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Tuesday
Feb102015

FROM TOOLS OF WAR TO TOOLS OF HEALING

For the past 20 years we have been researching and reporting on developments in the world that have come about as a result of the Swords into Plowshares declaration of 5752 (1992).

This declaration occurred on January 31, 1992 when the heads of state of the major world powers met at the United Nations in New York. This was the first Security Council Summit in history—the first meeting held by the Security Council at the level of heads of state. At this meeting they issued a joint statement announcing their intention to reduce arms production and to redirect the resources to improve economic conditions throughout the world. The next day, at the Shabbos farbrengen of Parshas Mishpatim in 770, the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach announced that this statement issued by the heads of state at the United Nations was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, thousands of years ago, that in the Era of Moshiach the nations of the world will “beat their swords into plowshares.” 

He explained that this declaration of intent by the world leaders was the direct result of the influence of Melech HaMoshiach himself on the nations of the world. He continued by describing the details of this influence over several decades, especially the promotion of the ideals of goodness, fairness and justice through the observance of the Seven Noachide Commandments, throughout the world. This brought about a refinement of the nations of the world, the climax of which was the collapse of the atheistic Communist regime in Russia and its replacement with a government committed to justice, fairness and peace based on the belief in G-d.

This new heightened sense of morality was described by the Secretary General of the United Nations in his report on the January 31 Security Council Summit. In this report, titled “An Agenda for Peace,” he wrote: “It is possible to discern an increasingly common moral perception that spans the world’s nations and peoples.” (See the beginning of Chapter III of my book Scientific Thought in Messianic Times.)

We have reported on various technologies that have been transformed from military to peaceful uses, various nations that have transformed their military resources to peaceful uses and global security in general. Some of the most dramatic transformations have occurred in the countries that had been the most militaristic such as Russia and China. Scientists at the China Academy of Engineering Physics have called the Swords into Plowshares transformation “the trend of history.”

One of the most interesting developments, which we will now present, occurred in Great Britain where a corporation was established specifically to research, develop and market military technology for peaceful uses. The company, Ploughshares Innovations Ltd., “offers a portfolio of world-class technologies originally developed for defense and security purposes, by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).” DSTL develops military technology for the Ministry of Defense. Ploughshare Innovations, incorporated in 2005, has a £350 million annual Research and Development budget and has more than 2500 scientists working on advanced technology. They proudly admit that “The naming of Ploughshare Innovations reflects long standing ideologies related to converting ‘swords into ploughshares’ and converting items developed for military purposes in to civilian applications.”

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can occur when the head receives an impact from a blunt or penetrating object, or is subject to an injury that causes back and forth movement of the brain inside the skull [see diagram]. The main causes are falls, road traffic accidents and sporting injuries. TBI may lead to death or permanent disablement r”l. TBI is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide with the global incidence of TBI estimated to be 790 cases per 100,000 people per year.

DSTL has been conducting research in the area of TBI as part of the £2 million per year UK Ministry of Defense Combat Casualty Care Program in collaboration with three leading UK universities. Military operations in Afghanistan have given the DSTL team a lot of experience, knowledge and expertise in TBI. Molecular biology techniques are used to identify novel biomarkers of mild traumatic brain injury from patient blood plasma samples. 

Ploughshare Innovations is now marketing these techniques for use in the general population for rapid diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of mild to severe traumatic brain injury. 

Schematic diagram of traumatic brain injury

A related brain (and body) injury is Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT) which is defined as a non-penetrating injury resulting from the rapid deformation of armors covering the body. The deformation of the surface of the armor in contact with the body arises from the impact of a bullet or other projectile on its outer face. (The deformation is part of the energy absorbing process that captures the projectile.) In extreme circumstances, BABT may result in death, even though the projectile has not perforated the armor. The increase in the energy of bullets and the efforts of armor designers to minimize the weight and bulk of personal armor systems has increased the risk of BABT in military and security forces personnel. 

BABT injuries have some of the characteristics of the blunt trauma observed in road traffic accidents, injuries due to an explosion and other forms of blunt impact injury.

There has been a great deal of research within UK and NATO to figure out the mechanism of BABT. It is considered likely to be a combination of stress (pressure) waves generated by the rapid initial motion of the inside of the armor, and shear deformation of internal organs produced by the deflection of the body wall. Physical and computer model systems are under development to characterize the biophysical processes.

Various helmets have been designed and tested to protect the head from BABT but conventional test systems only assess the BABT injury risk at individual points on the head so the performance of only specific parts of a helmet are known. Ploughshare Innovations has upgraded the military technology and developed a system called the Blunt Impact Head Injury Model (BIHIM) which provides a single platform for assessing fracture risks at multiple regions of the skull so that the helmet as a whole can be evaluated.

They have made technology available to the general public enabling improved helmet design of helmets for civilian uses such as for construction workers, miners etc.

EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF SEPSIS

Sepsis is a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection. The chemicals released into the blood to fight the infection trigger widespread inflammation which may result in organ damage. Blood clotting during sepsis reduces blood flow to limbs and internal organs, depriving them of nutrients and oxygen. In severe cases, one or more organs fail. In the worst cases, infection leads to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure and the heart weakens, resulting in septic shock. This can quickly lead to the failure of several organs—lungs, kidneys, and liver—causing death.

The infection itself can begin anywhere bacteria can enter the body. It can result from something as seemingly harmless as a scraped knee or a nicked cuticle or from a more serious medical problem such as appendicitis, pneumonia, meningitis, or a urinary tract infection. In hospitalized patients, common sites of initial infection include IV lines, surgical incisions, urinary catheters, and bed sores.

Sepsis is difficult to predict, diagnose, and treat. Diagnosed cases of sepsis are exceeding 18 million a year and growing at a rate of 8-10% annually with 1,400 patients dying from sepsis each day in the developed world. New technologies are urgently needed to allow for earlier detection of patients with, or at risk of, sepsis.

Ploughshares Innovations has made available to the medical profession the results of military research on the early detection of Sepsis. A DSTL team has recently reported the identification of 45 biomarkers which give a predictive accuracy of 97.24% of the onset of this life-threatening condition.

 The benefits of the application of this development are:

  • · The identification of sepsis days before clinical symptoms are seen
  • · Differentiation of sepsis from a similar condition, Systemic Inflammatory Response           Syndrome (SIRS)
  • · Extension of the therapeutic window for sepsis (and SIRS)
  • · Significantly reduced patient mortality

CONCLUSION

In a world often confused by the meaning of current events and for the rest of us who may not be confused but are wondering when we are going to see the completion of the Geula, when we look with a more penetrating vision, behind the newspaper headlines and beyond the events that make a lot of noise, we can see developments—such as the Swords into Plowshares developments—that show how the Geula is quietly unfolding and proceeding on course.

So how long will we have to wait? I will just paraphrase a practical, down to earth military man, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. Speaking (pessimistically) about the changing geopolitical conditions in the Middle East he said recently, “There is no reason to believe that what was and is will still be in another five or ten years.”

But we will say, “There is no reason to believe that what was and is will still be in another five or ten minutes.” We can expect instantaneous changes in which the Geula is brought to its completion NOW!

 

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