LASIK technology improvements lead to better outcomes


Improvements in LASIK technology over the last decade have yielded better outcomes for the vision-correcting surgery – creating what one expert is calling “high-definition” results for patients.

“People say we’re delivering ‘high-definition’ vision today, compared to standard definition we were years ago,” Dr. Kerry Solomon, director of the Carolina Eyecare Research Institute in Charleston, SC, told “We’re more automated and more accurate with what we do.”

According to Solomon, a member of the executive committee of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, most LASIK surgery practices have a 90 to 98 percent success rate of achieving 20/20 vision in patients — compared to just 65 percent when the procedure was first FDA-approved in the 1990s.

LASIK, laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure that utilizes a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea to correct vision. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are both caused by distortions in the cornea.

During the procedure, a flap is created in the cornea so that a computer-controlled excimer laser can vaporize a portion of the stroma, which is located in the middle of the cornea. The flap is then closed again, correcting the curvature of the cornea, and improving vision.

In the mid-1990s, surgeons used a surgical blade to create a flap in the cornea. But now, the majority of ophthalmic surgeons use a femtosecond laser. The laser separates tissues by creating a layer of bubbles, then making an incision to create the flap. If the surgery is disrupted, the air bubbles dissolve and no tissue is removed, unlike with a blade.

Side effects related to LASIK have also improved over the years.

“The improved accuracy and precision with the [femtosecond] laser has allowed us to create thinner flaps… which have been shown to be beneficial at reducing one side effect of LASIK— dry eye,” Solomon said.

Dry eye and night vision symptoms, which can include seeing starbursts, streamers and halos, are the most common side effects of LASIK surgery. In the past, decreased vision was a common complication, but is rare today, Solomon said.

Dry eye can occur immediately following surgery, but should improve over the first 4 to 6 weeks, and outward of 3 to 6 months. While some patients may find they need to use eye drops regularly, dry eye shouldn’t limit a person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Solomon noted that, for some patients who had dry eye complaints with contact lenses, they actually had fewer symptoms after LASIK surgery.

Night vision issues should also clear up in the same period of time.

“[Night vision symptoms] shouldn’t affect the ability to lead a normal life, but may change the way you see the world,” Solomon said. “There’s a rare chance it could limit your ability to function… which is why we’re very careful about selecting people.”

A patient should be thoroughly screened before LASIK surgery. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people who have experienced vision changes in the past year, have a disease or disorder that may affect wound healing, or actively participating in contact sports may be at risk for complications from LASIK. The procedure is approved for adults for adults age 18 and over.

LASIK patients should still visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist for annual exams. It’s possible that a patient will need a touch-up LASIK procedure to fine tune his or her vision in the future, or may need reading glasses later in life.

“Aging changes occurs within 100 percent of the population,” Solomon said. “…Occasionally things will change in [eye] shape and size.”

Though experiencing changes in eye shape or size are rare, they can occasionally occur among women after giving birth, or among people who may frequently strain their eyes with activities such as reading. Some people will also develop astigmatism as they age.

As the body ages, the muscles that support the eye change, which may change the shape of the lens of the eye, leading to an inability to read without glasses. To correct it with LASIK, surgeons may suggest monovision, where one eye is corrected for reading and one for vision.

For someone looking for an alternative to glasses or contacts, LASIK is a good option – but Solomon notes that the procedure does still carry some risks.

“It’s still a procedure, it’s still surgery and no surgery is perfect…outcomes are better than they have ever been and technology continues to improve, yet it’s important to understand there is still a risk; complications, though rare, still occur,” Solomon said. “It’s important to get a thorough exam and be screened appropriately. If you’re not a good candidate, you should listen to the advice of your doctor and wait and see if the technology improves.”

X-ray shows chain saw stuck in tree-trimmer’s neck before successful removal

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH –  A tree-trimmer is recovering after he was rushed to a Pittsburgh hospital with a chain saw blade embedded in his neck.

James Valentine was in a tree in Ross Township on Monday afternoon when he was struck in the neck by the saw. Another worker helped him down, and his co-workers left the saw in place to try to limit the bleeding.

Valentine had emergency surgery at Allegheny General Hospital. Doctors say the saw missed major arteries and instead cut into muscle. The hospital Tuesday released an X-ray showing the saw still in the 21-year-old’s neck.

Valentine works for Adler Tree Service in Gibsonia. Owner Dominic Migliozzi calls the rescue “amazing.”

Black Death wasn’t actually bubonic plague, study finds


In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, one of the skeletons found by construction workers under central London’s Charterhouse Square is pictured.AP PHOTO/LEFTERIS PITARAKIS

A fascinating sidebar to the news that some of the skeletons dug up in London during excavation for a train line last year are indeed the remains of Black Death victims: The Observer zeroes in on a new theory as to how the disease spread, and according to researchers, we might want to stop pinning the blame on fleas.

The long-running assumption has been that fleas living on rats spread the strain by biting a sick person then biting a healthy person. But the DNA extracted from the 14th-century skeletons’ teeth wasn’t any more virulent than a strain that recently hit Madagascar.

That country saw 60 deaths, while 60% of Londoners are believed to have died centuries ago. The Week zeroes in on the nagging question that followed the finding: Why was the earlier strain so much deadlier? Scientists with Public Health England posit that the plague must have been spread in an airborne manner, via coughs and sneezes, in order to travel so pervasively.

If that’s indeed true, then the Black Death wasn’t a bubonic plague at all, but a pneumonic one. The rat flea “explanation … simply isn’t good enough,” explains Public Health England’s Tim Brooks, whose theory will air in a UK documentary on Sunday.

“It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw.” Other Black Death secrets revealed: A second wave of victims lived during a “period of lawlessness.”

More From Newser

CDC Director: Hospital infections down but still deadly, dangerous

America’s hospitals are doing a better job of keeping their patients safe from infection.

New national and state data show a 20 percent decrease in infections from 10 different surgical procedures and a 44 percent decrease in bloodstream infections from the tubes used to give medicines, fluids, nutrients, or blood products over a long period of time.

We’re moving in the right direction, but the sad fact is, many hospitalized patients still end up sick, or dying, from infections they develop during their own health care — infections we know how to prevent.

Today and every day, more than 200 Americans with health care-associated infections will die during their hospital stay.

Today and every day, more than 200 Americans with health care-associated infections will die during their hospital stay. The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene. Health care workers want the best for their patients. Following standard infection control practices every time will help ensure their patients’ safety.

In addition to the toll on human life, antibiotic-resistant infections in particular add considerable and avoidable costs to the already overburdened U.S. health care system. For example, in most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require prolonged and costlier treatments, extend hospital stays, and require additional doctor visits and health care use.

Urgent action is needed now.

Avoiding infections reduces the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop. Drug-resistant infections can be prevented by immunization, infection prevention actions in health care setting, safe food preparation and handling, and general handwashing.

Expanding upon current patient safety goals, the FY 2015 President’s Budget requests funding for CDC to increase the detection of antibiotic resistant infections and improve efforts to protect patients from infections. The President’s Budget also requests an increase for the National Health care Safety Network to fully implement tracking of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance threats in U.S. hospitals.

Patients rely on us to protect them.

Doctors and other health care providers can:

– Follow infection prevention guidelines with every patient, every time.

– Remove medical devices such as catheters and ventilators as soon as no longer needed.

– When transferring a patient, alert the new facility to any infections the patient has.

– Know when and what types of drug-resistance are in their facilities and areas.

– When antibiotics are needed, order recommended cultures and then start treatment promptly, make sure the indication, dose, and duration are in the patient record, and reassess within 48 hours based on test results and patient status.

– And request immediate alerts when the lab identifies infections – and be sure the drug-resistance pattern is included.

Patients and their loved ones have a role to play as well. Ask everyone including doctors, nurses, other medical staff, and visitors to wash their hands before touching the patient. And, be sure take antibiotics only and exactly as prescribed.

I’d like to share a few of the stories, both tragic and inspiring, that keep us steadfast in our work to make health care safer in every state and in every facility. These stories were shared with me so that I could, in turn, share them with you.

1. Josh Nahum

Josh Nahum was an avid sky diver.  After a sky diving accident, he was admitted to a Colorado hospital and contracted several healthcare-associated infections, including MRSA.  After surviving these infections, Josh was on a hopeful path to recovery until he got a Gram-negative infection that was difficult to treat. Josh died of his infection. He was 27.

2. Katherine (Kate) Hallisy

When she was five months old, Kate Hallisy of California was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye.  By the time she was 10 years old, she had fought cancer five times.  In one of her battles with cancer, she got a series of healthcare-associated infections and ultimately lost her battle to sepsis, an overwhelming infection that leads to organ failure.  Kate was only 10.

3. Kerry O’Connell (survivor)

In 2004, Kerry O’Connell fell off of a ladder while painting his house and cracked the radial head of his arm, requiring surgery to replace it with a titanium implant. This was the first of eight surgeries. During one he got an antibiotic resistant infection.  Fortunately, Kerry survived his infection, but was astounded by the cultural acceptance of infections as an occasional outcome of surgery.  Today Kerry is a patient advocate in Colorado working for the prevention of infections in health care and improved health care transparency for patients.

4. John McCleary

In 2008, John McCleary was admitted to a hospital in Maine with a minor fracture of his ankle. He was hospitalized for 12 days for rehabilitation and discharged in good condition on October 5. On October 7, he was unable to get up from bed. He was readmitted to the hospital and began his three-month battle with healthcare-associated MRSA.  John lost his battle to MRSA in early 2009. He was 83.

5. Judy Dexter

In 2012, Judy Dexter of Maryland went into the hospital for a lung infection.  She was treated with antibiotics for eight days. Three days after being discharged from the hospital, she had uncontrollable diarrhea which resulted in severe dehydration. Within weeks, she was readmitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Clostridium difficile, a deadly diarrheal infection.  Judy began a six-month struggle against the infection.  In 2013, Judy lost her battle to C. difficile. She was 65.


Tom Frieden, M.D. is the director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow him onTwitter@DrFriedenCDC. To like the CDC on Facebook, click here

Protective brain molecule may stave off Alzheimer’s

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    Activity of the REST protein (shown in green) in neurons of young vs. aged vs. Alzheimer’s brains. (BRUCE YANKNER ET AL)

Scientists have long wondered why some people develop Alzheimer’s disease while others have healthy brains throughout their lifetime. Now, new research identifies a molecule that protects brain cells from the stress of aging, which may stave off neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers found that people who experience early cognitive decline appear to have lower levels of a stress-protecting protein in their brains compared with cognitively healthy people. The finding suggests a possible target for diagnosing or preventingAlzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Scientists know very little about how the human brain responds to stress, said Dr. Bruce Yankner, a professor of genetics and neurology at Harvard Medical School and leader of the study, published March 19 in the journal Nature.

“This is the first study to explore that [response] in the aging human brain, in relation to Alzheimer’s,” Yankner told Live Science. [Living With Alzheimer’s in the US (Infographic)]

Aging protection

As the brain ages, cells are exposed to stress and toxins, but some people’s brains seem to be more resistant to these stresses than others. In those with Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, the brain develops characteristic sticky clumps, or plaques, of a substance called amyloid-beta. These plaques are clearly visible in the brain during an autopsy.

Yet puzzlingly, studies have shown that a third of people have the brain pathology of Alzheimer’s at autopsy, yet never experienced symptoms of cognitive decline during their lifetime. Therefore, scientists say, something must be protecting their brains from succumbing to the toxins.

Yankner and colleagues found that the protein known as REST (short for “repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor”) turns off genes involved in cell death and resistance to cellular toxins. REST, which is normally produced during brain development, is very active in aging brains, but appears to be missing in the brains of people with cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers measured levels of the REST protein in the postmortem brains of people who had taken tests of cognitive function, and found that at death, people with higher cognitive function had three times more of this protein in their prefrontal cortex, the outer frontal part of the brain involved in planning, personality and other cognitive functions.

The finding suggests that plaques and other clinical signs of Alzheimer’s may not be sufficient to cause dementia, Yankner said, and it appears that the loss of protective proteins may also be at work.

The REST proteins are like the police officers of the brain, protecting it from aging stresses by turning certain genes on or off, Yankner said. “You have a lot of crime in the brain, but society doesn’t fall apart until the police station is blown up,” he said.

To explore the role of REST in living animals, the researchers bred mice that lacked the REST gene, and found that these mice were more vulnerable to aging stress and lost a significant number of neurons in the forebrain cortex, one of the primary brain areas affected by dementia. When the researchers restored the REST gene to the mice, it protected the animals from developing cognitive decline.

Yanker’s team also studied the effects of stress in the roundwormCaenorhabditis elegans. They found that worms that lacked proteins similar to REST became more vulnerable to stress and had shorter life spans than normal worms. This suggests the protective function has been conserved by evolution.

Preventing cognitive decline

The researchers found that the protein isn’t actually gone from brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Instead, their brain cells continue to produce REST proteins, but cellular machinery called autophagosomes engulf the proteins and degrade them.

Consequently, it may be possible to intervene and prevent the degradation of these proteins, bringing scientists closer todiagnosing or preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The researchers are now investigating whether levels of REST protein could be used as a diagnostic of brain health. By looking at how much of this protein is produced in other cells of the body, it may be possible to infer changes in the brain, the researchers said.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Quick treatment for stroke may lead to more healthy days

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Shaving even a minute off the time between the onset of a stroke and initial treatment may add to the amount of “healthy” days people have afterward, suggests a new study.

Researchers found that stroke patients gained about two days of healthy life for every minute spared between the onset of their stroke and when they first received treatment, on average.

“Every 15 minutes you wait, you lose a month of life,” Dr. Atte Meretoja told Reuters Health.

Meretoja is the study’s lead author from the Melbourne Brain Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Parkville, Australia.

The exact ratio of saved treatment time to healthy days varied by patient, he and his team found.

Although it’s well known that early treatment for strokes is best, the new study helps highlight how significant even small delays can be, researchers said.

“We developed that measure so it’s easy to remember and that the general public will understand it,” Meretoja said.

He and his colleagues summarized their findings in the journal Stroke as, “Save a Minute, Save a Day.”

There is currently only one treatment approved by U.S. regulators for ischemic strokes, which are caused by blockages in blood vessels going to the brain. Usually, the blockage is a result of clotted blood or fatty deposits known as plaque.

Thrombolysis is the use of a drug known as tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to break up the blockage and allow blood to flow to the brain. Restoring blood flow prevents the death of brain cells and improves people’s recovery.

The treatment is time sensitive, however. The 60 minutes from the onset of a stroke is often referred to as the “golden hour” for treatment, because people treated during that time have much better odds of completely recovering.

Approximately 800,000 people in the U.S. have strokes every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 87 percent of those are ischemic strokes.

For the new report, the researchers compiled data from two studies to find how time to treatment is related to how patients fare after a stroke.

The studies, from Finland and Australia, included 2,258 stroke patients.

On average, the researchers found that patients gained 1.8 disability-free days for each minute shaved off the time to treatment.

Middle-aged stroke patients tended to gain about three days per minute saved, while elderly patients gained one day or less.

“The magnitude of benefit here is very much aligned with previous data and analyses we’ve done looking at the benefits,” Dr. Gregg Fonarow, who was not involved with the new study, told Reuters Health.

Fonarow is co-chief of the University of California, Los Angeles Division of Cardiology.

“Time is really the most critical factor here in determining the outcome,” he said.

Over time, Fonarow said hospitals have improved the time they take to get patients treatment. But there has been little success in shortening the time it takes for people to recognize they’re having a stroke and get to a hospital.

Many organizations promote the FAST pneumonic device to remember the symptoms of a stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 9-1-1 after any symptom.

“We continue to need to strive to educate the population regarding the benefits of seeking care as quickly as possible after suspecting stroke,” said Dr. Robert Brown, a stroke specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Brown, who was not involved with the new study, said the finding that every minute counts is also a reminder to doctors and medical staff to evaluate their practices in an effort to save time once the patient arrives at the hospital.

“I think this is also very enlightening and energizing to providers who are constantly thinking of ways to improve,” he said.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s may be possible through spinal fluid test
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Timing: It’s what makes Alzheimer’s disease so difficult to treat.

The only way doctors can know if a patient is suffering from the brain wasting condition is if he or she starts suffering from cognitive and memory problems – but by that point, the brain has already been significantly damaged.

But now, a new test may be able to spot Alzheimer’s years before the onset of clinical symptoms, giving physicians much more time to save the brain’s neurons from destruction.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston have developed a new method that can detect tiny, misfolded protein fragments floating in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients.  These fragments – called amyloid beta (Aβ) oligomers – have been implicated as the main culprit in Alzheimer’s disease.

According to lead researcher Claudio Soto, Aβ oligomers are precursors to the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain – the main hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

“What happens is this amyloid protein – a normal protein we all have that circulates in our fluids – starts to change,” Soto, a professor in the department of neurology at the University of Texas in Houston, told  “And it makes this protein more prone to interact and aggregate, binding to other amyloid proteins and forming small oligomers; those are proteins bound together – around five, 20 or 50 units of the protein bound together.  These oligomers are moving around the cells in the brain… and are dumped into the spinal fluid.”

As time passes, the Aβ oligomers continue to grow larger by incorporating more units of amyloid protein.  Eventually they become too massive and stick in the brain, forming big clumps of amyloid plaques and leading to signs of dementia.

Soto noted that these oligomers could be circulating within the brain and spinal fluid years – if not decades – before Alzheimer’s symptoms begin.

In order to detect the presence of these protein fragments in the body, Soto and his team utilized technology they had developed years earlier to detect misfolded proteins responsible for prion diseases like mad cow disease. Called protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), this technology involves taking a sample of spinal fluid from a patient and adding large amounts of amyloid proteins to the solution.  This ultimately “speeds up” the amyloid protein aggregation process.

“We assimilate this process and make it much more sensitive,” Soto said.  “…We fragment these oligomers and divide them into small units, and we add high quantities of normal protein and see how it’s incorporated into the aggregate.  Then we segment them again and add many more units to increase the amount of total units to the point where we can biochemically detect them.  Then we can say, ‘Here it is. You can see the formation of these aggregates, meaning in this sample, there’s a possibility of Alzheimer’s.’”

In a proof-of-concept study, the researchers showed that their PMCA technology could detect the presence of Aβ oligomers at very low concentrations in samples of spinal fluid.  Additionally, this testing method was able to distinguish between patients with Alzheimer’s disease and patients with other neurological disorders with extremely high sensitivity and specificity.

Given the success of their research, Soto hopes to develop a similar test that can detect the presence of oligomers in a patient’s blood sample, since taking samples of spinal fluid can be a difficult process. Recently, researchers from Georgetown University School of Medicine revealed that they too may have found a way to predict Alzheimer’s by analyzing a person’s blood.  However, Soto is much more optimistic about his work, as it involves analyzing the protein directly implicated in dementia.

“They measure lipids not proteins,” Soto said.  “…It’s an interesting idea, but different than what we do.  We work with the molecule that is supposed to be one of the causes of brain damage; it’s the earliest event in the development of Alzheimer’s.”

Soto claims the PMCA technology could potentially be used to detect protein buildup found in several other diseases – such as Parkinson’s.  But for now, he is hopeful that this test could fundamentally transform the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease – a condition that affects 5.2 million Americans and has no cure.

“What we really need in this field is to know [whether a] person is on the way to Alzheimer’s,” Soto said. “Knowing that, we can start safe treatment [early] that will delay progression of the disease, so much so that people will maybe die from other conditions at old age and not from the disease itself.  That’s really the main goal.”

This study is reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports.

VR system lets you explore your brain in real-time

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    Philip Rosedale, creator of the game Second Life, and Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco, demonstrated their “glass brain” here at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival on March 10, 2014.(TANYA LEWIS FOR LIVE SCIENCE)

AUSTIN, TEXAS –  What if it were possible to explore your brain in virtual reality, watching your thoughts flashing before your eyes? A neuroscientist and a videogame developer have created a way to do precisely that.

A new system developed by Philip Rosedale, creator of the gameSecond Life, and Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco, combines brain scanning, brain recording and virtual reality to allow a user to journey through a person’s brain in real-time. Rosedale and Gazzaley demonstrated this “glass brain” here at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival Monday.

‘We’ve never been able to step inside the structures [of the brain] and see it in this way.’

– Gazzaley said.

“We’ve never been able to step inside the structures [of the brain] and see it in this way,” Gazzaley said. “It’s biofeedback on the next level.”

The brain in question actually belonged to Rosedale’s wife Yvette, who was wearing a cap studded with electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes that measure differences in electric potential in order to record brain activity. Gazzaley’s team had previously scanned Yvette’s brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal its underlying structure and tangle of neural fibers. [3D Images: Exploring the Human Brain]

During the demo, Rosedale wore a virtual reality headset through which he could explore his wife’s brain in 3D, as flashes of light displayed her brain activity from the EEG. A projection screen showed a similar view to the audience. When the brain came on the screen, the buzz of excitement in the room was audible.

The glass brain didn’t actually show what Yvette was thinking the EEG signals merely painted a picture of her brain activity more broadly. But Gazzaley’s team ultimately hopes to get closer to decoding brain signals and displaying them using the virtual reality system.

Being able to literally watch your own brain activity is not only fun, it has therapeutic potential. For example, people with traumatic brain injury or other neurological problems could visualize how their condition is affecting their brain activity, and learn to correct it.

So far, the team has focused on visualizing one brain at a time. But Rosedale foresees a day when two people could interact virtually in a way that telegraphs their inner state.

People often speak of interactions in virtual reality as being impoverished compared with those in the real world, Rosedale said. But, he asked, what if you could communicate in virtual reality in a way that makes real life impoverished?

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Man receives 3D-printed skull

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    Stephen Power before (L) and after (R) his reconstructive surgery. (ABERTAWE BRO MORGANNWG UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD/NHS)

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    The models and implants produced using 3D printing (ABERTAWE BRO MORGANNWG UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD/NHS)

Why yes, we can print you a new body part. A motorcycle accident victim in Wales just had his skull surgically reconstructed by a team that used 3-D technology to print custom implants for him.

Open Wide: 3D-Printed Foods Made to Eat: Photos

Stephen Power was wearing a helmet when his motorcycle crashed in 2012, but it didn’t stop his head from getting crushed. It broke his cheek bones, top jaw, nose, skull and left him in the hospital for months. Afterward he wore a hat and glasses to disguise the asymmetry in his face, he told the BBC’s Hywel Griffith.

Recently Power, 29, underwent a new round of surgery at Morriston Hospital in Swansea to restore his appearance. Maxillofacial surgeon Adrian Sugar led the project in collaboration with the Centre of Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery and the National Centre for Product Design and Development Research.

The unaffected side of Power’s head was scanned and used to produce a 3-D model. Then medical-grade plates and custom bone saw guides were 3D-printed. A surgical team had to re-fracture his cheek bones in order to rebuild his face. The procedure took eight hours. Powers told the BBC he could see the difference right after the surgery. ”It is totally life changing,” he said.

Bionic Hand Restores Touch In Real Time

The project is featured in an exhibition on 3-D printing at the Science Museum in London through July. Although surgical 3-D printing remains incredibly involved, the Wales team hopes it becomes more widely available over time. Maybe a trip to the ER will mean getting all new 3D-printed bones.

2-headed baby born in India
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A woman in India has given birth to conjoined twin girls – who appear to have two heads and one shared body, the Independent reported.

The infants were born via cesarean section at Cygnus J.K. Hindu Hospital in Sonipat, Haryana.  They suffer from dicephalic parapagus, meaning they have separate spinal cords, necks and heads, but they share all major limbs and vital organs.  Conjoined twins with this condition typically cannot be separated.

According to the Independent, the babies’ parents could not afford an ultrasound, which would have picked up on their condition in utero.

“The parents are very distressed, and we are helping the family the best we can,” said Dr. Shikha Malik, who delivered the babies.

The twins are currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), and doctors are worried that they have a very slim chance of survival.

Click for more from the Independent.