50th Reunion at Lehigh University

Thanks to fellow Lehigh University alumus, Tom Healy, for telling me about a

Lehigh University

It is hard for me to believe, but, this weekend was my 50th reunion after graduating from the College of Engineering at Lehigh University in 1967. I was really proud of the Class. We had 100 attendees, including four from Kappa Sigma, and received an award for the highest percentage to make it back. In some ways, we all looked the same; a little older, a little larger, a little less hair or white hair, but mostly an energetic and healthy looking group. We also won first prize for the best parade performance of all the classes. See the short movie in the photo album. Our class picked up an additional distinction: the University announced we had made a 50th reunion gift of $26 million.

The reason for the couple of pictures from the National Museum of Industrial History is Lehigh is in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, original home of now defunct Bethlehem Steel. Beth Steel invented the I-beam and the H-beam. Bethlehem Steel Corporation was America’s second-largest steel producer and largest shipbuilder. At one point 60% of all skyscrapers in New York were built from Bethlehem Steel’s products. The short reunion photo gallery is here.

Epilogue: I should have mentioned the Class of 1962 actually had a few more attendees than our class of 1967, but not as high a percentage. The real winners were those from the Class of 1952. The math would suggest they are mostly 87 or so years old. God love them.

Posted in Education, IBM, People, Reflection, Travels Tagged with: , ,


The 3D printing story about printing a pelvis contained an error. It should have said “Pelvis: A rare bone cancer caused a patient to lose half of his pelvis.”However, there had been a similar situation in the U.K. where a man had lost half of his face due to cancer and it was replaced by a 3D printed face.

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3D Printing of Body Parts

3D Printing of Body Parts

The merger of biological and non-biological parts in the human body is underway. It is not hard to imagine amazing cures for things previously thought impossible. Thousands die every year while waiting for a transplant. That will become history. Clinicians can’t print an operating human liver yet, but they can print liver tissue. Progress is being made at an incredible pace. Christine Hsu at MedPage Today compiled an impressive list of things already accomplished. I have paraphrased from her research.

Eyes: In 2013, British engineers at Fripp Design in London and Manchester Metropolitan University developed an inexpensive and realistic 3D printed prosthetic eye.

Heart Valve: Researchers at Cornell University used 3D printing technology to create a functioning heart valve. This amazing breakthrough can actually grow as patients grow. A published 2013 described 3D bio-printed heart valves for treatment of aortic valve disease and other congenital heart defects.

Spine: Doctors in Medanta, India, successfully 3D printed two titanium implants to replace a patient’s infected vertebra. The patient was able to walk after a few months.

Ears: Princeton University researchers successfully merged cartilage tissue with electronics and created a fully functioning “bionic ear”. Bionic parts are becoming more practical as researchers develop new techniques requiring fewer blood vessels.

Liver: Scientists at Organovo have developed 3D bio-printed liver tissue. The primary use so far is for preclinical drug discovery. The printed tissue consists of primary human hepatocytes, stellate, and endothelial cell types, the same as found in native human liver tissue.

Blood Vessels: One of the main problems with creating entire artificial human organs is the difficulty in creating the necessary vascular system. However, researchers have discovered a technique to generate hollow channels within 3D-printed vessels which can enable blood flow throughout a 3D printed organ.

Pelvis: A rare bone cancer caused a patient to lose half of his pelvis. Doctors were able to 3D print a titanium pelvis using a scan of the biological pelvis of the patient which provided the exact dimensions of the new, customized hip. The patient was able to walk after the procedure.

Skull: Implanting skulls is not new, but 3D printed skulls are offering much better fit and customizability. Following a horrible accident, a first-grader received a 3D printed skull implant. It fits perfectly with his existing skull bone structure.

See Christine’s full story with images at: 10 Body Parts We Successfully 3D Print | Medpage Today and read more about regenerative medicine in Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare.

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Posted in 3-D Printing, Healthcare, Regenerative medicine Tagged with: , , , , ,

Cut the Cable

Cable Cutter

Cable, TV, Hollywood, media distributors, publishers, and related parties are having continuous discussions about the future of streaming video. I call them the Protectorate. Their goal is to protect their turf, not to give consumers what they want. If we could analyze the conversations, I am quite sure most things discussed are about how to lock people into or out of something. Consumer choice is likely not a hot topic. An important topic for them is how to guarantee movie theaters consumers will not be able to see some new movies until a certain “window” of time has gone by, even if the consumer is willing to pay extra to watch it at home.  

Other discussions are about maintaining big bundles of channels, even though consumers don’t want big bundles, they want little bundles. Remember how we used to have buy an entire CD or DVD to get the one track of music we really wanted. Apple and iTunes changes that, but the Protectorate is much stronger than the music industry was. Consumers want to cut the cable, and they are doing so by the millions.

Despite the Protectorate, progress is being made, and the world of TV/Media/Video is going to be quite different soon. Sling, Hulu, YouTube, and others are moving in with smaller bundles. I predict we will soon be able to go a la carte. What is missing is an abstraction layer, fancy term which means a simple user interface to allow consumers to easily find what they want and watch it. This will become voice activated soon, so you won’t have to push any buttons or navigate complicated menus.

My first step down this new path was to cut the Comcast cable to the TVs in my home. I now have just one cable, the one that brings in high speed Internet service. That is all I need. Comcast said if I cancel the cable TV bundle, my cost for the telephone service will go up, but then I cancelled the phone service too, and got rid of even more wires. I don’t need a landline. My alarm company installed a cellular module on the laundry room wall. It connects to the security monitoring service whenever needed. In total, the changes are now saving me more than $200 per month. I have Roku devices plugged into each TV, and a $30 per month subscription to Sling. I am enjoying CBSN for news and whatever movies I want from iTunes or Amazon Prime.

Posted in Media, People, Technology Tagged with: , , , , ,

Women in Healthcare

Woman in Healthcare

This week I attended the 32nd Annual Research Day at Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN). The keynote speaker was Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Nunez-Smith’s research focuses on promoting healthcare equity for vulnerable populations with an emphasis on healthcare workforce development, patient assessment of healthcare experiences, and healthcare system strengthening to address chronic disease in low and middle resource settings. The keynote was extremely interesting and compelling. Following the keynote, four young resident and medical student researchers presented their studies. All were impressive. Three of the four presenters were women. As I listened to the speakers, I thought of the 13 Senators leading the working group to redefine American healthcare. All are white men with an average age above 60. Consider the significance of women in healthcare.

  • Women comprise 80 percent of the total U.S. healthcare workforce.
  • Of 923,000 physicians, 34% are women.
  • 46 percent of all physicians in training and almost half of all medical students are women.
  • 21 percent of healthcare executives are women.
  • 90 percent of nurses are women.
  • Women visit physicians more frequently and ask more questions.
  • Roughly 80 percent of healthcare decisions in households are made by women.
  • Women are more likely to take care of family members when they get sick.

Women know healthcare. They live it daily. They feel it at home and at work. They should have a strong voice in the development of an improved healthcare system.

Posted in Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Medical Research Tagged with: , , ,
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