The body’s master clock, residing in the brain, synchronizes a multitude of peripheral clocks present in every single cell. Disruption to this optimum timing system in both animal models and in humans can cause imbalances, which can even lead to such diseases as obesity, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver, among others.

Light, eating times and temperature are the major timing cues that synchronize circadian rhythms. But Dr. Gad Asher of Israel’s Weizmann Institute hypothesized that oxygen might also influence circadian rhythms, since its absorption in animals is linked with nutrient ingestion and maintenance of body temperatures.

The researchers suspected that a protein called HIF1α, which responds to changes in oxygen levels, was somehow involved. Indeed, they found that cells deficient in HIF1α fail to synchronize in response to oxygen variations, providing evidence that HIF1α is the molecular link between changes in oxygen levels and the resetting of circadian clocks.

“It was extremely exciting to see that even small changes in oxygen levels were sufficient to efficiently reset the circadian clock,” Asher said in a statement.

Sleeping woman

Presently, commercial airliners pressurize cabins to the same air density of a city 6,000-8,000 feet above sea level. This low-pressure saves wear and tear on the airplane, but so many passengers suffer from airsickness in response to this drop in oxygen levels, that some airlines are considering ways to increase the pressure on flights. In fact, Boeing designed its new 787 Dreamliner so that it can be pressurized to the equivalent of lower altitudes for this reason, according to the researchers.

“But although passengers may feel better with higher pressurized cabins during flights,” the researchers say, “they may lose the potential advantage of recovering from jet lag.”

mouse

Photos: TravelRest

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Pregnant and Exhausted? Don’t Ignore The Symptoms. You Could Have Gestational Sleep Apnea http://nocamels.com/2016/10/pregnant-exhausted-gestational-sleep-apnea/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/pregnant-exhausted-gestational-sleep-apnea/#respond Thu, 20 Oct 2016 07:52:14 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48286 Pregnant and tired? Don’t brush it off as just another symptom of pregnancy. You could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

One in every four pregnant women may suffer from OSA, the recurrent cessation or limitation of normal breathing during sleep. In addition to its being the cause of daytime fatigue, the consequences of untreated OSA include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and heart disease.

SEE ALSO: Excess Weight During Pregnancy Affects Children’s Health

Pregnancy

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea, and is caused by complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway.

According to the Mayo Clinic, this potentially serious condition has several possible treatments: Using a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep; a mouthpiece to thrust your jaw forward during sleep; and, in more severe cases, surgery – which involves removing and repositioning excess tissue in the throat to make the airway wider.

In non-pregnant adults, protocols have been proposed for OSA screening, diagnosis and therapy; however, in pregnant women OSA is not typically diagnosed, is left untreated, and not fully appreciated as a risk factor for negative outcomes for mother and baby.

SEE ALSO: Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds

In an article recently published in the International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, sleep researchers from Israel and the US recommend a new diagnosis, called “gestational sleep apnea” (GSA). This would allow health professionals to properly describe, diagnose and treat OSA in pregnant women, and would parallel other established transient diagnoses of pregnancy, like gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes.

“Currently, there is a lack of uniform criteria to diagnose, treat and classify OSA in the pregnant population, which in turn complicates efforts to determine the risk factors for, and complications of, gestational sleep apnea,” Prof. Yehuda Ginosar of the Hebrew University and Washington University said in a statement.

In terms of diagnosis, doctors and patients may attribute daytime tiredness to “just being pregnant,” rather than to sleep apnea. In terms of treatment, some physicians and patients might consider the disease too temporary to warrant a referral to a sleep-certified physician, which usually requires an overnight sleep study for diagnosis.

The pregnant woman in summer on grass

The researchers argue that establishing a specific diagnosis of gestational sleep apnea will require further investigation to determine criteria and therapies. But, like in the case of other gestational diseases, it will allow for more targeted surveillance of maternal and fetal outcomes, and facilitate epidemiologic research to monitor the course of the condition from its genesis.

“The time has come for our profession to wake up to the diagnosis of gestational sleep apnea,” said co-author Dr. Suzanne Karan of the University of Rochester. “This will allow us to research obstructive sleep apnea in pregnant women more effectively, and to develop and implement more effective treatments.”

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Israeli Researchers Discover Why Cancer Recurs – And Fight Back http://nocamels.com/2016/10/cancer-recurrence-treatment-cure-drug/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/cancer-recurrence-treatment-cure-drug/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 04:00:56 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48441 Even with today’s safer and more targeted anti-cancer drugs, scientists have been unable to satisfactorily explain the phenomenon of why treated cancers so often recur. The common theory is that the cancer cell develops internal resistance to treatment, and overrides the toxic effects of the drug.

Now, a team of Israeli scientists provide the key for reducing recurrence, allowing anti-cancer drugs to do work as intended.

SEE ALSO: This Company Invented A Machine Algorithm That Diagnoses Breast Cancer Earlier

Health News: New Israeli Treatment Offers Hope For Cancer Patients

Led by Prof. Yuval Shaked of the Technion-Israel Institute, the study shows that tumor relapse occurs when the body, in effect, mobilizes itself in favor of the tumor, causing recurrence of the disease, increasing its aggressiveness and creating metastases (tumor spread). Even selective, highly focused treatments that almost exclusively harm cancer cells lead to a similar response.

“The administration of an anti-cancer drug is very aggressive intervention in the body,” Shaked said in a statement. “Therefore, the body responds to chemotherapy the way it responds to trauma. This creates the effect of a double-edged sword: although chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it also causes the secretion of substances that confer resistance to the tumor.”

The study, which was recently published in the scientific publication The Journal of Pathology, mice with multiple myeloma – a malignant disease of the plasma cells produced in bone marrow and spread throughout the body – were treated with the selective anti-cancer drug Velcade (bortezomib). Velcade is based on the discovery of ubiquitin, for which professors Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion won the Nobel Prize (along with the late American biologist Irwin Rose) in 2004.

SEE ALSO: How Elephants’ Genes Are Fighting Cancer In Humans

Shaked found that treatment with Velcade led to a physiological reaction that actually reinforced the intensity of the myeloma in the mice. According to Shaked, the drug caused inflammatory cells in the bone marrow to enhance the aggressiveness of the disease and provide the cancer cells with resistance to treatment. Still, “treatment with Velcade is essential and necessary,” says Shaked, “but its disadvantage is that along with the benefit there is damage.”

Next steps: Inhibiting the mechanism that enhances the tumor

Understanding the mechanisms that enhance the tumor and accelerate the spread of metastases “will enable us to develop methods to inhibit them,” he stresses. In fact, when the researchers inhibited the secreted factor related to the activity of inflammatory cells, they observed a decrease in the proliferation of cancer cells. Now, they are working on various ways to inhibit the body’s response to anti-cancer treatments.

“Ultimately, we are talking about a trade-off between the intensity of the treatment and the intensity of the physical response,” Shaked says. “The moment the ratio is in favor of the treatment, and to the detriment of the response, we will achieve effective treatment without a ‘fine’ in the form of enhanced metastasis. In addition, we can inhibit the body’s response using existing drugs, thereby enabling the anti-cancer drugs to get the job done.”

Prof. Yuval Shaked

Prof. Yuval Shaked

The study was conducted by Dr. Ofrat Beyar Katz, a doctoral student at Prof. Shaked’s lab, along with Prof. Irit Avivi from Israel’s Rambam Hospital, and Prof. Yosef Yarden from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Photos: Courtesy

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This Company Invented A Machine Algorithm That Diagnoses Breast Cancer Earlier http://nocamels.com/2016/10/algorithm-breast-cancer-detection-zebramedical/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/algorithm-breast-cancer-detection-zebramedical/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:53:04 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48417 At a young age, British researcher Phil Teare lost his wife to cervical cancer. Left to raise their daughter alone and for her sake, he decided to dedicate his life and career to detecting cancer at earlier stages. Teare taught himself machine learning in order to recruit machines to fight diseases.

“I was told then by my wife’s oncologist that there was a ‘catch 22’ for women her young age,” Teare told NoCamels. “That for someone her age, invasive diagnostic procedures, while having a low chance of mortality, were still too high a risk when compared to the very low likelihood of her symptoms being those of cancer. And so the common practice was to assume it was not, and wait. But wait too long and it could be real, and spread. As it so tragically did.”

This led Teare to join the team at Zebra Medical Vision, an Israeli deep learning imaging analytics company, which battles breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The company has just announced the development of a new software algorithm using machine and deep learning for detecting breast cancer. The algorithm provides superior results compared to current tools, reducing misdiagnosis and false alarms.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, second only to skin cancers. About 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. As early detection is key to fighting breast cancer, women over 45 are advised to have a mammogram screening every two years. Approximately 10 percent of tests are sent for further evaluation due to suspicious findings, and approximately 5 women out of every 1,000 will develop breast cancer. Unfortunately, one of those 5 will be missed, and discovered too late. Furthermore, most women who are sent for biopsy follow ups turn out to be healthy – subjecting them to unnecessary tests and mental anguish.

 

big data internet hierarchy data visualisation

Automatic diagnosis

Unlike other companies, Zebra’s algorithms provide an actual diagnosis, completely automatically using only imaging data. This is a very new field – older technology was always driven by the radiologist, and never automatic. The algorithms are part of the Zebra Analytics Platform – a cloud based analytics engine that receives medical imaging studies, analyzes them and returns results to participating hospitals and physicians.

Reducing false negatives & positives

Zebra’s new algorithm  helps  provide better outcomes in two keys ways by reducing both false negatives and false positives. Less false negatives results in accurately detecting women with cancer, and fewer false positives means women will not have to undergo unnecessary tests and stressful procedures. According to the company, Zebra’s solution uses this technology to cut down the 20 percent of undetected breast cancer cases by more than half.

Zebra Medical Vision developed their mammography algorithm using thousands of patient studies, and utilizing innovative deep learning techniques. Presenting the company’s results at the recent SIIM Conference on Machine Intelligence in Medical Imaging (CMIMI), Dr. Elnekave, Zebra’s Chief Medical Officer, showcased algorithm results superior to those achieved by radiologists using current state of the art Computer Aided Detection methods for mammography.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Find Promising Therapy For ‘Treatment-Resistant’ Breast Cancer

“As a mammographer, I am cognizant of the vast variations in which breast cancer can manifest on a mammogram. Some of the most challenging cancer diagnoses are ones where the visual cues are not distinct lesions but rather regional asymmetry or architectural distortion in the breast tissue. I welcome Zebra Medical Vision’s algorithm that is a new generation of mammography analysis, which can help us in the mission of finding even the most subtle cancers as early as possible,” Dr. Maya Cohen,  Director of the imaging Institute at Rabin Medical Center and Director of the Breast Health Center at Herzeliya Medical Center, said in a statement.

Tools for radiologists

The mammography algorithm will be added to the company’s growing list of clinical algorithms which are part of an analytics engine that uses machine and deep learning to automatically read and diagnose medical imaging data. The Zebra engine has already yielded imaging insights that have been validated using hundreds of thousands of cases. Current algorithms are in the fields of bone health, cardiovascular analysis, liver and lung indications, and now mammography.

“We teach software to read and identify clinical conditions in imaging as part of our mission to help provide faster, more accurate radiology services at lower cost,” Elad Benjamin, Zebra Medical Vision’s CEO, said in a statement. “We use machine and deep learning to help diagnose diseases responsible for the highest mortality rates, and breast cancer is one of the top on that list. We believe that the tool we’re providing to radiologists, as well as new algorithms which we continuously release, will help them deal with the continuous pressure they face to increase output and maintain high quality of care.”

Headquartered in Kibbutz Shefayim in central Israel, the Company was founded in 2014 by  Eyal Toledano, Eyal Gura, and Elad Benjamin. Funded by OurCrowd, Marc Benioff, Khosla Ventures, and the Intermountain Healthcare innovation fund, the company has raised $20 million to date. On track to create one hundred new insights in the next three years, Zebra has already secured partnerships with Dell Services and has received financial backing from Intermountain Healthcare, one of the leading healthcare organizations in the US. Zebra continues to expand its relationships and work with ACOs, HMOs and other providers seeking to improve care at lower cost through the power of analytics, predictive modeling and preventative care.

zebra-team

Zebra Medical team

 

Photos: Zebra Medical Vision

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Study: Inducing Labor Just As Safe As Natural Birth http://nocamels.com/2016/10/inducing-labor-water-breaks-poses-no-harm-mother-baby/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/inducing-labor-water-breaks-poses-no-harm-mother-baby/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:14:25 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47713 Inducing labor after the water breaks poses no harm to mothers and their babies, according to a new Israeli study.

The study, conducted at Tel Aviv University, has found that natural, spontaneous deliveries and induced deliveries following the rupture of the amniotic sac in the mother share similar outcomes, contradicting common wisdom.

Induced labor — the process of jump-starting delivery using prostaglandin, a fatty acid compound with hormone-like effects, notably the promotion of uterine contractions — “has gotten a bad rep,” Dr. Liran Hiersch, the lead researcher, said in a statement. “We found little justification for this in the case of women whose water broke prematurely.”

SEE ALSO: Excess Weight During Pregnancy Affects Children’s Health

According to Hiersch, “people have an idea that everything natural is better, including childbirth. But induction is not necessarily more dangerous for mother and child than Mother Nature herself.”

The pregnant woman in summer on grass

No more dangerous than Mother Nature 

Most expectant mothers are warned about artificially induced deliveries. These warnings counsel that induction may cause a low fetal heart rate, an increased risk of infection to mother and baby, and uterine rupture or excessive bleeding after delivery. “We have found that induction produces healthy mothers and infants, with risk factors similar to those of spontaneous deliveries,” Hiersch said.

SEE ALSO: Mom’s Stress During Pregnancy Affects Baby’s Iron Levels

The researchers evaluated 625 women admitted to Israel’s Rabin Medical Center with prolonged (24-hour) premature rupture of membranes or water breakage. Women who did not exhibit the spontaneous onset of labor within 24 hours from the moment their water broke underwent prostaglandin induction. These were then compared to those women who did develop the spontaneous onset of labor within 24 hours of being admitted. No significant difference was found between the groups regarding maternal age, parity and obstetrical complications.

Women in the induction group were found to be at an increased risk for Cesarean section, but researchers believe this was due mainly to blocked birth canals and not the induction itself.

Artificial induction is a possibility for all expectant mothers who have approached two weeks past their delivery date, who experience high blood pressure or diabetes, who have a uterine infection or who simply haven’t experienced contractions despite their water having broken. These women are often hospitalized for 24 hours. But after 24 hours have passed without natural delivery, most medical professionals will induce labor artificially to reduce subsequent risks to mother and child.

Patients should be reassured

“There is a palpable fear among women who are waiting for the contractions to begin,” Hiersch says. “They fear fetal distress, they fear infection, umbilical cord trouble, but we have found no basis for their fears. These mothers should be assured that induced labor poses no increased risk to the health of their babies and themselves.”

Hiersch is currently working on predicting which women may spontaneously go into labor following the premature rupture of membranes.

ultrasound

The study, which was recently published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, was conducted by Dr. Liran Hiersch and Dr. Eran Ashwal, both of TAU‘s Sackler School of Medicine and the Helen Schneider Hospital for Women at Rabin Medical Center

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This Flexible 3D-Printed Material Can Form Any Shape, Poised To Revolutionize Wearable Tech http://nocamels.com/2016/10/flexible-3d-printed-blocks-revolutionize-wearable-tech/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/flexible-3d-printed-blocks-revolutionize-wearable-tech/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:39:51 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48260 Israeli scientists have developed a new metamaterial that can form any pattern if you compress it: Squashing a cube made from this new material can make it smile [see video], but it can be designed to do almost anything, they claim.

Therefore, this 3D-printed material is poised to revolutionize soft robotics, prosthetics and wearable technologies.

SEE ALSO: ‘Limb Factory’ Gives Life Back To Disabled From All Over The World

For example, if your prosthesis keeps chafing and doesn’t snugly fit your limb, the new ‘programmable’ material could change your life.

SEE ALSO: 3D Printers’ Next Stop: Your Mouth

This new approach to forming a mechanical metamaterial – which is engineered to have a property that’s not found in nature and can be programmed to deform in a uniquely complex manner – could have future applications in wearable technologies, prosthetics and soft robotics, a sub-field of robotics that deals with non-rigid robots constructed with deformable materials like silicone, plastic, fabric or rubber.

In a recent Tel Aviv University study, published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, researchers show how they mix up the sub-units of a material to “program” its final pattern. Their method could pave the way for the development of more close-fitting, comfortable and user-friendly prosthetics.

“The possibilities are endless”

Developed by TAU’s Dr. Yair Shokef and Prof. Martin van Hecke of Leiden University and AMOLF, the Netherlands, the substance was used to 3D-print a metamaterial cube. A smiley-face pattern emerged on the side of the cube when it was compressed between appropriately patterned surfaces.

“We started with a series of flexible building blocks whose deformation properties varied with their orientation,” Shokef said in a statement. “We then developed a new design principle to enable these bricks to be oriented and assembled into a larger metamaterial with machine-like functionalities.”

This metamaterial, according to the researchers, has an unusual property. “On a seemingly normal cube, a programmable pattern of bulges appears when it is compressed,” Shokef says. “In the case of metamaterials, those designed by humans, the spatial structure determines the material’s behavior. By smartly combining the building blocks, we can program the material in such way that every desired pattern appears on the sides of a compressed cube.”

flexible material

There are many applications that could be derived from this groundbreaking study. “This type of programmable ‘machine materials’ could be ideal for prostheses or wearable technology in which a close fit with the body is important,” Shokef says. “If we can make the building blocks more complex or produce these from other materials, then the possibilities are endless.”

Photos and video: Tel Aviv University, Nature

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Israeli Study Shows Female Oncologists Feel More Burnout http://nocamels.com/2016/10/female-oncologists-burnout-cancer/ http://nocamels.com/2016/10/female-oncologists-burnout-cancer/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:56:41 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47788 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The tough act of balancing work and home life, along with other domestic and professional challenges, may be a contributor to the higher burnout rates found among female oncologists compared to their male colleagues. And by reducing these outside stresses, oncologists may be able to cope more effectively with patient death.

A Ben Gurion University study set out to look at gender differences in grief reactions, burnout and emotional distress among clinical oncologists, their reactions to patient deaths and emotional distress.

SEE ALSO: Research: Doctors Should Be Trained To Talk About Death

stress

The results, published in the journal Cancer, found that women reported significantly more grief over the death of their patients, more emotional distress and more burnout. While overall women reported more burnout, they reported emotional distress and grief responses only when they reached relatively higher levels of burnout compared to their male colleagues, who experienced these feelings even with moderate burnout.

For both men and women, however, higher levels of grief and emotional distress were felt among those who reported high levels of burnout.

SEE ALSO: Study: Doctors Should Set Personal Example With Medical Procedures

Burnout is a type of psychological stress in which sufferers feel exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and ineffectiveness, and it can lead to people leaving their jobs earlier than retirement age. The condition is a big issue among oncologists and many studies have documented its prevalence, yet few have attempted to determine what is associated with the high burnout rate. Gender is an important variable to examine in this context, primary investigator Dr. Leeat Granek of BGU’s Department of Public Health said.

The researchers surveyed 178 oncologists from Israel and Canada, 100 of whom were women.

The study results indicate that the medical system should look at the cumulative stressors oncologists face on a day-to-day basis, Granek said in a statement, and take into account gender differences when helping the physicians cope with patient death and dealing with burnout.

Health News: female doctors more tolerant than male counterparts

To read the full article, click here

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Israeli Researchers Decode Autism Genes http://nocamels.com/2016/09/autism-israeli-genetic-signature-diagnosis/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/autism-israeli-genetic-signature-diagnosis/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:03:06 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48203 According to the Autism Society, the prevalence of autism in US children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). This makes autism the fastest-growing developmental disability.

In a new study, Israeli researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev say they have taken “a step closer” to understanding the genetic basis of autism, which they hope will lead to earlier diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

SEE ALSO: AngelSense Helps Parents Keeps Track Of Autistic Kids

Dr. Idan Menashe, Mr. Erez Tsur and Prof. Michael Friger studied the sequences of over 650 genes that are associated with autism and discovered characteristics that distinguish them from other genes in the genome. Their research was recently published in Behavior Genetics

A unique signature

Among the distinct characteristics of autism genes is their exceptional genomic length, which is even longer than other brain-expressed genes of closely related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Additionally, the authors found a unique genomic signature in these genes that was shaped by negative selection, an evolutionary process that removes disruptive mutations from genes over generations.  

Menashe and his colleagues also searched for evidence of positive selection in these genes. Such a mechanism could explain the presence of autism in the human population. However, no indications of positive selection acting on autism genes were found. Thus, autism susceptibility mutations are maintained in the human genome probably because they cause the disorder only in combination with other genetic and/or non-genetic factors.   

Finally, the authors used the unique genomic characteristics of autism genes to identify additional candidate genes for the disorder. They showed that this evolutionary signature is highly efficient in capturing well-established autism genes. These findings broaden our understanding about the genetic mechanisms that are involved in autism, and provide new tools for the discovery of new candidate genes.  

Autism, Child stacking, child Autism,

Repetitively stacking or lining up objects is associated with autism.

“A step closer”

“We are a step closer to understanding the genes associated with autism and understanding the biological process that is involved in the disease,” Menashe told The Times of Israel. “This study gives us a tool to help identify additional autism genes, using the genetic signature we have found, and from there hopefully to be able to diagnose autism earlier.”

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Israeli Researchers Make Breakthrough Discovery In Fight Against Breast Cancer http://nocamels.com/2016/09/breast-cancer-breakthrough-treatment/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/breast-cancer-breakthrough-treatment/#respond Sun, 25 Sep 2016 07:46:07 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=48119 Every year, one in eight women worldwide is diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women. Early detection, while increasingly common, is not sufficient to prevent metastasis, the lethal movement of cancerous cells from a primary tumor site to colonies in vital organs.

But researchers across the world are frantically working on progress in treating and curing the disease. One Israeli study has found that combining genetic therapy with chemotherapy delivered to the tumor is particularly effective in preventing the spread of breast cancer.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Find Promising Therapy For ‘Treatment-Resistant’ Breast Cancer

“Death rates from breast cancer remain high and relatively unchanged despite advances in medicine and technology,” Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Noam Shomron, who led the study, said in a statement. “We wanted to find a way to stop metastasis from happening altogether. It’s the turning point, where survival rates drop exponentially.”

Health News: Researchers Find Method For Treating 'Treatment-Resistant' Breast Cancer

Stopping cancer in its tracks

In their study, TAU researchers delivered microRNAs (small RNA molecules) to primary tumors in mice to halt the spread of cancer. Their mission was to block a cancer cell’s ability to change shape and move. Cancer cells alter their structure in order to squeeze past other cells, enter blood vessels and ride along to their next stop: the lungs, the brain or other vital organs. “We chose microRNAs as our naturally occurring therapy, because they are master regulators of gene expression,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Research Succeeds In Isolating Cancer ‘Stem Cells’

The researchers explored the span of mutations in a tumor in order to identify precisely which ones to target. The scientists then procured an RNA-based drug to control cell movement and created a safe nano-vehicle with which to deliver the microRNA to the tumor site.

Looking at mutations that “other researchers have ignored” – those at the tail end of a gene (as opposed to those situated within the coding region of the gene) – the team noticed that mutations there were involved in metastasis.

Two weeks after initiating cancer in the breasts of their mouse “patients,” the researchers injected into primary tumor sites a hydrogel that contained naturally occurring RNAs to target the movement of cancer cells from primary to secondary sites. Two days after this treatment, the primary breast tumors were excised.

The mice were evaluated three weeks later using CT imaging, fluorescent labeling, biopsies and pathology. The researchers discovered that the mice that had been treated with two different microRNAs had very few or no metastatic sites, whereas the control group — injected with randomly scrambled RNAs — exhibited a fatal proliferation of metastatic sites.

Says Shomron: “We realized we had stopped breast cancer metastasis in a mouse model, and that these results might be applicable to humans.”

Cancer Cell

The research was led by Dr. Noam Shomron of TAU‘s Sackler School of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Natalie Artzi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Data on human genetics were provided by Prof. Eitan Friedman of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. The study was recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

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Israeli Wearable Device MotionCure Relieves Motion Sickness In Minutes http://nocamels.com/2016/09/wearable-tech-motioncure-treatment-motion-sickness/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/wearable-tech-motioncure-treatment-motion-sickness/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:05:33 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47982 If you get nauseous or queasy when on a boat, ferry or a plane, and even when you just ride the bus to work, you are not alone. Motion sickness affects one in every four people, for whom Israeli wearable device MotionCure could now provide relief within minutes.

Developed by Sidis Labs, MotionCure is a neck collar that uses tingling pulses to relieve the dizziness, nausea, and vomiting that people experience when their sense of balance is disturbed by constant motion.

SEE ALSO: Wear It Well: The Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel

MotionCure

Founded in 2014 by Ohad Raz and Ami Dror, Sidis Labs came up with the idea for a motion sickness device after Raz completed his military service as a captain in the Israeli Navy, where “the problem of motion sickness was very close to my heart, as you can imagine,” he tells NoCamels.

Building on groundbreaking NASA research, MotionCure “creates customized pulses that are transmitted to the area of the median nerve that is at the nape (the back of neck),” he says. “Those help to reduce the signals that are sent from the brain to the stomach and basically calm down the stomach.”

SEE ALSO: MUV’s Smart ‘Ring’ BIRD Transforms Surfaces Into Giant Interactive Touchscreens

Raz describes the device as “an easy-to-use combination of a neck collar and a travel pillow that you wear on the plane.” In order to feel the pulse’s tingling sensations, all the user has to do is put in two AAA batteries and situate the device comfortably around the neck.

While previous attempts to help motion sickness include prescription, over-the-counter pills, and bracelets, “we are providing a natural alternative for drugs,” he says. “I think there is an understanding in the world that we should minimize the amount of drugs we take.”

Still, MotionCure is up against several competitors, in Israel and abroad. Israeli company Sea-Band, for instance, sells acupressure wristbands that are said to treat nausea as well as motion sickness. Similarly, drugs such as Dramamine and Travel-Ease are popular among people who face these symptoms.

Another problem might be its bulky nature. Wearing a big neck collar on your bus ride to work isn’t exactly subtle.

“Feel better in a matter of minutes”

MotionCure says its device can also be used by people undergoing chemotherapy, whose side effects include nausea and vomiting: “We didn’t plan for this to happen, but we keep getting feedback from people who have used it with chemotherapy and it helped them a lot,” Raz says. However, this was not independently verified.

MotionCure is sold for $150 on Amazon and on sidislabs.com. It is best used before the symptoms begin, but you can use it at the onset. Says Raz: “Either way, you will feel better in a matter of minutes.”

MotionCure

Photos: Courtesy

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Stunning But Scary: Video Shows Bacteria Evolving Into Super Bugs http://nocamels.com/2016/09/video-bacteria-evolving-super-bugs/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/video-bacteria-evolving-super-bugs/#respond Tue, 13 Sep 2016 06:39:52 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47905

A sped-up version of  the evolution of antibiotic resistant E. coli.

With the help of a giant Petri dish, Israeli and American researchers are showing us evolution at its most ferocious.

The time-lapse video above shows the first large-scale glimpse of how bacteria (in this case E. coli) mutate into superbugs when faced with increasing doses of antibiotics, to become 1000 times more resistant than their original state.

A giant Petri dish

Seeking to better visualize how bacteria transform when treated with different types of antibiotics, Israeli and American researchers designed a simple experiment. Led by Professor Roy Kishony of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and documented in the September 9th issue of Science, a team of researchers constructed a two-by-four foot Petri dish, dubbed the “MEGA-plate”, and filled it with 14 liters of agar, a seaweed-derived jellylike substance commonly used in labs to nourish organisms as they grow. The dish was split into different sections, with each portion receiving varying doses of antibiotics.

SEE ALSO: This Remarkable Discovery Shows Why Bacteria Are Becoming Tolerant To Antibiotics

The bacteria on the outermost part of the dish were not treated with any drugs at all, while the next portion had just the right amount of antibiotics to kill the bug. Each following section was given a dose ten times more powerful than the last, with the center portion getting a thousand times more antibiotics than the areas with the lowest dosage. In order to track how the E. coli developed, the researchers attached a camera to the facility’s ceiling, taking photos of the evolution over a span of two weeks.

 

Findings: Mutant superbugs

According to their findings, when faced with antibiotics, at first most of the bacteria perished, but there was always a small percentage of mutant bacteria that adjusted to the antibiotics and were able to survive. What happened then was a form of competition between mutated strains, as each sought to move on to parts of the dish that had higher doses of antibiotics. Most importantly, the experiment showed that the most resistant of the mutants proved to be capable of resisting the highest dose of antibiotics, effectively making them E. coli superbugs.

Superbugs have been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the greatest threats to human health after adapting to become resistant to all forms of antibiotics. Each year across the globe more than 700,000 people die, including about 214,000 infants less than a month old, due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Aside from being a strong visualization of evolution, and its role in the rise of superbugs, the experiment gives biologists a tool to better analyze how those superbugs develop.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Say Technique Can Neutralize Anti-Biotic Resistant Bacteria

Inspired by Hollywood

The inspiration for the experiment ultimately came from a Hollywood movie. Seeking a visually captivating way to teach evolution to students in a graduate course, Kishony drew upon an idea from a digital billboard he saw advertising the 2011 film ‘Contagion’, about a deadly viral pandemic. As a marketing tool, the producers of the film created a giant lab dish showing swarms of painted, glowing microbes creeping slowly across a dark backdrop to spell out the title of the movie.

“We really did not invent the MEGA-plate,” Kishony explained in an interview. “It was invented in Hollywood, of all places.”

Given the circumstances, this may be a case of life imitating art.

 

Photos and Videos: Technion, Harvard Medical School

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UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall http://nocamels.com/2016/09/rewalk-founder-upnride-quadriplegics-walk/ http://nocamels.com/2016/09/rewalk-founder-upnride-quadriplegics-walk/#respond Mon, 05 Sep 2016 11:06:03 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47583 UPnRIDE, a revolutionary Segway-like device that allows quadriplegics to stand up and move around almost anywhere, is poised to change the life of thousands of paralyzed people when it will be unveiled at the Rehacare International convention in Germany, later this month.

The Israeli device was developed by Dr. Amit Goffer, who already founded the revolutionary exoskeleton ReWalk, which enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs. His new device will help quadriplegics (people paralyzed from the neck down) to stand and be mobile.

SEE ALSO: Innovation Nation: 10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World

 

The brain behind ReWalk, Goffer is himself a quadriplegic who does not have full use of his arms, which means he cannot use the ReWalk to walk. In fact, this incredible device can only be used by roughly 10 percent of handicapped individuals.

That is why Goffer, who is confined to a wheelchair, has been working on a more comprehensive solution over the past three years. Similar to a stand-up Segway or an electric scooter, the patented UPnRIDE moves over different kinds of terrains with the user’s guidance, using a joystick operated by hand or by mouth. Automatic balancing assures a safe ride uphill, downhill, and on slanted surfaces, in both standing and sitting positions.

“Being able to stand and move is extremely important for people’s physiological health and their dignity,” Goffer says. According to him, the UPnRIDE reduces secondary complications of long-term sitting, lowering the need for hospitalization, medications and physiotherapy.

“Shifting attention away from the disability”

Standing wheelchairs were first created in order to facilitate better circulation and other health benefits for the wheelchair-confined, and to provide a chance for eye-to-eye social interaction. However, according to UPnRIDE Robotics CEO Oren Tamari, “most other standing wheelchairs don’t allow travelling on surfaces that aren’t plain.”

While using the device, a set of jointed braces and harnessing straps provide support when transitioning between sitting and standing positions. Cutting-edge motion technology and real-time computing ensures automatic balancing and stability when UPnRIDE maneuvers on sloped sidewalks, parking lots and ramps, maintaining a constant center of gravity to minimize the risk of hazardous situations.

ReWalker Oliver, Ursel & Andre – Berlin, Germany

ReWalk, Goffer’s previous invention

According to Tamari, UPnRIDE, which is expected to cost roughly $32,000 (wheelchairs typically cost $15,000-$50,000) will significantly cuts healthcare expenses, by reducing the need for standing and physiotherapy apparatuses – a major cost saving for insurers, hospitals, patients and their families.

A comprehensive solution  

SEE ALSO: ReWalk, The Revolutionary Israeli Tech That Allows Paraplegics To Walk, Nabs FDA Approval

Meanwhile, the ReWalk exoskeleton already has a market cap of $73 million on Nasdaq. In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.

“An extremely good feeling”

Founded in 2013, UPnRIDE Robotics is headed by Tamari and by president and CTO Goffer, both graduates of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who left ReWalk to found UPnRIDE. The startup received a grant from Israel’s Chief Scientist, $1.7 million in funding from Israeli crowd-funding platform OurCrowd, and additional funds from angel investors. So far, UPnRIDE has raised $3 million, and is in the process of raising another $4 million, Tamari says.

upnride

Dr. Amit Goffer using UPnRIDE

David Stark, OurCrowd general partner, tells NoCamels that “Amit’s personal need for an upright mobility solution fueled his drive to develop the UPnRIDE, which will one day benefit wheelchair-bound people all around the world.”

But money isn’t everything; Goffer’s true passion is to improve the lives of millions around the globe. Just last year, Goffer – who became quadriplegic as a result of a 1997 accident – was able to leave his home standing up, for the first time since the accident, using UPnRIDE: “It was a very strange feeling, an extremely good one.”

Photos and video: UPnRIDE, Technion

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Mediterranean Diet Is Better For Your Heart Than Taking Statins http://nocamels.com/2016/08/mediterranean-diet-heart-disease-statins/ http://nocamels.com/2016/08/mediterranean-diet-heart-disease-statins/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:30:58 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47543 A Mediterranean diet is better than statins at lowering the risk of an early death from heart disease for millions of people, said some of the world’s leading heart experts. A global heart disease conference in Rome concluded that patients should be prescribed the diet – which includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, legumes, whole grains and nuts – before being prescribed statins.

SEE ALSO: Study: Mediterranean And Low-Carb Diets Have Long-Lasting Health Benefits

Speaking at a global heart disease conference in Rome, Italian expert, Professor Giovanni de Gaetano, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Italy, explained that so far research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people. The study sought to find out what happens to people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease. Is the Mediterranean diet optimal for them as well?

For the study, the researchers looked at 1,200 Italians with a history of heart disease over a period of seven years. They found that those who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet were less likely to be among the 208 people who died during the course of the study. In fact, he researchers found that people who ate a mostly Mediterranean diet had a 37 percent less chance of dying during the study period.

Mediterranean diet: Supplemental to statins?

Statins are popular worldwide and several studies have shown they can lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the likelihood of major heart problems. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 28 percent of Americans over 40 were taking some kind of statin when surveyed in 2011 and 2012.

Experts hailed the new findings as “extraordinary”, showing that diet was “more powerful than any drug”. High consumption of vegetables had the greatest impact on survival, followed by oily fish intake, amount of fruit eaten and consumption of mono-unsaturated fat, found in olive oil.

“This study suggests that even if you are already receiving medical care, if you add a Mediterranean diet, it will have further benefit,” said Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, in an interview with the Telegraph. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you have had a heart attack or stroke is really important and continues to benefit you.”

Israel: Land of vegetable lovers

Israel sits in the Mediterranean crescent, a region praised for its diet rich in vegetables, fish and unsaturated fat. In a study published last year which examined the eating habits of residents of of 187 countries, Israelis were found to have the ninth most healthy diet in the world.

SEE ALSO: Hebrew University Student Invents World’s First Bacteria-Free Food Packaging

Vegetables - Health News - Israel

 

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Skin Cancer Breakthrough: Melanoma Cure Within Reach http://nocamels.com/2016/08/melanoma-israeli-skin-cancer/ http://nocamels.com/2016/08/melanoma-israeli-skin-cancer/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:15:29 +0000 http://nocamels.com/?p=47506 Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and melanoma – the most aggressive of all skin cancers, which accounts for 2 percent of skin cancer cases – is responsible for nearly all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma rates have risen rapidly in the US over the last 30 years. In 2013, Israel’s Health Ministry recorded 1,634 new cases of melanoma, nearly twice the number diagnosed in 1980. Although scientists have identified key risk factors, they have struggled to find a way to halt its spread.

Now, Israeli and German scientists have potentially discovered how the cells of melanoma invade the rest of the body and ways to stop that spread.

SEE ALSO: ‘Cure For Terminal Cancer’ Discovered With Breakthrough Immunotherapy

In a breakthrough study published Monday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the team details how melanoma evolves from pigment producing cells called melanocytes into tumors, and then spreads, or metastasizes, in the rest of the body.

Tumors initially form on the dermis, the outer layers of skin often in the form of dark colored moles. If caught early, doctors can easily remove the moles and prevent the cancer from spreading. If the mole is allowed to expand into dermis, the cells can be absorbed into the body’s circulatory system and travel to major organs and lymph nodes, where the disease becomes deadly and more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation are needed.

Melanoma Cells

Melanoma cells

“The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis – cancer cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones,” team leader Dr. Carmit Levy, of Tel Aviv University explains.

SEE ALSO: Vanity Best Tool In Fight Against Skin Cancer

According to the study, the way that the tumor spreads is through releasing microscopic bubbles called vesicles which contain microRNA genetic material. This genetic material triggers changes with skin cells which are the equipped to receive and then carry the cancer to the rest of the body, in what the study calls “trafficking before invasion.”

Two chemicals hold the key

The researchers say that they have also discovered two chemicals that could stop the process of metastasizing in its tracks.

The first chemical, dubbed only with an alpha-numerical designation of SB202190, prohibits vesicles from travelling from tumors into healthy skin cells. U0126, the second chemical, prohibits the cells from morphing after being exposed to vesicles so that they will be unable to accept cancer cells.

Both chemicals could be good contenders for drug treatments, according to the report.

Levy’s team from Tel Aviv University worked with Dr. Shoshi Greenberger from the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Dr. Ronen Brenner with Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and Prof. Jorg Hoheisel and Laureen Sander from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

“Our study is an important step on the road to a full remedy for the deadliest skin cancer,” Levy says. “We hope that our findings will help turn melanoma into a nonthreatening, easily curable disease.”

carmitLevy

 

Photos: Tel Aviv University

 

 

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