Chicago Global Health Initiative Donates US$703K Medical Items to Hospitals

first_imgThe US-based medical organization, Chicago Global Health Alliance (CGHA), recently donated a 40-foot container of assorted medical items to three major health facilities in the country.They are the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) and Redemption both in Monrovia, Montserrado County and Phebe in Bong County.The items valued at US$703K include surgical, diagnostics and consumable medical goods.According to Mr. Kenety Gee, Executive Director of CGHA, another shipment of a similar value is on its way with supplies to distribute to other health facilities in the country. “This amount is just for the items within the container and does not include the cost of shipment and other expenses,” Gee added. He stated that it was his organization’s way of identifying with the hospitals, adding: “We hope the donation will help to solve some of key health issues and go a long way to help people.”Mr. Gee said that in 2013 he came to Liberia along with Dr. Adam Burphy, the board chair for CGHA and a Urologist, and they were allowed to do surgeries at the JFK hospital. He recalled that during their work, they found out that some clinical and diagnostic equipment that were needed for some of the procedures were unavailable at the JFK. “Some of the important equipment were not here at JFK so we were told to go to Phebe. We went to Phebe and they did have the equipment that we needed but they didn’t have many,” Gee said. He, stated that despite that setback, “some procedures and some work were done. All of the procedures couldn’t be done either, so we went to Ganta United Methodist Hospital. We found that there was also a shortage. We came to Redemption and there were also shortages.”Because of these impediments at those health facilities, Gee, who is a Liberian, said they decided that upon their return to the US, they would gather as many equipment as they could to bring back to Liberia. In addition to the consignments of equipment, he disclosed that his organization is also bringing back the medical team in order to perform surgeries on patients. Speaking on behalf of JFK, Dr. Billy C. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer, thanked Mr. Gee for the “substantial” donation to JFK and the other facilities. He said the items would be very helpful to JFK. He reminisced that it was two years ago that Gee made them the promise of the medical supplies but he never thought it would happen. Adding up the appreciation to CGHA, Mr. Kerson Saylor, Phebe Hospital representative, said it is only Liberians who can help in solving their country’s problems. He said looking at the manifest, he noticed on the list “some very important equipment” that they lack at Phebe. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Molecular Machines Use Moving Parts

first_imgResearch papers into the processes of molecular machines continue to reveal moving parts: “fingers” that open and close, ratchets that lock into place, and feet that move along tracks.  Here are a few samples from the voluminous literature that continues to pour from biophysics labs.DNA Polymerase I:  Scientific papers tend to be reserved in their language, but the authors of a paper in Structure1 couldn’t help themselves: “DNA polymerases are spectacular molecular machines that can accurately copy genetic material with error rates on the order of 1 in 105 bases incorporated, not including the contributions of proofreading exonucleases.”  Their paper went into detail on how the “fingers” and “thumb” of the machine open and close in precise sequence as the machine moves along the DNA strand base by base.  Part of the machine rotates 50° as the machine translocates along the DNA.  These machines copy millions of base pairs of DNA every cell division so that each daughter cell gets an accurate copy.  The research was done on a bacterium that lives in hot springs.    Pata and Jaeger, who reviewed the paper by Golosov et al in Structure,2 included a diagram showing the “conformational changes” that DNA polymerase I undergoes in its action along the DNA strand.  “After more than fifty years of research, the DNA polymerases responsible for copying the genetic material are some of the most well characterized enzymes in all of biology,” they said.  “Although the polymerases are divided into several different families, they all share a common two metal-ion catalytic mechanism, and most of them are described as having fingers, palm, and thumb domains: the palm contains metal-binding catalytic residues, the thumb contacts DNA duplex, and the fingers form one side of the pocket surrounding the nascent base pair.”  Three phases occur during each step along the DNA chain: the fingers open, the machine moves one base pair as it rotates, then the base in the “palm” is placed into the “pre-insertion site,” while another moving part prevents further movement till the operation is completed.  Then the process repeats – millions of times per operation.    A paper in PNAS3 on DNA Polymerase I noted that “The remarkable fidelity of most DNA polymerases depends on a series of early steps in the reaction pathway which allow the selection of the correct nucleotide substrate, while excluding all incorrect ones, before the enzyme is committed to the chemical step of nucleotide incorporation.”  Their paper also discussed numerous conformational changes in the operation – some that precede the emplacement of the nucleotide at each step.  They described how the fingers-closing step forms “a snug binding pocket around the nascent base pair.”  They discussed at length how the machine prevents mismatched bases at several stages of the operation.  None of the authors of these three papers used the word evolution.Virus replicator:  Language of moving parts abounds in an article in PNAS about the machinery a virus uses to replicate itself.4  This little helicase called NS3h undergoes three successive conformational changes as it ratchets along the DNA.  Words found in the paper suggesting moving parts include: stretched spring, torsion, rotation, bending, propel, motion, unwinding, gating, cycle, kinetic steps, motor domains, structural transitions, and ratchet-type unidirectional translocation.  This particular machine works in a virus that causes hepatitis C.  It is part of superfamily SF2 of this kind of machine.  Regarding evolution, the authors only said, “structural comparison of the representative SF1 and SF2 members reveals explicit differences in catalyzing nucleotide hydrolysis and motion (Figs. S6 and S7), reflecting the fact that these helicases have evolved to adopt divergent mechanisms and act in different biological processes.” Torsion springs and lever arms:  There’s a molecular machine that detects stretching force when a load is applied.  The keywords for a paper in PNAS5 about one of the myosins include kinetics, torsional motions, lever arm, force-sensitive transition, and more.  “Myosin-Is are molecular motors that link cellular membranes to the actin cytoskeleton, where they play roles in mechano-signal transduction and membrane trafficking,” the paper begins.  “Some myosin-Is are proposed to act as force sensors, dynamically modulating their motile properties in response to changes in tension.”  Why do cells need force sensors?  “Tension sensing by myosin motors is important for numerous cellular processes, including control of force and energy utilization in contracting muscles, transport of cellular cargos, detection of auditory stimuli, and control of cell shape.”  The authors found that alternative splicing of the gene produces isoforms of the motor with lever arms of different lengths, with varying response to force.  This “increases the range of force sensitivities of the proteins translated from the myo1b gene.”  and it “tunes the mechanical properties of myo1b for diverse mechanical challenges, while maintaining the protein’s basal kinetic and cargo-binding properties.”    How did these myosin machines arise?  They just evolved.  “Myosins have evolved different tension sensitivities tuned for these diverse cellular tasks,” the authors said.  That’s all they had to say about evolution.Ribosome dynamics:  When transfer-RNAs and messenger-RNAs traverse the ribosome protein-assembly factory with their amino-acid cargos and genetic data readouts, respectively, they undergo several motions as they are transported along.  Researchers writing in PNAS said,6 “Spontaneous formation of the unlocked state of the ribosome is a multistep process.”  Their paper described how the L1 stalks of the ribosome bend, rotate and uncouple – undergoing at least four distinct stalk positions while each tRNA ratchets through the assembly tunnel.  At one stage, for instance, “the L1 stalk domain closes and the 30S subunit undergoes a counterclockwise, ratchet-like rotation” with respect to another domain of the factory.  This is not simple.  “Subunit ratcheting is a complex set of motions that entails the remodeling of numerous bridging contacts found at the subunit interface that are involved in substrate positioning,” they said.Since the discovery of molecular machines, biochemistry has transformed into biophysics.  The kind of chemistry we learned in school is inadequate for understanding the machinery of the cell.  Interactions between molecules are not simply matters of matching electrons with protons.  Instead, large structural molecules form machines with moving parts.  These parts experience the same kinds of forces and motions that we experience at the macro level: stretching, bending, leverage, spring tension, ratcheting, rotation and translocation.  The same units of force and energy are appropriate for both – except at vastly different levels.1.  Golosov, Warren, Beese and Karplus, “The Mechanism of the Translocation Step in DNA Replication by DNA Polymerase I: A Computer Simulation Analysis,” Structure, Volume 18, Issue 1, 83-93, 13 January 2010, 10.1016/j.str.2009.10.014.2.  Janice D. Pata and Joachim Jaeger, “Molecular Machines and Targeted Molecular Dynamics: DNA in Motion,” Structure, Volume 18, Issue 1, 13 January 2010, Pages 4-6, doi:10.1016/j.str.2009.12.003.3.  Santoso et al, “Conformational transitions in DNA polymerase I revealed by single-molecule FRET,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 12, 2010, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 715-720, doi:10.1073/pnas.0910909107.4.  Gu and Rice, “Three conformational snapshots of the hepatitis C virus NS3 helicase reveal a ratchet translocation mechanism,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 12, 2010, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 521-528, doi:10.1073/pnas.0913380107.5.  Laakso, Lewis, Shuman, and Ostap, “Control of myosin-I force sensing by alternative splicing,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 12, 2010, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 698-702, doi:10.1073/pnas.0911426107.6.  Munro, Altman, Tung, Cate, Sanbonmatsu and Blanchard, “Spontaneous formation of the unlocked state of the ribosome is a multistep process,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 12, 2010, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 709-714, doi:10.1073/pnas.0908597107.In the major general journals, papers on biochemistry and biophysics appear to vastly exceed other topics.  In the current issue of PNAS, for instance, there are 3 papers on physical sciences, 7 on chemistry (but several overlapping with biochemistry), one on engineering, 1 on environmental science, 1 on geology, 2 on mathematics, 2 on social sciences, 6 on biology, 1 on ecology, 1 on environmental sciences, 2 on evolution, 4 on genetics, 6 on immunology, 6 on medical sciences, 5 on microbiology, 2 on neuroscience, 2 on physiology, 1 on plant biology, 2 on psychology, 1 on “sustainability science,” but 25 on biochemistry/biophysics/cell biology.  This is not atypical.  There may be various reasons for this lopsided publishing on cells, but clearly major discoveries are being made as techniques become refined that allow us to see more clearly into the operations of cellular factories.  The pattern we see repeatedly here is known as the CEH Law: talk of evolution is inversely proportional to the amount of observational detail.  Usually the Darwinspeak is only a casual passing reference without demonstration, like “such-and-such evolved to….” (for the fallacy of using evolved as an active verb, see the 01/17/2010 entry).  The evidence shouts “design!” to the rest of us.    It has probably not escaped your notice that viruses and disease-causing bacteria contain the same high-tech machinery as the “good” cells.  In fact, many of our worst plagues are caused by organisms employing exquisite molecular machines against us.  This undoubtedly raises philosophical and theological questions.  It’s the long-standing problem of natural evil.    The Darwinist answer is less than helpful: it says that nothing is evil.  Whatever is, is right; more accurately, whatever is, is.  Everything is in its own struggle for existence.  But why struggle, if existence is meaningless?  We’ve come a long way since the 18th century, when deists, and later atheists, portrayed nature as good and benevolent.  They argued on that basis that we should build our morality on the observation that all creatures seek pleasure and flee pain.  But should do we do it corporately, or individually?  If individually, what if my pleasure involves your pain?  If corporately, what eggs have to be broken to make the omelet?  In hindsight, this has been a disastrous way to build a social contract.  It also begs the question that any objective moral categories can be derived from nature.  One man may see a beautiful sunrise; another a threat of rain.  One may admire the beauty of the Alps; another may say, what a chaotic jumble of rocks.  And it’s doubtful an evolutionary biologist will be dispassionate about natural evil when afflicted with hepatitis C.  The naturalistic position also is incoherent.  One cannot describe it without the Yoda Complex: stepping outside one’s natural skin and pontificating about truth and reality from an imagined exalted plane.    The Christian position is not devoid of its own problems in specifics, but provides a coherent framework for understanding natural evil.  Unlike deism, which tries to see everything as providentially good, the Judeo-Christian tradition sees nature as fallen from its original goodness.  The deist Rousseau would have us believe that the way to happiness is getting close to nature and letting our natural tendencies guide us.  Notice that he had to invoke his Yoda Complex to say that; he wrote it in books, not while trouncing naked in the forest hunting prey.  He was appealing to concepts and principles he assumed were true.  Like most attractive philosophies, his views contained some half-truths that persist in some modern movements.  But it is doubtful he would look at natural disaster as evidence of a benevolent deity, or the behaviors of many native tribes that subjugate women, disfigure children and cannibalize their enemies, as models for how to build a natural society.    The Biblical description of the Fall provides enough detail to get us thinking about natural evil from a coherent framework, but leaves some room for differences of opinion.  We are told that evil entered with Satan’s fall and man’s capitulation to the temptation to doubt and disobey God’s word.  We learn that the world was put under a curse because of sin, and that some of the curse included natural pain: thorns, pain in childbirth, difficulty in agriculture.  These changes apparently took place immediately at the hand of God.  The world was judged again by a catastrophic flood because every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.  Paul tells us that creation groans as if in labor pains, waiting for the consummation (Romans 8).  And we learn from Scripture that God remains merciful and good to His creation, and that His providential care, wisdom and glory is still abundantly evident to all people – not just to believers (Psalm 19, Psalm 104).  Meanwhile, the goal of man’s highest aspirations is to be heaven, not the pleasures of this world.    Within that framework some additional questions can be asked.  As details come to light about exquisite machinery in viruses and bacteria that cause disease, how are we to interpret them?  Did God design these machines directly to cause pain?  If so, it would be right for him as the Judge of all to execute judgment.  We do not condemn human judges for inflicting pain and even the death penalty when the law demands it.  We are all under the penalty of death for our own sin.  The real wonder is not why the suffering appears random to us, but why God lets us all live as long as we do, when his justice could require instant incineration of the planet.  In some cases, however, the pain may come from God indirectly, from his having relaxed some of his providence on life-forms that were originally intended for good, letting mutations and decay processes operate according to the laws of a cursed creation.  Even evolutionary biologists ponder how toxins arose and how structures might have become modified.  Creationists do not have problems with existing machinery getting co-opted for other uses under selection pressure; it’s the origin of new complex information de novo that is too improbable for evolution to explain.  Perhaps the needle pumps in bacteria and the genetic modification mechanisms in viruses had a good function originally.  The fact that the vast majority of these microbes are beneficial lends credence to the idea; an article on Science Daily said that the same bacterium responsible for stomach ulcers may protect against tuberculosis.  This could indicate that microbes can offset one another and perhaps have gotten out of balance.  Some theologians might wonder if the spiritual forces of Satan’s dominion have limited ability to turn parts of nature against itself – not to exercise creative power, but like the disasters in the Book of Job, to take existing forces of nature (fire, whirlwinds) and turn them against man.  They would be analogous to hackers who take existing computers and networks and turn them into weapons of harm.  This would, of course, be within the permissive will of God.  This short list does not exhaust the possibilities.  The Bible has provided sufficient, but not exhaustive, information to address this question.  He also grants us the power of prayer to seek relief from the natural afflictions of life – though we know physical death cannot be delayed forever.  Undoubtedly if knew every calamity that would befall us and the day of our death, we would be tempted to procrastinate our preparations for meeting our Maker.  The uncertainties of natural disasters should force us to lean on God and be ready at all times to stand before him.    There is a rich literature on attempted solutions to the problem of natural evil.  Only the Biblical view is coherent: natural evil is contrary to the divine will, but is used by the divine will for purposes that are ultimately good.  Unlike evolutionary, pantheistic, deistic, animistic or mystical solutions, which cannot define good or evil in a consistent or coherent way, (or try to deny good and evil altogether), the Biblical world view gives people the liberty to oppose evil and strive to eliminate pain in this life, while recognizing the goal of mankind is to strive for the kingdom of God, where evil will be vanquished forever.  Medicine and science are, therefore, logical applications of the Biblical world view.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA 5th at World Surfing Games

first_imgTeam South Africa narrowly missed out on the final of the Aloha Cup tag team event when they ended third in their semi-final on Friday. Australia went on to win the final, which was their only gold medal of the event, with France, Peru and Tahiti taking silver, bronze and copper respectively. Rosanne Hodge was the star of the South African surfing team at the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica on the weekend, capturing the silver medal in the grand final of the women’s division. Gold: Courtney Conlogue (USA) Silver: Rosanne Hodge (RSA) Bronze: Sage Erickson (USA) Copper: Pauline Ado (FRA) South Africa: 5th – 10 666 points Team Results Longboard Gold: Jeremy Flores (FRA) Silver: Cory Lopez (USA) Bronze: Gabriel Villaran (PER) Copper: Ben Bourgeois (USA) South Africa – Equal 5th Flores, currently ranked 16th on the ASP World Tour, went on to win the gold medal, finishing ahead of American Cory Lopez and Gabriel Villaran of Peru, both of whom had advanced from the Qualifying stream, with Bourgeois in fourth. SAinfo reporter South Africans The Longboard title was won by France’s Antoine Delpero, who relegated Australian Harley Ingleby to second place, with Ben Skinner of the UK and the USA’s Tony Silvagni (USA) taking third and fourth. Justin Bing was South Africa’s top finisher in equal-ninth spot, with Michael Hill ending equal-15th. Gold: Antoine Delpero (FRA) Silver: Harley Ingleby (AUS) Bronze: Ben Skinner (GBR) Copper: Tony Silvagni (USA) Gold: AustraliaSilver: FranceBronze: PeruCopper: Tahiti Open Women South Africans Hodge fought her way back into contention with a 5.56, but the American clinched the gold with an excellent 8.20 with four minutes remaining on the clock. That ride left Hodge needing a near perfect ride of 9.64, and Ericson and Ado needing to improve on both their rides. 11 August 2009 Final BILLABONG ISA WORLD SURFING GAMES Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica They were joined by ASP World Junior Champion Pauline Ado of France and the in-form American Courtney Conlogue, who had won the US Open Surfing event in California two weeks earlier. Both women advanced from the Repecharge rounds.center_img Gold – United States – 14 910 pointsSilver – France – 13 280 points Bronze – Australia – 10 996 points Copper – Hawaii – 10 856 points Brandon Jackson came within one place of a medal in his first ISA World Surfing Games when he finished fifth overall in the open men’s division. The 22-year-old from Durban North fought his way through to the last four in the Repecharge rounds before slipping to third spot behind Frenchman Jeremy Flores and Ben Bourgeois of the USA. Team South Africa narrowly missed out on three further medals, in the team event, open men and Aloha Cup competitions, finishing in fifth place in each category; gold, silver, bronze, and copper medals are awarded. Hodge, from East London, started the final day confidently, posting rides of 6.20 and 7.0 out of 10 to win her heat in round five of the qualifying stream and advance directly into the women’s Grand Final along with second placed Sage Ericson of the USA. South Africa’s fifth place finished marked a two-place improvement over the position achieved at the World Surfing Games in Portugal last year. Brandon Jackson – 5thRudy Palmboom Jnr. – 29thRyan Payne – 33rdDamien Fahrenfort – 49th Aloha Cup The 25-minute final saw Hodge lead early on before Conlogue took control with 18 minutes remaining by recording rides of 5.60 and then 7.0 points. Improvement Nikita Robb – 8th Hodge’s silver medal was one better than her bronze in the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games in California in 2006, which marked the last time South Africa’s sole contender on the ASP Women’s World Tour represented her country. Team USA cruised to victory in the team event – their first team gold medal since the corresponding event in California in 1996 – with France confirming the emergence of Europe as a surfing power by taking silver. Defending team champions Australia slipped to third, and Hawaii clinching the copper medal just ahead of South Africa. Justin Bing – 9thMichael Hill – 15th Open Men Longboard Video highlights, photos, news and full results can be found at 2009 ISA World Surfing Games. Men’s open division South Africans Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

3 Tenets to Consider When Taking on New Video Projects

first_imgLet’s take a look at the “Three P’s” of taking on new filmmaking or videography projects: passion, prestige, and profit.Cover image via Shutterstock.As a freelance videographer or editor, you have the luxury (or burden, at times) of choosing the projects you work on. Sometimes, these gigs can be for awesome clients, representing awesome brands that will improve your reel while making you some money.Other times, you’ll have to work for little to no money, for terrible clients, and for boring brands you wouldn’t want anyone to see. So how do you, as a smart investor in your own brand, make these video project decisions?Well, let’s explore what I like to call the “Three P’s of Picking Projects.” If you cross-examine a new project with the values of these three tenets (passion, prestige, and profit), you can make smart decisions to help you improve your craft, expand your portfolio, and further your career.Tenet One: PassionImage via Shutterstock.Understanding what makes you tick is a huge part of defining your own success. There are certain types of projects that we all gravitate to that don’t feel like work at all. These “passion” projects motivate you to dive in, try new things, and make the best work possible.Passion projects are sometimes few and far between. Sometimes, you have to make or find them yourself, but they are highly important to your creative well-being. However, they are also often the types of projects that pay the least — but, they can be highly prestigious (think of a film getting into a festival, or winning an award).Tenet Two: PrestigeImage via Shutterstock.When choosing a project, it’s also important to consider how the project will reflect back on you. If you’re in a corporate track, working with big corporate brands may offer a level of prestige that validates your work and your brand. Your work could also get a boost by appearing on a national stage and garnering thousands more views than anything you could do on your own.Sometimes clients can be aware of this (nonprofits and savvy start-up clients do this all the time), and they may ask for cheaper prices or pro-bono work to help elevate your brand with the work.Tenet Three: ProfitImage via Shutterstock.This may be the most important tenet to consider. If video production is your career, you have to make decisions that will make you money to pay your bills. While passion and prestige are important — and can help garner higher profits in the future — at the end of the day, you will always need to consider what a project pays.As such, the most profitable projects are often the least prestigious and inspire the least passion. Some examples might include medical industry work, long-form HR training video series, or corporate explainer videos — to name a few…How to Maximize All ThreeImage via Shutterstock.So, if these are the three tenets of your video project decision-making rubric, your goal as a video professional is to find ways to maximize all three.1) Be upfront with potential clients about which tenets are lacking in a project.When considering projects and talking with clients, I’ve found it helpful to be upfront about what I’m good at, what I’d like to do, and what I expect as fair pay. If they’re asking for work that doesn’t satisfy all three tenets, let them know and give them options. There are very rare instances when clients offer perfect projects off-the-bat. It usually takes communication and negotiation to find the sweet spot.2) Fill in the gaps yourself.If there are no ways to account for lacking tenets, be proactive and find ways to do it yourself. If you know you’ll be doing a bunch of profitable but boring work for several weeks, find fun passion projects to work on during the weekend. Maybe volunteer your time for a nonprofit to try a new technique you’re excited to use.If you’re only working fun projects that aren’t paying the bills, you may need to buck up and take on some profitable work to build up your brand for more prestigious work.3) Don’t take on projects that sap your ability to balance the three.At the end of the day, if you aren’t finding that balance of passion, prestige, and profit, your work is going to suffer, and your career can become untenable. It’s up to you to understand your video project decision rubric and what’s best for your career.For more tips about navigating the world of freelance video production and editing, check out the following resources.Advice on Finding Corporate Video Clients3 Tips for Pitching a Corporate VideoHow to Handle Negative Feedback From Clients Tips for Successful Video and Film Freelancinglast_img read more