Beginner Medical English

A Reference Handbook for Mongolian Students and Healthcare Professionals (DOWNLOAD)

Medical Terminology

ONLINE LESSONS for Healthcare Professionals in Mongolia

Human Anatomy and Physiology

by Dr. Bruce Forciea, 2012 (DOWNLOAD)

Cells: Molecules and Mechanisms

University Cell and Molecular Biology textbook (DOWNLOAD)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Human Spirit: Out in Mongolia

Originally posted in The Jerusalem Post on Oct 21, 2014

‘Without saying anything, coloring in embarrassment, Saranchuluun Otgon rolled up her pant leg. Beneath the cloth were the metal wires of a prosthetic foot. Until then, no one on the staff knew.’

Otgon, wearing her prosthetic, trains for a marathon. She is leading the charge for change in Mongolia as to how people with disabilities are viewed. (photo credit:COURTESY SUCCESS CHAIN)

Saranchuluun Otgon arrived in Jerusalem in September 2007 with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Mongolia.

She was one of the 20-something students at one of the city’s most intriguing programs: the foreign student master’s degree program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Braun School of Public Health.

The course draws health professionals from far-flung countries who are dealing with some of the world’s toughest health challenges. Current students are facing Ebola, polio and HIV/AIDS, as well as ongoing issues like maternal and child health and nutrition. Nigeria, China, South Sudan, the Philippines and Haiti were among the countries represented in last year’s class, which graduated recently.

The graduates show up at the ceremony in sensational native costume, and sing emotionally in Hebrew. It’s a moment I savor every year. Then they go home, taking up challenges in cities and rural outposts; they remain loyal informal ambassadors for Israel.

When Otgon joined the program, she traveled together with a fellow student from Mongolia. The two roomed together in the campus dorms.

In case you’re unsure of where Mongolia is, remember that it’s a landlocked country bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west.

Almost half the citizens live in the capital city of Ulan Bator, infamous for air pollution and encircled by formerly nomadic Mongolians who are looking for permanent homes in the city. (By the way, the old term “Outer Mongolia” refers to the historical region of the Qing Dynasty, and is no longer in use. When I grew up, it was a synonym for something obscure and hard to find.) At the recent graduation ceremony, Dr. Yehuda Neumark, director of the Braun School, revealed a story about a former student – Otgon – that she’d finally allowed him to make public.

“Toward the end of the year of her studies, Saranchuluun Otgon came to my office. Without saying anything, coloring in embarrassment, she rolled up her pant leg. Beneath the cloth were the metal wires of a prosthetic foot. Until then, no one on the staff knew.

“The reason for her divulging this to me was that the device wasn’t working right. We quickly found our way to a prosthetic devices repair lab in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem.

When I asked Saranchuluun if anyone in her class knew about her foot, she said no one did except her roommate – her colleague and friend from Mongolia.

“I suggested that it would perhaps be beneficial to share this with others in the public health class, and she replied respectfully but adamantly that she didn’t want to.”

Why not? Said Neumark, “She explained that in her country, people with disabilities are stigmatized and there is no awareness for handicap accessibility issues, and if it became known, she would never get promoted very high in the system.”

So they kept it quiet. She finished the year and went home without any of the other students, or even the social coordinator and staff, knowing her secret.

But now it’s out – and not just among her students. A YouTube video making its away around the web reveals Otgon’s story. She was born in 1981 in what Mongolians call the Ger District, a hut city without basic sanitation on the edges of the capital. She was a straight-A student, and loved to dance; Otgon wanted to be a dancer when she grew up.

Horseback riding on vacation in the Mongolian plains, naughty kids spooked the horse and Otgon fell. There was no doctor nearby; the elders treated her injury with herbs and tea. When she got back to the city, doctors were puzzled by the continued pain. She was diagnosed as having cancer in her bone (perhaps a lesion that caused the weakness), and began a program of chemotherapy and radiation. When she was 13, her foot was amputated.

Not when Otgon applied for the program in Jerusalem, nor when she was accepted, did she mention her disability.

The technician who repaired her prosthesis in Talpiot was so moved by her story that he fixed the prosthesis for free, and suggested she come in for a tune-up when she was preparing to return home.

She never did share her personal health challenge with her fellow public health graduates.

Still, Dr. Neumark’s suggestion percolated.

Go public, he said. You have a story to inspire others.

Back in Ulan Bator, she became a fulltime lecturer at the School of Public Health in the Health Sciences University of Mongolia. Then she spent time at Columbia University in New York.

There too, like in Israel, there was much more openness about disabilities. Today, she’s back in Mongolia, working on her PhD. In the meantime, she’s married and given birth to a son.

Five months ago, Otgon outed her disability, showing the world her sneaker-clad artificial foot on Facebook.

She founded an NGO called Chain of Success and in April launched a Facebook group, “Let’s Run Mongolia!” This summer, she organized Mongolia’s first-ever public running event welcoming people with disabilities. Her prosthesis showing, she ran with men and women in wheelchairs, missing arms and legs, blind and deaf. Yes, out there in Mongolia.

Three-hundred participants and 180 volunteers participated in the Let’s Run Together marathons.

Several weeks ago, Otgon presented a TED talk for TED-Mongolia on stigma and social change. She was named the Mongolian Junior Chamber of Commerce International person of the year.

Otgon has a new dream: She wants to run in the 42-km. New York City Marathon! She wrote to Neumark: “It’s a big challenge! I am running to change social stigma and discrimination toward people like me. Also, I am trying to support other disabled people who like sports in my country. Now I am working on the website to gather money to buy another prosthetic leg for someone, another hand-cycle, a travel ticket for the New York Marathon, etc.”

Says Otgon, whom I met briefly when she was here, but has become a Facebook friend of mine, “I’m fed up with being discriminated against and embarrassed.”

Still, my favorite part of what she says has to do with all of us without these challenges.

“I’d like to say to all those who have two arms and two legs that they should use them… use them for good!”

Word: Definition List
  • intrigue: to make somebody very interested and want to know more about something
  • to draw: to move something/somebody by pulling it or them gently
  • far-flung: a long distance away
  • sensational: causing great surprise, excitement, or interest
  • to savor: to enjoy a feeling or an experience thoroughly
  • to room: to share a room, apartment, or house with one or more people
  • dorm: dormitory
  • infamous: well known for being bad or evil
  • to color: if something colors your cheeks, you go red because you are embarrassed
  • prosthetic: an artificial part of the body, for example a leg, an eye or a tooth
  • to divulge: to give somebody information that is supposed to be secret
  • adamantly: determined not to change your mind or to be persuaded about something
  • stigmatized: to treat somebody in a way that makes them feel that they are very bad or unimportant
  • sanitation: the equipment and systems that keep places clean, especially by removing human waste
  • naughty: behaving badly; not willing to obey
  • to spook: to make someone suddenly feel frightened or nervous
  • puzzled: unable to understand something or the reason for something
  • to amputate: to cut off somebody's arm, leg, finger or toe in a medical operation
  • to move: to cause somebody to have strong feelings, especially of sympathy or sadness
  • to percolate: if information or ideas percolate, they spread gradually and become known to more people
  • to out: to say publicly, especially when they would prefer to keep the fact a secret
  • stigma: feelings of disapproval that people have about particular illnesses or ways of behaving
Word MP3s:
= intrigue
= far-flung
= sensational
= savor
= dorm
= infamous
= prosthetic
= divulge
= adamantly
= stigmatize
= sanitation
= naughty
= spook
= puzzled
= amputate
= percolate
= stigma

Monday, November 18, 2013

People power: Mongolia’s battle against tuberculosis

Originally posted on "" on 15 October 2013
by Cameron Wright

Volunteers take anti-TB medications to around 400 patients each month. Image from

Chinggis Khaan (or as he is known in many countries, Genghis Khan) is Mongolia’s national hero. The famous 12th and 13th century leader used considerable military and political savvy to build one of the largest empires in history. But while he was building an empire, another invader silently spread from person to person.

This invader, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, favours stealth over force. The disease that it causes, tuberculosis (TB), has endured from ancient times into the 21st century.

It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and around 5% to 10% of these will develop active TB in their lifetime.

Even with effective antibiotics, TB is still a major global health problem, though it is rarely seen in developed countries such as Australia. TB disproportionately affects the world’s vulnerable, with over 95% of active cases and deaths caused by TB occurring in developing countries. Mongolia has a high burden of TB relative to its population.

Chinggis Khaan’s status was re-affirmed in July when the capital,
Ulaanbaatar’s main square was renamed Chinggis Square. Image from

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent Global TB Report estimated that in 2011 there were 8.7 million new TB cases and each day, the disease claims around 4,000 lives. For a disease that is treatable and curable, these statistics are alarming.

This year I’m working with the Mongolian Anti-Tuberculosis Association (MATA). Founded in 1993, MATA is a “home-grown” example of community health workers having a positive impact on TB control. Through a nation-wide network of 300 health volunteers, this organisation coordinates the provision of anti-TB medications, mainly targeting people unable to visit health clinics regularly.

The WHO recommends that anti-TB treatment is given through a scheme known as DOTS (directly observed treatment, short-course), as adherence to medicines over the typical six-month treatment course can be sporadic unless patients are adequately supported. Under DOTS, each dose of anti-TB medication is supervised and signed off by a health worker or volunteer.

MATA volunteers take anti-TB medications to around 400 patients each month through home visits, with volunteers serving patients living in their local city sub-district or town. An additional 280 patients attend contracted cafeterias for a free meal along with their anti-tuberculosis medications.

Volunteers are trained in the basics of TB and can become an important primary source of information, support, early identification of treatment issues and also a vector for encouraging contacts of patients to attend clinics for TB screening.

L-R: S Munkhjargal (MATA volunteer), D Enkhtsetseg (MATA Volunteer Supervisor), T Bayanjargal (TB clinic nurse in Ulaanbaatar) and Y Byambaa (MATA volunteer). These women are part of the team working towards eradicating tuberculosis in Mongolia. Photo Cameron Wright.

For their work, volunteers are provided with a small monthly stipend, the Mongolian equivalent of around 30 Australian dollars. They are supervised by MATA staff and work with tuberculosis clinic doctors and nurses who take responsibility for treatment decisions.

The results of this program so far are impressive. This is best demonstrated by looking at treatment outcomes for a specific group of new patients who have returned positive tests, of which approximately 30% of the national total are involved in MATA’s program.

Of 621 patients from this group enrolled with MATA in 2011, 600 (about 97%) successfully finished treatment and almost all of these were cured of the disease. This is compared to an overall treatment success rate for this group of around 88%, reported by the National TB Program.

I spoke to some volunteers based in Bayanzurkh district, an area of Ulaanbaatar (also known as Ulan Bator) with one of the highest prevalence of TB in Mongolia. I asked one volunteer why she was involved in MATA’s program and she replied, through translation,

There is a great feeling of accomplishment for me and the patient when someone finishes their treatment and is cured. Meeting these volunteers – and witnessing their dedication – makes me think that with time, the TB situation can improve.

Managing a community-based treatment program on a national scale inevitably comes with a set of challenges. The last two decades have seen widespread internal migration, especially during winter, from the countryside into Ulaanbaatar.

Multiple factors have caused this including the transition to a market-based economy following the fall of the Soviet Union, with people increasingly seeking opportunities in the city.

Urban slums are ideal breeding grounds for TB. Image from

Adding to this, a series of dzuds (particularly harsh winters, commonly associated with a high livestock fatality rate) over recent years has made the continuation of a traditional herder lifestyle untenable for many.

This has led to an expansion of the “ger districts”, urban slums with a multitude of social problems and high rates of TB. The close living quarters during winter, when temperatures can plummet below -40°C, create ideal conditions for TB transmission.

Keeping track of TB patients who have started on treatment is one of the main problems our volunteers face in providing treatment, with many people returning to the countryside during summer. Other issues include reaching patients living in very remote places or those frequently moving around.

Lack of awareness and misconceptions can also be problematic when trying to encourage patients to complete their treatment. A 2012 national survey showed that most people know that TB is curable (84%) and is an air-borne infection (74%).

But many of those surveyed did not know treatment is provided free of charge (49%) or the signs and symptoms of TB (43%) which typically include a chronic cough, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, fever and/or tiredness.

Educating the public about TB can greatly improve case finding and treatment efforts and there is still progress to be made in this area. Providing high-quality training to volunteers is another important aspect of the program and this is complex to manage on a national scale.

Just over half of Mongolians surveyed knew the signs and symptoms of TB. Image from

Earlier this year I had the chance to participate in the external review of the National Stop TB Strategy 2010-2015, conducted with the support of the WHO. This provided an opportunity for reflection; to praise the many positive achievements of the National TB program and to identify areas where improvements could be made.

My main observation working in the TB area so far is that teamwork is central to reducing the global TB burden. From MATA, to the National TB Program and more broadly the WHO, the Stop TB Partnership and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (among others), there is a huge network of people working towards a common goal.

Through utilising these partnerships, praising the good and improving the not so good, we can work towards making TB join smallpox as a disease of the past, in spite of the huge challenges that lie between this goal and the present situation.

Definition List:
  • savvy: practical knowledge or understanding of something
  • stealth: the fact of doing something in a quiet or secret way
  • to endure: to continue to exist for a long time
  • adherence: the fact of behaving according to a particular rule, etc, or of following a particular set of beliefs, or a fixed way of doing something
  • sporadic: happening only occasionally or at intervals that are not regular
  • vector: something (like an insect) that carries diseases between larger animals and humans
  • to enroll: to arrange for yourself or for somebody else to officially join a course, school, etc
  • prevalence: that exists or is very common at a particular time or in a particular place
  • untenable: that cannot be defended against attack or criticism
  • to utilize: to use something, especially for a practical purpose
Pronunciation MP3:
= savvy
= stealth
= endure
= adherence
= sporadic
= vector
= enroll
= prevalence
= untenable
= utilize

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Dangers of Acetaminophen

Originally posted on on Nov 3, 2013
by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
When it comes to proven, over-the-counter solutions for easing pain and controlling a fever, acetaminophen (also called paracetamol, and best known by the brand name, Tylenol) has long been the preferred recommendation for many. It is actually the most widely used product of its kind, and with good reason. When compared to other non-prescription pain relievers and fever reducers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, acetaminophen is considered to be much more safe — especially for young children, people with weak or compromised liver function, or blood-clotting concerns.

The Dangers of Acetaminophen

But, not so fast. Despite being a better choice than some of the alternatives, acetaminophen doesn’t exactly get a free pass. To the contrary, severe health problems such as liver damage and death have been reported, even after “mild” overdose.
  • A 10-fold increase in overdose has been reported in children given injectable paracetamol.
  • In one reported case, an overdose of acetaminophen resulted in death with blistering of the skin and rhabdomyolysis (a breakdown of the muscle fibers) with blood clotting and reduced blood flow to the heart.
  • Overdose in children occurs more quickly with more severe problems than adults.
  • Renal failure has been observed in persons suffering from acetaminophen overdose.
  • One study found that patients taking acetaminophen for dental pain were at a higher risk of suffering accidental poisoning.
  • In 2011, the British Medical Journal reported heavy alcohol consumption, fasting, malnourishment, and the taking of enzyme inducing drugs increased the likelihood of liver damage from acetaminophen use. 
Even the US Department of Health and Human Services, a division of the FDA, warns of dangers of taking Acetaminophen.

Simple Mistakes Can Lead to Complicated Problems

You may be thinking, “Good grief! I thought this stuff was safe!” Well, you’re not alone. There’s a common misconception that, because it’s sold without a prescription, it is also safe to take acetaminophen very regularly to alleviate any and all minor aches and pains. Additionally, the over-the-counter classification has lead some individuals to casually disregard dosage instructions and consume more than directed. If two is great, then four must be better, right? Wrong. Those errors are why hospital emergency rooms deal with more acetaminophen overdoses on an annual basis than they do opiate overdoses.

A good example would be taking acetaminophen to cope with a slight hangover. Not only is this use unnecessary (you likely need hydration, not acetaminophen), but it can further stress an already stressed liver. In fact, this exact scenario accounts for a large percentage of easily avoidable overdoses.

Watch for Hidden Acetaminophen

Another mistake many people make is not reading the labels on the back of over-the-counter products before using them. Use of acetaminophen is prolific among drug manufacturers, and it’s not uncommon to find it included in everything from sleep aids to cold and allergy medications. It’s fairly common for those who are under the weather to take several products at once. These small doses can easily add up, and if you’re not careful, may lead to permanent liver damage.

In addition to keeping an eye out for hidden sources, and minimizing unnecessary use, using a high quality, all-natural liver supplement and performing a periodic comprehensive liver and gallbladder flush, is a great way to promote the health of your liver.

Definition List:
  • over-the-counter: that can be obtained without a prescription (= a written order from a doctor)
  • to ease: to become or to make something less unpleasant, painful, severe, etc.
  • to compromise: a solution to a problem in which two or more things cannot exist together as they are, in which each thing is reduced or changed slightly so that they can exist together
  • alternative: a thing that you can choose to do or have out of two or more possibilities
  • contrary: completely different in nature or direction
  • severe: extremely bad or serious
  • overdose: too much of a drug taken at one time
  • -fold: multiplied by; having the number of parts mentioned
  • fasting: to eat little or no food for a period of time, especially for religious or health reasons
  • malnourishment: in bad health because of a lack of food or a lack of the right type of food
  • misconception: a belief or an idea that is not based on correct information, or that is not understood by people
  • to disregard: to not consider something; to treat something as unimportant
  • opiate: a drug derived from opium. Opiates are used in medicine to reduce severe pain.
  • slight: very small in degree
  • hangover: the headache and sick feeling that you have the day after drinking too much alcohol
  • hydration: to make something absorb water
  • scenario: a description of how things might happen in the future
  • prolific: existing in large numbers
  • "under the weather": you feel slightly ill/sick and not as well as usual
  • flush: to get rid of something with a sudden flow of water
Pronunciation MP3:
= acetaminophen
= ease
= compromise
= alternative
= severe
= overdose
= fold
= malnourished
= misconception
= disregard
= opiate
= slight
= hangover
= hydration
= scenario
= prolific

Monday, November 4, 2013


iBiology is a brand-new site where you can find all of the iBioSeminars and iBioMagazine talks in one place, along with a new section called iBioEducation where you will find…

Nico StuurmaniBiology Microscopy Courses: Microscopy Courses featuring
over 65 lectures and lab demonstrations about the theory and practice of light microscopy.

New Lecture series: New series with the flipped-classroom in mind. We asked speakers to create ~30 minute lectures that explain a topic for high school/undergraduate introductory biology students including:

New Lectures
  • Cell Biology [Cytoskeleton]: Molecular Motors (Lasker)
  • Cell Biology [Organelles]: Mitochondria, Mysterious Membranes
  • Human Health [Organelles] The Immune System
  • Microbiology [Bacteria Communities] Tiny Conspiracies
  • Molecular Biology [DNA Repair and Replication]: DNA Replication
  • Neuroscience [Circuits and Behavior]: One Second in Your Brain
Lectures from iBioSeminars
  • Biochemistry [Carbohydrates]: Glycans
  • Cell Biology [Cytoskeleton]: Actin Polymerization, Cell Motility, Molecular Motors, Comet Tail Formation
  • Cell Biology [Cell Cycle]: Cell Cycle Overview, Cell Cycle Control, Separating Duplicated Chromosomes, Cyclins and CDKs
  • Cell Biology [Organelles] Experiments in Cellular Organization
  • Development [Regeneration]: Stem Cell Overview, History of Regeneration, Adult Stem Cells
  • Ecology [Ecology]: Microbes Are Ancient, Ubiquity of Microorganisms
  • Human Health [Pathogens]: Prion Disease
  • Microbiology [Viruses]: Influenza Virus Infection
  • Molecular Biology [Transcription]: Introduction to Transcription
  • Molecular Biology [RNA Regulation]: Splicing Overview, Splicing Mechanism, Splicing Experiment
  • Neuroscience [Circuits and Behavior]: Genes and Behavior, Odor Experiment, External Signal Response, Circadian Clock
  • Neuroscience [Molecular Neuroscience]: Neural Stem Cells
BiochemistryiBioEducation Short Clips
Want to watch a few short videos when you have a break in the day? In iBioEducation's Exploring Biology section, you can find over 350 short clips organized by topic.

  • 1
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
Human Health
Human Health
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
Plant Biology
Plant Biology

iBiology’s mission is to convey, in the form of open-access free videos, the excitement of modern biology and the process by which scientific discoveries are made. Our aim is to let you meet the leading scientists in biology, so that you can find out how they think about scientific questions and conduct their research, and can get a sense of their personalities, opinions, and perspectives. We also seek to support educators who want to incorporate materials that illustrate the process and practice of science into their curriculum. This project is made possible by the good will of many biologists who are committed to making their work broadly accessible and to conveying the excitement of biology to a worldwide audience. (formerly and was developed to bring the best biology to people throughout the world for free. Started in 2006 by University of California – San Francisco and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Professor Ron Vale, iBiology has grown to include over 300 seminars and short talks by the world’s leading scientists. Our collection includes talks by many Nobel Laureates and members of the United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2013, we released our first full-length course in Light Microscopy and expanded the educational resources we offer. iBiology is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and supported by the American Society for Cell Biology and the University of California, San Francisco.

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Mongolia, centre helps children with disabilities learn new skills

Originally posted on on May 28, 2013
By Sabine Dolan

UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on a mother in Mongolia who is taking care of a daughter with learning disabilities.

Like all children, those with disabilities have many abilities, but are often excluded from society by discrimination and lack of support, leaving them among the most invisible and vulnerable children in the world.

UNICEF launches its flagship report The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities on 30 May 2013. The report brings global attention to the urgent needs of a largely invisible population.

In northern Mongolia, a centre supporting children with disabilities has proven a lifeline for 13-year-old Uyanga.

Tsagaannuur, Khuvsgul province, Mongolia, 28 May 2013 – Tumenjargal is a kindergarten teacher in northern Mongolia. She’s also a wife and mother of four. The family live in the small village of Tsagaannuur, about an hour from the Russian border.

Tumenjargal’s 13-year-old daughter Uyanga enjoys the same things as a lot of girls her age. “She really loves music and dancing,” Tumenjargal tells us. “She could watch television for hours, listening to music, especially traditional music, and watching how people dance.”

Two days after she was born, Uyanga was diagnosed with brain damage, which left her with permanent learning disabilities. Uyanga has difficulty speaking, and her vision is impaired. She learned to walk when she was 3 years old. Her parents tell us she can usually walk alone in a familiar environment. Otherwise, she is afraid.

Challenges for Uyanga

In Uyanga’s village, there are few options for children with disabilities. Uyanga attended kindergarten from the age of 4 until she was 9. She then went to her brother’s school, but was soon faced with stigma and discrimination.

Uyanga, 13, (left) with her mother, Tumenjargal, outside their home in Tsagaannuur. Two days after she was born, Uyanga was diagnosed with brain damage, which has left her with permanent learning disabilities. © UNICEF Mongolia/2012/Dolan

“When she was 9, she started attending school with her brother, but children made fun of her,” Tumenjargal tells us. “It was hard for her brother, too, so she stopped going. It was difficult. There were some challenges.”

Children with disabilities are less likely to receive an education. They’re also less likely to engage with peers or have an opportunity to participate in their community. They are often neglected and isolated.

Inclusive education

Today, Uyanga attends a centre that helps children with disabilities learn new skills in a supportive and inclusive environment. UNICEF supports this centre, which has become a lifeline for Uyanga – who now enjoys learning and has made friends. UNICEF has also trained the teachers here to promote child participation and inclusive education. Thanks to this inclusive model, 40 children with disabilities are now enrolled in the centre as well as in the main school.

“She doesn’t yet know how to write, but she is exercising how to hold her pen,” Tumenjargal explains to us. “Also, she practises how to pronounce sounds and consonants. After school, she comes home and she tries to practise in front of the mirror.”

“Please help and try to understand”

Children with disabilities face many barriers; they encounter social exclusion, as do their families. Yet, in a supportive community, families can help foster a more inclusive and enriching environment.

“My message to parents of children with disabilities and people all over the world is this: Please help and try to understand children with disabilities,” Tumenjargal says.

UNICEF wants to raise awareness about the rights of all children. We want to support more centres for children like Uyanga so they can enjoy the same opportunities as others.

Definition List:
  • disability: a physical or mental condition that means you cannot use a part of your body completely or easily, or that you cannot learn easily
  • to exclude: to prevent somebody/something from entering a place or taking part in something
  • discrimination: treating somebody or a particular group in society less fairly than others
  • invisible: that cannot be seen
  • vulnerable: weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally
  • flagship: the most important product, service, building, etc. that an organization owns or produces
  • lifeline: something that is very important for somebody and that they depend on
  • to diagnose: to say exactly what an illness or the cause of a problem is
  • permanent: lasting for a long time or for all time in the future; existing all the time
  • impaired: damaged or not functioning normally
  • options: things that you can choose to have or do; the freedom to choose what you do
  • stigma: feelings of disapproval that people have about particular illnesses or ways of behaving
  • to engage: to succeed in attracting and keeping somebody's attention and interest
  • inclusive: including a wide range of people, things, ideas, etc
  • barriers: a problem, rule or situation that prevents somebody from doing something, or that makes something impossible
  • to encounter: to meet somebody, or discover or experience something, especially somebody/something new, unusual or unexpected
  • exclusion: a person or thing that is not included in something
  • to foster: to encourage something to develop
  • enriching: to improve the quality of something, often by adding something to it
Pronunciation MP3:
= disability
= exclude
= invisible
= vulnerable
= flagship
= lifeline
= diagnose
= permanent
= impaired
= option
= stigma
= engage
= inclusive
= barrier
= encounter
= exclusion
= foster
= enrich

Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Airway Created with a 3D Printer Saved This Baby’s Life

Originally posted on on May 23, 2013
By Matt Peckham

If you think 3D printing’s overhyped with all this talk of plastic guns and strange, spider-like houses, you clearly haven’t seen this: a tiny airway splint created using a 3D printer that saved a three-month-old’s life.

Doctors at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan paired their medical know-how with the latest 3D printing technology to generate a custom, synthetic bio-part that ultimately saved a child who’d lost the ability to breathe on his own.

Kaiba Gionfriddo, who lives with his parents in Youngstown, Ohio, had a rare birth defect known as tracheobronchomalacia: just one in 2,200 are born with it. In babies with the condition, the airway walls are so weak they frequently collapse when breathing or coughing, shutting down the airway. Parents (and doctors) often miss the condition until the child suddenly stops breathing, which is how, terrifyingly, Kaiba’s parents discovered while eating at a restaurant that their six-week-old baby had it.

“He turned blue and stopped breathing on us,” Kaiba’s mother April Gionfriddo told the Associated Press, at which point Kaiba’s father, Bryan, had to perform CPR to revive him. But the breathing problems continued, and Kaiba wound up on a breathing machine at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio; doctors there told Kaiba’s mother his chances of leaving the hospital alive were slim.

So when one of those Akron doctors, Marc Nelson, mentioned that researchers in Michigan were experimenting with artificial airway splints, Kaiba’s parents wasted no time getting in touch with the hospital and doctors Glenn Green, M.D. and Scott Hollister, Ph.D.

Writing of the situation on the Univeristy of Michigan’s health blog, Green notes that the timing was just right — he and Hollister had “been working on a type of device that would be perfect to help splint little Kaiba’s airway, keeping it clear for air to continually flow to the lungs.” According to Green:
Scott and I had been exploring creating implants using a type of biodegradable polyester called polycaprolactone for a while, but it had never been used in this way before. Because of the urgency of Kaiba’s life threatening condition, though, we were able to get emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to create a tracheal splint for him, using the material.
Using high-res imagery from a CT scan of Kaiba’s afflicted airway, Green and Hollister were able to create a custom splint specifically tailored to fit Kaiba, then print it out on a 3D printer. The operation to install the tiny tube-like splint took place on Feb. 9, 2012, where Green says “[the] splint was sewn around Kaiba’s airway to expand the airway and give it a skeleton to help it grow properly and with greater strength,” adding that the splint is biodegradable — designed to be reabsorbed by Kaiba’s body over the course of three years.

“As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK,” wrote Green. Three weeks following the operation, Kaiba came off ventilator support and Green reports he hasn’t had breathing trouble since.

Just to underline the point here, that 3D printing technology, at least as far as medical research goes, is anything but overhyped, here’s Green again:
The image-based design and 3-D biomaterial printing process we used for Kaiba can be adapted to build and reconstruct a number of tissue structures. We’ve used the process to build and test patient-specific ear and nose structures. Scott has also used the method with other collaborators to rebuild bone structures in pre-clinical models.

Definition List:
  • overhype: to over advertise something a lot and exaggerate its good qualities too much
  • to pair: to put people or things into groups of two
  • to collapse: it falls in and becomes flat and empty
  • biodegradable: a substance or chemical that can be changed to a harmless natural state by the action of bacteria, and will therefore not damage the environment
  • high-res: = high resolution: showing a lot of clear sharp detail
  • afflicted: to affect somebody/something in an unpleasant or harmful way
  • to tailor: to make or adapt something for a particular purpose, a particular person, etc
  • to underline: to emphasize or show that something is important or true
  • to adapt: to change something in order to make it suitable for a new use or situation
Pronunciation MP3:
= pair
= collapse
= biodegradable
= tailor
= adapt

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The online games teaching children about their cancer

Originally posted on the BBC on September 4th, 2013

A non-profit company called HopeLab has developed a series of free online games, known as Re-Mission 2, designed to help young people learn about their cancer.

The company spoke to those who had suffered from the disease for ideas about how to make the games more appealing.

HopeLab's research found players were more likely to stick to their treatments and view their chemotherapy treatment as a means of defence rather than an obligation.

Click's Sumi Das finds out more.


Re-Mission 2 games help kids and young adults with cancer take on the fight of their lives. Based on scientific research, the games provide cancer support by giving players a sense of power and control and encouraging treatment adherence.

Each game puts players inside the human body to fight cancer with an arsenal of weapons and super-powers, like chemotherapy, antibiotics and the body’s natural defenses. The game play parallels real-world strategies used to successfully destroy cancer and win.

All six Re-Mission 2 games can be played online. The Re-Mission 2: Nanobot’s Revenge mobile app is available for download for iOS and Android.


Re-Mission 2 is a project of HopeLab, a nonprofit that harnesses the power and appeal of technology to improve human health and well-being. The games are an evolution of the original Re-Mission, inspired by the vision of HopeLab founder Pam Omidyar to fight cancer with gameplay. All Re-Mission games are designed in collaboration with medical professionals, game developers and – most importantly – young cancer patients. We are deeply grateful for their input and expertise.

Definition List:

  • appealing: attractive or interesting
  • obligation: something which you must do because you have promised, because of a law, etc.
  • adherence: the fact of behaving according to a particular rule, etc, or of following a particular set of beliefs, or a fixed way of doing something
  • arsenal: a collection of weapons
  • strategies: a plans that are intended to achieve a particular purpose
  • collaboration: the act of working with another person or group of people to create or produce something
Pronunciation MP3:
= appealing
= obligation
= adherence
= arsenal
= strategy
= collaboration