Good News Friday

The clocks moved forward in Israel last night which is just as well because I have an extra hour to write my Good News Friday post!

Let’s start this week’s post with news from Israel’s biomedical sector. Israeli 3D printing technology helped in the separation of conjoined twins in America! (h/t Reality):

From 3D-printed shoes to 3D-printed cars, 3D technology is changing everything around us, even the medical world. An Israeli company has developed innovative software for 3D printing anatomical models that enable doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery using a 3D model that matches the anatomy of the patient. This innovative technology can even help them prepare for extremely complex operations, such as separating conjoined twins.

The company behind the software is Israel’s Simbionix, which 3D Systems bought for $120 million three years ago. At a recent medical conference, Colorado-based 3D Systems exhibited this new Israeli development, which allows doctors to print in three dimensions the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure and study it while holding it.

Perhaps the most phenomenal application of this Israeli technology is in helping separate conjoined twins. Jadon and Anias McDonald were born joined at the skull and shared blood vessels. Last fall, when they were 13 months old, they were finally separated during a 27-hour operation performed by doctors at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, supported by 3D Systems technologies and training sessions.

The remarkable surgery was made possible thanks to a dedicated team that included several members of 3D Systems’ healthcare division, who were present in the operating room for the surgery, along with nearly 40 other healthcare professionals.

Practicing the procedure using a 3D printed model based on a patient’s CT

Using medical scans and imaging of the twins, 3D Systems was able to create 3D models to facilitate planning of the complex procedure. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Goodrich, who has told the media “this is about as complicated as it gets.”

Combining 3D printing and healthcare, this project was spearheaded in Israel, but is “used by renowned surgeons in the US,” she says. It showcases “how our training tools help prepare future surgeons.”

This is a jaw-droppingly awesome development. It reads like the best of science fiction, and yet here it is in glorious technicolour. Kol hakavod to the Israeli researchers who developed the whole concept, and to the American team who succeeded in separating the twins. This truly is the dawning of a new age in health care.

My next item goes in the opposite direction, back around a century ago from where Israeli archeologists uncovered a 100 year old, British military-issue liquor stash!

After battling their way up through Ottoman Palestine 100 years ago, British soldiers garrisoned in Ramle took a break from the fighting and tossed back a few drinks.

Many drinks, at that.

Excavations carried out last week during the construction of a new highway east of Ramle in central Israel turned up the remains of a building used by British soldiers in General Edmund Allenby’s army who were stationed there between November 1917 and September 1918. Outside the ruined building, archaeologists with the IAA found the soldiers’ garbage pit, in which were plates and cutlery, uniform buttons, belt buckles, and hundreds of liquor bottles.

A bottle of Dewar’s whisky with the label found at a World War I British camp near Ramle in March 2017 (Assaf Peretz, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority)

Ron Toueg, an archaeologist with the IAA who headed the salvage operation, told The Times of Israel that the trove included three intact bottles of Gordon’s Dry Gin, a bottle of Dewar’s whisky, beer bottles, wine bottles, and bottles of mineral water, including one from Johannesburg, South Africa.

The dig also turned up several items that helped narrow down the time the building was in use: the silver tip of a British officer’s swagger stick marked with the letters RFC — Royal Flying Corps — which became the Royal Air Force in April 1918; and a medallion with the face of King Fuad of Egypt, who ruled from October 1917 until March 1922, with the words in French “Long live Fuad, king of Egypt”; and the bottom of pocket watch with an inscription for a one-year warranty by its manufacturer in New York.

A bottle of Gordon’s Dry Gin found at a World War I British camp near Ramle in March 2017 (Assaf Peretz, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority)

“This is the first time in the history of archeology in Israel in which an assemblage of hundreds of glass bottles from a British army camp from World War I was uncovered,” Brigitte Ouahnouna, a researcher in the IAA’s glass department, said in a statement. “Interestingly, the glass bottles, which contained mainly wine, beer, soda and alcoholic beverages such as gin, liquor and whiskey, came from Europe to supply soldiers and officers in the camp.”

My initial reaction to this news was “I’ll drink to that!”. However…

Unfortunately, as far as the IAA has disclosed, all the bottles they found were empty.

Oh well, better luck next time. But what a fascinating discovery anyway! 🍾🍹🍷

And let’s finish off with a Hebrew lesson –  a short, slightly complicated, Hebrew lesson given by comedian Elon Gold. 😀


And for the slightly longer version, which is necessary to explain Hebrew slang, here is “Hebrew with Renny”. Enjoy! 😀

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

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