The Pulse – September 5, 2014


    Scientists from Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia have just named a brand-new dinosaur—they dubbed the 65 ton herbivore “The Dreadnoughtus.” Dug up over the course of four years in the wilds of Patagonia, the 77-million-year-old skeleton is one the most complete ever found for a dinosaur of its size. Carolyn Beeler met the man who dug Dreadnoughtus up and named him.

    The debate over Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania has largely centered around people “in the gap”—people like David Coleman of Philadelphia. Coleman was eager to sign up for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act went into effect, but then found out he made too much for medicaid but not enough to get the benefits of the Obamacare.

    But that’s about to change. Pennsylvania will soon get an influx of billions of federal dollars in coming years to welcome more people into its Medicaid program, but how will that help Coleman? The Pulse’s Taunya English and Elana Gordon explored that question.

    The vast darkness of space seems like a tranquil place until you give voice to all the radio waves buzzing around in it. From the static beat of a pulsar, to the eerie hum of Saturn…the universe clearly is trying to tell us something. The newest noisemaker is something called a “fast radio burst,” and astronomers say it could provide clues for solving some deep space mysteries. We asked Todd Bookman to explain what these new signals from far-off galaxies are trying to tell us.

    Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum is a huge attraction for lovers of the bizarre. Skulls in all shapes and sizes line the wall, there are the famous conjoined twins, the woman with the horn, and many other fascinating oddities. But the museum is really a tribute to a surgeon who changed medicine and how it’s taught—Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter. This week, Maiken sits down with Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz who has just written “Dr. Mutters Marvels: A true tale of intrigue and innovation at the dawn of Modern Medicine,” to learn more about a man who helped shape the medical experience.

    We’ve all lost some of our high-frequency hearing by going to way-too-loud rock shows, but it so happens that about a million Americans live with severe hearing loss at those upper frequencies—especially military veterans and people who work noisy, industrial jobs. These folks have trouble hearing high-pitched sounds, and, for them, turning up the volume with a hearing aid doesn’t solve their problem. But earlier this year, the FDA approved a new type of device that could help: a hybrid cochlear implant, so Christopher Intagliata set out to understand how that will change all those lives.

    A rather unusual health clinic has opened up in Philadelphia, geared toward ex-offenders and people leaving jail or prison. Inmates leave prison with a host of treatment-intensive maladies, and Elana Gordon reports on why organizers think such a space is necessary.

    In our series “The Spark,” people in the field of health and science tell us what ignited their passion for their careers and what continues to motivate them. This week, we hear from Dr. Abdalmajid Katranji, who has been risking his life to cross the Turkish border into Syria to treat badly wounded patients in a bare-bones operating room. The Michigan-based surgeon is one of the founding doctors of the Syrian American Medical Society, a large network of medical professionals dedicated to providing volunteer medical relief in Syria since the civil war started in 2011.

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