Monthly Archives: June 2009

Radiology Art

Stuelke—a medical student and artist—started this project back in the summer of 2007, using the four-slice General Electric scanner at Cornell. He uses the scanner when nobody is using it for more serious tasks than capturing the most intimate guts of these mundane objects. Stuelke then processes the resulting DICOM images—the standard file format in radiology and tomography—in an iMac, using a software called Osirix.

The results, as you can see in the gallery and the videos, are at times surprising, at times spooky, but always beautiful.

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Tel Aviv Nights, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Let me tell you a fascinating bed-time story:) The story of my night out with Erez & Evyatar (my guides) exploring the night life in Tel Aviv, last month. This was a unique new tour started by Dan Knassim for individuals or groups wanting to experience the fabled night life first-hand in sizzling Tel Aviv! The Tel Aviv night-life culture is one of the biggest night cultures in the world. Tel-Aviv is one of the only cities that is awake & throbbing with life 24x7x365.
I went to Tel Aviv for my routine teaching assignment as visiting Faculty to the University of Tel Aviv, Sackler School of Medicine at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. I was interviewed on channel 2 at their Jerusalem studios as part of the Gay Family – Surrogacy story being lapped up by the Israeli media. India was suddenly in the news with Surrogacy being written about in all major newspapers. I was told that a film by Zippi Brand on Surrogacy in India was also beamed on a major TV channel the same month.

A typical night in the weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) can start at 22:00 hours with a cocktail with friends continuing to a party at 01:00 hours and then finish with a crackling after-party that starts at 6:00 am and finishes that night at 22:00 hours. Twenty four hours of non-stop partying is a way of life for youngsters over the weekend!In most of the bars and night-clubs you will find a burly bouncer-type person who is sitting at the entrance usually with a pretty woman. The woman points out discreetly to the bouncer who does not go in. This decision is based entirely on this screening woman who decides first on ethnicity, next on looks & many a times just to maintain the “exclusivity” of the club by refusing youngsters in.There is a law in Israel that prohibits those under 16 from entering these night-clubs & it is this screening-siren that decides who goes in. I saw youngsters break down in front of this security-screening duo at a couple of night-clubs because they were refused permission to get in. My guides told me that this is sometimes considered such a big insult to a youngster who has brought his date to the bar on a week-end & is not allowed in; these incidents lead to peer-pressure psychological disturbances & nervous break-downs.

In Tel Aviv there are various types of parties.I was getting bored in the hotel room & a common friend suggested Erez take me out for a night-life exclusive tour beginning at 23:00 hours & ending at dawn! Lima Lima was our first stop since our night club expert Evyatar heard of a wild Gay party on at Lima Lima. Lets talk about the Gay party scene in Tel Aviv. The Gay parties & the Gay community are very well known in Tel Aviv. The orthodox Jewish state turns a blind eye – to them the Gay community does not exist- It is another world – unseen & unheard to the orthodox Jew! Every single night there is a different gay party in the city with different music and crowd. There are very open Gay parties, very erotic, very open… as if you can feel the sex in the air and hungry searching eyes all around. Seeing is believing! I attended one such party at Lima Lima, which is one of the oldest night-clubs in Tel Aviv. Every Monday, you have a Gay party where singles come to find partners & couples to rock the night away(see pictures!) And then there are more relaxed parties where everyone knows everyone else; at such parties there are more gay couples partying out with their friends; where everyone is busy socializing, gossiping and here the music is a little muted in the background with lots of drinks going around.The focus is on camaderie & chilling out with friends.

There is another set of parties in Tel Aviv which are zoned according to ethnicity. Like the Ethiopian parties – This is like mini-Africa and you find most of the time just Ethiopian-Israeli immigrants rocking the night away. All you get to dance to here is Ethiopian music(sometimes hip hop music too!). And then there are the Eastern parties – not by the Chinese or Singaporeans but the immigrants who have migrated from Morocoo or Iraq – here you will find just “Mizrahit” music & clusters of only-Easterns(see Video!)

And then there are the regular night-clubs with teen-agers & youngsters in their 20’s dancing the night away. What is interesting is that these night-clubs have a gentry from a particular type of social set. You see only expensive cars outside a particular night club & the patrons of this night-club are usually children of very rich parents. Very subtly, there is a clear demarcation of social class in the night-clubbing scene in Tel Aviv. From Lima Lima which had a steamy gay party going on till the wee hours of morning, we went to Amazonia which was obviously a “rich-kid” night club with all the expensive frills.

After spending time in an Ethiopian & an Eastern night-club, we had the sun-peeking over our heads by the time we decided to return home. I had seen night-life in Mumbai, London, New York, Mexico City, Munich, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai and Cancun… but everything paled in comparison to the sights & sounds of the night-life in Tel Aviv. Lechhaiim!!!!Picture 1

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Channel 2 Interview on Surrogacy, Israel – May 2009

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Gay flamingos are both family men

Carlos and Fernando, male flamingos at the Slimbridge wildfowl reserve in Gloucestershire, are inseparable.

They have been together for more than five years and have even reared foster chicks.

Twice a year they perform the elaborate courtship dance usual to males and females, before building a nest.

Homosexual activity is not unknown within the animal kingdom but few people know about it, according to zoologists. Keepers at Slimbridge said it was unique among their flamingos.

Nigel Jarrett, the reserve’s aviculture manager, said: “They seem very happy. They will probably stay together for the rest of their lives.

“They are not picked on by the other birds. If anything they are afforded more respect because two males together can be a pretty fearsome prospect for the other flamingos.”

The pair have reared three generations of adopted flamingos, by making off with the freshly laid eggs of their heterosexual neighbors.

Mr Jarrett said: “They have been known to fight the heterosexual birds and steal their eggs. There is usually a ‘handbags-at-10 yards’ moment where they scrap with the couple before stealing the egg.

“They are very good parents though and behave just as the heterosexual birds do when rearing their young.”

The pair are Greater Flamingos, native to the Mediterranean and Africa, and live on algae and small fish.

As well as male flamingos that mate, there are male ostriches that only court their own gender. Film-makers recently caught female Japanese macaque monkeys engaged in intimate acts.

Male penguins have been known to pair up and engage in sexual activity, while ignoring potential female mates.

Adrian Walls, a bird keeper at London Zoo, said: “Homosexual behaviour is often seen amongst birds in captivity, but it is not often long-lived. If they go a long time without chicks, they often search out a different sex partner.”

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Gay penguins steal eggs from straight couples

The two penguins have started placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs, in a bid to hide their theft.

But the deception has been noticed by other penguins at the zoo, who have ostracizedPicture 2 the gay couple from their group. Now keepers have decided to segregate the pair of three-year-old male birds to avoid disrupting the rest of the community during the hatching season.

A keeper at Polar Land in Harbin, north east China explained that the gay couple had the natural urge to become fathers, despite their sexuality.

“One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs. Despite this being a biological impossibility for this couple, the natural desire is still there,” a keeper told the Austrian Times newspaper.

“It’s not discrimination. We have to fence them separately, otherwise the whole group will be disturbed during hatching time,” he added.

There are numerous examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, but gay penguins have captured the public’s attention more than any other species.

A German zoo provoked outrage from gay lobby groups after attempting to mate a group of gay male penguins with Swedish female birds who were flown in especially to seduce them. But the project was abandoned after the males refused to be “turned”, showing no interest in their would-be mates.

In 2002 a couple of penguins at a New York zoo who had been together for eight years were “outed” when keepers noticed that they were both males.

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‘Gay’ penguins rear a chick in German zoo

Two homosexual penguins have successfully hatched an egg and are now proudly rearing the chick, a German zoo has said. The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males – Z and Vielpunkt – were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, which has reached four weeks old.

“Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their ‘Easter present’ and began straight away with hatching the egg,” said a statement from the zoo.

“Since the chick arrived they are behaving in the same way as one would expect a heterosexual couple to do. Both happy fathers are now diligently handling the everyday care … of their adopted offspring,” the zoo said.

Z and Vielpunkt are part of a six-strong gay community among the zoo’s collection of endangered Humboldt penguins who rose to fame in 2005 when four Swedish females were brought in an unsuccessful, and controversial, attempt to “cure” them.

Three pairs of male penguins had been seen attempting to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring from stones.

“Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals,” the zoo said. “Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction.”

The Humboldt penguin is normally found on the coast of Chile and Peru, but numbers have dropped to between 12,000 and 20,000 as industrial fishing methods have led to dwindling stocks of the anchovies on which they feed.

There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, some of which have also included the rearing of chicks.

Other animals may simply exhibit a “drive to mate”, while others may, like humans, enjoy non-procreative sexual activity.Picture 1

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A Cancer Patient Fathers a Child After 22 Years

A man who had his sperm frozen whilst undergoing treatment for leukaemia as a teenager, has, at 38, become the father of a healthy baby girl. Christopher Biblis from Charlotte, North Carolina, was 16 when he underwent radiotherapy treatment which would have left him sterile had his doctors not recommended he have his sperm frozen cryogenically for future use. In early March, his daughter Stella was born having been conceived using the technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique developed long after Biblis’ sperm had been frozen in 1986. 

’From my life being saved to being able to create a life…It’s truly a miracle’ Mr Biblis told ABC News. Stella was conceived after doctors selected the healthiest of Mr Biblis’ sperm cells after defrosting, and injected them directly into ten eggs cells which had been harvested from Melodie Biblis, Mr Biblis’s wife. Seven of the ten eggs fertilised successfully and two were implanted, leaving the other five for future treatment should the couple wish to have more children. Only one embryo survived and Stella is now a healthy one month old baby.

The fertility specialist treating the Biblis’s was Dr Richard L. Wing, founder of the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). He said ‘I had no concern about working with old sperm – bovine and equine sperm has been frozen for long periods and has resulted in successful gestations’. The ICSI method brings an increased chance of conception beyond that expected in conventional IVF procedures where sperm and eggs are mixed to fertilise spontaneously. ‘They achieved pregnancy on their first cycle of ICSI…We had every reason to expect a perfect baby but are thrilled nonetheless’ said Dr Wing.

Last February, it was reported that a Canadian couple successfully conceived a baby boy after using sperm that had been stored 22 years, two months and two weeks. The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth worldwide is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility.
Childhood cancer treatment has improved dramatically in the last decade resulting in a greater number of survivors. At the same time, improvements in the field of assisted conception are providing a great chance for male cancer survivors to father children of their own after potentially fertility-damaging treatment.
There is a relatively small window of opportunity before young male cancer patients begin treatment, so it is essential that health care providers are prepared and diligent about providing all options available in regard to improving future fertility.
There should be improved awareness of sperm banking and future fertility treatments that may impact the cancer patients quality of life.
Rotunda Sperm Bank offers sperm banking facilities to cancer patients and we have many cancer patients who have preserved their semen samples at Rotunda.

A man who had his sperm frozen whilst undergoing treatment for leukaemia as a teenager, has, at 38, become the father of a healthy baby girl. Christopher Biblis from Charlotte, North Carolina, was 16 when he underwent radiotherapy treatment which would have left him sterile had his doctors not recommended he have his sperm frozen cryogenically for future use. In early March, his daughter Stella was born having been conceived using the technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique developed long after Biblis’ sperm had been frozen in 1986. 

’From my life being saved to being able to create a life…It’s truly a miracle’ Mr Biblis told ABC News. Stella was conceived after doctors selected the healthiest of Mr Biblis’ sperm cells after defrosting, and injected them directly into ten eggs cells which had been harvested from Melodie Biblis, Mr Biblis’s wife. Seven of the ten eggs fertilised successfully and two were implanted, leaving the other five for future treatment should the couple wish to have more children. Only one embryo survived and Stella is now a healthy one month old baby.

The fertility specialist treating the Biblis’s was Dr Richard L. Wing, founder of the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). He said ‘I had no concern about working with old sperm – bovine and equine sperm has been frozen for long periods and has resulted in successful gestations’. The ICSI method brings an increased chance of conception beyond that expected in conventional IVF procedures where sperm and eggs are mixed to fertilise spontaneously. ‘They achieved pregnancy on their first cycle of ICSI…We had every reason to expect a perfect baby but are thrilled nonetheless’ said Dr Wing.

Last February, it was reported that a Canadian couple successfully conceived a baby boy after using sperm that had been stored 22 years, two months and two weeks. The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth worldwide is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility.

Childhood cancer treatment has improved dramatically in the last decade resulting in a greater number of survivors. At the same time, improvements in the field of assisted conception are providing a great chance for male cancer survivors to father children of their own after potentially fertility-damaging treatment.

There is a relatively small window of opportunity before young male cancer patients begin treatment, so it is essential that health care providers are prepared and diligent about providing all options available in regard to improving future fertility.

There should be improved awareness of sperm banking and future fertility treatments that may impact the cancer patients quality of life.

Rotunda Sperm Bank offers sperm banking facilities to cancer patients and  many young cancer patients have preserved their semen samples at Rotunda.

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