Things That Matter

Brazilian Researchers 3D-Print Part Of The Face For Cancer Survivor

A Brazilian cancer survivor has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and face to cover the hole that a devastating bout of skin cancer left. Denise Vicentin, 52, beat her cancer a decade ago and has since been living without a part of her jaw and her right eye ever since. Vicentin was so self-conscious about her battle scars, she became afraid to go out in public. People would stare at her everywhere she went and, soon, her social life and marriage fell apart. “[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me,” she told the Daily Mail.

Ten years later, researchers were able to create a custom prosthetic using just a smartphone camera and a 3D printer. Now, she feels like she has her ‘missing piece’ and says she is so happy that she even sleeps with it on.

Years ago, she was offered a hand-made prosthetic, but it would have cost her half a million dollars.

CREDIT: @MR_NODOBY / TWITTER

A portion of her right jaw was removed, making it difficult for her to eat and slurring her speech. One of Vicentin’s most painful wounds left behind by the cancer was her inability to navigate throughout society without being ostracized or made to feel different. When doctors offered her the opportunity to have a prosthetic made for her, she had no choice but to turn it down. It would have cost over half a million U.S. dollars. 

Waiting for the right moment may have paid off for Vicentin. As technology has advanced, the capabilities of 3-D printing are only just now being realized. Vicentin sought out an alternative treatment at São Paulo’s Paulista University just last year and is already walking into 2020 with a new lease on self-confidence.

The final prosthesis just took 12 hours to create and a fraction of the cost thanks to 3-D printing technology.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

The research team at Paulista University formulated a plan to give Vicentin her ‘missing piece.’ Vicentin would have to undergo several surgeries over the next year in order to fit the prosthesis. Then, the doctors took 15 photos of Vicentin’s right eye socket from a simple smartphone. From there, they were able to use all the images to digitize a 3-D model that would eventually become the blueprint for the 3-D printer. 

The final model was printed and refined in just 12 hours, from a mixture of silicone, resin, and synthetic fibers. After the 3-D printer created the technical piece that would sit flush on Vicentin’s face, a bit of human artistry was applied to make the prosthetic as realistic as possible. The researchers painted the prosthetic to match Vicentin’s exact eye hue and skin color. They even individually secured lashes to resemble that of her other eyelid.

The research team has been perfecting 3-D prosthetics since 2016, offering new levels of confidence to over 50 patients so far.

CREDIT: @CANAL_44 / TWITTER

Dr. Rodrigo Salazar has specialized in maxillofacial prosthetics for the last few years and has married technology with medicine to create lasting change for his patients. In order to get a proper model for a prosthetic, he used to have to create a mold of the patient’s face, on the patient’s face. Today, he needs only a smartphone camera to capture the necessary data to create a model prosthetic. 

Vicentin never expected skin cancer to become a defining chapter of her life.

CREDIT: @VAZIYETCOMTR / TWITTER

When Vicentin was in her early 20s, she found a strange growth on her face and went to the doctor. It was a tumor, but it was benign, non-cancerous. She had it surgically removed and thought that was the end of it. It returned again, once again, benign. She had it removed a second time and enjoyed nearly 20 more years tumor-free. Ten years ago, the tumor came back, but it was malignant, slowly ravaging the right side of her face.

Today, Vicentin has titanium hooks surgically placed around her eye socket in order to be able to securely wear the prosthesis and take it off when she pleases. So far, Vicentin has been wearing the prosthetic for just a month and she loves it. ‘It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it – I even slept with it,” Vicentin told the Daily Mail

Latino Homes Are Experiencing The Highest Rate Of The Worst COVID-19 Symptoms

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Latino Homes Are Experiencing The Highest Rate Of The Worst COVID-19 Symptoms

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COVID-19 is still a threat to the U.S. The country is experiencing a sudden spike two weeks after Americans defied social distancing rules and gathered in mass for Memorial Day. Latino households are experiencing a higher number of cases with severe symptoms and the rising cases are troubling the community.

Latino households are experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 cases.

A new analysis from USA Today found that Latino households are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms at higher rates. According to a study of more than 1.6 million people, Latinos, by and large, said they have experienced the symptoms tied to COVID-19. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, loss of taste, and coughing.

“Data is now emerging that matches the reality that we’re seeing,” Clarissa Martínez de Castro, deputy vice president of UnidosUS, told USA Today. “There are lots of factors at play, but among the biggest is the overrepresentation of Latinos in front-line jobs that don’t allow working from home.”

This a trend that health experts have seen within Latino communities in major cities.

Latino and Black communities have been devastated by COVID-19. The communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus with death rates higher than the population statistics in various states. Fears of discrimination and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests have prevented Latinos from seeking medical care long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Public charge was just the latest thing,” Dr. Daniel Correa, a neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center, told NBC News. “There was already a lot of apprehension in the community before the pandemic. We were seeing concerns regarding public services, and in health care we were already seeing a decrease in public visits.”

These statistics come along the backdrop of Latinos facing the steepest financial and employment impact of any other group.

Latino households have faced the most job losses of any other demographic in the U.S. because of COVID-19. The job losses have compounded problems for the Latino community as DACA recipients and undocumented people are not eligible for federal government aid, despite paying billions in taxes.

According to Unidos US, 5.3 million out of 27.8 million Latinos in the U.S. are out of work giving Latinos the highest unemployment rate. Unemployment within the Latino community is 18.9 percent. The current national unemployment rate is 13.3 after the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs in May as states reopen.

The current job numbers are being celebrated by the Trump administration as a signal that the pandemic economic toll is ending. However, the current unemployment rate is higher than any point since the Great Depression and most jobs added are part-time jobs. The large portion of part-time employment has left some skeptical about the stability of the economic recovery.

READ: Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

Rio’s Christ The Redeemer Lights Up To Honor Healthcare Workers Around The World

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Rio’s Christ The Redeemer Lights Up To Honor Healthcare Workers Around The World

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Healthcare workers need all the support they can get during this crisis. They’re literally on the front lines of a battle against an invisible enemy and in many places, they’re not being given the recognition they need and deserve.

However, some communities have come together to show their support. From giant mariachi bands in Mexico City to the Effie Tower’s message of hope – and now Rio’s Christ statue – we hope these brave healthcare workers are feeling all the love.

Rio’s archdioceses held Easter services at the base of the famed statue and paid tribute to healthcare workers.

SILVIA IZQUIERDO / GETTY

With churches and other houses of worship closed to maintain social distancing measures, Brazilian archbishop Orani Tempesta conducted an Easter service at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro—and projected a special message onto the 125-foot-tall statue.

For the second time since the coronavirus escalated to a global pandemic, the statue appeared illuminated with images of the flags of countries hardest hit by the virus, including the United States, China, Spain, Italy, and Brazil, and the words “hope,” “thanks,” and “stay home” written in various languages.

Projected images of doctors and nurses also intermittently appeared on the figure, putting individual faces to that vital workforce.

The statue, depicting Christ with outstretched arms, was also dressed up in a doctor’s scrubs, lab coat, and stethoscope as a tribute to the healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic.

The images that lit up the sky on Easter Sunday provided a different message than the one that Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro has been sharing.

Brazil has so far recorded more than 22,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,230 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. However, President Jair Bolsonaro remains one of the few world leaders playing down the threat of the disease.

The populist leader has continued to push back on social-distancing policies in recent weeks, dismissing the coronavirus as a “little flu” and saying Brazil will suffer more if the economy collapses.

In fact, over the weekend he scoffed at social distancing measures, telling local media outlets “No one will hinder my right to come and go.”

Rio’s famed statue has been closed by the pandemic since mid-March – along with much of the country’s top attractions.

The famed statue has withstood the worst of what the elements could throw its way for nearly nine decades. Now it, too, is succumbing to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. 

The 125-foot-tall statue, which last year saw almost 2 million visitors, closed on March 17 and won’t reopen for at least a month. To contain the virus’ spread, Brazil’s Chico Mendes Institute on Tuesday ordered the closure of all national parks it oversees, including the one that’s home to the Christ statue.

Rio seems less marvelous by the day with the creep of the new virus. Firemen began blaring recordings that urge beachgoers to stay home, one day before Rio’s Gov. Wilson Witzel decreed a state of emergency.

Among other things, Witzel’s decree recommended that restaurants and bars limit themselves to 30% capacity for 15 days, that boats and buses halve their passenger loads, that shopping malls close and people avoid beaches and public pools. The decree also suspended classes and all other activities and events that entail gatherings.