Monday, August 29, 2011

What Mainstream Media Could Learn From A Doctor Visit

have developed a heart that circulates blood
without the typical heart biorhythm.
Like most Americans, I don’t work too hard for my news.  I flip through the channel cycle on my flatscreen like three times and consider that a satisfactory exploration of the daily information spectrum.  Four times and I’m an expert.  Five?  I could be God’s gift to Columbia’s School of Journalism. 
Of course, the downside to this method of getting my news is that it’s chock full of personality sources; people who throw broad statements about important issues in this country without- y’know- “knowing what they’re talking about”?  There are those who insist the US’s biggest problem is that it “doesn’t make anything anymore”, and then enough people on the air and in periodicals take their lead and before you know it, perception has become reality: we don’t make anything anymore.
Outside of the hundreds of companies who may want to refute that, America’s medical manufacturing community has the biggest case against this “news”.  According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production of medical equipment and supplies has doubled since 1990 in a steady incline that makes a graph-plotter’s job mighty easy.   Not only is the sector churning out products that are used in medical communities around the world, but it’s developing technology and devices that receive little media attention yet are rivaling iPhones and video games in innovation, ingenuity and invention.  And are, or most likely will be made right here.  Some highlights:
-An artificial heart developed by Doctors Billy Hunt and Bud Frasier, both of the Texas Heart Institute, that has no beat.  The device consists of two centrifugal tubes with a rotor in each one, steadily pumping blood at a more fluid rate than previous artificial hearts but without trying to mimic the heart’s biorhythm.   The heart is currently working its way through experimental volunteers and has shown no signs of failure.
-A new bioglass material developed by Missouri State University and licensed by the Mo-Sci Corporation of Rolla, Missouri that is used to treat unhealed wounds.  The material’s use of boron instead of silicate glasses as used in previous products has been proven to cause wounds left unhealed for three years to repair themselves in a matter of months (Phelps County Regional Medical Center). 
-A prototype-invented by a team of researchers at the University of Maryland- of a “brain cap” that produces motion with thoughts, making it a very real possibility that soon paraplegics or amputees will be able to move prosthetic limbs by simply thinking.
I confess I’ve been one of those 24 hour cable news cycle-fueled zombies who bought into this trending group-think about US manufacturing not making anything of value anymore.  It’s easy to fall into that mindset when so many foreign-made products are immediate and right in front of us, with shiny buttons and logos to constantly draw our attention (do I really have to name examples here?  I do?  Okay, you phone, your car, your clothes) while, as Professor Mark J. Perry says in his economic blog, Carpe Diem:
You probably won't see or notice a ‘Made in the USA’ label on a heart pump or a lot of other high-tech medical equipment manufactured in America like MRI machines, CT Scans or X-ray equipment, but they are all part of America's thriving and growing high-tech manufacturing sector.” (Prof. Perry, June 13, 2011)
Here’s hoping more of us try to look through the cracks between cable news pundits and Chicken Little headlines to see the realities of manufacturing sectors like these.  The heartbeat of mass media is certainly in full effect these days, but the real news is underneath.
And apparently, has no beat at all.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company, Inc.

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