Today finds us in Charleston at MUSC. (Medical University of South Carolina) The first medical college in the South and the tenth in the United States, it opened in 1824 with 7 doctors and 30 students. The school added pharmacology as a course of study in 1881 and nursing in 1882. The college again expanded in the 1940's by adding the basic sciences as an area of study and again in the 1950's with the addition of the Dental College.
This is where the team is that will perform many of the clinical trials for Epilepsy, Autism and Traumatic Brain Injury that we are raising money for. The university has a long history of neurological and spinal cord research and treatment.
Dr. Michael Yost
Dr. Michael Yost showed me around, and although we didn't have much time, there is some real neat stuff these folks are doing. Dr. Yost is the director of surgical research at the university, and one of the current projects is making replacement muscle.
Here is a machine that these folks have put together that "prints" muscle. Various canisters hold different types of cells and the machine is programmed to combine these into the shape of the muscle that needs replaced. Additionally, their research has led them to solutions for scar free surgical procedures. MUSC has been raising over 200 million a year for the funding of basic research, so the measly 20 or 30 million that we need to raise for these neurological studies seems like a drop in the bucket.
Dr. Mark Kindy is the the individual who will be spearheading our studies. He is a research career scientist and professor who has published over 160 papers in peer-reviewed publications. The core of his research has been around strokes, traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer disease, and he has taught a wide range of classes to students on issues surrounding these subjects.
I am excited with the team here. These Dr's. combined with the others at Network Neurology and a couple of other clinics that are coming into the picture are going to make a world class team to advance these studies. I am confident that ten years from now treatment for Epilepsy, Autism, Brain Injury and Stroke are going to look completely different. In fact, we will look back on today''s techniques like we currently look back on the use of bleeding and leeches. I am not sure how this whole effort is going to turn out, but the pieces are certainly falling into place.
Another area that we have come a long in is the ability to take and process photographic images. Here is an old photograph, a 3 inch by 5 inch print taken about twenty years ago by Will Green, the owner of Old Savannah Tours.
Using Adobe Photoshop, I was able to correct the yellowing and take the railing and tree branch out of the picture. To combat the very low resolution of the photo, I applied a treatment called "cross hatching." This program takes the data and mimics the strokes an artist would make if they were painting this picture with a brush. This takes care of the blurred lines and all the spotting and speckles that would otherwise be there. It also somewhat corrects for the areas that are out of focus.
I then printed the photograph on canvas to further the "hand painted" effect. This finished piece is 3 feet high by 4 feet wide, ready to mount on a wall. I dropped it off for Will to see in Savannah this morning - hopefully he will like the finished product.
Numerous of you have asked me about my accommodations on the road. Well, the answer is that I am as "self contained" as I can make myself on a small budget. Today was time for "spring cleaning," and I went through everything I am carrying with me to clean and reorganize it. Here is the van right after I pulled everything out.
Someone once told me that you can't put twenty pounds of crap in a ten pound sack. Well, I think I am pushing twelve pounds or so. I have a set of light carpentry tools, electrical and plumbing tools and mechanical repair tools on board that fill two bins and three tool boxes. I also have a camp with tent, lantern, stoves, cookware, backpack and camping tools that takes up two bins. I have office equipment including a printer, camera, tripods, laptop and back-up laptop, paper, tax documents, books, notepads etc that take up two more bins plus a second back-pack. Miscellaneous extra clothing, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies and basic cooking supplies fill another two bins. Then there are four cloth bags for clean and dirty laundry, two coolers (one for canned goods and dishes plus a smaller one for cooled goods) and a host of little things like a chair, fan, walking stick, printed photos to trade for things along the way, batteries, battery charger, first aid kit, bedding and more.
Here is how I am arranged. The van has sliding doors on both sides, so the first two bins in can be pulled out either side. One has the basic camping gear and the other has the tools I use most often. These are shorter than the other bins, the reason for which will become apparent in a minute.
Then, behind these first two bins come 7 more bins, each labeled with what the contents are.
Smaller tool boxes and the large cooler are worked in along the front edges.
Then a couple of blankets go down, followed by a piece of plywood and a couple more blankets. This supports an air-mattress that I sleep on. Alongside this goes the second cooler and laundry bags. All kinds of commonly used things get shoved in the cracks and crevices that are left.
Then in front goes a duffel bag with toiletries and the backpack with the camera and computer equipment. A large console between the seats holds other commonly used items, as do beneath the seat bins and the glove compartment. So I have a surprising amount of space in the driving area with easy access to the things I use most - for now anyway.
The tools have come in handy many times already - I changed a starter for some folks that were stuck and have made several minor repairs that the van needed. The carpentry, electrical and plumbing tools are there in case I need to take some odd-jobs to fill in financially.
And today's parting shot comes from Savannah GA.
I remember my father's low tolerance for anyone who wore their hair or dressed in any manner other than the mainstream style. If he saw a man with long hair, he would say that it would be the day he would die that anyone couldn't tell him from a woman from behind. If he saw someone with a shaved head he would say they looked like a convict. And black leather or rock band t-shirts? Forget it.
Savannah is the home to the Savannah College of Arts and Design, so there are many young folks walking about the streets. The college age is just when many of us set about to test the "norms" society has set forth, each in our own way. So it was difficult not to take too many shots of the students as they walked about - but I liked all the effort this fellow put into his "look."
I have been invited back to Dataw Island to shoot for a couple of days, so I am looking forward to being able to shoot photos from the artistic rather than the journalist posture for a couple of days.
Have an awesome Tuesday !!
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