So many of Israel’s innovative developments benefit humanity physically. I thought therefore that I would take readers on an internal tour to see some of the in-depth achievements of the Jewish State via last week’s news stories.
Starting as usual with medical matters, patients at the Rabin Medical Center - Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva have no need to wait to hear the results of minor heart operations. They can watch the whole procedure including angioplasty, stent insertion and coronary catheterization in real-time on their iPad! Meanwhile, over at Hadassah hospital, surgeons have developed an innovative surgical technique to remove cancerous tumours. Using special instruments inserted through an endoscope – a surgical tool used to examine body cavities – surgeons can ‘peel’ the lesion from the gastrointestinal wall.
This week there are two medical reports focussing on knee joint developments. Firstly, Israel’s Apos, which developed a device for the treatments of knee osteo-arthritis, has signed an agreement with BUPA, one of Britain''s largest healthcare insurance companies. Muscle-bone degeneration, mainly manifested in knees, costs the UK the equivalent of 1% of GDP. Then it was announced that Israeli start-up MMAtech Ltd. has obtained the EU CE Mark certification for its low-friction knee implants. MMAtech''s polymer implant is based on materials originally developed by NASA.
Two further medical collaborations involving Israeli biotechs will bring innovations from the Jewish State to the wider community. Glycominds (via its US subsidiary) is to market its multiple sclerosis tests through Multiplan to 20 million American subscribers and 900,000 health providers, including hospitals, clinics, laboratories, doctors, and health providers who work with 1,400 insurance companies. In the second case, Israel’s Compugen has tied up with the US DiscoveRx Corporation in order to find more peptides (short amino acids) that have therapeutic properties. Compugen’s groundbreaking technology has already discovered peptides to treat cardiovascular, fibrotic and inflammatory conditions.
Next, we had two medical stories involving individuals from Israel’s minority religions. Born weighing only 600 grams at 23 weeks, Druse baby Jazen Jamal, was the only survivor of triplets. Now a healthy 2.24kg, Jazen has been taken home by his parents from the Western Galilee Government Hospital in Nahariya. The second story publicised the discovery of the ovulation gene by Jewish and Arab researchers at Hadassah medical centre in Jerusalem. A teenage girl, who had not gone through puberty, arrived at Hadassah’s Paediatric Department. The research team analysed the girl’s DNA and made a full genetic map of two of her family members. The results pinpointed a mutation found only in one specific gene.
Two further research discoveries may have future medical benefits. Tel Aviv University professor Itzhak Schnell has calculated that tiny levels of the poisonous gas carbon monoxide reduce the impact of environmental stress. The presence of the gas appears to have a narcotic effect, counteracting the stress caused by urban noise and crowd density. Meanwhile, scientists at Ben Gurion University have revealed that microscopic nano-engines have a reverse gear. The fact that molecular machines are much more powerful than first thought will advance the use of nanotechnology in cancer research and in other areas of the medical industry.
So it may not surprise you that latest medical analyses from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that Israelis on average live longer than most other citizens of the developed world. The average life expectancy in Israel is 81.6 years (7th in the world) compared with the OECD average of 79.5. Survival rates for cancer are also far higher in Israel.Israel''s technological innovations are helping to increase the food stocks necessary to go inside the world’s growing population. The five-year collaboration deal between Israel’s genetic seed biotech Evogene and US agricultural giant Monsanto has been extended by a further year. Evogene’s computational technologies are designed to improve yield, fertilizer utilization and a plant’s reaction to environmental stress.
And, according to Israel’s Fruit Growers'' Organization, 2011 will also be a record in Israel''s fruit yield with a total of 690,000 tons of fruit produced. Let’s pray that this fact forms part of the biblical promise “The land will yield her fruit ... and you will dwell inside in safety.”
So that’s Israel – the inside story.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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