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Vol 92 No 25 - July 6, 2015

Unique Design/Construction of a Bridge over the Ohio River at Madison, IN

Presented By: Thomas Bolte, Professional Engineer, Bridge Group Director


Thomas Bolte

Tom Bolte, PE, a lead staff engineer from Burgess & Niple of Columbus, Ohio provided the membership a wonderful overview of the Milton Madison Bridge Replacement in Madison, Indiana starting in 2010. This bridge is key for the area since the next bridge across the Ohio River is over 51 miles round trip. The bridge was built in 1929 for a cost of $1 million, and at first was a toll bridge that charged $0.45 for vehicles. The bridge was purchased by Kentucky in 1939, but in the 1970s a half interest was sold to the state of Indiana. The bridge was only 20 ft. wide, had a weight limit of 15 tons, and was in extremely poor condition.

The state of Kentucky applied for a “Tiger Grant” in 2009 and received a $20 million award for the replacement of the bridge. A major requirement in the grant was that no new right-of-way could be used, meaning that the new bridge had to be constructed in the same location as the existing bridge. In 2010 Indiana working with Kentucky placed an advertisement for a design build bid quote to replace the bridge. The specifications for the bridge also required that a ferry service be provided during the construction of the bridge that could handle 245 cars per hour. During the bid process Burgess & Niple suggested that they would build a new bridge next to the old bridge. The old bridge would then be destroyed, and the new bridge would be slid into place over a 10-day period. This would mean that a ferry service would not be needed, and the bridge would only be closed for a period of 10 days. On 9/22/2010 Walsh Construction was awarded the bid for $103 million, $22 million under the states' estimate.

The Milton-Madison bridge project made history in 2014 by being the longest bridge in the world to be slid laterally into place.

Three of the four piers had to be retrofitted to handle both the old and new bridge at the same time. When the original piers were constructed, they were built from non-reinforced concrete. This then required that coffer dams be constructed to insert 100 steel reinforcement rods in each pier. Then the old piers were encased with new concrete. The reason for the reinforcement was that the original piers might not withstand a direct hit from one of the many barges on the river.

The three new spans were built on barges, floated into position, and then lifted up to the piers. During this phase of the construction the old bridge was used by traffic. New entrance ramps were constructed to allow this, while the original ramps were being replaced. Once the new bridge was in place, traffic was stopped and the old bridge was removed. Then came the major engineering project of sliding the new bridge to where the old bridge had been.

Special strand jacks were used to slide the new bridge into place. The new bridge slid sideways on a surface of stainless steel and Teflon. The strand jacks came from Switzerland, and were run by Swiss workers. The use of laser beams to monitor bridge movement kept the bridge in perfect alignment as it slid into place over a period of two days.

An excellent web site on this project is: Also, You-Tube had a wonderful video of the project at: (Watch the old bridge get blown up into the river!)

This was a wonderful engineering talk that everyone enjoyed.

Notes by Hank Wolfla

Vol 92 No 26 - July 13, 2015

Scientech Summer Institute for Advancing Science Education in Indiana

Presented By: Chris Edwards, BS, MS, Ed. D, Director, Scientech Summer Institute


Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards, Ed. D, Advance Placement World History Teacher at Fishers High School, IN, and Director of the Scientech Summer Institute (SSI), spoke about the inaugural SSI program that was funded by a grant from the Scientech Foundation. The funding for this effort was awarded on the basis of Dr. Edward's proposal to the Foundation on how to improve science education in Indiana secondary schools.

The SSI, held June 8-12 at the University of Indianapolis campus, focused on bringing together two crucial aspects of science education, i.e., teachers and content, with the goal of developing new and engaging curricula to bring to the teachers' classrooms. The focus on teachers was adopted in an effort to improve science education organically from the ground up, rather than from the top down. Twenty four high school science teachers from the Indianapolis metropolitan area were selected from a larger pool of applicants to participate in the program.

The focus on scientific content was based on the axiom that without exception, outstanding teachers know their subjects extremely well (Ken Bains, 2004). To ensure an appropriate "soil" of content was provided, Dr. Edwards selected a content area panel of accomplished university professors and lecturers to interact with these teachers. The panel consisted of Dr. John Langdon, PhD, Professor of Biology and Antrhopology, University of Indianapolis, Dr. Adam Azman, Lecturer in Organic Chemistry, Butler University and Dr. Krysi Leganza, PhD, Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Indianapolis.

Keeping in line with the "from the ground up" approach, the panel provided "why questions" and open-ended projects as opportunities for self-directed learning and curriculum development during the program. Members of the panel, along with participant Kathleen Robeson, Head of the Mathematics Department at Fishers High School, spoke about their experiences during the SSI.

Dr. Edwards maintained that his primary role in the Institute was to "put smart people in the room and get out of the way." While this approach was certainly important, he also engendered the application of a key learning process during curriculum development, specifically, "analogy" as outlined in his presentation to the Scientech Club, "Novum Organum II," on July 28, 2014. See As he explained, analogy provides the bridge between content and classroom, facilitating insight by students and the grasping of challenging scientific concepts.

While the recently completed SSI was clearly regarded as a strong success by the participating teachers and content area panel, Scientech Club members look forward to learning about the assessment and impact of the newly developed curricula in the classroom.

(Ed. note: see and )

Notes by Ray Kauffman

Vol 92 No 27 - July 20, 2015

Are Science and Religion Compatible?

Presented By: Jeff Rasley, Scientech Club Program Co-Manager, Adjunct Professor, Butler University Honors Program


Jeff Rasley

Today's talk was provided by Jeff Rasley, a Scientech member, board member, and program cochairman. His talk was based upon his recent book “Godless – Living A Valuable Life Beyond Beliefs” (Midsummer Books – 2014).

First a definition: Religion: the belief in a god or in a group of gods; organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or group of gods. Concerned with beliefs and god(s) immeasurable; supernatural. Science: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. Concerned with the physical/natural, that which can be measured and rationally described.

Some see no contradiction at all: with science investigates the real world and religion deals with the spiritual and supernatural; hence complementary. Yet Strenger says that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible because of their unequivocally opposed epistemologies. Recently Pope Francis has ventured into both religion and science with his encyclical on climate change.

Is the problem solved - religion deals with values, science is just the facts? Yet scientists and religionists still seek compatibility, a perceptible place where science and religion meet in the human mind. What's the proof that mind, independent of the physical brain, even exists? Descartes – " I think, therefore, I am ".

Man has explored the near death experiences to determine if mind and matter, science and religion meet? Yet recent studies reported in The Atlantic, April 2015 shows that these are not proof of life after death. Along with this, over thousands of years there are reports of prophetic visions? Are these proof of mystical visions or just neurons misfiring as like near death experiences?

Why bother with religion? Science does stuff; what does religion do for us? The traditional view is that humans in all cultures had religion because it satisfies a need for explanation of that which we can't rationally explain. Religious practices and teachings bind us together through long traditions and ritual and encourage good behavior. The New Age view is that religious spirituality is a response of awe that we are alive and conscious in this world and so are inspired to grateful worship.

Yet the times are changing. A major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center (May 12, 2015) found that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly 8% in just 7 years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. Fully 36% of young Millennials (ages 18-24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33). 84% of the world’s adults feel, and continue to feel that religion is important to their daily lives. In the poorest countries 95% report religion is important in their daily lives, yet in contrast in the richest countries with average income higher than $25,000 the percentage is 47%.

Notes by Hank Wolfla

Vol 92 No 28 - July 27, 2015

Life under Japanese Occupation, a personal experience

Presented By: Gonzalo T. Chua, M.D., FACR


Dr. Gonz Chua

The talk involves my personal and family experiences and materials from Shadow Under the Rising Sun and Blood Under the Rising Sun, books written about the sufferings of the Filipino people under the occupation of the Japanese Empire from January, 1942 to Philippine liberation and Japanese surrender in August, 1945.

A few hours after attacking Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers based in Formosa started attacking U.S. bases in the Philippines. A couple of weeks later, Japanese land forces landed and entered Manila on January 2, 1942. General MacArthur’s forces retreated to Bataan and Corregidor and later retreated to Australia in April, 1942.

The Japanese immediately established a government, Philippine Executive Commission, under the complete control of General Homa. Nippongo became the official language.

In the first few months of occupation, numerous atrocities involving rape and the summary executions of nuns were reported. Churches, schools and universities were taken over and used as barracks and munitions depots.

Price controls of food and commodities were imposed with summary execution if one was caught storing or selling gasoline. Filipinos and Chinese were subjected to torture even for very mild offenses. Incidents involving our family and other Filipinos under those oppressive conditions were discussed.

As General MacArthur’s forces started reclaiming the Philippines, the Japanese forces began their systematic attempt to kill off every Filipino in Manila. This was against the explicit command of their CIC, General Yamashita, to leave Manila as an open city. Our family survived the intense fighting and the fire that engulfed the whole city. Manila was finally liberated after a whole month of door-to-door, street-tostreet fighting.

Over one hundred thousand civilians were killed in the one month of fighting, second only to Warsaw in the history of the Second World War.

Notes by Jerry Kurlander

Vol 92 No 29 - August 3, 2015

Indianapolis Consent Decree, Long Term Control Plan, and the Dig Indy Tunnel Updates

Presented By: Michael Miller, PE, Manager, Special Projects Group, Citizens Energy Group


Michael Miller,

Over many prior decades, the Indianapolis area combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into the area’s rivers and streams during heavy rains and snowmelts have been causing a problem that threatens public health and the environment. The solution presented to us, today, describes a planned and in development 27-mile long network of 18 feet diameter deep rock tunnels, concrete-lined and sealed, being built 250-feet beneath the city within stable bedrock that has no known major fault lines in it.

This project required implementation of a 20-foot diameter-boring machine working 24 hours per day, 5 days per week in this nearly $2 billion project under the streets of Indianapolis. This entire effort is aimed at correcting the historical combined sewer overflow problem as required by the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

Annually 45 to 80 sewage overflow events occurred at the city’s 138 distributed overflow spillage sites. These spillage events needed serious remediation. The mandatory tunnel completion date is December 31, 2017. Full compliance to the biological remediation requirements is required by 2025, including some upstream fixes.

The new system allows the temporary storage of the majority of peak flow surface runoff waters that become mixed with raw sewage. This design was needed to prevent sewer backup water’s damage to businesses and residences as well. Later on, after that peak flow event, the newly upgraded sewage treatment plants can process this stored material over a longer period between rainfalls and snowmelts. As a consequence, the new system is projected to prevent 95% of the combined sewer overflows that historically have occurred each year. Annually, agreed-upon treatment of over 6 billion gallons of wastewater is anticipated. The peak pumping capacity from that storage facility is 345 million gallon per day.

For additional information, please visit the following web sites:

Citizens Energy Group: Our-Company/Our-Projects/Dig-Indy

Robbins Main Beam Tunnel Boring Machine

Notes by Dick Carter

Vol 92 No 30 - August 10, 2015

Sea Turtles and their Conservation

Presented By: Maggie Jaicomo, Naturalist, Eagle Creek Park Ornithology Center


Maggie Jaicomo

This presentation was given with much enthusiasm by this Eagle Creek Naturalist and it was much enjoyed by members and guests.

Turtles and Tortoises are similar: Both are reptiles, have hard shells, are cold blooded and lay eggs. Tortoises exist on land. In Indiana, we have the Box Turtle. Turtles live in the sea. There are some tortoises that are aquatic, in rivers, for example. Turtles have large flippers and are poor travelers on land.

Sea turtles are good swimmers and the males stay in the sea their entire lives. The females come to land to lay eggs, with incubation lasting 50-60 days. There are seven species of sea turtles, of which six are endangered. The other species is data deficient.

The Hawksbill species is beautiful and its shell was sold for tortoise shell jewelry; that is now illegal. It eats sponges and lives near coral reefs. It can grow to 150 lbs. The Loggerhead weighs up to 140 lbs. and lives on crustaceans. It is seen in the Gulf of Mexico and South America. The Green Sea Turtle is the most common and the most famous. It is a vegetarian and its fat is green as a result. It grows to 400 lbs. and prunes the sea grass that grows on the sea floor, keeping it healthy.

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle is the smallest species and weighs 90 lbs. It lives in Texas and Mexico. It is the only tortoise which lays its eggs during the day. The Olive Ridley species lives in Costa Rica. In a group laying effort, as many as 7,500 turtles can be seen on one beach. The Leatherback Turtle is the largest one, weighing as much as 2,000 lbs. It can dive up to 3,000 feet and eats jellyfish. The Flatback species lives in northern Australia and data on it are insufficient.

The female turtle lays 100-200 eggs and then returns to the sea. The turtles that hatch get back to the sea by looking for light, usually moonlight on the water. Artificial light can interfere with that process. Objects (chairs, sand castles, etc.) that lie on the beach can impede their return to the sea. Predators abound: foxes, raccoons, sea gulls and sharks can eat the eggs or young turtles. Turtles can get caught in fishing nets and drown. New technology has improved on that. Turtles can also eat plastic that is indigestible and fills up their stomach. Balloons are a special problem.

Eggs left behind or small dead turtles can nourish the sand, helping the sea grass to grow. Maggie urged us to buy only sustainable seafood; use cloth bags, not plastic; not to buy turtle products; turn lights off that face the beach; support eco-tourism; not to order turtle-based foods while on vacation; and to support conservation efforts.

Notes by Bill Dick

Vol 92 No 31 - August 17, 2015

Engineering Healthier Brains: Re-shaping how Youth Sports Affects Brain Health

Presented By: Dr. Thomas M. Talavage, Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University


Dr. Thomas

Thomas Talavage, PhD, is a professor in the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. He is a Principal Investigator in the Purdue Neurotrauma Group (PNG).

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is of concern as 22% of military casualties have TBI and there are 1.5 to 2.5 million civilian cases yearly in the US causing a growing awareness of TBI. The injury of Cody Lehe during an Indiana high school football game brought TBI to the public attention. He had a severe headache after a football game. A CT scan showed no problems; however, he collapsed at football practice the next day and has had disabling complications since 2006. He had suffered what is known as Second Impact Syndrome.

An engineering model of concussion shows that pathways in the brain are redundant. Injury can damage some pathways but not cause symptoms, as a redundant pathway still is functional. Structural Health Monitoring probes the health of a system having exposure to stress that may weaken the structure. Using sensing technologies, the weakened structure can be detected and immediate action can reduce risk of failure.

The PNG study (2009 to the present) is examining the impact on the brain of a history of hits to the head from competitive sports. Nondestructive evaluation of the brain by testing of memory, or MRI/MRS scans has demonstrated impairment of the brain before a concussion can be diagnosed. Over a six-year period, 380 subjects from high school football and girls soccer teams and from Purdue freshmen football and women’s soccer players were studied. More than 1080 MRI scans were made. Seven different measurements were used, from memory tests to brain networking (Susceptibility Weighted Imaging). The results of multiple measurements show that pre-symptomatic brain injury is common in these sports. Rates of abnormal rest results are markedly higher for players receiving 90+ hits a week. The hits are measured by monitoring equipment (accelerometers) in helmets, on patches on the skin or in mouthpieces.

Players who have concussions generally take multiple large blows to the head. Those who have minimal neurological changes have fewer large blows to the head. However, marked neurophysiological changes without diagnosable symptoms affect up to 70% of the players. Players who have neurophysiological changes without symptoms often go back to healthy status 4 to 5 months after participation ends.

Imaging can redefine safety for accumulated brain injuries, avoiding reliance on symptoms which are often poorly correlated with pathophysiology. Future interventions, preventative or therapeutic, should be evaluated in light of imaging-based studies. Technology has the potential to dramatically improve safety by the use of improved equipment, such as fractal foams in double-shell helmets. Therefore neuroimaging has the potential to redefine safety in collision-based sports. Currently two potential “sideline” systems for detecting brain injuries are being tested using MRI as the gold standard.

Notes by Malcolm Mallette

Vol 92 No 32 - August 24, 2015

The Innovation Ecosystem of Purdue University

Presented By: Daniel J. Hasler, President and Chief Entrepreneurial Officer, Purdue Research Foundation


Dan Hasler

Mr. Hasler, in addition to his current position at the Purdue Research Foundation, has served in many important positions with the Eli Lilly and Company, as well as having served as Secretary of Commerce for the State of Indiana.

There are five research parks which make up the network forming the Purdue Research Park. The parks are located in Merrillville, Indianapolis, New Albany and two in West Lafayette. All together, there are 164 companies and 51 buildings providing more than 3200 jobs. In West Lafayette there are 100 established companies, 11 of which are publicly traded with $1.3 billion annual impact on the state of Indiana. The average annual salary is above $60,000 per year.

The Purdue Research Foundation began in 1930 with $50,000. That has grown to greater than $1 billion in assets. The Foundation’s mission is to advance Purdue’s quest for preeminence in discovery, learning and engagement through executive stewardship of assets. That includes patent protection, licensing and start up support for students and professors as well as land acquisition and property management to provide the facilities for these activities.

The Office of Technology Commercialization of the Foundation helps to provide legal protection of intellectual property, determines market potential and helps in negotiation of business deals. Careful monitoring of changes in patent legislation is crucial. In 2013, the major change in patent law was from “first to invent” to the “first inventor to file” a patent claim. Purdue was 16th out of 100 worldwide universities granted U.S.utility patents in 2014. The number of viable startups commercializing a Purdue invention increased from eight in 2013 to 24 in 2014.

SpeechVive was formed as a company to improve speaking by Parkinson’s victims. Symic was formed to enhance tissue scaffolding as in the development of bone matrix. In the development of these and many other startups the number of Purdue patents was increased from 110 in 2011 to 156 in 2014. These results drew much favorable media attention. Forbes Magazine determined that Purdue was one of the best places in the United States to start a business. To accomplish all of this, corporate and immigration legal assistance services must be available. Funding and support for grant writing, business planning, accounting and regulatory guidance are among the many services required for successful entrepreneurship.

Notes by Jerry Kurlander

Vol 92 No 33 - August 31, 2015

Prescription Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Presented By: Dr. Palmer MacKie, Medical Director, Eskenazi Integrative Pain Program


Dr. Palmer

Dr. MacKie is the Medical Director of the Eskenazi Integrative Pain Program and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the IU Medical School.

The subtitle of his presentation was: Mea Culpa: Medicalizations & Iatrogenic Process Prescription Opioid Update. Translation: Apology for the medical community enabling the opioid epidemic.

Prescription Drug Use: With less than 5% of the world’s population, the USA uses more than 80% of global opioids and 99% of global hydrocodone.

Why? Liberalization of laws on opioid prescribing, incorrect “scientific” publications, Joint Commission Standards in 2000 anointing pain as “5th Vital Sign,” growing advocacy of the right of pain relief and aggressive marketing.

The opioids tidal gate was opened by conventional thinking that doctors were not prescribing enough pain medication and that addiction, at least to morphine, was rare for cases of pain relief. Doctors were encouraged to treat pain more aggressively, leading to more MRIs which led to false expectations. The MRIs indicated issues that the patients weren’t reporting, but this led to more treatments with opioids. Of Eskenazi’s top 12 problems list, 5 are pain related.

“We treat, but do we help?” Aggressive use of opioids and interventional technologies have been brought to bear between 1997 and 2005 (+65% increase in $$) without evidence of improvement in selfassessed health status and pain. Many outcomes were worse – JAMA, 2008.

From 2000-2010 Indiana exceeded the national average in treatment episodes for non-medical therapy drug use. In 2012 Indiana had 109 pain therapies/100 people. It is down to 90s/100 so far in 2015. Indiana also ranks 16th in age-adjusted drug poisoning deaths at 14.4/100K.

Once addicted to pain meds, people will use other means to find relief. Urine monitoring by the Family Medicine Clinic found in Ft. Wayne that prescribed drugs were not found 49% of the time while illicit and nonprescribed drugs were found 47% of the time.

However, a 2014 National Safety Council White Paper on efficacy of pain meds shows NO EVIDENCE of benefit of opioids used more than 4 months for pain/disability. A Denmark study had similar results as well as an AAN (American Academy of Neurology) position paper in 2014. In addition, opioid use leads to many other ills, poor quality of life and disability.

By contrast, patient-judged quality of life and pain vs degree of opioid use showed consistently better quality with less opioid use over a wide range of aliments.

The iatrogenic Opioid Epidemic has exploded since 1999. In the US OPR (Opioid Pain Reliever) deaths increased from 1.5/100k in 1999 to 5/100k in 2008. In Indiana in 2009 one was more likely to die of unintentional drug poisoning than a motor vehicle accident.

Newborns suffering from opiate withdrawal have had a similar explosion from 1/1K births in 2000 to 6/1K in 2009. Each case cost more than $53K in hospital fees.

Of course, the deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. For each death, there are almost 1000 incidents involving the use of opioids. In 2006 the estimated economic cost across the US was $53B of which $42B was lost productivity. The CDC estimated $72B for 2009.

OxyContin was the primary opioid during this explosion. In 2009 it was reformulated to make it harder to abuse. Since then heroin has replaced it.

So what is the solution?

The Medical Licensing Board has developed Rules: Treatment Goals and Philosophy

Provide greater patient safety
Lower Pain
Focus on functionality
Use opioids with intentionality

These are supported by a list of 10 MLB Emergency Rules.

The philosophy is to control, not cure through overlapping sensory, affective, and evaluative dimensions with the goal of trying to cultivate the patient’s humanity and quality of life while dealing with pain. Involving the patient in their own pain management is a better long term solution.

Click HERE to view the Power Point slides used in this presentation. Click on the small TV screen icon in the upper right corner to view the images as a slideshow

Notes by John Peer

Vol 92 No 34 - September 14, 2015

Setting the Record Straight: The Facts and Science of Climate Change

Presented By: Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, Director, Center for Urban Health, Indiana University


Dr. Gabriel

Scientists are engaged in a different debate about climate change than what the news media has focused on. Scientists know what has happened and why. The crucial question is what to do about global warming.

Physics shows and objective measurements verify that atmospheric CO2 has been increasing exponentially since 1958 (when global temperature measurements began to be recorded). It has increased from 315ppm to 401ppm this year. While other greenhouse gases contribute to temperature increase, CO2 is the most significant cause, and that is due to human activity.

Geologic studies of ice cores do confirm that CO2 has varied in the past regardless of human activity. Ice Ages are caused by the wobble in the Earth's orbital relationship to the Sun due to the Moon's influence. 20,000 years ago there was 180ppm which increased to 280 ppm 200 years ago. However, nuclear science tests of ice cores reveal that global temperature increase always follows CO2 increases.

Colder winters in particular locations (like the last two in Indy) is not evidence that the Earth is not warming. Seasonal weather conditions are independent of the global warming trend. Although global air temperature has not increased significantly in the last ten years, this is because more heat has been trapped in the ocean due to cyclic changes in the Pacific. We can expect a big change in global temperatures now that the cycle in the Pacific has begun to reverse.

Land-based ice is melting at a historically rapid pace. Of the 285 glaciers worldwide, only 5 are advancing while 280 are retreating. Together with thermal expansion of the warmer sea water, sea levels are thus rising. Although seas have only risen 5-10mm in the last 30 years(depending on location), they are expected to rise a couple feet by the end of the century.

While politicians continue debating whether climate change is "real", SwissRe, the largest reinsurance company in the world, is anticipating a deluge in water and flood claims. It anticipates that, by 2030, 70 million people will be affected with a cost of $600 Billion per year.

The affects of global warming on food production are of particular concern. Crop yields will decrease as summer rainfall declines. Fishing will decrease due to plankton reduction as a result of acidification of the oceans.

The good news (Yipee!) is that humans can ameliorate the most serious consequences by eliminating fossil fuel consumption. It's begun, but it must continue with an increasing pace.

Click HERE to view the Power Point slides used in this presentation. Click HERE for instructions on viewing or downloading individual slides or viewing the slides in a slideshow

Notes by Jeff Rasley

Vol 92 No 35 - September 21, 2015

Medicine at a Distance

Presented By: Dr. Eugene Helveston, Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology, Indiana University School of Medicine


Dr. Eugene

Dr. Helveston participated in the creation of the telemedicine program about 15 years ago. It initially used email and was done exclusively in Cuba. It has evolved into a much more advanced program that contains three categories of information technology. The first is cached test results including lab results, x-ray reports, etc. Another category is electronic medical records. Finally, the last category is modem telemedicine which has become a $30 billion industry largely due to the adoption by the military services.

Telemedicine can be as simple as a patient-activated alert (I’ve fallen and I can’t get up) or remote monitoring for blood pressure, cardiac rhythm, sleep apnea compliance, etc. Kiosk medicine is the term that describes patients calling a doctor, describing symptoms and answering questions that enable a doctor to make a diagnosis and then a prescription is called in if needed. Mass screening is also done such as the taking a photo of the retina or a skin lesion for examples and sending it to the appropriate specialist.

Perhaps the type of telemedicine having the highest impact upon diagnosis and treatment involves doctor to doctor consultation. One advantage is Training and education of the requesting physician is possible. Another advantage is real-time care. If a consulting doctor is available, a primary care physician can consult with him in the office in real time (so-called Real Time Care). Alternatively, the primary care physician can forward the details of the patient’s case to the specialist who can review and respond when he/she is available (so-called Store and Forward Care). Much of the preliminary info can be retained by the specialist should they need to actually see the patient. Rural communities are highly benefitted by this access to specialists, and the speaker is currently running a trial program in Northern Michigan.

The advantages of the “Store and Forward” over the “Real Time Care” concept is that it gives ready access to the patient, quick response, is accurate, needs minimal equipment, is cheaper, involves less travel, and is a more efficient use of doctors time. Negatives of this concept include that it needs selling to the general public, the consultant depends on local doctor info, it is a new concept, and there are too many new forms to fill in.

Success depends on acceptance by primary care physicians, and proper reimbursement for specialists. Whatever happens, healthcare is changing forever.

Notes by Jim Dashiell

Vol 92 No 36 - September 28, 2015

The Analysis and Virtual Restoration of Color Fading in Van Gogh’s 1890 Masterpiece Painting “Undergrowth with Two Figures”

Presented By: Gregory Dale Smith, PhD, Senior Conservation Scientist, Indianapolis Museum of Art


Smith, PhD

Today’s speaker was Gregory D. Smith PhD. Dr. Smith is the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Dr. Smith previously served as the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation at Buffalo State College. His research interests include studying conditions affecting modern polymers used in art, pigment degradation processes, preservation environments, and the development and testing of innovative conservation treatments.

In the first section of today’s talk Dr. Smith gave a short history of the life of Vincent Van Gogh including his work with Paul Gaugin in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France terminating with the famous incident of the amputation of his left ear following an argument with Gaugin. The history focused on his last year of painting in 1890 in Auvers-Sur-Oise where he painted just prior to ending his life by suicide on the basis of chronic depression. In the weeks from mid-May through the end of June of that year, he painted more than 30 canvases including scenes of the village, landscapes painted in the fields that surrounded the city, and close studies of ears of wheat and acacia branches.

The second part of the talk described one of Van Gogh’s last paintings called “Undergrowth with Two Figures” which belongs to the Cincinnati Art Museum. This painting was restored by the museum in preparation for a yearlong tour of the country along with other pieces of art from Van Gogh’s final years. Dr. Smith gave a detailed description of the restoration done by museum conservator Per Knutas to repair damage done by a relining with wax resin and varnishing done in 1974.

The third portion of the talk described the detective work that the Indianapolis Museum of Art Conservatory Lab conducted on the “Undergrowth with Two Figures” (only days prior to the national tour) to define the different types of pigments that Van Gogh used in his paintings. Tools used include ultraviolet light and visible light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray fluorescence, and Raman spectroscopy. Using these tools, and historical data, Dr. Smith was able to show that a pink pigment using eosin dye had been used in the original painting but had since faded to white as a result of exposure to light. He then showed original research using microfadometry to show the rate that studied pigments, and in particular the eosin colored pink pigment, would be expected to fade over time with exposure to light.

Finally, he showed a photograph of a computer-derived virtual restoration of the original painting which did demonstrate the original pink pigment as it would have appeared to the artist. Thanks to Dr. Smith for this interesting and enlightening talk.

Notes by Bill Elliott