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Bio-glue that moves with a beating heart can repair wounds in pigs

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A new “bio-glue” — an experimental adhesive gel that is activated by a flash of light — has been proven to stop high pressure bleeding in the hearts of pigs.

Additional research confirming the safety of this product is needed before experiments can begin in humans, according to the authors of a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.
Around the globe, more than 234 million surgeries are performed each year, the World Health Organization estimates.
Surgical suturing is especially difficult when dealing with diseased, damaged or small blood vessels, according to the study authors. Existing surgical products, such as Fibrin Glue and Surgiflo, have been effective in stopping bleeding during surgeries, but they take minutes to set and in some cases require additional stitching.
Numerous attempts have been made to create improved and swifter-acting surgical adhesives, but few nontoxic materials can meet the criteria of holding fast on wet tissues while resisting pressure and the movement of a beating heart.

A team of researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China, accepted the challenge.

Inspired by the matrix composition of human connective tissues, they created a gel composed of a network of proteins and other molecules. The product, which requires ultraviolet light to activate, can adhere within seconds and then bond to wet biological tissue surfaces.

In early experiments, the research team showed that their bio-glue could seal wounds to pig livers.

Next, they demonstrated that wounds and punctures of hearts — among the most difficult of surgical challenges — could also be sealed using only the bio-glue, no stitches.

In pigs, the bio-glue sealed a punctured carotid artery, a major blood vessel in the neck, in less than a minute and also filled holes in the cardiac wall. The Chinese researchers monitored their post-surgical pigs for a two-week recovery period and saw natural healing with no abnormalities or unusual inflammation.

The surgical repairs can withstand a systolic blood pressure reading of up to 290 millimeters of mercury, or mmHg, which is “significantly higher” than systolic readings seen by most doctors (the usual range is between 60 and 160), the study authors noted.

“Most importantly, the hydrogel can stop high-pressure bleeding from pig carotid arteries with 4~ 5 mm-long incision wounds and from pig hearts with 6 mm diameter cardiac penetration holes.”

Based on these early experiments, the bio-glue shows promise for use in human surgeries and to stop emergency bleeding, the authors concluded.

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African News

Three Geeks Rescue a 50-Year-Old IBM 360 Mainframe From an Abandoned Building

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In late April of 2019 Slashdot reader Adam Bradley and engineer Chris Blackburn were “sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing…”

They eventually submitted the winning bid for an IBM 360 Model 20 mainframe — €3,710 (about $4,141 USD) — and proceeded to pick it up from an abandoned building “in the backstreets of Nuremberg, Germany.” (Where they tackled several issues with a tiny door that hadn’t been opened since the 1970s.) By day Adam is a railway software engineer, but he’s also been involved in computer history for over a decade at The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley, England.

Along with engineer Peter Vaughan, the three are now blogging “the saga that unfurled…and how we eventually tackled the problems we discovered.” But after much beer, whisky, and Weiner Schnitzel, Adam assures us the story ends with a victory:
The machine will shortly be headed to the UK for a full restoration to working order. We’re planning to blog the entire process and hope some of you might be interested in reading more about it.

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The hidden lives of ‘housegirls’ in Kenya

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In Uganda, young women are leaving their homes to try and find jobs as domestic workers, but for some their new lives can lead to mistreatment and abuse.

A charity in Kenya is calling for the introduction of laws to protect domestic workers, commonly referred to as housegirls, to ensure their safety.

For BBC Africa Eye, reporter Nancy Kacungira has been investigating why young women living near Uganda’s border are leaving their villages to find work in Kenya.

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U.S. ambassador to China to make first visit to Tibet since 2013: report

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was due to begin visiting Tibet on Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural sites, according to a news report on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks at an event to celebrate the re-introduction of American beef imports to China in Beijing, China June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

Branstad was scheduled to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from Sunday to Saturday, Radio Free Asia said in a report.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the story.

Radio Free Asia said it would be the first visit to Tibet by a U.S. official since the U.S. Congress approved a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners. The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

In December, China denounced the United States for passing the law, saying it was “resolutely opposed” to the U.S. legislation on what China considers an internal affair, and it risked causing “serious harm” to their relations.

Since then, tensions have been running high between the two countries over trade. China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

On Saturday, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. words and actions had harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint.

While the Trump administration has taken a tough stance towards China on trade and highlighted security rivalry with Beijing, the administration has so far not acted on congressional calls for it to impose sanctions on China’s former Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, for the treatment of minority Muslims in Xinjiang province, where he is currently party chief. 

A State Department report in March said Chen had replicated in Xinjiang, policies similar to those credited with reducing opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

Reporting by Nandita Bose and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler

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