Oscar’s surgery was performed by Noel Fitzpatrick, neuro-orthopedic surgeon

GoogleNews.com, June 28, 2010, by Ryan Morrison  –  “Without this surgery he wouldn’t be here, it’s as simple as that,” Kate Allan, whose cat Oscar is recovering from an operation at the  veterinarian hospital.

Oscar is making headlines as this was no routine operation – he is the first bionic cat.

While snoozing in a maize field in Jersey, Oscar had his back paws sliced off by a combine harvester. Oscar’s other owner, Mike Nolan, was at home when a passer-by knocked on his door to ask if he owned a black cat.  Mr. Nolan said it was horrible: “Complete panic at that point, [Oscar was] covered in blood, bits of flesh, it was very gruesome.”

Oscar in the corn field before his accident

“It was very traumatic, I was convinced we were going to have to put him down at this point.”. Peter Haworth was the vet Mr. Nolan saw at New Era Veterinary Hospital in Jersey, he was able to clean and dress Oscar’s wounds.

Mr. Nolan said: “Peter was able to stabilize him, got painkillers going and he was comfortable within minutes of getting into the vets, on a strong painkiller I imagine.” The vet then suggested Oscar’s owners approach Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary surgeon from Surrey, who had been doing pioneering work on prosthetics. The next stage in Oscar’s road to fame then involved a lot of communication between England and Jersey with x-rays and pictures being sent back and forth.

Mr. Nolan said: “Peter e-mailed Noel, they had a lot of communication, Noel then contacted us to let us know what his processes would be. “It was very much a three way communication time, a lot of e-mails, pictures and x-rays flying around and Noel pretty quickly decided Oscar was a good patient.”

Two weeks later he was flown to the UK where he was measured for the implants and finally to have surgery.

The new feet are custom-made implants that “peg” the ankle to the foot. They are bioengineered to mimic the way deer antler bone grows through the skin. Ms Allan said the chances of her cat surviving without this operation would have been nil. Ms Allan said: “The fact that Oscar was such a young cat, he was only two and a half when it happened made him an ideal patient for this surgery.

“Oscar is a very chilled cat, he is very laid back, he takes things well which led to the surgeons in Surrey describing him as a very suitable candidate for this kind of surgery.” Oscar had to be transported to the UK from Jersey by air cargo and the whole journey meant him spending up to eight hours in his box.

Mr. Nolan said he felt for Oscar: “It was a little traumatic for us but I would imagine it was a lot more traumatic for him, a lot of noises and a lot of things going on he wasn’t aware of.” And for his owners one of the worst parts of the process was the uncertainty as it had never been done before.

We were in the hands of the surgeons. “Right the way along they said ‘we’d do everything we can but we’ve never done it before’, there were no guarantees. “We really trusted Noel for the work he was doing and we went with it.” For his owners the decision whether to go through with the surgery or not was down to how it would affect Oscar’s life going forward. Mr. Nolan said: “We would never have gone through with it if there was doubt about his quality of life going forward. “As he is at the moment we’re told he is running around, he has taken to his new feet really well. He is jumping about, walking as a cat should, eating, sleeping – it’s phenomenal really.” They were both really impressed with the quality of care Oscar has been given.

Ms Allan said: “We really believe he has had such amazing medical care throughout, both at New Era here and at Fitzpatrick referrals in England they treat him really well. “For instance he has three of his own rooms, he goes for walks on the lead, they treat him as part of the family, he goes out and about and so on.” There are pros and cons to Oscar being from Jersey but the biggest issue is that his owners can’t just bring him home early. Ms Allan said they’re leaving him in England for now: “The fact that he is from Jersey has its pros and cons. He’s still in England at the moment because he is going through full rehabilitation.

Oscar is recov­er­ing well in the UK

“If we lived in England we would be able to bring him back and forth because he could come home now but he still needs treatment.

“We have to decide if we want to put him through the trauma of flying or going on the boat regularly and at this stage probably not.”

When Oscar finally returns home to Jersey his owners have said that they will be watching him much more carefully.

Ms Allan said: “I think he will be more restricted when he comes back. The feet don’t have sensitivity in them but we will be able to take him outside and for walks and so on.

“But also we would be a bit cautious about him going to the fields with the combine harvesters anyway.”

Mr. Allan said: “Peter [their vet] has told us that following all the traumatic things that have happened to him he may not want to go out, he might be happier indoors.”

After everything that has happened, his owners wanted to thank the passer by who found Oscar in the field and everyone else involved.

Ms Allan said: “We would like to thank the passer by on her bicycle, we still don’t know who she was. Without her coming to knock on our door he wouldn’t be here.

“There have been a lucky series of events in this story so we would like to thank everybody involved.”

The Bionic Vet is on BBC 1 at 2245 BST on Wednesday 30 June 2010.

Forbes.com, June 28, 2010  –  NEW YORK — A drug candidate used to restore a steady heartbeat received a recommendation for approval in Europe, according to Merck and Co. and Cardiome Pharma Corp.

The companies said Friday the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use said Brinavess should be approved as a treatment for recent onset atrial fibrillation in adults. Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat rapidly and ineffectively.

The recommendation improves the chances that European Union regulators will approve Brinavess for sale in the 27 EU countries, along with Norway and Iceland. Regulators will complete a review of the drug later this year.

Brinavess, or vernakalant, is delivered by infusion. Merck ( MRKnews people ) and Cardiome are also working on an oral version of the drug. The companies have also applied for U.S. approval of the infusion form of the drug.

Separately, Merck said the committee made a decision on its drug candidate Sycrest. The committee recommended that Sycrest be approved as a treatment for treating moderate to severe episodes associated with bipolar disorder in adults. However the committee did not recommend approval of Sycrest, or asenapine, as a treatment for schizophrenia.

Merck is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Cardiome is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Feeling a little blah these days? Maybe it’s time to start a green-tea habit.

New research suggests that drinking this sky-high-in-antioxidants green brew may help ensure that you never feel down in the dumps.

Amazing Tea Trend
In a study involving more than a thousand elderly adults in Japan, those who reported drinking 4 or more cups of green tea a day were also 44 percent less likely to experience depression — mild or severe. More research is needed to confirm a causal effect, but we already know that green tea is tops for many other health reasons. So you have every reason to sip away while the jury deliberates.

Amino Acids Have the Edge
In the study, coffee and other types of teas didn’t seem to have the same emotional benefit as green tea. So what gives? It’s not entirely clear yet, but researchers suspect a type of amino acid — called theanine — found in high levels in green tea might play a role. In animal research this compound seems to help increase the brain’s supply of two mood-boosting chemicals: serotonin and dopamine. And as a refresher, here are a few more reasons that drinking green tea is so great for you:

The recipe for green iced tea is very simple. You can use agave syrup, Splenda, or some other sweetener aside from granulated sugar to make it healthier.

Iced Green Tea

8 cups of cold water
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (or Splenda or about 3/4 c of agave syrup)
6-8 bags of green tea.

In a big pot, pour in cold water and sugar. Turn on the heat, and stir the sugar until the water becomes translucent again. Cover the pot of sugar water, and allow the mixture to boil. Meanwhile, place the green tea bags in a large container (with a lid) that can handle hot water and quick temperature changes. Once the water boils, turn off the heat, and immediately pour the sugar water into the large container. Cover the container (with the lid or foil), and allow the tea to sit or steep and cool for 10 minutes. Then place the container in the refrigerator, or pour yourself a glass with a bunch of ice!

References:  Green tea consumption is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly. Niu, K. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009 Dec;90(6):1615-1622.

It’s summer! And nothing says it better than fabulous, refreshing iced tea. But don’t just settle for the plain ol’ bag of green tea. Go for a custom brew. This pitcher has a special infusion chamber that lets you mix loose teas, fruits, herbs — whatever you fancy. Create your own house blend, like lemon-thyme-green or lime-mint-green. Mmmm, mmmm — delish!