Feel-Good Friday

A group of Russian scientists are working with chemical compounds to stop the degeneration of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. It could become a major breakthrough for the debilitating diseases.

Now Russian scientists have synthesized chemical compounds that can stop the degeneration of neurons in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other severe brain pathologies.

New molecules of pyrrolyl- and indolylazine classes activate intracellular mechanisms to combat one of the main causes of “aged” brain diseases—an excess of so-called amyloid structures that accumulate in the human brain with age.

“Our compounds activate the synthesis of specific heat shock proteins and cause their accumulation in the cell,” said research co-author, professor of the Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at UrFU Irina Utepova.

“Proteins of this type make it possible to protect neuronal tissue from an excess of toxic amyloids and to protect cells from various types of stress, including proteotoxic stress characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Lord knows I’m having trouble remembering things, and when my mother started having trouble I realized this may be a family trait. Hopefully this can lead to a cure.

Feel-Good Friday

Today’s Feel-Good Friday post will again feature the United Kingdom, after they created a robotic machine which can implement CPR, allowing medics to perform other life-saving measures.

For the very first time, an automaton has been made that can perform the life-saving chest compression—a vital part of sustaining oxygen flow through the body during cardiac arrest. Called the LUCAS-3, its performance of CPR will free up paramedic hands for other tasks, which could be essential for ensuring patient survival.

The South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) will be the first one to receive the robot, which costs £12,000 ($17,000), for their servicing of Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire. The SCAS Charity funded the purchasing of 28 for the purpose of equipping their ambulances.

An SCAS spokesman said: “Once paramedics arrive and begin CPR or take over from bystanders who may have initiated it, the transition from manual compressions to LUCAS can be completed within seven seconds, ensuring continuity of compressions.”

CPR is not an easy task, especially if you need to do it over a period of time. LUCAS-3 allows humans to take a break and resumes the CPR for as long as necessary. This is a big deal, and will likely save many lives in the future.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Joseph Bentley, a senior at the UK’s Loughborough University. Joseph invented a tool which can seal knife wounds from the inside.

A UK college senior is doing his part to ‘stop the bleeding’ of violent knife crime by inventing a device that can help first responders better seal wounds.

The device is known as the rapid emergency actuated tamponade, or REACT, and it borrows the long-utilized but hardly perfect function of gauze to apply pressure to a wound site to stop blood loss. Once blood clots stop the bleeding, the removal or disturbance of the gauze can reopen both the wound, and the problem.

In contrast, REACT inflates a silicon balloon-like sleeve known as a tamponade, which applies similar pressure and allows the blood to clot. Once the balloon needs to be removed, it’s deflated slowly and gently, allowing the clots to remain intact.

This device could save thousands of lives, especially those living in violent cities. Well done, Joseph.

Feel-Good Friday

Of all the Feel-Good Friday posts I have done since September, this is by far the best of the best.

An American biotech company called Grail has created a blood test which can detect fifty kinds of cancer, many of them while in their earliest stages.

It’s not a cure, but it’s definitely a breakthrough.

Whereas a cancer screening requires making an individual appointment with a physician, this simple blood test can screen for 50 separate cancers and detect them at a rate well above the average for tests.

Researchers have been working on this for years. Reporting on a large study released in March 2020, GNN learned that if we could achieve earlier detection for just half of cancer patients, we could save millions of lives every year worldwide

Aimed at individuals who are age 50+, the ease and thoroughness of the test process can help detect some difficult-to-diagnose cancers when they’re in their early stages, such as some blood cancers, ovarian, head and neck, and pancreatic cancer.

The test uses machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to look for changes in DNA “methylation.” DNA Methylation is a record of the changes—often damage—which DNA experiences over its lifetime—and is being theorized as a possible detector of cancer, but also as the truest marker of biological aging.

Imagine all the lives which could be saved with a test like this. Draw some blood, send it to the lab, and quickly know if you have one of fifty-plus cancers. Say what you want about Big Pharma, but they’re tackling cancer head-on.

Feel-Good Friday

If you’ve ever been to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, this may be familiar to you. The contraption is named Mr. Trash Wheel, and it runs through the harbor, gathering up trash and other pollutants. Mr. Trash Wheel is so popular, that it will be expanding to other cities with dirty waterways.

For years, the ambiguous yet contented face of Mr. Trash Wheel has been an icon of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The googly-eyed trash collector has been gobbling up millions of pounds of the city’s river-borne garbage for years, and led to the creation of several water-wheel allies like Capt. Trash Wheel, and Prof. Trash Wheel.

When I was about to graduate from college, the school had a bunch of trips for Senior Week. One was to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I saw this thing in action, and I can tell you it really works. It’s creepy as hell, but it works.

The idea for some sort of garbage collector came from local inventor John Kellet, who would walk across the footbridge spanning the Jones Falls stream that feeds the Baltimore harbor—and be disturbed on seeing the unabated flow of garbage floating towards it.

His idea has been so successful that several other organizations are building their own Mr. Trash Wheel. Coming soon to the Gwynns Falls River in Maryland is Gwynda the Good Wheel of the West, while Oakland, California is building one called Trasharella.

I think this is a brilliant idea, and every big city – looking at you, Philadelphia – should look into purchasing a few of these.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Timothy Harrison (left) and his Waffle House manager Cedric Hampton. Timothy was all set to attend his high school graduation when he was presented with a few snags. Thankfully, Timothy has a great manager and coworkers.

Timothy Harrison of Center Point, Alabama planned to attend his high school graduation. He’d even cleared it with his boss to take time off. But when the day of the ceremony dawned, Harrison found himself stranded.

The event was being held an hour away from home. With his family members working and no one able to drive him there, much to the surprise of his manager, Cedric Hampton, Harrison showed up for his regular 7 a.m. shift at the local Waffle House.

Once Hampton heard the details of Harrison’s dilemma—not only didn’t he have a way to get to the graduation, but he’d missed out on picking up his ticket, cap, and gown—the quick-thinking manager immediately marshaled his Waffle House troops for action.

After being ferried to school to retrieve his cap and gown, back at the Waffle House, the elated senior was outfitted in a brand-new ensemble picked up and paid for by his coworkers (with a little help from some generous restaurant patrons).

“When I sat down in that auditorium it was the best moment of my life,” Harrison told WBRC News. “This is a memory I will cherish forever… I’m going to tell my kids about this.”

Southern hospitality is not dead, my friends, and Cedric Hampton is a genuine hero.

Feel-Good Friday

Peter and Lisa Marshall have been married for twelve years, but recently Peter has contracted Alzheimer’s Disease. Peter has been struggling with his memory, and doesn’t remember Lisa is his wife. Then something happened…

Love is wonderful the second time around, but it can be all the more special if you don’t remember the first time. For Peter Marshall, who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s, forgetting his past has meant a bittersweet chance to fall in love with his wife Lisa and ask her to marry him all over again.

Peter and Lisa have been married for 12 years. At 56, his illness has progressed rapidly, but no matter what turn his condition takes, Lisa remains steadfastly by his side because even if he can’t remember her name, he knows that he loves her and that she loves him.

“He doesn’t know that I’m his wife. I’m just his favorite person,” Lisa told NBC News 4 New York’s Ida Siegal. “I don’t need to have a label. I don’t need a name because our hearts are connected.”

Last winter, as the Connecticut couple sat on the couch watching a televised wedding, Peter had an inspiration. Not realizing they were already married, he proposed—and a surprised Lisa happily accepted.

And so a date was set. Vendors who knew Lisa’s event planner daughter donated their services to make the day perfect. Throughout the touching ceremony Peter beamed at his bride, while sometimes through tears, Lisa smiled back as she made her vows.

It’s entirely too dusty in here.

Feel-Good Friday

Meet Patrick and Crystal Duhaney of Sothern California. The couple had a difficult time financially when their first child was born, and now they are trying to make things easier for other parents.

A generous couple has been secretly stuffing money into diaper boxes and under formula canister lids at local Targets in order to help out struggling families.

Krystal Duhaney is a registered nurse and the founder of Milky Mama. A soon-to-be mother of three, when she and her husband Patrick had their first child they realized just how expensive raising a family can be.

Now they’re in a better place financially, they can afford to give back to others—so they’ve stuffed about $1,000 in cash into various baby supplies around Los Angeles Target stores, and they’re not stopping any time soon.

“We recalled how hard it was for us as new parents to afford some of the basics and we could imagine how difficult it must be during this pandemic.”

This could make a big difference for new parents struggling to make ends meet. There are still good people in this country, and they are making America a better place.

Feel-Good Friday

A Tennessee retiree wanted to fly Old Glory outside his residence, but his Parkinson’s made it very difficult. He went on the Nextdoor app to see if someone could lend him an electric screwdriver. What happened next was amazing.

A Tennessee retiree with Parkinson’s disease wanted an American flag for his birthday but he couldn’t put it up.

Bill Yardley, a former police officer and father of an active duty Air Force serviceman, is severely limited in what he can do by the illness. So he reached out on the Nextdoor app to ask his Knox County neighbors if he could borrow someone’s power screwdriver.

Then he went to the doctor’s office and when he later returned home, an anonymous good Samaritan had already installed the flagpole. Another one dropped by and raised the flag. (H/TMike AKA Proof)

This is exactly why Tennessee is on my list of retirement destinations. A great state with good people.

Feel-Good Friday

There is little I can add to this post, because 1. the story speaks for itself, and 2. I am completely amazed and proud of Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Holt.

A Virginia cop has been praised as a hero after a video was released showing him single-handedly pull a crashed car off a woman who was pinned to the ground—and this isn’t even the first time he’s been praised for his bravery.

“The driver was laying underneath the vehicle with her head pinned by the sunroof,” the Sheriff’s Office statement read. “Seeing the trauma her child was witnessing, Deputy J. Holt went into overdrive.”

In body cam footage, Holt is heard straining as he attempts to lift the vehicle. At first he’s saying he can’t move the car. Then the miraculous happens.

“Through sheer will and determination due to fearing the female may succumb to her circumstance in front of her panic-stricken child, Deputy J. Holt took quick action and was able to physically lift the vehicle up enough for the driver to maneuver her head out to safety,” the police statement explained.

A true hero. You can see body cam footage of the feat by clicking here.