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Robot surgery fights cancer

Robotic surgery provides better results than conventional procedures in the removal of cancerous prostate glands, new research shows.

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In a review of 104 studies, representing almost 230 000 patients and published in the World Journal of Urology recently, researchers analysed the outcomes of robotic-assisted procedures compared to laparoscopic and open retropubic radical prostatectomies (removal of cancerous prostate).

The review looked at major complications, operative time, length of hospital stays, blood loss, transfusions, conversions, rate of post-operative erectile dysfunction and incontinence, cost and positive surgical margin (PSM) which indicates whether the entire extent of the cancer was extracted during the operation.

“For PSM and peri- and post-operative complications, [robotic surgery] demonstrated better results than [open surgery] and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy,” noted the report.

Urologist and robotic surgeon Dr Francois Duvenage said the results echoed the experience at The Urology Hospital, Pretoria. It is the first institution in Africa to obtain a robotic surgical system which has conducted over 1 300 procedures since 2013.

“Robotic-assisted surgery is well known to be minimally invasive with less side effects. This study indicates it may also be able to better control cancer. The aim of the operation is to remove the prostate and all the inherent and surrounding cancer and this research shows that robotic surgery is leading in this regard.”

The review is in line with other research on robotic surgery which shows improved erectile function and urinary continence compared to open surgery.

Just over 4% of all South African men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and an average five South African men die from prostate cancer every day.

In addition to prostatectomies, robotic surgery is offered at The Urology Hospital for partial nephrectomies, (removal of cancerous parts of the kidney) and cystectomies (removal of the bladder). It is the only specialised hospital of its kind in SA, comprising 23 urologists, 10 of whom are trained in robotic surgery – the highest concentration of robotic surgeons in the country.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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