DATA PUBLISHED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE suggest that approximately 200,000 women were raped in the United States with the aid of date rape drugs in 2007 alone, but only 16% reported that they had been raped. Date rape drugs, also known as ‘club drugs,’ play a major part in the statistics of rapes in America, which indicate that around half a million women suffer from date rape every year.
The majority of victims are teens and young adults at trance parties, clubs and bars, and the most common drugs are GHB and Ketamine. Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Yoffe of Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry say that they have developed a personal sensor that can detect in real-time the presence of the most common date rape drugs in beverages, with 100% accurate results.
The two developers created a system which is based on optical signal changes. The device sucks up a tiny drop of the suspect beverage and puts it in contact with a patented chemical formula. If a drug is present, it will react with the chemical formula, causing it to change from a clear state to a dirtier one. When a ray of light comes into contact with a beverage spiked with a date rape drug, a signal change occurs and the system will alert the user. “We haven’t decided how it will let you know,” says Dr. Michael Yoffe, “maybe it will just light up or a part of it will rotate or maybe it will send a signal to your cell phone because you want to be discreet about it.”
Professor Fernando Patolsky
Yoffe says that the chemical formula is non-poisonous and will therefore not require government approval prior to production. He also believes that the system will be cheap to produce.
Once released to the public, the device will be no larger than the head of a pin, thus allowing club-goers to check their drinks without others noticing.
Yoffe and Patolsky expect the first batch of sensors to be commercially available within a year and a half.
By Yanir Dekel
26 -YEAR- OLD NANA BARGWDZA from Georgia (former Russian republic) lost her eyesight when she was only 10 days old and has lived in complete darkness since then. With an international effort and with the help of the Georgian president, she was brought to Israel this week to undergo special surgery that helped her gain her sight back in one eye.
The complicated surgery happened thanks to a donation of a cornea from the United-States, which was implanted in Nana’s inner eye. A second cornea will be implanted in her other eye within the next few months.
Bargwdza, born in T’bilisi, Georgia, and was exposed to a violent virus that caused her to completely lose her eyesight. She had learned to function fully with her disability throughout the years, but never gave up looking for that special miracle that would be able to make her see again. After she was told, in every hospital in Georgia and Russia, that it was impossible to do this procedure, she started to send requests to hospitals around the world. One of the answers she received was from the Hospital of the West Galilee in Nahariya, where the doctors decided that although the procedure is dangerous, they were willing to take the chance to bring Nana’s sight back with a cornea implant. Nana’s story was even brought to the knowledge of the president of Georgia, who helped raise money for the highly complicated surgery.
Irina, a friend of Nana’s, who accompanied her to her surgery in Israel, said: “A day after the surgery she opened her eyes, saw a green field through the window and asked if the same colors exist in her country as well. She finally understood what a car is, and how the sky looks. It was really emotional.”
Although she was born in Georgia, Nana now defines Israel as “the 2nd country she was born in.” “All of my dreams came true here,” she said, and revealed that she’s planning to write a book about her experience with blindness and her “rebirth” in Israel.
SEVERAL OUTBREAKS OF THE WEST NILE VIRUS, which causes fever or severe neurological symptoms affecting the brain, have ravaged the US since 1999.
The virus, which was first recorded in the 1930s, believed to have originated in Egypt, is now spreading globally to Western Europe and North America, says Ella Mendelson of Tel Aviv University’s School of Public Health, according to the university’s statement. Researchers are not certain as to how the virus migrated here — and they don’t know how, or where, it will strike next.
Mendelson and her fellow researchers at the Central Virology Lab in Israel are geographically tracking the virus, recording where it originates, the genetic types of the virus that are circulated, and the dynamics of infection, hoping that by providing more information on the dynamics and mobility of the virus, it could also solve the mystery of how the virus migrates.
The West Nile virus is a type of virus known as a flavivirus. Researchers believe West Nile virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a person. Mosquitos carry the highest amounts of virus in the early fall, which is why the rate of the disease increases in late August to early September. The risk of disease decreases as the weather becomes colder and mosquitos die off. Although many people are bitten by mosquitos that carry West Nile virus, a few people develop severe disease, but most do not know they’ve been exposed.