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Cancer Cells Detected Using $400 Digital Camera

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the diy-medicine dept.

Biotech 90

fergus07 writes "Researchers have detected oral cancer cells using a fiber-optic cable and an off-the-shelf Olympus E-330 camera worth $400. The work by Rice University biomedical engineers and researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center could improve access to diagnostic imaging tools in many parts of the world where these expensive resources are scarce. In the tests, a common fluorescent dye was used to make cell nuclei glow brightly and images were taken using the tip of the fiber-optic bundle attached to the camera. The distorted nuclei, which indicate cancerous and pre-cancerous cells, could then be distinguished on the camera's LCD monitor."

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On the other hand... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731746)

On the other hand it took a 50 million dollar microscope to find CmdrTaco's micropenis.

Impressive! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731846)

He much have been erect that day.

Re:Impressive! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731896)

Nice one! Can't have too many jokes about Taco's penis. Ahhh...Slashdot is the one true constant in my life...

Re:Impressive! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731998)

Nice one! Can't have too many jokes about Taco's penis. Ahhh...Slashdot is the one true constant in my life...

I'd say "poor Taco, always the target of these jokes" except he never seems to do any actual editing or even basic proofreading. He can't even seem to handle a spellchecker let alone exercise any mastery over English before finalizing a summary for millions of people. Maybe a small penis explains this editorial impotence.

Re:Impressive! (-1, Offtopic)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732172)

He was! His erect penis was an astounding 3 nanometers on that day!

stats (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731810)

A divining rod can detect water, too. What matters is the false positive and false negative rate.

Re:stats (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731880)

While I agree that it's better to have more than one case to back up your findings, I think it's a little different in that these are medical professionals that are looking at cells, using an imaging device, like any other used to do the task.

It's a little more like saying a $400 surveying tool can detect water when operated by a well engineer. What matters is the folse positive and false negative rate.

All in all, it's kind of a cool story, but I have to wonder - what inspired them to even try this? Could it then be possible with cheaper $300 cameras based on some similar specs but less features perhaps?

Re:stats (3, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731978)

The E-330 is an outdated four-thirds design. The four-thirds sensor is somewhat smaller than Canons APS-C-sized sensors and even more so than the regular APS-C-sized sensors used by Nikon, Sony, Pentax and so on.

Smaller sensor should in general mean lower price.

And it's as small as DSLR-sensors go.

Of course you could most likely do it with any DSLR camera. But the example was most likely made to say "any cheap DSLR camera", not especially the E-330 (though it do have live view, something most of them do have today to, which let it view the sensor input on the display rather than in the optical viewfinder. Nowadays most of them can be tethered / view data by HDMI to.)

Re:stats (2, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732020)

Correction: Of course the SENSOR input is never shown in an optical viewfinder, the mirror reflects the image/light up to the optical viewfinder.

But yeah, with live view the mirror stays up, the sensor fetches the light and it shows up on the display instead.

(mirror-less cameras use electronic view finders instead.)

Re:stats (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734884)

(mirror-less cameras use electronic view finders instead.)

Not always. Some have an optical view finder just like the analog mirror-less cameras had.

Re:stats (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32737218)

Yeah, stupid of me, but I meant the mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras, though even then it would have been possible to make it rangefinder style.

And pellicle mirror cameras would be something inbetween.

FDA approval (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732256)

By the time the FDA approves this device for diagnostic use, it will be a $10,000 camera ann it will need to be operated by a licensed radiologist.

Re:FDA approval (2, Informative)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732742)

This exact method is already used [vizilite.com] by multiple [leddental.com] companies [trimira.net] , and probably does cost about $10k. There is only UV light involved, so no radiology.

The point of this device, is that the same technique can be done with a few hundred dollars of equipment in developing nations.

Re:FDA approval (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733982)

Key word people: in developing nations.

These nations don't have the FDA. They also generally don't have access to the $10k equipment either. They take what they can get.

Re:FDA approval (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734274)

I think it's less of a safety issue (although that's certainly part of it), and more of an Intellectual Property and user interface thing.

Re:FDA approval (1)

chstwnd (1751702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734052)

I think sycodon's point was that the bureaucracy of the FDA will add testing, regulation, certification and licensing fees to the "simple solution" such that it is no longer simple or cost effective. In fact, if there's a $10k machine that does this already, the manufacturers of said machine will probably lobby for just such onerous regulations.

Re:FDA approval (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734258)

And my point is that such is backwards thinking. It's like saying that gasoline engines will make electric cars noisier and produce more polution.

Re:stats (3, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732692)

I've actually had good luck with that myself. Not with water, but with locating coins and such. It varies from person to person to the extent that it works, but for those with the aptitude it's more than a little freaky. As far as I can tell it seems to be similar in nature to an actual metal detector.

Re:stats (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32733432)

You must have aced all your college statistics courses...

Re:stats (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735012)

Yeah, just like you won't see any aliens or be abducted by them unless you actually believe that they are visiting us? You need to be "special" (some magic stuff) for it to work!

Re:stats (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735304)

My ADE 651 bomb detector [wikipedia.org] works on the same principle. Just this morning, I determined that the suspicious package on my left contains a dangerous explosive device, whereas the very similar package on my right is perfectly saf

[No Carrier]

Re:stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32739992)

That guy James Randi has a million dollars saying you can't reproduce it in a controlled experiment. Try it!

Re:stats (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732872)

It's a screening, and a visual inspection tool. It lets the doctor see abnormal tissue. It's therefor more likely to have a false positive (like nearly all screenings are intended to have).

Fortunately, with oral lesions, a biopsy is simple and relatively safe (particularly compared to breast or testicular tissue), so the only downside of an unnecessary biopsy is cost.

Re:stats (2, Insightful)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734982)

A divining rod can, in fact, not detect water. Your comparison seems rather out of place...

Re:stats (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736162)

Yep, everybody knows it is the diviner, not the diving rod, that finds the water.

Not sure if I believe in water divination, but my grandparents had a diviner come out and tell them where to put their well. He picked a spot and told them how deep they would need to go to find water. They did put their well in the location he selected, and he was about 3 feet off in his prediction on the depth. No idea on how close a random guess would compare though, so not enough data for me to draw any real conclusions from.

Re:stats (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736774)

Proper tests have shown no difference between dousing and random chance.

Re:stats (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32737092)

I figured as much, but still think it is strange the guy got that close if he was simply guessing. I guess that is why strange coincidences are strange.

Re:stats (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32742432)

Strictly speaking, his prediction was wrong. They dug to where he said and found no water - the nearest water was 3 feet away. How far away would the water need to be before you no longer thought he got it pretty much right? Did they try digging any other holes - perhaps there is water at that depth running under the majority of the area. If this is so it wouldn't matter where he told them to dig, they could have found water pretty close. What seem to be strange coincidences turn out to be near inevitabilities way more often that you'd intuitively expect. Close guesses are orders of magnitude easier to make than precise predictions.

Re:stats (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32743678)

No, they only dug the one hole. However the neighbors on the adjacent property had to dig 3 times before they hit water that was close enough to the surface for a well. They were just guessing. Again could be coincidence or just random chance, 2 cases isn't really enough to draw conclusions from.

Re:stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32747062)

I have a random anecdote to throw in here:

Once a water line broke that went from the street to my house. Someone came to replace it but they weren't sure which way the pipe ran, so they used bent coathangers to locate the pipe -- they didn't believe the path that was indicated, so they dug a different path.. which was wrong...

They later found the pipe directly under where they had marked (based on the divining rod..)

Re:stats (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736096)

The actual link to the actual article. [plosone.org]

Could we please stop submitting blurbs like this, at least without the real articles. TFA in this case was two pictures, or else there was more behind a registration wall, and the -actual journal article- was on plosone, a completely free and open online publication, you don't even have to give them your e-mail address. I understand many of us don't like paywalls, but even when there is one, a link to it would be nice for the details, and again, this one didn't have a paywall. /rant

Anyway, the conclusion summary is "Our results indicate this device as a useful tool to assist in the identification of early neoplastic changes in epithelial tissues. This portable, inexpensive unit may be particularly appropriate for use at the point-of-care in low-resource settings." I'm not a doctor, nor am I a cancer biologist, but I don't think the language is just not wanting to overstate things. I think the authors would say this should never be taken as the first or last screening method for identifying cancers. I think the goal here is if your doctor thinks you might have a cancerous growth in your mouth, he might pull out a camera, this fiber optic device, and some proflavine, and see if he thought a biopsy would be justified. He looks at the cells under this thing, sees completely normal looking cells, and he suggests not doing the biopsy. He sees abnormal cells, and he orders a biopsy, they take some tissue from it the pathology lab stains it and makes a call as to whether you need it removed or not.

Could also be used in surgery, your doctor detects a growth on your prostate/ovaries/whatever, is concerned enough to do exploratory surgery. They put you under, open you up, get to the growth... in at least some circumstances, they do a biopsy, send it down to the pathology department for staining to see if it's cancerous or not, the path lab calls up and says cancer or not, and based on that, they'll remove it or not. A friend of mine, for example, had surgery to remove one ovary after it developed a tumor of some type, biopsies from the other were sent to the lab so they could tell whether they needed to remove that one too. Seems like this method of being able to image it right there could save some time.

Again, I really don't know, have no experience with surgery, and might be misremembering the secondhand account there, so take that with several grains of salt.

It seems to me though that measuring the effectiveness of this procedure is outside the scope. The authors are from a bioengineering lab. Their goal was developing a tool, this is a few steps away from testing the positive vs negative, nobody is getting ahead of themselves.

Re:stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32741086)

This is a very cool invention! very helpful!

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Congress... (4, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731850)

... better get on this to make sure that this technology can't be used in the U.S. otherwise costs might go down. Similar to how we can't import drugs: medically, if it's cheap, it's dangerous.

Re:Congress... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732414)

... better get on this to make sure that this technology can't be used in the U.S. otherwise costs might go down. Similar to how we can't import drugs: medically, if it's cheap, it's dangerous.

Yes but the trendy growth area [naturalnews.com] for Big Pharma these days is the use of common diseases that are usually just a nuisance to scare everyone into vaccination. Consider the language used here, concerning the individual decision to accept or reject a vaccination for common influenza:

"Now no one should say 'Should I or shouldn't I?'" said CDC flu specialist Anthony Fiore.

That's absolutely dripping with "we know what's good for you". Was that statement the result of a new medical breakthrough or discovery? No. It was the result of a panel of bureaucrats holding a vote. I'm sure they have our best interests at heart and are not at all influenced by the large, well-financed pharmaceutical industry. This part is also telling:

In the past, the advisory committee has been reluctant to recommend universal vaccination for fear that it might produce vaccine shortages that place members of higher risk groups in danger. Yet even with current recommendations, only 33 percent of the public gets vaccinated every year, leaving millions of doses to be disposed of.

How inconvenient. They have over-produced this vaccine and its finite shelf life will result in tremendous losses for them unless they can suddenly create demand for it. The fact that universal vaccination for this specific disease is now being pushed is completely unrelated to that, I am sure </sarcasm>. This is actually unusually blatant for them. They usually rely more strongly on the "don't question our motives, we are the experts" priesthood of the medical establishment that doesn't make it so simple to follow the money.

Plus I think they can fast-track the FDA approval process and simultaneously remove much of their liability if every little disease like the swine flu is now a big scary pandemic. The bothersome thing is that when the next real threat to life and limb comes along, the sensationalism that surrounded SARS, hoof-and-mouth, swine flu, West Nile, and bird flu will have created quite the boy-who-cried-wolf situation. If it has little or no chance of killing or crippling a healthy adult then I really don't want to hear words like "pandemic" -- is that such an unreasonable thing to ask?

I agree that they certainly don't want competition from foreign pharmaceuticals. They especially wouldn't want that from countries with weaker patent protections for drugs than the USA. It's just that this particular deck has been stacked in their favor for so long now that it is not a growth area for them.

Believe it or not I think the War on (some) Drugs set the stage for much of this. That's where the idea was legitimized that a citizen is not sovereign over his or her own body and does not get the final say on what may or may not be ingested into it. That's why we have a situation where it's "the FDA has not yet approved this substance, or does not consider its imported version to be safe, therefore we will use police power to make sure you may not have it at all" instead of "the FDA has not yet approved this substance, or does not consider its imported version to be safe, therefore you consume it at your own risk."

The first thing there is to understand about pharmaceutical companies is that they cannot make money from healthy people. The second thing to understand about them is that they make less money from sick people who are allowed to shop around in multiple markets.

Re:Congress... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732690)

As you mentioned in your own post, vaccines are not very profitable for pharma companies, which is why 95% of the flu vaccine manufacturers have gotten out of the business. And calling flu "the common flu" as if it's no more serious than a cold is disingenuous when it's one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Yes, it's "a personal choice" whether to vaccinate, just like drinking and driving (which kills far fewer people annually than flu) is a personal choice. At some point, though, people unwilling to be responsible members of society have to be dealt with somehow.

Re:Congress... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735600)

As you mentioned in your own post, vaccines are not very profitable for pharma companies, which is why 95% of the flu vaccine manufacturers have gotten out of the business.

Nothing like a very large spike in demand for your product to make that product more profitable. Bonus points if it's driven by fear and not by dispassionate inquiry.

And calling flu "the common flu" as if it's no more serious than a cold is disingenuous when it's one of the most deadly diseases in the world.

Here I was thinking the most deadly diseases in the world were things like heart disease and cancer. Though, I guess if you were intellectually honest about the real chance of an individual dying of influenza versus all other possible causes of death, you wouldn't get to use emotionally loaded terms like "most deadly in the world".

Reality check: influenza kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people each year worldwide. In the USA, influenza killed an average of about 41,400 people a year in the USA between 1979 and 2001 (source [wikipedia.org] ). Perhaps you should compare that to the number of people killed by car accidents each year in the USA alone for a refreshing dose of perspective. I assume you do still travel in motor vehicles despite how much more dangerous they are than what you have called "one of the most deadly diseases in the world".

Yes, it's "a personal choice" whether to vaccinate, just like drinking and driving (which kills far fewer people annually than flu) is a personal choice.

Nice of you to equate those two things. I guess I am supposed to accept that without question and, as you intended, transfer all the known evils of drunk driving to the act of choosing not to buy a vaccine. That'd be for the children, to fight terrorism, and all of that I am sure. Now that your emotionalism is out of the way, how about a bit of reason?

Tell me, if you accept a flu vaccine and I do not, and I then get the flu, what would you have to worry about? If the vaccine protects you from the strain of flu I have, you'd be immune to it. If the vaccine does not protect you from that strain of flu, we'd both stand a chance of getting it whether or not we took the vaccine. I'm failing to see a justification for the dangerous precedent of forcing people to take medicine against their will.

If influenza is so thoroughly polymorphic that my having the flu would be a danger to you even after you accepted the vaccine, then what good is the vaccine? In that case one person who gets flu anyway can re-infect the entire population and you're back to where you started.

Unlike drunk driving, this is a personal choice that remains personal. If my decision not to vaccinate can possibly endanger you in any way, it's because the vaccine is not terribly effective to begin with. Now here's a crazy idea: let's address all of these issues before we even think of making it mandatory for anyone.

At some point, though, people unwilling to be responsible members of society have to be dealt with somehow.

You're absolutely right. I can think of nothing more socially irresponsible than coming up with novel excuses for using force or fraud to make people do what they do not wish to do, or for telling them what they may or may not do with their own person. It leads to the type of society that our ancestors fought and died to prevent us from becoming. Equating a personal medical decision with drunk driving like you did there is a great example. It's intellectually dishonest and therefore falls under the "fraud" portion of "force or fraud".

Re:Congress... (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732974)

Always makes you wonder though. Whenever they come up with a cheap way of treating something, they say "just think of the third world implications". I think we should really be looking at stuff like this for first world applications. Think of countries with government health care like Britain and Canada (also everyone except US it seems). I know that the province of Ontario spends 50% of their revenue on health care. If the government took a more cost savings approach, trying to use off the shelf consumer goods where possible, then they could probably save quite a bit. I'm not saying they should do away with all the specialized equipment, but they should start to look for cheaper alternatives and use it if one exists.

Re:Congress... (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735046)

Think of countries with government health care

What about them? You think countries without government health care are any better off?

Re:Congress... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32736662)

Insurance is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the political level
Car mechanic is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the insurance level

Pharmaceuticals is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the political level
Medical is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the pharmaceutical level

Oil is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the political level
The car industry is a perpetual machine with payoffs at the oil industry level

need we say more....

Yay! (2, Funny)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731862)

That's so cheap! Every hospital in the world can afford that! People can be screened for cancer cheaply at the tiniest sign. We'll catch it faster so we'll treat more people early! And research will be that bit easier!

Mod parent insightful (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732754)

The parent poster is correct about that. While that's not the total cost, you still need somebody with qualifications to interpret it, $400 is affordable in at least the first and second world countries and developing countries could still benefit from donated equipment.

No, it's Funny... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733282)

Equipment costs are small relative to the personnel and facility costs. Besides, whether you use a $400 camera or a $2,000 "custom" (i.e OTS, integrated) CCD in a $50,000 detection machine where most of the money is in something other than hardware (i.e.: R&D, liability, marketing, OH&P), the net cost to consumers in any first world country will be the same.

You didn't really think that this is going to have a $400 pricetag at your local doctor's office, did you? Worse yet, are you going to find a practicing doctor with the free time to hack together a cancer detector and the balls to actually use it in a production setting? And - really - would you trust some guy with barely 4 years of general studies college and two years of classroom medical training whom you've never met to decide whether or not you need lifesaving procedures based on something they built in their garage so you can save $300 on a diagnostic visit?

Re:No, it's Funny... (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32746416)

A friend of mine in Canada had to wait 6 months just to get screened for cancer. Turned out she had it! Of course if she'd had money she could have paid for the screening, but she didn't have it.

Anything that saves money is good. You save money on equipment you have more money to spend on doctors to do it. You can do more scans. I thought that was obvious.

Saving 300 dollars is an easy choice if you have 300 dollars! That's almost a months wages where I live! And I live in the first world!
What about people on 50 cents a day?
Every penny we save counts.

How can you not see how great this is? And they can get the price down lower and lower.

Re:Mod parent insightful (1)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32746386)

A friend of mine in Canada had to wait 3 months just to get screened for cancer. Turned out she had it! Of course if she'd had money she could have paid for the screening, but she didn't have it.

Anything that saves money is good. You save money on equipment you have more money to spend on doctors to do it. You can do more scans. I thought that was obvious.

Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731910)

Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? Knowing I have cancer but being unable to afford treatment just seems like torture.

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731948)

Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? Knowing I have cancer but being unable to afford treatment just seems like torture.

Afford to treat it? Huh? You get sick, you go to a hospital or clinic. They treat it. You walk out. I (or any of my family or friends) have never been charged for any kind of treatment. Are you talking about buying special drugs or something?

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (-1, Flamebait)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732548)

you, your family, and friends, are *why* health care is so godamn expensive in this country. what? did you think that the things they used to render care to you where magically free? NO. the hospital is no just going to absorb the cost of whatever they did for you, they pass it on to other customers, thats why people get hospital bills where a cotton swab costs 15$, and a sterile gauze pad costs 50$.

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732770)

I think he might just be from someplace like Europe or Canada which pays for the cost of health care. In America, you'd be correct though.

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32733308)

He's talking about one of those people who walk into an emergency room in America and get free treatment (required by law) that is carried by everyone else. That, a large aged population and fairly widespread unbounded health care insurance in America skew the demand curve higher such that costs are higher.

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732584)

What planet are you from?

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (1)

notjosh (1632271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732198)

You could surely bribe them by buying them a few thousand cameras :)

Re:Great to know, but can I afford to treat it? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735828)

It's possible that early detection will make treatment less expensive.

That said, if you want to take that gamble, be my guest. This screening has been available for a while (my dentist performs it during yearly exams), so this change doesn't really change much.

Cancer remedy: Nobel Prize to Otto Von Warburg. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32741076)

According to this Nobel Prize winner's research, Dr. Otto Von Warburg found:
1. Cancer arrives and spreads in a body wherever there is lack of oxygen in the circulatory system,
2. Cancer thrives and causes a body to have lower PH level,
3. When animal cells are starved of oxygen, they will miraculously preserve their life rather than
wither and die by converting to a metabolic process of fermenting sugar into alcohol.

In these recent years, a surgeon south of America below the equator, Dr. Simonsini (http://CancerIsFungus.Com) has absolute success in his patients when he hypothesized and dispensed remedy in the assumption that Cancer and Fungus is almost indistinguishable; where even a virus is equate to the immune-system attack function of an invading fungus.

Remedy here:
  Mineral sulfur itself will increase the oxygen transport of cells, so consider buying raw cabbage to juice it.
  Calcium will create oxygen when interacting with stomach digestion (a Hydrochloric acid), therefore juiced raw cabbage is very desirable rather than buying mineral sulfur.
  Store-bought basketball-shaped cabbage is grown with chemicals to stunt it's growth and gives an otherwise unpleasant burning soapy taste when eaten raw; without this chemical, all cabbage will grow over 5-feet tall and has a more appealing flavor than iceberg and romaine lettuce: consider growing your own cabbage, or buying cabbage from a store only to peel away it's stunted leaves to reveal the apex where you can soak the entire stem in a 75% water and Hydrogen Peroxide to regenerate roots to re-grow the plant with cleaner water.

Yeah right (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731922)

Based on portability, performance and cost, you could make a case for using them both to lower health care costs in developed countries...

Not in the US. And it never will until medical costs and fees become transparent to the consumer; people start taking care of themselves (eat and drink less, stop smoking, and get some exercise) and stop the cost is no object mentality when people are dieing. We're supposed to die. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep someone alive for another few days (if at all), drugged out of their mind is just a waste of resources.

As one doctor said to me once, sometimes medicine does too much.

Re:Yeah right (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732004)

Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep someone alive for another few days (if at all), drugged out of their mind is just a waste of resources.

Perhaps for /you/ it is, but what about that person? What about that person's family? See thats the nice thing about freedom is that you shouldn't have to pay for what I want and I don't dictate what you want. Of course our government fucked us over long ago removing any true economic freedom....

Re:Yeah right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732250)

You are certainly free to pay out of your own pocket for extreme care, no one in the US or any other nominally free country (no matter what political side you are on) has said otherwise. It's a question of should *I* have to pay for your insistence that you be granted the freedom to spend a disgusting amount of money to extend one life by a trivial amount of time, especially when others are dying much younger, for want of much less expensive care...

Re:Yeah right (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732408)

If we had a free economy, it would be no issue. In all honesty the idea of having health insurance to pay for tiny little things is completely and utterly backwards. Health insurance should be to pay for -major- things, like if you were in a car accident and needed major surgery, if you got cancer and had expensive treatment. However, today health insurance is used to pay for tiny little expenses, why? You shouldn't need health insurance to go to the doctor to get a check up, you shouldn't need health insurance to pay for antibiotics, you shouldn't need health insurance to pay for other little expenses.

We need to reduce the cost of health care so we don't need insurance to pay for those things. Does no one else find it incredibly backwards that you would use insurance for such trivial things? Chances are you wouldn't use your homeowners insurance to pay for something as silly as a small board that needed replacing, or for a bit of touch-up paint, but yet we seem to think we need health insurance to pay for those things?

It's a question of should *I* have to pay for your insistence that you be granted the freedom to spend a disgusting amount of money to extend one life by a trivial amount of time, especially when others are dying much younger, for want of much less expensive care...

If we had a free economy that wouldn't ever be a problem, but instead we have doctors who are too afraid to compete, regulations which screw doctors out of actually -being- with their patents and helping them and instead they have to fill out paperwork for government/insurance/etc. If we would let the free market really work, we'd see an increase in the amount of life saving cures, a decrease in the cost of health care so you wouldn't use insurance to pay for tiny little things, with that gone then insurance would go down because not everyone is going to develop cancer or some major thing and need to use that much insurance, rather than today someone uses insurance on something as silly as a scraped knee.

Fix the economy and you've pretty much fixed health care.

Re:Yeah right (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732800)

They tried to offer plans for health maintenance (used regularly) vs health insurance (used in extenuating circumstances) but it got too confusing and redundant. The bottom line is that if you want to be healthy in the long run you need all those regular little "tiny little things" like check ups and teeth cleanings. This is what keeps the need for the other kind of insurance relatively low.

But then the slippery slope takes over and as soon as people see insurance as "whatever they want for free" they couldn't care less if they get diabetes or need their arm sewn back on or whatever. It cuts both ways, it would seem. Insurance will only be cheap when it can target people who can be demonstrably responsible for their health. Proving that, though, is a tall order indeed.

As for the "free market", medicine has gotten way too complicated and expensive for people to need to vet every decision their doctor makes. Do you think doctors would magically just start being more honest and effective if their were less regulation? Just like bankers take the opportunity of deregulation to be more open and efficient and respectful of the consumer? Regulate in transparency and let people see what they are getting. Otherwise, there is nothing stopping fear mongering crooks from taking over that industry, too.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732960)

As for the "free market", medicine has gotten way too complicated and expensive for people to need to vet every decision their doctor makes. Do you think doctors would magically just start being more honest and effective if their were less regulation? Just like bankers take the opportunity of deregulation to be more open and efficient and respectful of the consumer? Regulate in transparency and let people see what they are getting. Otherwise, there is nothing stopping fear mongering crooks from taking over that industry, too.

Yes, because otherwise they would lose business. If you had to jump through hoops, you would just go to a different doctor which was more friendly and helpful. As for bankers, we don't have deregulation, we just had multiple sets of regulations, some were better others were worse, we haven't had deregulation in the financial sector in our lifetimes. And the main problem with the banking system is because we have fiat currency, we have things that don't make sense in a "hard money" system like fractional reserve banking and the like, mix that in with the federal reserve... And yeah, the banking system doesn't make sense because our money doesn't make sense.

Transparency is close to a requirement when you have competition because people like transparency, people like quality, people like low prices, when things are competing in a free market you have different things to fit different niches. One only needs to look at the browser market to see that, you have people who want a huge say in what goes on and you have Firefox, you have people who want fast and cutting edge, you have Chrome, etc. the same thing could happen in the healthcare market if competition was encouraged, you have knowledgeable people who want to know every little detail, you have some people who don't mind a bit of a risk and are willing to use non-traditional methods of cures, and you have some people who just want to pay some money and be cured safely without much care about a bit of overpayment or that they aren't using the most cutting edge of treatment options.

In short, what good is transparency if people don't care about it? If people do care about it, the free market will bring transparency. If you regulate it in, and no one cares about it too much, it just means higher prices for the everyone.

Re:Yeah right (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733798)

We only need health insurance for "little things" because "little things" cost so much. Do you really want to pay $200 (it's probably more) out of pocket every time you need to get the doctor to give you a prescription for your kids ear ache? The reason we insure for everything is because even the most basic things cost large amounts of money.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735820)

But -why- does it cost so much? It is illogical that to see a doctor for about 5 minutes and get some medicine which is made out of incredibly common compounds that it would cost $200. So why is it that it costs that much? My guess is that it is multi-fold, the main thing being that doctors have to fill out so much paperwork that what takes them 5 minutes to accurately diagnose takes them many times that long to fill out the corresponding paperwork then expenses with malpractice insurance and the like, etc.

We need to be working to actually lower the price of health care to be reasonable. One of those things needs to be encouraging competition, already the cost and hassle has gone down due to those small clinics in major drug stores and by increasing that mentality, you end up with higher quality and lower prices.

Re:Yeah right (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32747388)

I think it's more to do with the fact that there aren't that many doctors around, and therefore their time is valuable. If instead, you could visit a nurse, or some other less skilled person for common ailments, and get the proper drugs, then it would probably be a lot cheaper. Think about if casts for broken bones were done the same way as fixing a car or a computer. Go into "bone fixing services", they get some person to take an X-ray (low skilled), and get somebody who is trained to put on casts to put on a cast (also low skilled). If the X-Ray shows you need pins in your arm, or special treatment, they send you to a more qualified person. You don't reach the software engineers at Microsoft when you call Dell to have your problems with windows fixed. You don't talk to the engineer who designed your car when you need your wheels aligned. Why should you need to talk to high payed doctors every time you have a simple ailment?

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32738294)

Your plan kills me.

Whenever you write about your ridiculous plan, I want you to be "open and transparent" and begin with "this plan kills lots of innocent people, but it works out OK for me, which is what matters, to me"

Then people will know up front what sort of person you are and they can decide if they care to listen to you rant.

(How does it kill me? At age 25 I had no money and needed cancer treatment. Under your "free market" plan I end up dead, needlessly. But because I live in a liberal democracy the state paid to cure me. Our taxes are little higher than yours, but it turns out people are OK with that because they know they won't be left to die if they get a curable illness just so a shareholder somewhere can see a few more $$$ on a profit statement. I now earn enough that in a "free market" system I could pay for expensive treatment, except, as mentioned earlier, I'd be dead)

Individual patients have ZERO negotiating power. Don't like Dell laptops? Don't buy a Dell. Don't like the price quoted for the brain cancer drug you need? Too bad, you'll die if you don't pay. ONLY a huge entity, such as a COUNTRY can gamble with people's lives on the scale needed to make an economic impact in this industry.

Re:Yeah right (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734586)

Sure - provided THEY can actually PAY for the treatment; then yes. By all means.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732232)

We're supposed to die.

We're not "supposed" to do anything but we're all going to die.

Cost? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731974)

Soo... a $400 camera and a $10,000 fiber optic cable?

Re:Cost? (1)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732832)

More like $2500 in lab-grade mounts and fiber, judging by the photo in the article.

Re:Cost? (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32737610)

Hey, cables are important. That $10,000 fiber optic cable is probably 24k gold plated, micro-crystalline silver contacts, and imported Swiss glass because Swiss sand holds the optimum current, for true reproduction of the photons warm tones. Hey wait...

Re:Cost? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32739586)

No, go to monoprice and get the $5 fiber optic cable, instead of the $10,000 Monster Cable fiber optic cable.

IIAP(athology resident) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732062)

... or rather, was, until I discovered how boring staring down a microscope every day actually was, jumped ship, and rejoined the land of the living. What working as a pathology resident did teach me, however, is just how fucking complicated cancer diagnosis is and how incredibly smart pathologists are. These guys have 5 straight years of pushing pushing glass and reading textbooks, and often have a completely encyclopedic knowledge of disease and cell morphology. Absolutely useless in the real world, and only useful when you are staring down a microscope trying to come up with a diagnosis.

Certainly the haphazard arrangement of cells and dysmorphic nuclei/prominent nucleoli can be one indication that something is malignant, but lets be honest: if some guy took a sample of your nasal mucosa and used his 400 dollar camera to determine that something up your nose was cancer, would that really be enough for you go to: "Alright. Sign me up for terribly invasive and debilitating surgery. That's enough proof for me." As a point of care screening tool to limit unecessary biopsies? Maybe, but it would really have to be quite sensitive (rules out appropriately). For true diagnostic purposes? No way.

A proper diagnosis can often involve multiple chemical stains and immunostains, and for high stakes diagnosis like cancer, often involves having multiple pathologists at multiple institutions look at the slides. So anything that offers some quick solution like this is disingenuous.

not exactly $400... (2, Interesting)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732092)

could you attach a fiber optic bundle to your camera? sounds like a custom job to me.

Profit margin too small (1)

brufleth (534234) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732194)

Coat everything in a thick and bulky neutral colored plastic shell and charge $40,000 and you'll start to have an actual medical imaging product.

California (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732228)

Great. Cue up the legislation in California (I'm looking at San Francisco) requiring digital camera manufacturers to place "Warning: This device may cause cancer" notices on all digital cameras sold.

Um, who cares? (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732394)

We are taking about medical procedures and Cancer. Use the damn $20k camera.

Re:Um, who cares? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732522)

It's about having low cost equipment out in the wilds of anywhere. It's a lot cheaper to detect cancer in sub-saharan Africa and send one person into the city to get the real test vs the entire village.

Actually, it's cheaper to just let them die without anything, but that's not the point.

Re:Um, who cares? (1)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732810)

Why? From what I can see in the article, the camera itself doesn't look like it matters very much, as long as it has some minimum resolution. The new method seems to be the fiber connection and termination.

YUO FAIL IT. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732490)

Re:YUO FAIL IT. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32739314)

I know im burning karma with a flamethrower here, but probably linking goatse guy could be on topic in this particular article, depending on how much costed the camera it was taken, and the incidence of colorectal cancer.

Y'all ever dealt with hospital procurement? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732808)

To actually sell this system, you'd have to hide it inside a big beige box and slap a $400,000 sticker on it. This is, sadly, not a joke.

Re:Y'all ever dealt with hospital procurement? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32737484)

How else do you plan to pay for Clinical Trials and a room full of legal paper?

Affordable Third World Cancer Detection (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733668)

...then what?

Re:Affordable Third World Cancer Detection (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32734920)

Detect also the other zodiac signs?

The Big Problem (1)

Xarin (320264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733830)

The problem with this is that it does not detect cancer cells but anomalies that may be cancer cells. All the dentist can do is refer one to an oral surgeon who will just look at the tongue and ask if one has bitten it accidentally in the last few days. They are not going to do a biopsy on something they can not see and they are not trained to interpret the photos.

CHDK (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32733972)

The article mentions an olympus camera, but I don't see any reason in principle why other camera makers couldn't also be used. If they could put this function into CHDK, it'd be pretty awesome.

Re:CHDK (1)

KingArthur10 (679328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32749946)

The advantage of the E-330 over other dSLRs is that it has mirror-down live view with a dedicated live-view sensor and a swivel LCD display. This way the primary imaging sensor does not heat up to cause digital noise, and it's much easier to frame. Other consumer live-view implementations before and since use the primary imaging sensors for the image view. These sensors often overheat quickly and cause a degradation in imaging quality.

There's an App for That! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32735664)

So all I need is my iPhone 4 and a strand of fiber optic material to see cancer cells! It's got that 5 megapixel camera now! Too bad I can make calls with it :(

$400 Camera? (1)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32735944)

Wait... So a $400 camera attached to fiber optics worth $5k... I think there's a slight misconception of what is the costy part of the system.

Not $400 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32737468)

The setup is basically a LED based fluorescent ficroscope with the usual dichroic mirror setup. The LED and the fiber optic cable are also probably more expensive than the camera itself. There are innovations however: 1. LED based fluorescence scopes are as yet experimental; 2. Fiber optic cable in microscopy is currently a domain of the operating room; 3. The entire ocular is being replaced with a camera. Lastly, the big question: the cost of the fluorescent contrast material. Medical grade stuff is priced by the gram.

But how could they use the camera? (1)

beothorn (1795956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32757336)

Cancer cells don't have fingers...
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