ISRAEL21c


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ISRAEL21c was founded in 2001, in the wake of the Second Intifada, to broaden public understanding of Israel beyond typical portrayals in the mainstream media.The organization’s founders – Israeli-American technology executives – understood the great power of the Internet and developed a first-of-its kind online product with global appeal and reach.

Most Recent Articles by ISRAEL21c:

5 Israeli precision-ag technologies making farms smarter

Jul 19, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Israeli precision agriculture started with a drip and became a deluge.

The “drip” is drip irrigation. The single most significant advance in modern agriculture, invented in Israel by Simcha Blass and his son Yeshayahu in 1959, increases crop yield, quality and consistency while using less water.

Netafim, the multinational company founded in 1965 to commercialize the Blass invention, remains the foremost name in irrigation technologies worldwide.

The “deluge” includes a host of farm management solutions. No fewer than 70 Israeli companies make tools for measuring, analyzing, monitoring and automating processes to give crops and soil exactly what they need, exactly when and where they need it, ensuring minimal waste of resources and maximum efficiency and yield.—More…

Measuring a patient’s vital signs without any contact

Jul 12, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Our bodies are in constant motion – not only on the outside but within. Our hearts beat, our chests rise and fall with each breath, the composition of our blood changes as we take in alcohol or sugar. Each motion, great and small, generates vibrations on the molecular level.

Two scientists – Zeev Zalevsky, professor of electro-optics at Bar-Ilan University, and Javier Garcia-Monreal, professor of physics and optics at the University of Valencia in Spain – have been collaborating for a dozen years on developing ways to measure the tiny, “nanometric” vibrations the body emits.

The result of their decade-long research is a revolutionary way to monitor patients’ vital signs without any physical contact – no more intrusive cables, wires, tubes or IVs.

In 2015, Zalevsky and Garcia-Monreal formed a company, ContinUse Biometrics, to commercialize their work and bring it to consumers and medical professionals.—More…

Jewelry discovered in Crusader-era kitchen in Israel

Jul 5, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

If you ever wondered who did most of the cooking in medieval Israel, a Crusader fortress in the city of Modi’in will put those doubts to rest: it was the women.

While excavating an archaeological site called Givat Tittora, diggers uncovered a treasure of coins, rings, bracelets and cosmetic tools among the cooking pots, jars, serving dishes and ancient clay ovens.

Most of the jewelry was found by a volunteer archaeologist, Mati Yohananoff, a regular participant in the Givat Tittora excavation. “These finds indicate the kind of activity traditionally associated with women’s domestic work,” he said.

“It seems that the cooks of the time were not sufficiently careful with the jewelry they wore while cooking and baking,” explained Avraham Tendler, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority.—More…

Israeli doctors find link between Alzheimer’s and bedsores

Jul 5, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Dr. Efraim Jaul, director of geriatric skilled nursing at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, noticed that many patients with dementia — and especially those with Alzheimer’s disease — seemed more prone to developing pressure ulcers (bedsores).

It occurred to him that perhaps the significantly higher incidence of bedsores was not simply a result of the immobility of advanced dementia patients, as is commonly assumed.

“I wondered if they were really distinct diseases or if there could be any connection between them,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Quantifying the phenomenon in his own hospital, Jaul found that 76 percent of geriatric patients with pressure ulcers had dementia, whereas only 32% of patients without pressure ulcers had dementia.—More...

Latest hack vulnerability: the LED lights on your router

Jun 21, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

You’ve taken every precaution to keep your computer and network safe from hackers: multiple firewalls plus the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software. But now a new source of leaky data has been unmasked by researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC): the LED lights on your router.

You’ve seen them flashing to indicate that data is being transferred and your Internet is connected. But malware can “infect” your router and program the lights to flash very quickly in a sequence that “an attacker with access to a remote or local camera, or with a light sensor hidden in the room, can record the LED’s activity and decode the signals,” explained Mordechai Guri, head of research and development at the BGU CSRC, who led the study.

The researchers developed their own malware program, dubbed xLED. It infects the router’s firmware and allowed the researchers to steal network data flowing through the router.

The xLED malware can program the router’s LEDs to flash as fast as 1,000 flickers per second for each LED. Since a typical router or network switch includes six or more status LEDs, thousands of bits per second can be encoded.

Multiple sclerosis study reveals possible trigger

Jun 21, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Multiple sclerosis, one of the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases, affects some 2.5 million people worldwide and has no known cure.

Researchers have long speculated that MS is triggered by the body’s own immune system unleashing an uncontrolled attack on myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells (neurons).

A study published by Israeli scientists in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) pinpoints a structural instability in the myelin membranes, the “insulating tape” surrounding neurons.

This vulnerability seems to be what gives the immune system access to otherwise protected regions.—More…

Palestinian official donates playroom to a Haifa hospital

Jun 14, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Every year, an estimated 1,200 children and adults residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories come to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa for medical treatment.

A few months ago, “M,” a senior figure in the PA who wishes to conceal his identity, was treated for cancer at Rambam. While hospitalized, he met many patients and their families from the PA areas, and began to take particular interest in the unique needs of hospitalized children.

“When I arrived at Rambam, I saw a medical team that treats its patients with dedication, but I also saw the suffering of sick children,” said M. “Palestinian children, Israelis, Syrians, and children from other countries are being treated at Rambam for serious illnesses and are in need of all the help they can get.”

After completing a round of treatment, he decided to donate tens of thousands of shekels to establish a playroom for children undergoing radiation therapy at Rambam’s new Joseph Fishman Oncology Center.—More…

Israeli scientists find vital key to fixing damaged heart tissue

Jun 14, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Researchers in Israel report they have discovered a molecule in newborn hearts that appears to control the process of renewing heart muscle.

When injected into adult mouse hearts injured by heart attacks, this molecule, called Agrin, seems to “unlock” that renewal process and enable heart muscle repair – something never seen in human heart tissue outside of the womb.

These findings, published June 5 in Nature,  point to new directions for research on restoring the function of damaged hearts. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

The healing process following a human heart attack is long and inefficient, explained Prof. Eldad Tzahor of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who led the study together with doctoral student Elad Bassat, research student Alex Genzelinakh and other Weizmann molecular cell biologists.

Once damaged, muscle cells called cardiomyocytes are replaced by scar tissue, which cannot pump blood and therefore place a burden on the remaining cardiomyocytes.—More…

Israeli device simplifies hernia surgery and recovery

Jun 3, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Some five million Americans have a hernia, a protrusion of an organ or tissue through a weak spot in the abdomen or groin, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Traditionally, open hernia-repair surgery involved stitching a mesh patch, or surrounding tissue, in place over the weak tissue. Today, many hernias are repaired laparoscopically, which is less invasive. Because suturing through tiny laparoscopic incisions is difficult, most surgeons use a less ideal solution — screw-like tacks to secure the mesh to the abdominal wall or bone.

“So we invented a way to deliver suturing in a minimally invasive way. It potentially reduces scar tissue and enables a strong connection of mesh to tissue,” says Lena Levin, cofounder and CFO of Via Surgical in Amirim, Israel.

Via Surgical’s unique FasTouch cartridge system affixes prosthetic material to soft tissue. It is designed like sutures and delivered like tacks, with the goal of providing the best of both worlds for laparoscopic hernia repair.  —More…

Can cannabis turn back the aging process?

May 17, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

As our brain ages, our cognitive abilities naturally decrease and it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time.

Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report in Nature Medicine that they have now achieved this goal in mice by administering a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis).

Mice have a short lifespan and begin displaying pronounced cognitive deficits even at one year old. So the researchers gave doses of THC to lab mice at the ages of 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

A low dose was chosen to avoid any intoxicating effect in the mice.—More…

Israel’s surprising way of teaching skills for innovation

May 3, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

On the global scale, Israeli youth are falling behind in academic achievements.

According to recent research conducted by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), Israel is in the bottom 40 percent in mathematics and science. Israel consistently trails behind countries such as China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Austria.

Yet it has the highest density of startups per capita in the world and is ranked No. 2 in innovation, according to the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness report.

How is a country so successful in technological entrepreneurship, which demands extensive knowledge in mathematics, science, finance and business, so far behind in math and science education?—More…

A simple Israeli invention to treat resistant hypertension

May 3, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Bob Stern’s father suffered a stroke at age 40. “When you have a stroke, your life and those around you are affected forever,” he says from experience.

Stern’s response was to build one of the largest stroke treatment companies in the world, Micrus Endovascular (MEND), acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2010 for half a billion dollars. Two months later, he heard from renowned Israeli serial entrepreneur/inventor Yossi Gross of Rainbow Medical.

Gross invited Stern to Herzliya to examine his implantable invention for treating drug-resistant hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular events including stroke, which occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced.—More…

Glowing bacteria detect buried landmines

Apr 19, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Possible application of a system to detect buried landmines using a bacterial sensor. Image courtesy of Hebrew University

Israeli researchers have revealed their high-tech answer to the global need for a safe, efficient way of clearing minefields: a remote system using lasers and bacteria to map the location of buried landmines and unexploded ordnance.

The invention is bound to be sought eagerly worldwide. About half a million people around the world are survivors of mine-inflicted injuries, and each year an additional 15,000 to 20,000 more people are injured or killed by these devices. More than 100 million landmines are believed still to be buried in at least 70 countries.

Surprisingly, the methods currently used for detecting landmines are not much different from those used in World War II, and require personnel to risk life and limb by physically entering the minefields.—More…

Programmed proteins may make malaria vaccine possible

Apr 19, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

A malaria vaccine based on stabilized proteins could be used in tropical places where there is no refrigeration.

Despite decades of malaria research, the disease still afflicts hundreds of millions and kills around half a million people each year – most of them children in tropical regions.

The best deterrent would be a vaccine composed of some of the parasite’s own proteins. However, those proteins identified as most promising for a malaria vaccine are unstable at tropical temperatures and require complicated, expensive cellular systems to produce them in large quantities.

Yet the vaccines are most needed in areas where refrigeration is lacking and funds to buy vaccines are scarce.—More…

10 ways Israel’s water expertise is helping the world

Mar 22, 2017 — ISRAEL21c

Using ingenuity to overcome its serious water challenges, Israel has become the go-to expert for a world facing an impending water crisis.

This year’s WATEC expo and conference, to be held in September in Tel Aviv, is expected to attract 10,000 stakeholders from 90 countries seeking Israeli solutions for water issues.

Israel exports $2.2 billion annually in water technology and expertise. In addition, these commodities are shared on a humanitarian basis through training courses, consultations and projects.

Keren Kayemeth L’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) often hosts delegations from around the world – most recently, from California, Argentina and the European Policy Center – to see how Israel’s system of treatment facilities and 230 reservoirs has achieved the world’s highest ratio of wastewater reuse. —More…