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Robotic surgery, computer-assisted surgery, and robot-assisted surgery are terms for various technological developments that currently are developed to support a range of surgical procedures. Robot-assisted surgery was developed to overcome limitations of minimally invasive surgery. Instead of directly moving the instruments the surgeon uses a computer console to manipulate the instruments attached to multiple robot arms. The computer translates the surgeonís movements, which are then carried out on the patient by the robot. Other features of the robotic system include, for example, an integrated tremor filter and the ability for scaling of movements (changing of the ratio between the extent of movements at the master console to the internal movements of the instruments attached to the robot). The console is located in the same operating room as the patient, but physically separated from the operative workspace, or in another place. Since the surgeon does not need to be in the immediate location of the patient while the operation is being performed, it can be possible for specialists to perform remote surgery on patients. This is especially important to shield the personnel from X-rays that are used for monitoring during operations. Robots can also perform surgery without a human surgeon. Because patient recovery after robot-assisted heart surgery is quicker, the hospital stay is shorter. On average patients leave the hospital two to five days earlier than patients who have undergone traditional open-heart surgery and return to work and normal activity 50% more quickly. Reduced recovery times are not only better for the patient, they also reduce the number of staff needed during surgery, nursing care required after surgery, and, therefore, the overall cost of hospital stays. Compared with other minimally invasive surgery approaches, robot-assisted surgery gives the surgeon better control over the surgical instruments and a better view of the surgical site. In addition, surgeons no longer have to stand throughout the surgery and do not tire as quickly. Naturally occurring hand tremors are filtered out by the robotís computer software. Finally, the surgical robot can continuously be used by rotating surgery teams. While the use of robotic surgery has become an item in the advertisement of medical services, critics point out that studies that indicate that long-term results are superior to those after laparoscopic surgery are lacking. The robotic system does not come cheap and has a learning curve. Data is absent that proves the increased costs can be justified. In medical literature, very experienced surgeons tend to publish their results with robotic systems. However, these may not be representative of surgeons with lesser experience. The cost of robotic surgical systems as used in hospitals lies between $750,000 US and $1.2 million. Numerous feasibility studies have been done to determine whether the purchase of such systems are worthwhile. As it stands, opinions differ dramatically. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Pancreatic cancer is a malignant neoplasm of the pancreas. Each year in the United States, about 42,470 individuals are diagnosed with this condition and 35,240 die from the disease. The prognosis is relatively poor but has improved; the three-year survival rate is now about thirty percent (according to the Washington University School of Medicine), but less than 5 percent of those diagnosed are still alive five years after diagnosis. Complete remission is still rather rare. Pancreatic cancer is sometimes called a "silent killer" because early pancreatic cancer often does not cause symptoms, and the later symptoms are usually non-specific and varied. Therefore, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is advanced. Common symptoms include: Pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back, Loss of appetite and/or nausea and vomiting, Significant weight loss, Painless jaundice. It is controversial whether alcohol consumption is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Drinking alcohol excessively is a major cause of chronic pancreatitis, which in turn predisposes to pancreatic cancer, but "chronic pancreatitis that is due to alcohol doesn't increase risk as much as other types of chronic pancreatitis." Overall, the association is consistently weak and the majority of studies have found no association. According to the American Cancer Society, there are no established guidelines for preventing pancreatic cancer, although cigarette smoking has been reported as responsible for 20Ė30% of pancreatic cancers. Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the stage of the cancer. The Whipple procedure is the most common surgical treatment for cancers involving the head of the pancreas. It can only be performed if the patient is likely to survive major surgery and if the cancer is localized without invading local structures or metastasizing. It can therefore only be performed in the minority of cases. In patients not suitable for resection with curative intent, palliative chemotherapy may be used to improve quality of life and gain a modest survival benefit. Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The Arctic Fox, also known as the White Fox, Polar Fox or Snow Fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Arctic Fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet. Among its adaptations for cold survival are its deep, thick fur, a system of countercurrent heat exchange in the circulation of paws to retain core temperature, and a good supply of body fat. The fox has a low surface area to volume ratio, as evidenced by its generally rounded body shape, short muzzle and legs, and short, thick ears. Since less of its surface area is exposed to the Arctic cold, less heat escapes the body. Its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. The Arctic Fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of prey under the snow. When it finds prey, it pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim. Its fur changes colour with the seasons: in the winter it is white to blend in with snow, while in the summer months it changes to brown. The Arctic Fox will generally eat any small animal it can find: lemmings, hares, owls, eggs, and carrion, etc. Lemmings are the most common prey. A family of foxes can eat dozens of lemmings each day. During April and May the Arctic Fox also preys on Ringed Seal pups when the young animals are confined to a snow den and are relatively helpless. Fish beneath the ice are also part of its diet. If there is an overabundance of food hunted, the Arctic Fox will bury what the family cannot eat. When its normal prey is scarce, the Arctic Fox scavenges the leftovers and even feces of larger predators, such as the polar bear, even though the bear's prey includes the Arctic Fox itself. The Arctic Fox is the only native land mammal to Iceland. It came to the isolated North Atlantic island at the end of the last ice age, walking over the frozen sea. The Arctic Fox is losing ground to the larger Red Fox. Historically, the Gray Wolf has kept Red Fox numbers down, but as the wolf has been hunted to near extinction in much of its former range, the Red Fox population has grown larger, and it has taken over the niche of top predator. In areas of northern Europe there are programs in place that allow hunting of the Red Fox in the Arctic Fox's previous range. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word. Found across much of the tropics, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Its endosperm is known as the edible "flesh" of the coconut; when dried it is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it. Botanically the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits it has three layers: exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the husk of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of non-tropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of fibers called coir which have many traditional and commercial uses. The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be utilized by humans in some manner. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "Tree of Life". Nearly all parts of the palm are useful, and it has significant economic value. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or eyes that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed. The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. It has been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years but there is evidence that their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand, and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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