Health Scan: Severe wounds all wrapped up

ELAD has saved the lives of many wounded soldiers.

wrap 88 (photo credit: )
wrap 88
(photo credit: )
A specially designed device consisting of thick plastic sheet wrapped around severely hemorrhaging soldiers on the battlefield like the sheer, cling plastic used to keep food fresh in the refrigerator has saved the life of several wounded soldiers. Called ELAD, the device was designed by Dr. Sody Naimer, a member of the Ben-Gurion University Health Sciences Faculty who was well known for treating terror victims in the Gaza Strip, where he lived until disengagement. According to BGU's Health Sciences News, a quarterly newsletter, Naimer uses materials created for wrapping parcels that are produced by Poleg Industries in the Negev. He and colleagues at Soroka University Medical Center published their findings on ELAD in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. The efficacy was proven by the team, which received permission from the ethics committee of the Israel Defense Forces. Their positive experience repeatedly proved itself, and they have now prepared a further article after gathering experience of more than 60 cases from two continents in which the plastic dressing was used. The plastic wrap was shown to be much more effective than gauze in dealing with heavy bleeding on the neck and face. Not only is it easier, quicker and less painful, but use of the see-through plastic permits observation and monitoring of the wounds, and prevents infusion lines from being accidentally pushed out of place. The special dressing is not yet marketed, because it first has to receive formal approval from the Health Ministry. "Nevertheless, in the meantime, the next bleeding victim I meet you can be sure will be treated by this dressing, the most effective I've ever used." UP IN SMOKE Smoking may increase the risk of developing diabetes, according to new research by investigators at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the US. The surprising finding emerged when researchers examined the relationship between smoking and diabetes among participants in a major national study, the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS). They compared the incidence of diabetes after five years among smokers and those who had never smoked. A quarter of the participants who smoked and did not have diabetes when the study began had developed the disease by the five-year follow-up, compared to 14 percent of the participants who had never smoked, according to Dr. Capri G. Foy and colleagues who conducted the study. Reporting in the journal Diabetes Care, the researchers found that when the analyses were adjusted to account for other diabetes risk factors, "smokers still exhibited significantly increased incidence of diabetes compared to people who had never smoked," Foy said. "These findings suggest another poor health outcome associated with cigarettes, supporting current surgeon general's warnings against cigarette smoking." Smoking has long been associated with heart disease, as is diabetes, and Foy noted that diabetes and heart disease share many risk factors. They focused on a prediabetic condition called insulin resistance, in which increasing amounts of insulin are needed to digest the same amount of glucose, the principal product of the metabolism of carbohydrates. Meanwhile, just one to four cigarettes daily triples the risk of dying from heart disease or lung cancer, according to a large study just published in Tobacco Control. The impact is stronger for women and quashes the cherished notion that "light" smokers escape the serious health problems faced by heavier smokers. The researchers tracked the health and death rates of almost 43,000 men and women from the mid-1970s up to 2002. All the participants were aged between 35 and 49 at the start of the study, when they were screened for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although a significant proportion of the light smokers increased their daily consumption, this had not exceeded nine cigarettes a day. And almost as many had given up as had increased their consumption. Taking account of risk factors likely to influence the findings, the data nevertheless showed that even light smoking endangers health. Compared with those who had never smoked, those who smoked between one and five cigarettes a day were almost three times as likely to die of coronary artery disease. Men who were light smokers were almost three times as likely to be killed by lung cancer, while women were five times as likely to die of the disease as their nonsmoking peers. FAREWELL, VOLUNTEER When outgoing US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer completed his four years of service, his wife, Sheila, ended four years as a volunteer in the Yad Sarah's Netanya branch, where she worked in the computer room of the rehabilitation center. She taught rehabilitation patients how to use computers and special accessories designed for the physically disabled. At a recent farewell party with her 25 students and volunteers, center director Sabrina Kasuto thanked her and stressed her warmth toward each patient. Sheila Kurtzer hosted the rehabilitation center patients at her Herzliya home twice, with the ambassador joining them. She was presented with a picture created by one of the patients in the center's art club and reciprocated by distributing pieces of a cake she had prepared at home.