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FDA approves Medtronic's 'artificial pancreas,' the world's first

On Wednesday, the FDA approved Medtronic’s hybrid closed-loop system, the world’s first “artificial pancreas.” The agency nod comes months ahead of the spring approval that the company had been expecting.

The MiniMed 670G hybrid closed-loop system is the first FDA-approved device that continuously measures glucose levels and delivers the appropriate dose of basal insulin, according to an FDA statement. It is indicated for people aged 14 or older with Type 1 diabetes and is intended to regulate insulin levels with “little to no input” from the patient, the FDA said in the statement.

“This first-of-its-kind technology can provide people with Type 1 diabetes greater freedom to live their lives without having to consistently and manually monitor baseline glucose levels and administer insulin,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in the statement.

The system comprises Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G insulin pump that is strapped to the body, an infusion patch that delivers insulin via catheter from the pump and a sensor that measures glucose levels under the skin and can be worn for 7 days at a time. While the device regulates basal, or background, insulin, users must still manually request bolus insulin at mealtimes.

The approval comes just three months after Medtronic submitted the system for FDA review. The agency assessed data from a clinical trial in which 123 patients with Type 1 diabetes used the system’s hybrid closed-loop feature as often as possible during a three-month period. The trial showed the device to be safe for use in those 14 and older, reporting no serious adverse events, the FDA said. The system will hit the market in spring next year.

While Medtronic has bested its competition in the race to get an artificial pancreas approved, the devicemaker counts it as another step toward a fully automated, closed-loop system, it said in a statement.


Whoa. Majorly good news for Type 1 diabetics.

Build your own house with these lego-like bricks.

Two days, $30K

Around the world, women are taking charge of their future

From France to Kenya to India and Malawi, women are feeling more empowered to make their voices heard—and to demand gender equality.

A mother of three at 23, Mpayon Loboitong’o herds her family’s goats on her own; after her husband left to find work in Nairobi, she was told he’d been killed there. Her other full-time job: charting animal movements for Save the Elephants. For a monthly salary she and eight other women traverse the bush, unarmed, amid elephants, lions, and African buffalo. “I do this work so my kids don’t go to bed hungry,” she says.

Theresa Kachindamoto remembers the first child marriage she ended, just days after she became the first female paramount chief of her southern Ngoni people in Malawi. In Dedza district, southeast of the capital, Lilongwe, she’d walked past a group of girls and boys playing soccer, a common sight, but then one of the girls stepped away from the game to breastfeed a baby.

“I was shocked,” Kachindamoto recalls. “It pained me.” The mother “was 12 years, but she lied to me that she was 13.”

Kachindamoto informed the elders who had appointed her chief about the young mother, a girl named Cecilia. “They said, ‘Oh yes, here it’s common everywhere, but now you are chief, you can do whatever you want to do.’ ”

So Kachindamoto did. She annulled the marriage and sent the young mother back to school. That was in 2003. The chief paid the girl’s school fees until she completed secondary school. Cecilia now runs a grocery store. Every time she visits her, Kachindamoto says, “she always comes here and says, ‘Thank you, Chief. Thank you.’ ”

Gender inequality is not determined by, or confined to, any one place, race, or religion. Canada, for example, is ranked 16th on the global index, while the United States sits at number 51, dragging down the overall ranking for North America because of stagnation on the “political empowerment” subindex and a decrease in gender parity in Cabinet-level positions, as well as a slide in education.


Long article with great photos.

Rescue dog can thrive thanks to her four prosthetic limbs

Who's a good girl?!

The world's birds are in big trouble

These are 5 steps to save them:

It is one of the most familiar and cherished signs of spring - the melodic chirping that heralds the end of the long winter months.

But the chorus that has filled the heavens for countless millennia is under threat, with a new report saying that at least 40% of avian species worldwide have declining populations.

The State of the World’s Birds, a report by BirdLife International, says the scale of the problem is huge, yet there is a strong message of hope. Patricia Zurita, BirdLife’s chief executive, says the study “clearly demonstrates that solutions do exist and that significant, lasting success can be achieved”.

She adds that civil society, represented by wildlife groups and interested individuals, can help. “By harnessing local expertise within a global framework of best practice based on sound science, it is possible to achieve far-reaching and enduring impact.” she says.

An avian eco-economy

One of the main reasons for optimism is because watching birds is one of the world’s most popular pastimes. Around 60 million Americans, almost a fifth of the population, identify as birdwatchers, while in the UK, 23% of the population watches birds, the report says.

“Birdwatching is hugely important economically, constituting the largest ecotourism sector,” the authors note. “Collectively, the world’s national parks and nature reserves receive around 8 billion visits annually, many through avi-tourism, generating around $600 billion in revenue each year.”

However, human activities, including cutting down trees, are harmful to bird life. Logging is a key factor in the declining numbers of the most globally endangered species.

But the researchers highlight important measures being taken around the world. Measures, they say, that prove coordinated action can have a positive effect on biodiversity and bird life.

Five ways to save the birds

1. Restore natural habitats

In the UK, wildlife charity RSPB is involved in a wetland restoration scheme on a scale never before attempted in Europe. Due to be completed in 2025, the project at Wallasea Island in southern England will have reinstated a total of 670 hectares of wetland.

Meanwhile, many saltpans across southern Europe and northern Africa, often constructed to separate seawater from salt for commercial purposes, have been abandoned or fallen into disuse. Now wildlife groups are working with local communities and salt producers to develop economic activities to ensure they remain profitable and can be used by migratory birds.

2. End deforestation and restoring forests

In partnership with the Worldwide Fund for Nature and the Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife is working on a scheme that will see one trillion trees re-grown, saved or be better protected by 2050.

For example, in the Harapan Rainforest in Indonesia, an innovative forest management licence has been introduced that has seen around 100,000 hectares being turned over to a consortium of wildlife groups that will manage the concession in the interests of wildlife and local sustainable development. The scheme has since been adopted across the country, BirdLife says.

3. Tackle illegal killing in the Mediterranean

Bird conservation groups in the Mediterranean are working to combat the illegal killing and taking of birds, many of them migratory species.

For instance, in Lebanon last year the Ministry of the Environment announced that a 2004 hunting law, which requires hunters to be licensed and bans electronic luring devices, would be fully implemented.

And the RSPB and BirdLife Cyprus have introduced covert surveillance to gather evidence on illegal bird trapping on the island. So far, 19 people have been secretly filmed illegally catching birds and successfully convicted.

4. Prevent seabirds being caught by fishermen

Established in 2005, BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force has targeted fisheries around the world to reduce the numbers of albatross and petrel being caught in fishing nets.

This has reduced the seabird bycatch typically by as much as 85% and often over 90%. Indeed, in South Africa, the number of albatross caught in hake nets was reduced by 99% over six years.

Meanwhile, in Chile, modifying the nets used in fleets using the purse-seine method reduced the bird catch by 98%, while trials in Peru have shown that lights on nets could further help to cut seabird deaths.

5. Captive breeding and reintroduction

Captive breeding and reintroduction is often the only choice for species that have been reduced to very small numbers. For instance, the island of Guam, in the western Pacific, lost almost all its local birds after the accidental introduction of brown tree snakes in the 1940s. The flightless Guam Rail was almost completely wiped out before the end of the 1980s, but a small number survived in captivity and in zoos.

Now, thanks to a breeding and reintroduction effort, the species is on the threshold of returning. They have been successfully introduced to Cocos Island, off the southern tip of Guam, and to Rota island 90km north of Guam.

Although it may be too early to say a self-sustaining wild population has been established, the signs are looking increasingly good.

More graphs and illustrations at website

Beagle Who Spent Years In A Lab Cage Finally Gets A Family

She was blind from testing by putting drugs in her eyes. Get out your tissues.....

No reason to still be doing animal testing.

Pick up your trash!

Rescued baby koala

Okay, that settles it--I need a baby koala!

Dancing Security

A Monday break!

Dog rescued after surviving nearly a month pinned under rubble from Hurricane Dorian


A dog who survived Hurricane Dorian is being called a "miracle" in the Bahamas. The people who rescued the dog have named him Miracle because he survived underneath rubble for about a month.

Rescuers from Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves in Palm Beach County say they have rescued over 100 dogs since the devastating storm him the Bahamas. They have used a drone to aid their recovery efforts and the technology was integral during this particular rescue.

The rescuers located the dog pinned underneath an air condition and building debris in Marsh Harbor. After comforting him with food, rescuers were able to pull him out of the debris.

The team rushed the pup to their ranch for lifesaving medical treatment. He was emaciated after not eating for nearly a month — but he miraculously survived. So they named him "Miracle."

"What an incredible story that we were able to discover this dog alive after being trapped for so long," Big Dog Ranch Rescue Founder and President Lauree Simmons told CBS Miami. "We are using the latest technology for our recovery teams to locate these animals. In this case, drones played a key role."

Miracle is the 138th dog rescued by Big Dog Ranch Rescue in the Bahamas. The organization is working with the Humane Society on the island to clear shelter space for new dogs. Miracle arrived on Friday, and will stay until his family claims him.

If no one claims Miracle, Big Dog Ranch will work to find him a forever home. The rescue team encourages those who would like to help or adopt to visit BDRR.org for more information.

video at link
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