Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Medical hostility towards transgender patients

“Transgender patients still face hostility, belittlement and vast ignorance from the medical establishment”

Care of t...

“Transgender patients are still met with hostility, belittlement and vast ignorance by the medical establishment.” Thus said researchers during the 17th Annual Prof. Aaron Valero Memorial Seminar on Patient-Physician Relations. Prof. Aaron Valero was one of the founders of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion.
The seminar, which took place in the Faculty of Medicine, focused on a very unique community – people who turn to psychiatrists and surgeons despite being of sound mind and body. This is the community of transgender people – persons born into bodies that are not the “right body” for them. “Nature betrayed us,” in the words of Paola, a young transgender woman who spoke to the audience about her experiences and her coping with the medical system.

“We as doctors must understand who these people are, what their feelings are and what their expectations from us are,” said the moderator, Dr. Rabinovitch. “In contrast to a homosexual, who can begin to live his new life the moment he admits to his orientation or at the moment when he “comes out of the closet”, a transgender person needs medical assistance in realizing the physical change in his body to which he aspires. And we, physicians, do not always know how to “deal” with him, how to talk to him; is it a him or a her?”

Nora Greenberg, a gender specialist who consults to the transgender community, said that these people experience gender incongruence given that their gender identity does not match their bodies and their sexual organs. “This gap causes great distress, which impacts on the person’s life and prevents him from living a full life. The only way to relieve this distress is to expose the real gender emotions and live according to them. Since the body is an important part of their identity experience, and primarily their sexual identity experience, it is no wonder that many transgender people want to change it in order to acquire the characteristics of the gender with which they identify. To do this they require physicians and medicine.”

Ms. Greenberg said that it is very important that the physician address his transgender patient in language that matches the patient’s independent gender designation. “Ignoring the patient’s independent designation positions the physician and the patient on two sides of a power divide. This is an aggressive action that negates not only the patient’s gender identification feelings, but also destroys any chance for a therapeutic relationship based on mutual respect and trust. The person coming to us is someone who is uncomfortable in his present body – his body is essentially his problem. Therefore, as those who are going to treat this body and change it, we must be very sensitive in our discussions with the patient and the treatment itself. First of all, we must ask him which gender we should use to address him (male/female), and respect his answer. We must talk to the person – and not to his present body.”

Following the lecture by Ms. Greenberg, A., a young medical student who has just finished his sixth year of studies, came up to speak. He told his life story. “I have an older sister and a younger sister and we were always called “the girls.” This really bothered me but I did not understand why. In school a soccer club opened but the coach wouldn’t allow me to play – ‘it’s only for boys’, he said. At the age of 16, when my girlfriends talked about setting up a home, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. They didn’t understand why, and in reality, I also didn’t understand.

“Today I am 30 years old. At the age of 23 I heard for the first time the term transgender from a transgender person. Suddenly someone put into words what I had been feeling all my life – that I am not in the right body. It is immensely lonely to live without understanding, without having the words to describe what you feel, without being able to explain. This meeting changed everything.

“Today it is clear to me who I am. I did not need a doctor to agree with this diagnosis. But this discovery was just the beginning of the way. I gradually told my friends and family, and after the fact, it was clear that it would have been a lot easier for them to accept an announcement that I had cancer. The dissonance, the gap between my wonderful self-discovery and society’s reaction, was not easy.”

“And then – the medical procedures: a meeting with my family doctor, a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist. The surgical procedure. These meetings were very difficult – each doctor, each nurse and each medical secretary were sure that it was ok for them to ask every kind of question, invasive as it may be. “How did your parents react? How does your girlfriend feel about the surgery?” – these are questions that would never be asked in any other patient-medical staff encounter. There were also wonderful physicians along the way, but the antagonism, the ignorance and the voyeurism were very hard. These people did not understand how sensitive we are to our body – because it is our problem. If we were innocent souls, without bodies, we wouldn’t have any problem.”

“The medical community, in general, relates to these kinds of people as a curiosity,” said Ms. Greenberg. Correct relations between patients and their doctors require an entirely different kind of connection, the center of which is respect for the person – even if this is the middle of the nightshift in the Emergency Department. These people are not ill and are not disturbed – they come to us because they are suffering a dissonance (a gap) between their bodies and their identity. Our job is to help them on the physical level, without harming them.

“The present definition of the ‘problem’ of these people is Gender Identity Disorder,” said Ms. Greenberg. “I am happy to say that in the soon-to-appear next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, the definition will be changed to Gender Dysphoria, with the definition of the disorder relating to the distress caused by the lack of sexual congruence, and not to the cross-gender gender identification itself.

“Transgender people have suffered a lot from the pathologization of their identity. Over the past few years, we are seeing a growing trend of de- pathologization, one of whose expressions is the above mentioned change in the DSM. In the past, medicine has tried to oversee the treatment of these people through conservative and rigid treatment models into which patients were supposed to fit. In the last few years, with the establishment of the transgender model with its many facets, a more open treatment approach has become accepted, with many options, and with the treatment being offered changing from patient to patient in response to their needs.

“In general, the historical process is moving in a positive direction: the perception whereby a person must prove that he is an ‘authentic’ transgender person is changing into an understanding that gender identification is not dichotomous (male or female, without any state of in-between) but rather a continuum with, at one end, pure femininity and at the other end, pure masculinity. No real person exists at either of these two extremes – we are all somewhere in between.

“Despite these positive developments, transgender patients still face hostility, belittlement and immense ignorance on the part of the medical establishment. The basic problem is the existing gender conformity, and the fact that most physicians belong to the ruling majority, that is, the cisgender population – people who are not transgender and identify with the gender into which they were born. Like many of the cisgender population, doctors also suffer largely from transphobia – hatred, disgust and fear of transgender persons or abound with the cis-normative approach, that is, the belief that the cisgender identity is natural, healthy and better than transgenderism and every divergence from it is a type of deviation.

“The stage most necessary on the way to change is the understanding by every doctor that he or she belongs to a social system. There is no purely individual person. Therefore, if the doctor belongs to the ruling group, the cisgender group, he must be aware of this, because his behavior is affected by this affiliation. In the next stage, he must be prepared to waive his power as a cisgender person, not his power and knowledge as a doctor – these are essential – but his feelings of superiority, of which he is usually unaware, which do not enable him to understand the patient as a whole and real person.”

In addition to Nora Greenberg and A., another two transgender people who underwent surgery to change gender and life their lives in line with the feelings of their authentic gender identity spoke: Paola, a psychology graduate, and Shamai, a rabbi and social activist, told the audience about their experiences with doctors.

The late Prof. Aaron Valero, a founder of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, was born in Jerusalem in 1913 and died 11 years ago. After completing his studies at Gymnasia Yerushalyim (1932), he went to Birmingham, England to study medicine. With the outbreak of World War II he returned to Israel and then served with the British Army in the Persian Gulf. At the end of the war he returned to Israel, moved to Haifa and worked at Poriya Hospital and Rambam Hospital where he set up the Department of Internal Medicine.
Following the decision to establish a medical school at the Technion, Prof. Valero founded the first course “Introduction to Internal Medicine – Physical Diagnosis”, and he was the first to teach the course in reading ECGs. Prof. Rosalie Bar said that Prof. Valero “was an outstanding doctor, an exceptional clinician, introverted and modest, who ran his department primarily by being a role model. He was an exemplar of gentlemanly patient-physician relations, as he had been taught in Birmingham.”

Scientific Truth Won

Technion celebrates the Nobel Prize with Prof. Danny Shechtman
Technion President: Scientific Truth Won

The whole of the Technion celebrated last weekend with Nobel laureate, Distinguished Prof. Danny Shechtman, who leaves next week for Stockholm for the award ceremony. “Our delight is not just because one of our own won the world’s most esteemed prize but, rather, because scientific truth won, said Technion President, Prof. Peretz Lavie.

The Swedish ambassador to Israel, Elinor Hammarskjöld, in her talk also spoke of Prof. Shechtman’s firm stand for many years against the opinion of the entire scientific world regarding his discovery. “We admire not only the discovery of quasicrystals, but also your scientific way,” she told the Nobel laureate.

Haifa Mayor, Yona Yahav (Attorney), made Prof. Shechtman an honorary citizen of Haifa. “The good news is that the decision was a unanimous one by the City Council. The not-so-good news is that the decision does not exempt you from having to pay city taxes,” said the Mayor to the laughing listeners.

The Nobel winner for Chemistry in 2004, Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, said to Prof. Danny Shechtman: “Welcome to the club. Today you are joining an exceptional group.” Regarding the winning of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry thus far by four Israeli scientists (Professors Avram Hershko, Ada Yonat, Danny Shechtman and himself), Prof. Ciechanover said, “Chemistry today is a much broader concept than the narrow one that up to now has been generally recognized.”

Prof. Shechtman thanked the large audience: “I usually do not get emotional,” he said. “This evening I am overwhelmed. I feel a lot of warmth here. I feel good standing next to the lectern. Here is where I began teaching the course I founded 25 years ago in order to encourage technological entrepreneurship in the state of Israel. I am a Zionist and I want this country to be a good place to live. From here I call for good education for everyone because without good education there will be no revitalization.”

He revealed that he and Mayor Yona Yahav have decided to promote an initiative for scientific education for preschool children in Haifa. “I will do all I can to promote education in the state of Israel,” he promised.

The ceremony moderator was the Dean of the Faculty of Materials Engineering at the Technion, Prof. Wayne Kaplan.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Technion & Beyond: President Peretz Lavie, cRAzYEnginEerS

Born in Petach Tikva, Prof. Peretz Lavie graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BA in Psychology and Statistics and completed his PhD studies in Physiological Psychology at the University of Florida in 1974. Following this Professor Lavie was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California in San Diego.
In 1975 Professor Lavie joined the Technion as a lecturer and there has been no looking back for him ever since. He is also a member of the American Sleep Research Society and a member and was the Vice-President of the European Sleep Research Society.
CE: Could you tell us about exciting engineering research projects going on across Technion?
Prof. Lavie: It is difficult to pick just a few engineering projects currently performed at Technion because there are so many. However, the following are two of the projects that stand out as novel and imaginative with a potential for a technological breakthrough. The first is autonomous indoor navigation for micro air vehicles (MAVs). Researchers from the Faculties of Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science are meeting the challenge of autonomous, indoor navigation of rotary-wing vehicles (helicopters). The operation of MAVs can be life-saving in scenarios such as search-and-rescue, surveillance, and biological/chemical agent detection. Indoor flying is complicated by two significant unknowns: There is no a priori knowledge of the terrain and there is no external positioning aid such as GPS. Any collision between an MAV and another object can easily result in an immediate mission abort. The researchers in the Technion Autonomous Systems Program are writing the autonomous navigation algorithms that take the information provided by the laser scanner on the helicopter, creating, in effect, the ideal flight path as it proceeds.  The second project is the Nanoscale Artificial Nose. Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if doctors could sniff out cancer? Prof. Hossam Haick of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering is developing the NA-NOSE – an artificial nose that will be able to detect cancer and other diseases at the early stages. The patient simply exhales into the non-invasive device and with an array of nano sensors the device will do its life-saving work. The researchers have shown that this “electronic nose” can distinguish between molecules found in the breath of cancer patients and those of healthy people.
CE: What is your vision for Technion University?
Prof. Lavie: A science and technology research university, among the world’s top dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership, for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.
CE What are the key factors that set Technion apart from other Universities in the world?
Prof. Lavie: Technion was founded in 1912 – this year we celebrate our cornerstone centennial – 36 years before the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, and is inextricably linked to the development and growth of the country, its flourishing economy and technological prowess. The key factor that sets Technion apart from other universities in the world is the unparalleled contribution of Technion graduates to the Israeli economy. Technion graduates have literally changed the economy of Israel from an agriculture-based economy, renowned for Jaffa oranges, to an economy based on high technology. 75% of Technion graduates are employed in the High-Tech sector, many of them in managerial and R&D positions. 42% have been involved with a start-up company and 25% hold at least one patent after graduation. Technion graduates founded, or run, 59 of the 121 Israeli companies registered on NASDAQ and run 11 of the 12 largest export companies in Israel. I do not believe that there are other examples where a single university has had such a profound impact on the economy of a country. Add to this our three Nobel Laureates in Chemistry and several landmark research achievements and you have what makes the Technion unique.

Are Americans Safe to Travel?

TSA Makes The Right Security Decisions ... For The Wrong Reasons
November 28, 2011 
By: Alan Kirschenbaum
What we are witnessing at the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) these days is typical of all organizations that, for survival purposes, are adapting their goals to the exigencies of external pressures.

In this case, TSA has given in to a combination of passenger backlash and potential loss of income for the airline industry. Part of this adaptive process still hinges on viewing airports as assembly lines where passengers are cogs in the manufacturing process. Emphasis still remains on developing more clever software to predict and ameliorate flow patterns and utilizing smart technology to speed up security checks.

It is therefore not surprising that some marginal changes are being instituted in security rules and regulations with the purpose of speeding up the flow of “units” by reducing “friction” at check points. This includes the newly introduced VIP treatment for "sanitized" passengers. But, for the first time, the concept of allowing TSA agents to have discretion in making decisions appears to have been taken on board.

Alan (Avi) Kirschenbaum is the initiator and coordinator of The BEMOSA Consortium, a European-wide research project aimed at improving security at airports. A Professor of Organizational Sociology and Disaster Management at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion Israel Institue of Technology, Kirschenbaum is a world renown expert in the field of disaster management who has authored several acclaimed books and numerous articles. He lectures widely and is an advisor to governments, public institutions and security related companies.

A Whole New Matter: Science of Quasicrystals Today

A whole new matter

Technion Distinguished Prof. Mordechai Segev
Quasiperiodic materials have unique electrical, optical, and mechanical properties. While bulk quasicrystals tend to be brittle, surface coatings benefit from the hardness of quasicrystals. Alloys containing quasicrystalline nanoparticles are stronger and lighter than other materials. Applications have included cookware, maraging stainless steel, surgical tools, missile skins and a storage medium for hydrogen.

The Technion quasicrystal legacy continues with research into photonic quasicrystals spearheaded by Distinguished Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev. Segev’s team was the first
to demonstrate nonlinear photonic quasicrystals: dielectric materials whose refractive index varies in a quasiperiodic fashion, and in addition change their properties when the light intensity is increased. 

In 2011, Segev’s team reported a direct experimental observation that transport in photonic
quasicrystals is enhanced by virtue of disorder.

The Quasicrystal Caucus

“The most important thing about the quasicrystals is their meaning for fundamental science. They have rewritten the first chapter in the textbooks of ordered matter.”
Prof. Sven Lidin, Professor of InorganicChemistry, Lund University. Member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry

File:Penrose tiling.gif
In the mid-1970s, mathematician Prof. Roger Penrose, of Oxford University, created an aperiodic mosaic, with a pattern that never repeats itself, with just two different rhomboid tiles
(a fat rhombus and a thin rhombus).

The page in Dan Shechtman’s lab logbook recording his April 8th, 1982, discovery.

Meeting at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1985 just months after shaking the foundations of materials science with publication of his discovery of quasicrystals, Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, discusses the material’s surprising atomic structure with collaborators. From left to right are Shechtman; Frank Biancaniello, NIST; Denis Gratias, National Science Research Center, France; John Cahn, NIST; Leonid Bendersky, Johns Hopkins University (now at NIST); and Robert Schaefer, NIST.

200 years and nobody noticed?

How could quasicrystals have evaded the community of crystallographers for so long? In addition to the vital input of his collaborators, says Shechtman, the discovery required several critical components. First, it was necessary to make esoteric, rather than useful, rapidly cooled alloys. Then a researcher would have to study them with a transmission electron microscope, perform numerous detailed analyses, and finally face a fortress of resistance to changing the rules of understanding the material world.

A quasiperiodic crystal is a structure that is ordered but not periodic. In quasicrystals, the symmetry is broken: there are regular patterns in the structure but the structure never repeats itself. A shifted copy will never match exactly.

Back in the ’80s when the new class of matter was accepted only by a few, it was dubbed
“Shechtmanite,” after the man who led the field through conception and infancy. The name “Shechtmanite” carried the risk of humiliation if the material turned out to be “twinning” (the intergrowth of two separate crystals on a shared lattice), as claimed by Shechtman’s opponents.

Quasicrystal structure can be understood through the mathematical theory of tiling.
Initially, however, Shechtman’s discovery was viewed with skepticism. “The scandal of
polywater was still in the air, and I feared for my scientific and academic career,” says Shechtman.

(l-r) John Werner Cahn, Dan Shechtman, Ilan Blech and Denis Gratias together on the
occasion of an international congress on quasicrystals in France, 1995.
© CNRS Photothèque - Pierre Grumberg
Shechtman returned to Technion, where Dr. Ilan Blech was the only colleague who not only believed in him but who agreed to cooperate with him. Blech was able to decipher Shechtman’s experimental findings and offered an explanation, known as the Icosahedral Glass Model.

Together, the researchers wrote an article that contained the model and the experimental results, and submitted it to the Journal of Applied Physics in the summer of 1984. The paper was rejected, resubmitted to the journal Metallurgical Transactions, and was published in 1985.

In November 1984, Physical Review Letters published Shechtman’s discovery in a scientific paper coauthored with three other scientists: Ilan Blech (Israel), Denis Gratias (France) and John Cahn (USA). Wider acclaim followed, mainly from physicists and mathematicians and later from crystallographers.

Pioneering contributors to the field of quasicrystals are Prof. Dov Levine of the Technion Faculty of Physics and Prof. Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University. They made the
connection between a theoretical tenfold symmetry model proposed by Prof. Alan Mackay and Shechtman’s diffraction pattern, and developed the mathematical model for the structure of non-periodic icosahedral phases found in metallic alloys. Steinhardt and Levine published an article in 1984 where they described quasicrystals and their aperiodic mosaics. 
Quasicrystals first got their name in this article!

Dov Levine (left) with Paul Steinhardt (right) 
at the Technion Faculty of Physics in 2006.

In August 1986, David R. Nelson wrote in Scientific American, “Shechtmanite quasicrystals are no mere curiosity. The study of quasicrystals has tied together two existing branches of theory: the theory of metallic glasses and the mathematical theory of aperiodic tilings. In doing so it has brought new and powerful tools to bear on the study of metallic alloys. Questions about long- and short-range icosahedral order should occupy solid-state physicists and materials scientists for some time to come.”

Today, over 40 scientific books have been dedicated to quasiperiodic crystals, and the International Union of Crystallography has changed its basic definition of a crystal, reducing it to the ability to produce a clear-cut diffraction pattern and acknowledging that crystallographic order can be either periodic or aperiodic.

Live Stream of Nobel 2011 Events from Stockholm

Mark the date!
Israel Receives it's 10th Nobel Prize! 
Israel Time: 5:30 pm

Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2011
Technion Distinguished Prof. Dan Shechtman
10th December Israel: 5:30 pm 

Technion LIVE will be streaming from Technion City 5pm Israeli Time.
(4 pm Europe, 3pm UK).

The actual ceremony can be viewed online live only at NobelPrize.Org, so click here to watch it simultaneously in another window! Share the pride!

Technion LIVE will also be streaming the student event in Israel at Technion where the Technion family will watch the Nobel Prize Ceremony live together and uncork a bottle of champagne!

Win a 100% silk quasicrystal tie as worn by Nobel Laureate 2011 Prof. Dan Shechtman!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nobel Competition 2011 Tweets & Posts

File:Penrose tiling.gif

From Blogger

Arye Ephrath said...
מעשה בפרופסור, שמו דן
שהיה גם חכם, גם עקשן.
הוא מצא פעם גביש
שבקיומו לא האמין איש;
את הפרס היה צריך לקבל כבר מזמן!

אריה אפרת-
R cubed said...
What would I do with my Quasicrystal tie?
I would wear it once a week until...
The International Year of Crystallography 2013 was over:(
Anonymous said...
My small slogan contribution:

"With a pencil, ruler and knowledge to the new world"


Arye Ephrath said...
There once was a professor named Dany
Whose persistence and drive were uncanny.
Although his crystals were quasi,
His research was classy;
And he received the Big Prize (and the money!)

Bob said...
The world's gone quasi.

Bob said...
What would I do with the tie?

I'd wear it when I'm feeling wild and quasi.

  1. AnonymousDec 25, 2011 09:15 AM
    my slogans :

    אל תהיה מרובע. תהיה מחומש!


    Shechtman says: Think outside the borders of science. Don't be a squre. Be quintuple!


    Shechtman says : Don't be a squre. Be quasi!


    A whole new quasi world.

  2. AnonymousDec 25, 2011 09:21 AM
    If i win the tie :

    it will be a proof I should always :

    אלבוש אותה בכל פעם כשארצה להזכיר לעצמי, שלפעמים העולם כולו יכול לטעות, אבל אף פעם לא פרופסור מהטכניון... ולכן אסור לוותר על האמונה בדרך

  3. AnonymousDec 25, 2011 09:28 AM
    Greetings to Professor Dan that proofed no Technion professor can be wrong!
    It's a matter of quasi-fact!

    ברכות לפרופסור שכטמן - שגילה מחדש את המחומש הקריסטלי.
    עובדה. זה קוואזי.

    יגעת? מצאת ?תאמין! זה עניין של נובל.


From Twitter

Shimon Lerner
 With strong inner conviction, even quasicrystals become crystal clear.

 Shimon Lerner 

 I may however wear it when I speak in synagogue on the topic of Science and Torah 
 Shimon Lerner 

 I will NOT wear my quasicrystal tie when I go to get my Nobel. Hope to have a design of my own for that! 

Moran Koren
  l answer to (1): Maryland - I told you so!... who is quasi now?

 pushing the boundaries of structures didn't find crystal ideas but they did turn out to be nobel. 
 Jean-Alexis SPITZ 

 "Dany Shechtman 2011 Chemistry Nobel Prize at Technion, Israel : When Size & Order Don't Matter !" 

From Facebook

Quasicrystal tie/scarf: I would stick my neck out to prove its existence.

 ·  · 10 hours ago via mobile · 

    • answer to question#3: I'd like to win a Quasicrystal Nobel Prize Tie/Scarf, because I'm a crystallography-loving geek, and I'd wear it very proudly! :)
       ·  · 14 hours ago · 

      • You like this.

      • Answer to question #3: I would like to wear the scarf so that I can remind myself (and everybody else) the importance of determination, and to never be discouraged by lack of approval from others.
         ·  · 11 hours ago · 

    • I almost never wear ties, they are ridiculous.
      if I win the quasicrystal tie I would wear it with pride all the time and tell the tale of the deep meaning and extraordinary story behind it..

      congratulations Prof. Shechtman!
       ·  · 14 hours ago · 

Answer to #3: I would pick up my Nobel Prize with it :-D
 ·  · about an hour ago · 

In answer to question 3: "What would you do with your Quasicrystal Tie?"

I'd BRAGG about it!

Mazal Tov Dr. Shechtman
 ·  · 12 hours ago · 

  • You like this.

  • ‎1) 2011 Nobel Prize - Quasi-crystals, a mesmerizing diffraction that shook the world of solid state chemistry's foundations
    2) Great Leap forward for Technion-IIT , Kol Hakavod Prof. Shechtman.
    3)As a student in the homebase of Prof. Shechtman, Materials eng. dept. I will wear the tie every day for classes, research labs, meetings, even for shower.
     ·  · 9 hours ago · 

    • You like this.