Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D.

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Blame NATO if you must, but not before you understand what NATO is.


I talked with a few people from India and they have been blaming NATO expansion for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fine blame NATO expansion if you must. BUT at least be informed about what NATO is. Now, there is a lot of information on what is NATO. But for my readers I am going to go ahead and share some information here.

Formation of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an intergovernmental military alliance formed after the Second World War, was in my opinion, one of the best things to happen for humanity as a whole. Sure there are pros and cons for individual nations but for humanity as whole, it is the most beneficial outcome, after a deadly war. It began with 12 original members and now it is expanded to 30. 

Members who join NATO take an oath that states “An attack against any one member nation is considered an attack against all” and that is “all for one defense pledge.”. Therefore member nations are freed from accumulating defense war chests and weapons which get outdated, need to be maintained, stored, serviced and replaced from time to time. Since member nations can lessen the stockpile of weapons and ammunition, their resources can be saved for more humane purposes like education, there would be fewer stockpiles of ammunition in the world and fewer outdated weapons to dispose of, thus reducing waste. What is even more pertinent is that if member nations did not feel a sense of relief, being under the protection, under the NATO umbrella then those nations that could afford would be more likely to produce nuclear weapons, to stop external attacks. Many believe that if it was not for NATO then most of Europe would be entirely nuclearized by now. So NATO acts as a deterrent to more buildup of nuclear weapons in the world.

The objective of NATO members is to stand together during crises and preserve and protect freedom and democracy from any and all external threats. When the USA was attacked by terrorists during 2001, NATO members stood by the American government because of this treaty. NATO forces similarly went into Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s to stop the conflicts happening there and worked together in Afghanistan to prevent terrorist organizations from gaining a foothold. NATO members are similarly working together to combat cyber threats and are working together to combat piracy, that happens around the Horn of Africa.  

So the issues that NATO addresses are not only combat related. NATO members have also worked together to address the refugee crisis and also works with migrants to help them with home placement, visa applications and more. Over 13,000 NATO troops worked to train local forces in keeping terrorism from gaining ground. NATO members work together against cyber warfare, piracy and other global threats. 

If anyone wonders why we need an organization in place and why can’t the world come together, as it often does, when a threat rises. That is a fair question. An existing network of cooperation under NATO happens under a clear command structure. That enables mobilization with moment’s notice to help a member nation, whether it is threat of war or massive cyber threat. An existing structure ensures logistics, coordination and cost sharing to mobilize and respond immediately.    

NATO is not an exclusionary organization. It originated in the north of the Atlantic. And yet, it has an open door policy to allow any country in the European Atlantic region to join and take an oath towards collective defense of threats to all member nations. Members are expected to contribute 2% of their GDP towards defense. It is true and a point of some minor contention that not every nation has contributed their fair share and the USA contributes a lion’s share towards NATO.

From time to time USA complains and asks other member states to contribute their fair share. This issue came to a head during the Presidency of Mr. Trump when he threatened to dismantle NATO. However, other Presidents have observed from time to time that NATO is a very beneficial organization. Often some of the other nations contribute less than 2 % of their GDP, simply because they are not rich and they do not have the resources.  Even with some member nations contributing lesser amounts, many believe that the US gains a lot of value due to strategic locations of some of these nations that may even supercede in some cases than the military capabilities that could be obtained by them spending more. 

Yes, I acknowledge that for Putin, the expansion of NATO causes consternation and concern. However, those who blame both in equal measure, must understand the fundamentally different nature of both. Putin is a fascist and has often undertaken unprovoked attacks and killed millions, previously in Georgia and Crimea and now in Ukraine. He wishes to grow through mayhem and restore as much of USSR to its giant status as possible, through autocracy.  NATO is an organization that grows organically and is focused on protecting the freedoms and democracies of member nations and to collectively fight against terrorism, pyracy, cyber attacks and more. 

If you still believe that it is justified and rational for Putin to counter NATO expansion by waging unprovoked attacks on its neighbors then you have a right to believe that. But at least now you know what values you are advocating.  Mr. Yeltsin, the President of Russia had once expressed an interest in joining NATO. So let us envision a day when Russians will tire of autocrats like Putin and will revolt and bring a system of democratic Government. Could it be conceivable then that Russia joins NATO? 

My final point is that existing organizations that support freedoms and democracies provide forums and platforms for ongoing discussions that encourage further actions towards these freedoms. In that respect, NATO provides a diplomatic forum and an avenue for communication to address concerns. It is a platform driven by value, not by mad, megalomania-driven, fascist desire for expansion and control of world’s land or resources.  Of course, even then members may veer away. However, members also feel the weight of collective pressure from other friendly nations to abide by the pledge to serve in favor of freedom and democracy.   

Unfortunately, since one NATO member, Turkey evolved into a full fledged autocracy instead of being a democratically elected government, NATO isn’t requiring current members to maintain their democratic status, with the belief that the world faces more than one type of enemy. In my opinio, this is the real danger that NATO may one day become defunct. But right now, it seems to be the best organization we have that serves humanity well in more ways than one.

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બુદ્ધિજીવી અને સંવેદનશીલ: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austin – Review in #Gujarati


જેન ઓસ્ટીન નામની લેખિકાએ 18મી સદી ના ઇંગ્લેન્ડને લગતા ઘણા પુસ્તકો લખેલ છે. મોટા ભાગે તેના પુસ્તકો રોમેન્ટિક વિષયને લગતા પુસ્તકો છે. તાજેતરમાં તેણે લખેલ પુસ્તક સેન્સ એન્ડ સેન્સિબિલિટી ઉપર બનેલું નાટક જોયું તો તેના પુસ્તક ઉપર મારા વિચારો દર્શાવું છું. 

તે બે બહેનો ની વાર્તા છે. 18મી સદીના ઇંગ્લેન્ડ માં મિલકત માત્ર પુરુષ વરસદારોનેજ મળતી. જો કોઈ વ્યક્તિ ને દીકરો ન હોય તો તેના ગયા બાદ તેની મિલકત તેની પત્ની અથવા દીકરીની બદલે તેના નજીકના પુરુષ વારસદારને મળે. તેવી સ્થિતિમાં અચાનક સ્ત્રીઓ બેઘર બની જાય અને નાની યુવતીઓ યોગ્ય અને લાયક પાત્ર શોધવા લાગે. કેમકે તે સમાજ વ્યક્તિના વર્ગ, દરજ્જા અને ક્રમ ઉપર નિર્ભર હતો. આવી સ્થિતિ માં કોઈ યુવતીને તુરંત યોગ્ય પતિ ન મળે તો તેને ખુબ ગરીબીમાં, આજીવન કુંવારી અવસ્થામાં જિંદગી પસાર કરવી પડે તેવું પણ બને. 

સેન્સ એન્ડ સેન્સિબિલિટી એટલે કે બુદ્ધિમાન પ્રકૃતિ અને સંવેદનશીલ પ્રકૃતિ. આ વાર્તાના મુખ્ય પાત્રો બે બહેનો છે. પિતાના અવસાન પછી મેરિયન ડેશવુડ અને એલિનોર ડેશવૂડ ની જિંદગી અસ્તવ્યસ્ત થઇ ગઈ. બંને બહેનો અને તેમની માં રહેતા હતા તે ઘરમાં તેમના ભાઈ અને ભાભી રહેવા લાગ્યા અને તેમની ભાભીએ તેમના ભાઈને સમજાવ્યો કે બંને બહેનોને તેમના લાયક નાનું મકાન શોધી આપવું જોઈએ જેથી તેમને સામાન્ય સ્થિતિમાં રહેવાની આદત પડી જાય. તે સમયે ઇંગ્લેન્ડ માં આવી સ્થિતિ માં આવેલ સ્ત્રીઓને કોઈ સગાવહાલા પાસે નાનું મામૂલી કોટેજ હોય તો તેઓ તે બહેનો ને તેમાં રહેવાની વ્યવસ્થા કરી આપે. ડેશવૂડના કોઈ સગા એ તેવું મકાન રહેવા માટે ઓફર કર્યું અને તેમની ભાભીએ તેમના ભાઈને સમજાવ્યો કે તે તેની બહેનો અને માં ને તેમાં રહેવા જવા માટે સમજાવે. ભાઈના કહેવાથી તેઓ તેવા મામૂલી મકાન માં દૂર રહેવા ચાલ્યા ગયા. તેમના સગાઓ અને તેમની માં તેમના માટે યોગ્ય પતિ શોધવા લાગ્યા.

મેરિયન ડેશવુડ સંવેદનશીલ, લાગણીશીલ પ્રકૃતિ ધરાવે છે, તે સ્વયંસ્ફુરિત છે, પ્રેમ માં જેટલી ઝડપી છે તેટલીજ તેના વિલાપમાં ઉતાવળ છે; તેને ઋતુઓનું પરિવર્તન, પ્રકૃતિમાં આનંદ અને સૂકા વિખરાયેલા પાંદડાઓમાં કવિતા દેખાય છે; તે ખુબ રોમેન્ટિક પ્રકૃતિ ધરાવે છે, પૂરા દિલથી પ્રેમ કરે છે, નિખાલસતાથી ખળભળાટ હસે છે અને નાટકીય રીતે વારંવાર રડી પડે છે. મારુ માનવું છે કે તેના જેવી સ્ત્રીઓ ઘણીવાર સમાજમાં જરૂરી ફેરફારો પાછળનું બળ હોય છે. જ્યારે મિલકત તેના ભાઈને આપવામાં આવે છે, ત્યારે તે તુરંત તેની બહેનને પૂછે છે, “શા માટે? શું તે એક કર્તવ્યનિષ્ઠ પુત્ર છે તેથી કે તે લાયક છે એટલા માટે? જો કે તે બેમાંથી કંઈ નથી.”

મેરિયનની બહેન એલિનોર ડેશવુડ પોતાની લાગણીઓને વ્યક્ત કરવામાં ધીમી ગતિ ધરાવે છે અને વિચારશીલ છે, તેની ટિપ્પણીમાં પણ વિનય, વિવેક, નમ્રતા અને વિચારશીલતા છે, તે પોતાના વિચારોમાં સંયમિત છે; તે સરંજામ અને ઔચિત્યની વાત કરે છે; અને તે હંમેશા વસ્તુઓને અન્યના દ્રષ્ટિકોણથી જોવાનો પ્રયાસ કરે છે અને પોતાને તકલીફ વેઠવી પડે છતાં અન્યની સંવેદના નો ખ્યાલ રાખે છે. મારુ માનવું છે કે તેના જેવી સ્ત્રીઓ, ઘણી વખત સમાજમાં વ્યવસ્થા જાળવવામાં અને અરાજકતાને રોકવામાં નિમિત્ત બને છે. માત્ર પોતાની લાગણીશીલતા ઉપર સંયમ અને ધીરજ જાળવીને જ નહિ પરંતુ અન્ય વ્યક્તિઓને પણ તે સલાહ આપે છે અને જીવનમાં આવતા વંટોળને શાંતિ અને સંયમથી સામનો કરતા શીખવે છે. આ વાર્તામાં મેરિયન તેની માનો આધાર બની જાય છે. લાગણીશીલતા ઉપર કાબુ જાળવવાનું તે તેની બહેન મેરિયનને પણ સમજાવે છે. મેરિયન એક વાર કહે છે, “મારી બહેન આશા રાખે છે કે તે મને મારા પોતાના અતિરેકથી બચાવે”.

મેરિયન વિલોબી નામના યુવાનના પ્રેમમાં પડે છે. વિલોબી પણ તેના જેવોજ સંવેદનશીલ યુવાન છે અને થોડાજ સમયમાં તેઓ સાનભાન ભૂલી ને પ્રેમમાં બંધાઈને એક બીજા પ્રત્યે વચનબદ્ધ થઇ જાય છે. પરંતુ થોડા સમય બાદ વિલોબી અચાનક પલાયન થઇ જાય છે. તે સમયે ઇંગ્લેન્ડ માં જો કોઈ યુવતી કોઈ પ્રેમી જોડે વચનબદ્ધ હોય અને પ્રેમી તેને છોડી ને ચાલ્યો જાય તો ઘણીવાર બીજા કોઈજ યુવાન તેની જોડે લગ્ન કરવા આગળ ન આવે તેવી સ્થિતિ ઉભી થઇ શકે છે. બીજી બાજુ એલિનોર ને એડવર્ડ નામના શરમાળ યુવાન પ્રત્યે લાગણી છે. એડવર્ડ ને પણ એલિનોર તરફ ખુબ લાગણી છે. પરંતુ બંને ધીમી ગતિ ધરાવતા પ્રેમી પંખીડા મનોમન પ્રેમ કરવા છતાં એકમેક સમક્ષ પોતાનો પ્રેમ વ્યક્ત કરીજ નથી શકતા અને એડવર્ડ ના લગ્ન બીજે થવાની વાતચીત ચાલે છે. 

તે દરમ્યાન કર્નલ બ્રાન્ડન નામના જવાન ડેશવૂડ કુટુંબ ની મદદે આવે છે અને મેરિયન માટે વિલોબીનો પત્તો લગાવે છે. વિલોબી આખરે બહેન એલિનોર પાસે શોક વ્યક્ત કરે છે કે તેમની આર્થિક સ્થિતિ માં તે મેરિયન જોડે પરણી શકે નહિ અને તેથી તેણે પલાયન થઇ અને પોતાને યોગ્ય પત્ની જોડે લગ્ન કરી લીધા છે. મેરિયન આ સમાચાર સાંભળતા બેહોશ બની જાય છે અને પછી તે બીમાર પડે છે. કર્નલ બ્રાન્ડન આ સમયે પણ તેમની ખુબ મદદ કરે છે. આખરે બીમારીમાંથી સાજી થતા મેરિયનને પ્રેમનો સાચો અર્થ સમજાય છે અને એ પણ સમજાય છે કે ધીમો પ્રેમ ક્યારેક ખુબ ગહન હોય છે અને તે અને કર્નલ બ્રાન્ડન લગ્ન કરે છે. આ બાજુ આખરે એડવર્ડ હિમ્મત ભેગી કરીને એલિનોર પાસે તેનો પ્રેમ વ્યક્ત કરે છે અને એલિનોર પોતાની લાગણીઓને વાચા આપે છે અને બંને લગ્ન કરે છે. 

લેખિકા ઓસ્ટીન ની વાર્તામાં એ તો જરૂર સમજાય છે કે કોઈ એક તરફ અતિરેક યોગ્ય નથી. માત્ર બુદ્ધિજીવી જીવન જીવી ન શકાય અને સમય અનુસાર લાગણીઓને પણ વાચા આપવી અને દર્શાવવી જરૂરી છે. તેમજ અતિ સંવેદનશીલ પ્રકૃતિ યોગ્ય નથી અને લાગણીઓ ઉપર સંયમ રાખવો જરૂરી છે. પરંતુ અનેક વાર ટિપ્પણીકારો ને ઓસ્ટીન ની વાર્તાઓ માં તેવું લાગે છે કે ઓસ્ટીનનો પક્ષપાત બુદ્ધિજીવી પ્રકૃતિ તરફ વધારે છે. વાંચીને તમારો અભિપ્રાય જરૂર જણાવશો. 

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Sense and Sensibility: Theatreworks Play Review


Sense and Sensibility – Play Review

Musical version of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, playing at Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto, through Theatreworks Silicon Valley is a treat for the senses and is sensible for the minds. Incredible lyrics by Paul Gordon, make it a must see musical treasure and is directed by brilliant Robert Kelley. Incredible scenic design by Joe Ragey and costumes by Fumiko Bielefeldt place the formidable cast right in the 18th century England where properties were passed to male heirs, and young women were left to find a suitable match or navigate through life in poverty or worse, spinsterhood, in a society where premium is placed on rank and status. 

Sisters Marianne Dashwood (Antoinette Comer) and Elinor Dashwood (Sharon Rietkerk) find themselves at such a pivotal juncture, upon the passing away of their father. Marianne Dashwood is passionate and spontaneous, quick to love and hasty in her laments; she loves change of seasons, random walks and finds joy in nature and poetry in dead leaves; she embraces zest for life and romantic idealism, and loves wholeheartedly, laughs uproariously, and weeps dramatically. Women like her are often the force behind much needed changes in a society. When the property is passed to her brother, she asks her sister, “why? Is it because he is a dutiful son or because he is deserving? For, he is neither”.

Marianne’s sister Elinor Dashwood is subdued in her emotions, slow and thoughtful in expressing her feelings, polite and considerate in her commentary, rational and restrained in her thinking; she speaks of decorum and propriety; and she always tries to see things from others’ perspective, be sensitive to their feelings and say the right things, even when she suffers great hardship in doing so. Women like her, are often the ones who help maintain order in society and prevent chaos not only through their own patience and kindness but also with their counsel to others, as her sister Marianne acknowledges, “my sister hopes to save me from my excesses”.

While either disposition in excess may not serve a person well, it seems Austen clearly favors domination of sense over sensibility. As Elinor says to her sister Marianne, “it is not everyone who has your passion for dead leaves”. From good natured, shy Edward Ferrars (Darrell Morris Jr.) to dashing and temperamental John Willoughby (Hunter Ryan Herdlicka) to dutiful husband, John Dashwood (Nick Nakashima), they all play their roles to perfection. With prevailing sense of the time, Austen navigates her heroines through the plot twists and rewards them with a suitable match, at the end of her novels, as the happy audience departs with a smile.
This is a not-to-miss play of this theater season and a treat to be savored, after the lockdowns of the pandemic. Tickets are available at www.theatreworks.org .

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Future of Capitalism where People Matter


At  #TiEcon2022 the largest #entrepreneurship conference taking place in Silicon Valley, the theme this year is Imagination Unleashed. After all entrepreneurs are visionaries and dreamers who take tiny grain of an idea and often grow it to unleash a force for something much bigger and often better. As in previous years, this year also there will be opportunities to listen to incredible speakers, panelists and thinkers like the amazing 2021 keynote speaker, Adena Friedman. She once said, “new products, new markets, and new ways of doing things are the lifeblood of growth” and no one would know it better than Adena Friedman, currently serving as the President and CEO of Nasdaq Inc. It is worth repeating the known fact that on the world’s first electronic exchange global marketplace for buying and trading securities, most of the world’s technology giants are listed on Nasdaq and at least half of the American adult population invests directly or indirectly in the stock market through brokerage accounts, retirement or savings vehicles.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Friedman’s professional journey began at Nasdaq in 1993, where she served as the Head of Data Products and Chief Financial Officer. She left Nasdaq and joined the reputed private investment firm, The Carlyle Group as CFO and MD in 2011 and then returned to Nasdaq in 2014. 

In 2019, Friedman gave a TED talk titled “What’s the future of capitalism?” Capitalism is an economic system where private citizens own industries or companies, rather than the Government. And in that way, it is the will of the people that decides the fate of commercial ideas, worthy of investment. Friedman asserts that capitalism is intricately tied to our freedoms. 

While capitalism has indeed done a great deal for humankind, capitalism is also blamed for many financial disasters and inequities. According to a recent Edelman report, persistent and rising inequality can unbalance a society over a long term, as people lose trust in the institutions and experience a sense of injustice. And in the end, capitalism doesn’t work for anyone if it doesn’t work well for the working middle class. More recently, ideas have emerged to alter capitalistic systems in varying forms such as “conscious capitalism”, “inclusive capitalism” and more. 

Friedman asserts that capitalism works well in lock step with healthy governance that fosters, a) healthy competition through regulations and incentivizing small businesses, b) prioritizes societal benefits like clean energy through regulations and c) government itself makes investment in areas of societal benefits like broad based education, healthcare, defense. Friedman further asserts that in a well balanced system, capitalism offers a platform for the buyer and seller to come together for “price discovery” through a dialog, in an efficient manner. She believes that if we can level the playing field then we can create markets of tomorrow for people, with people and for the benefits of more people. 

Exciting keynotes, speakers and panels are lined up for #TiEcon2022 – Please register at www.tiecon.org .

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Gangubai Kathiawadi: Bollywood Movie Review


Based on a chapter of Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mafia Queens of Mumbai”, film “Gangubai Kathiawadi” revolves around the life of Gangubai Kothewali, who rose to fame and prominence, during 1960s and came to be known as the “Madam of Kamathipura”, the famous red light district of Mumbai. The film premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival and was then released in theaters on February 25, 2022 and is produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada and Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I never mention before completion of the review, but I will make an exception and say that this is an absolutely beautiful and “must watch” movie for any serious movie enthusiasts. 

This is a biographical film and is loosely based on the life of Ganga Harjivandas, who was born into a reputed Kathiawadi family in Gujarat, in 1938. She had dreams of city life and having found the love of her life, at a young age of 16, she married and eloped with Ramnik Lal to Mumbai. That is when her life’s trajectory changed. Ramnik Lal sold her to a brothel for a paltry Rs. 500 and she was forced to enter the oldest trade in human history.

Ganga eventually emerged as Gangubai and became a powerful brothel owner herself. At a time when feminism wasn’t even a concept, Gangubai emerged as a voice for these women, and she demanded they get equal treatment, opportunities for their children, and legalization of their profession. Alia Bhatt has exceeded all expectations in the role of Ganga, as she evolves into Gangubai. When starring in a biopic, the actor is familiar with the story of the events that took place in the character’s life. But it is only an actor who can put life into the evolution of the character and bring to life their journey. This is the journey of how a young girl with dreams of starting her married life dealt with that betrayal, accepted the fact that there was absolutely no escape for her and to change her circumstances, she needed to change herself and get an upper hand over the life that was thrown at her.

Every dialog that Gangubai says, is uttered with masterful theatrics by Alia. 

When challenging her competitor in local elections, without a shred of doubt about her own potential win, Gangubai says, “ज़मीन पे बैठी बहोत अच्छी लग रही है तू, आदत दाल ले, क्यों की तेरी कुर्सी तो गयी”.

As she riles up her girls she says, “इज्जत से जीनेका, किसीसे डरनेका नहीं,  ना पोलिस से, ना मंत्री से, ना MLA से, ना भड़वो से, किसी के बाप से नहीं डरने का”. 

And “genius वोह नहीं होता है जिसके पास हर सवाल का जवाब हो, genius वोह होता है जिसके पास हर जवाब तक पहोंचनेका patience हो”.

And “अरे जब सकती, सम्पति, सदबुद्धी तीनो ही औरत है तो मर्दो को किस बात का गुरुर”?

Bhansali has said, “That belief in herself and that fight for dignity is what fascinated me” but then his challenge was to extract it out of his actors. Brilliant director that he is, the movie is incredibly emotionally and visually rich, with every scene loaded with meaning. When Gangubai finds a lover, she is skeptical at first and tests him to see if he respects boundaries. And then comes a surreal moment when she simply rests her head on her lover’s shoulder and in that moment her skepticism, the load of betrayal that she has carried for years on her shoulders, melts into deep love and trust towards this man. There are so many moments that portray genuine humanness, whether it is about aggression, betrayal, defiance, distrust, or concern and caring. And there are incredibly powerful dances by Alia to the beat of drums and songs that connect Gangubai to her Kathiwadi roots but also to her present. In the song Dholida, Alia dances with abandon, to the praise of Goddess Amba, powerful and savior of all. One can’t think of anything more apt. The lyrics go…

ખમ્મા, ખમ્મા મારી માવલડી
તું છે જગની તારણહાર
હે, ચોટીલા ના ડુંગરવાળી
ચંડી ચામુંડા બિરદારી

Item number by Huma Qureshi is also fantastic. Ajay Devgun as underworld Don and Seema Pahwa as brothel madam are fantastic. What is guaranteed to make the entire movie a memorable experience is Alia’s masterful performance during the speech she gave towards the end of the movie, where content meets creativity, actor becomes the character, words hold deep meaning and performance manifests it. 

As the person introducing her is about say Shrimati and then stops, apparently struggling how to introduce a brothel owner, Gangubai takes the mic from her and begins,

“कुंवारी आपने छोड़ा नहीं, श्रीमती किसीने बनाया नहीं”

She ends with, “लिख देना कल के अखबारमे, के आज़ाद मैदानमे भासन देते वख्त, गंगूबाईने आँखे झुकाकर नहीं, आँखे मिलाकर हक़ की बात की है भाई”. Looking straight ahead, Gangubai told the women gathered to protect women’s rights, “A few handful of women who cater to the physical needs of men are actually protecting all of you from being attacked. These women help blunt the bestial male aggression and they deserve legal protection and their children have a right to get education and other opportunities”. 

On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent, I rate this movie 5.

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Gangubai Review in Gujarati: ગંગુબાઈ કાઠિયાવાડી ચલચિત્રની સમીક્ષા


 હુસૈન ઝૈદી ના પુસ્તક માફિયા ક્વિન્સ ના એક પ્રકરણ ઉપર બનેલી ફિલ્મ ગંગુબાઈ કાઠિયાવાડી મુંબઈના કમાટીપુરા વિસ્તારમાં વસેલી ગંગુબાઈ કોઠેવાલી અથવા ત્યાર પહેલા ગંગા હરજીવનદાસ ના નામે કાઠિયાવાડમાં જન્મેલી બાઈની જીવનકથા ઉપર આધારિત છે. આ ફિલ્મ બર્લિન ઇન્ટરનેશનલ ફિલ્મ ફેસ્ટિવલ માં ફેબ્રુઆરીમાં રિલીઝ થયેલી અને તાજેતરમાં તે થિએટરમાં રિલીઝ થઇ છે. આ ફિલ્મના પ્રોડ્યૂસર છે સંજય લીલા ભણસાલી અને જયંતીલાલ ગદ્દા અને તેના ડિરેક્ટર  છે સંજય લીલા ભણસાલી. 

ગંગા હરજીવનદાસ નો જન્મ સાન 1938માં કાઠિયાવાડ માં થયેલ અને ત્યાર બાદ આશરે 16 વર્ષની ઉંમરે તે રમણીક નામના છોકરાના પ્રેમમાં પડી. કુટુંબની મરજી તેમના વિરુદ્ધ રમણીક અને ગંગાએ મંદિરમાં લગ્ન કરીને મુંબઈ તરફ પ્રયાણ કર્યું. 16 વર્ષની પ્રેમમાં ઘેલી ગંગા મોટા શહેરની જાહોજલાલી વચ્ચે પોતાનું ઘર વસાવવાના સપના સેવતી રમણીક જોડે મુંબઈ આવી ત્યાર બાદ રમણીક તેને શીલા નામની યુવતીને ત્યાં કમાટીપુરા લઇ આવ્યો. તેણે “આ મારી માસી છે” કહીને ગંગાની ઓળખાણ કરાવી અને ત્યાં ગંગાને બે દિવસ રહેવાનું કહીને તે ચાલ્યો ગયો. અને ત્યારે ગંગાના જીવનનો માર્ગ બદલાઈ ગયો. માત્ર રૂપિયા 500માં લલચાઈને રમણીકે ગંગાને વૈશ્યાવૃત્તિના માર્ગે ધકેલી દીધી હતી. ખુબ માર સહન કર્યા બાદ ગંગાની સમાજમાં આવ્યું કે હવે તેને આ માર્ગ અપનાવ્યા સિવાય છૂટકો નહોતો. 

ગંગા આખરે ગંગુબાઈ બની અને સમય વીતતા તે એક શક્તિશાળી મહિલા અને મોટા વેશ્યાલયની માલિક બની. એવા સમયે જ્યારે નારીવાદનો ક્યાંય ઉલ્લેખ પણ નહોતો થતો ત્યારે ગંગુબાઈ વૈશ્યાવૃત્તિના માર્ગે ધકેલવામાં આવતી મહિલાઓ માટે શક્તિનો આધારસ્થંભ બની અને તેણીએ વૈશ્યાઓ સમાજ માં માથું ઊંચું રાખીને જીવી શકે અને તેમના વ્યવસાયને કાયદેસર બનાવવામાં આવે તેમજ તેમના બાળકોને સમાનતા માટે તકો અને ભણવાની સુવિધા મળે તે માટે ચળવળ શરુ કરી.  આલિયા ભટ્ટે આ ફિલ્મ માં ખુબજ સુંદર અભિનય કર્યો છે. બાયોપિકમાં અભિનય કરતી વખતે, અભિનેત્રી પાત્રના જીવનમાં બનેલી ઘટનાઓની વાર્તાથી પરિચિત તો હોય છે. પરંતુ તે પાત્ર જિંદગીમાં વિકસે ત્યારે તેની લાગણીઓ, ભાવનાઓ ને ધ્યાન માં રાખી તેને જીવંત સ્વરૂપ આપીને તે પાત્રને વિકસાવવું જટિલ કાર્ય છે અને આલિયા એ તે ખુબ સુંદર રીતે કર્યું છે. 

ગંગુબાઈ ખુબજ શક્તિશાળી વક્તા હતા અને તેમના એક એક અર્થસભર વાક્યને આલિયાએ યાદગાર રીતે વાચા આપી છે. 

સ્થાનિક ચૂંટણીઓમાં તેની સ્પર્ધકને પડકારતી વખતે, પોતાની સંભવિત જીત વિશે કોઈ શંકા વિના, ગંગુબાઈ કહે છે, “ज़मीन पे बैठी बहोत अच्छी लग रही है तू, आदत दालले, क्यों की तेरी कुर्सी तो गयी”.

તેની નીચે કામ કરતી વૈશ્યા છોકરીઓને ઉશ્કેરતી વખતે તે કહે છે, “इज्जत से जीनेका, किसीसे डरनेका नहीं, ना पोलिस से, ना मंत्री से, ना MLA से, ना भड़वो से, किसी के बाप से नहीं डरने का”.

ભણસાલીએ કહ્યું હતું કે કપરા સમયમાં ખુબજ કપરી પરિસ્થિતિમાંથી પોતાનો રસ્તો કરીને બીજી સ્ત્રીઓમાટે રસ્તો કાઢતી આ મહિલા ની પોતાના હક અને ગૌરવ માટેની લડાઈએ મને આ કહાની સજીવન કરવા માટે આકર્ષિત કર્યો”. પણ ત્યાર બાદ તેમનો પડકાર તેમના કલાકારોમાંથી તે વાત સજીવન કરવા માટેનો હતો. ભણસાલી કેવા જબરજસ્ત અને તેજસ્વી દિગ્દર્શક છે તેનો ખ્યાલ આપણને તુરંત આવી જાય છે. દરેક ઘટના અને દ્રશ્ય ભાવનાત્મક અને દૃષ્ટિની રીતે સમૃદ્ધ અને અર્થપૂર્ણ છે. જ્યારે ગંગુબાઈને તેમના પ્રેમીને  મળે છે, ત્યારે તે પહેલા શંકાસ્પદ રહે છે અને તેનો પ્રેમી તેની સીમાઓનું સન્માન કરે છે કે નહિ તે જાણવા માટે તેની કસોટી કરે છે. અને પછી અચાનક ગંગુબાઈ તેના પ્રેમીના ખભા પર માથું ઢાળે છે અને તે ક્ષણે પુરુષો પ્રત્યે શંકા અને વિશ્વાસઘાતનો ભાર જે તેણીએ તેના ખભા ઉપર વર્ષોથી વહન કર્યો હતો તે ઓગળી જાય છે. તેમજ આલિયા નું ગરબા નૃત્ય ગંગુબાઈને તેના કાઠીયાવાડી મૂળ સાથે તેમજ તેના વર્તમાન સાથે જોડે છે જાણે કે ગંગુબાઈમાં સાક્ષાત દેવી અંબામા પધાર્યા હોય.  હુમા કુરેશીનો આઇટમ નંબર પણ લાજવાબ છે. અંડરવર્લ્ડ ડોન તરીકે અજય દેવગણ અને વેશ્યાલય મેડમ તરીકે સીમા પાહવા ખુબ સુંદર અભિનય આપે છે. આ ચલચિત્ર ને યાદગાર બનાવવાનો જશ તો આલિયા ભટ્ટ ના ઉત્કૃષ્ટ અભિનયને જ જાય છે અને ચલચિત્રના અંતમાં તે જે અદ્ભુત અને શાનદાર છટા થી ભાષણ આપે છે તેમાં ગંગુબાઈના શક્તિશાળી શબ્દોની સામગ્રી સાથે આલિયા ભટ્ટની  સર્જનાત્મકતા નો સમન્વય પરિપૂર્ણ થાય છે. 

શાનદાર છટા સાથે ગંગુબાઈ કહે છે “लिख देना कल के अखबारमे, के आज़ाद मैदानमे भासन देते वख्त, गंगूबाईने आँखे झुकाकर नहीं, आँखे मिलाकर हक़ की बात की है भाई”.

વાહ ગંગુબાઈ, વાહ આલિયા ભટ્ટ, વાહ દિગ્દર્શક સંજય લીલા ભણસાલી – શું આલીશાન, યાદગાર ફિલ્મ બની છે – જોવનું ચુકતા નહિ!!

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EO Sterilization for Medical Devices


A panel at www.bio2devicegroup.org discussed Ethylene Oxide (EO) Sterilization of Bio/Medical Devices on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The panel consisted of Denny Christensen, CEO of Sterilization Validation and Consulting, Michael Anderson, Site Director at Infinity Laboratories, and Sam Sohal, President of Test-O-Pac Industries and EO Sterilization.

EO sterilization was discovered in 1928 and used as an insecticide in hospital rooms. In the 1940s, EO began to be used to sterilize spices and food preservatives. However, in 1948 it was found that EO could potentially cause cancer and that rang some alarm bells. But it was eventually found that the risk was miniscule in the amount used.

Currently EO sterilization is used in 50 percent of medical devices. In fact, EO has become a dominant method for sterilization of all disposable medical devices. FDA has been investigating alternative gas methods for sterilization but we are not closer to finding anything that can replace EO in the short term.  

EO is a valuable compound and is very versatile. Over 17 million tonnes of EO is produced annually, worldwide. EO is used in antifreeze, heavy machinery, acrylics, plastics, glue, paper, fabrics, carpets, polyester, cosmetics and more. EO also plays a massive role in sterilization of medical devices. There are two primary factors that drive its usage for medical devices. First, EO is consistently compatible with the majority of other materials and second, it can be performed at low heat. Other vaporized gas materials are often not compatible with cellulose, paper etc. For many medical devices, sterilization with Ethylene oxide may be the only method to effectively sterilize a device without causing damage. Medical devices made from certain polymers (plastic or resin), metals or glass or those that have multiple layers of packaging or hard to reach places like catheters are likely to be sterilized with ethylene oxide. Additionally, other gas alternatives are challenging to scale up because they can’t be effectively packaged in cardboard and shipped to various locations, with ease.

EO is regulated and controlled by FDA and EPA and shutdowns sometimes lead to shortages. There is a need for public information and there is need to balance use of EO with public and environmental safety. EO is an effective sterilization method and we will continue to need EO sterilization since there are fewer other efficient alternatives. 

It is also important to understand how EO can be used more effectively in medical devices. Four active ingredients required to deliver a successful process are: heat, humidity or moisture, gas concentration and time. Achieving a high sterility level reduces the chance of microbes and resulting infections. Additionally, EO sterilization companies need to have open communication with the designers of medical devices. Earlier medical device companies start thinking about sterilization, the more they can take full advantage of optimum sterilization process that in the end saves time, resources and helps the public and environment by achieving optimum sterilization with less exposure.

In summary, it was mentioned that state of the art technology will continue to evolve and enable fine tuning of sterilization cycles. Additionally, better planning and early communication between device engineers and sterilizers and consideration of the sterilization process in the design phase will mean fewer sterilization challenges later. Also important is communicating to those handling the devices that thorough cleaning of these devices prior to sterilization is of immense importance in helping minimize risk of infection through unclean devices. 

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Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow” – Play Review


“…the real tragedy of life was that you got what you wanted…”
― Agatha Christie, The Hollow

At CityLights theater in Agatha Christie’s “The Hollow”, directed by Doll Piccotto, audience get exactly what they wanted, intriguing murder of a complex person; with many possible suspects.  The homeowners, Sir Henry Angkatell (Ken Boswell) and his eccentric, ditzy wife, Lucy (Karen DeHart) have planned an extended family weekend and have invited several relatives and cousins. 

In addition to the colorful characters engaged in intrigue, affairs, and stolen moments of love and passion, there are maids, butlers, and an intriguing neighbor Victoria (Laura Domingo) who drops in as soon as she hears of the presence of her former love, Dr John Cristow (Damian Vega), notwithstanding the presence of his overly cheerful wife, Gerda (Caitlin Lawrence Papp), completely devoted to her husband and perpetually doubting herself. And then there was Lucy’s cousin Henrietta Angkatell (Anne Yumi Kobori); her character as complex as her sculpted and artistic creations. Henrietta, with her deep sense of integrity and right and wrong, rebuffed advances of affection from her cousin, Edward Angkatell (Kyle Dayrit) and yet was hopelessly in love with a married man.  While Edward’s attention was on Henrietta, Midge Harvey (Alycia Adame) was deeply in love with Edward. Adding to the chaos was the character of Dr. John Cristow, a philanderer who admired the single minded devotion of his wife Gerda. Dr. Cristow also cared more about the disease he was trying to find the cure for than his patients and was at once both highly narcissistic and yet seemingly unconcerned about anyone, including himself.

With so many miscreants and so much intrigue, when the murder takes place, everyone is a plausible suspect, and yet everyone seems innocent of committing such a heartless crime. And to add to the list of suspects, there is the maid, Doris (Erin Southard), and very very English butler, Gudgeon (Tom Gough). It becomes the responsibility of Inspector Coquhoun (Patricia Tyler) and Detective Penny (Andre Leben) to investigate the suspects and nail the culprit. And while you may be going through the “who dunn it” in your head, there are some characters least interested in solving the crime.

  • Lady Angkatell : I’m not terribly interested in who killed who. I mean, once you’re dead, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter why, does it?

So glad the theater season in the bay area is back.  This play will be running at Citylights Theater in San Jose, CA till March 6, 2022 and tickets are available at www.cltc.org .

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JOBS: February, 2022


Senior R&D Mechanical Engineer – N. San Jose, CA

This is a very exciting opportunity to work at grounds level on a stealth mode project, with a veteran entrepreneur, with several successful prior ventures. Requires 8+ years of medical device product development experience and strong expertise in Solidworks.

Director of Quality Engineering – Alameda, CA

There is an exciting #JOB opportunity for Director of Quality Engineering, in Alameda, CA in a global medtech company focused on design, development & manufacturing of novel products to address unmet medical needs. 

Requirements include: Strong foundation in Quality, QE & Quality Management systems; Experience with growing & leading a high impact team; Proven record leading, mentoring, and developing Managers, Engineers; BS in engineering or related; 10+ years industry experience; 5+ years of people management experience. Also #medicaldevice experience, highly preferred.

Job Responsibilities: Provide leadership & drive quality results for company’s products; Ensure products are manufactured in a compliant manner; Risks are identified & mitigated during changes; New products are ushered into manufacturing in a timely manner, Work cross-functionally.

Assembler – San Jose, CA

There is an opening for an assembler with experience in assembling parts & components used in manufacturing medical devices. 

Requires fine hand dexterity; Understand Good Documentation Practices, GMP & CAPA; Ability to comply w/ work schedules, comply with safety practices & government regulations and follow Quality System procedures; Experience in writing notes, writing & updating assembly procedures, protocols & checklists; work collaboratively with QA & production management.

Requires: High School Diploma or equivalent; 2+ years medical device or pharma experience; good math & English skills.

Business Development Manager – San Jose, CA

There is an exciting opportunity for a Business Development Manager to support all aspects of business development initiatives including BD research & scouting to assess market developments and identify partnering opportunities; support business development transactions including due diligence, onboarding for R&D collaborations & licensing. This role will report to the VP of BD.

Responsibilities: Lead research & analysis of pharma landscape to identify strategic partner opportunities; Present internally; Identify, analyze & prioritize external innovation opportunities; Conduct market research & competitive analysis; Create financial models to support BD decision-making; Cultivate relationships within biotech community, attend conferences & trade shows; Support due diligence efforts, coordination, data room management and maintenance. 

Requirements: Excellent analytical, problem solving, organizational, communication & interpersonal skills; Min. BS degree PLUS 5+ years of BD experience preferably in pharma; Experience in financial modeling.

Senior Manufacturing Engineer – S. San Jose, CA

Bay Area start-up focusing on improving healthcare delivery through state-of-the-art catheter development has an immediate opening for senior manufacturing enginee, to support the development and production of innovative catheters ensuring high reliability, regulatory adherence, and cost-effective manufacturability.

Requirements: Minimum 10 years history of experience in medical device manufacturing environment; Proficiency in Solidworks; Experience writing protocols & test reports; Experience using inspection and test equipment (vision systems, tensile testing) are required.

Responsibilities: Support manufacturing activities; Spend time on the manufacturing line with the assemblers to improve processes & increase quality; Develop assembly & test fixturing; Create, validate & document new manufacturing processes; Write protocols & test reports; Prepare manufacturing lines for significant scale up; Conduct process verification & validation activities; Initiate failure analysis in manufacturing; Design, write & perform equipment qualifications & process validations; Facilitate transitioning development products to full scale production line; Collaborate with existing suppliers & bring up new ones with an eye towards partnership & efficiency. 

Director of Clinical Operations – N. San Jose, CA
Unique vascular startup with state of the art catheter development, with platform technology has an immediate opportunity to staff clinical and regulatory positions at all levels. Stay tuned for full JD – coming soon.

Research Scientist- Formulation and Pharmaceutics – San Jose, CA

Research Scientist – Formulations & Pharmaceutics – San Jose, CA

There is an immediate opportunity for senior and junior research scientists in formulations to work in a multi-disciplinary environment to address chronic diseases. 

Requirements

Experience in scientific experiments in formulation & process development of parenteral dosage forms; Experience in immediate & sustained release parenteral formulations; Understand advanced drug delivery systems & pharmaceutical applications, such as emulsions, suspensions, polymer, nanoparticle, PLGA microspheres and colloidal systems; Exp. in chemical & physical stability of formulations, maintain documentation; Ability to identify stability, manufacturability & performance issues, interpret scientific data, communicate effectively & present data; Participate in tech transfer from R&D to Manufacturing. Required MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences or related PLUS 1+ yrs bio/pharma industry exp. Highly preferred pharma formulation experience & Exp working with drug-device combination. 

Bioanalytical Scientist – N. San Jose, CA

There is an exciting immediate job opportunity for a bioanalytical scientist in San Jose, CA to work on novel drug device combinations for treating chronic diseases. There are three opportunities and position, salary and benefits will be commensurate with experience. This position will be involved in the development of in vitro/in vivo models by performing a variety of microplate assays; Configure, program and troubleshoot laboratory automated platforms; Optimize existing automated processes to improve efficiency, throughput, robustness and quality; Perform routine data management tasks; Support regulatory efforts; Perform other duties as assigned.

Requirements: BS with 2-5 years or MS with 0-3 years or Ph. D. with 2+ years of industry experience is required; Also required, Experience in preclinical & clinical research; experience in biochemical analysis such as spectrophotometric, fluorescence immuno assays, HPLC, CE, LC-MS; Experience with microplate assays; Hands-on experience in automation and liquid handling in a bioanalytical lab setting; Experience working with statistical software like Excel, GraphPad Prism and Softmax Pro; and Experience with writing reports/protocols and SOPs. Experience with Luminex MapX technology is an advantage.

R&D Scientist – N. San Jose

A drug delivery company with unique technology to deliver biologics has an exciting job opportunity in San Jose, CA for R&D Scientist.  

Requirements: BS/MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering or related; 5+ years pharma or biotech experience in biologics analytical development, particularly, experience in biophysical techniques and analytical characterization of peptides and proteins is a must. Candidates must have experience of working in GLP/GMP regulated environment and working knowledge in product formulation (solid oral dosage, and/or parenteral sustained release) and process development from early to late phase development or at minimum hands on experience in providing analytical support to these activities. Also required, knowledge of state of the art analytical techniques such as various HPLC modes and detections, LC-MS, CE-SDS, peptide mapping, ELISA, cell based assays etc for product characterization, comparability testing and PK/PD analyses. Experience in working with drug-device combination products is a plus.
Responsibilities:  Assessing chemical and physical stability of formulations and identifying appropriate stability, manufacturability, and performance critical quality attributes; Establishing and managing reference standard and stability programs; Participate in method and tech transfer from R&D to Manufacturing as appropriate; Writing, reviewing and approving CMC sections of regulatory filings; Assessing utilization of resources and identifying when, and where additional resources may be needed; Communicate effectively to the project team and present data at team meetings; Maintain high quality documentation of all activities in notebooks, Other duties as explained.

Molecular Biologist – South San Francisco, CA

An early stage biotechnology company located in S. San Francisco, CA has developed patented technology for engineering mammalian cells to vastly increase their productivity for therapeutic protein or virus production and has an exciting opportunity for senior molecular biologist. 

Requirements: Must have PhD in a related field or equivalent amount of experience with recombinant mammalian cell line creation; mammalian cell culture expertise; experience with general molecular biology techniques for designing and constructing vectors and transfecting mammalian cells; experience with protein assay techniques for screening transfected cells. Also highly preferred, Experience with flow cytometry, virology, cell banking, transposase transfection methods; experience with protein analytical methods; knowledge of the regulatory environment related to creating and testing cells destined for GMP manufacturing; and photomicroscopy.

Responsibilities: This position is responsible for helping develop the technology toward full commercialization. Responsibilities include work with cell engineering, vector design and construction, transfection, mammalian cell culture, cloning and screening, flow cytometry, and other related molecular and cellular biology techniques. 

Quality Assurance Engineer – North San Jose, CA

There is immediate opportunity for Quality Engineer in well funded startup by a veteran leader with a world class team to support compliance with applicable regulatory requirements by maintaining an effective quality management system and implementing continuous improvements. This position is responsible for activities ranging from product development through commercialization. This is a hands-on role where the Sr. Quality Engineer will apply diversified knowledge of engineering, quality principles and practices for class II and class III medical devices and combination products. This position also ensures that the company complies with all applicable federal, industry, and company procedures, guidelines, and regulations during the receipt, storage, manufacture, and distribution of products.

Responsibilities: Maintain and improve quality system in accordance with FDA Quality System Regulation and ISO 13485 requirements; Support quality assurance activities, including, but not limited to: Risk Management (FMEAs, HA), internal and external audits, NCMRs and CAPAs; Investigate product quality problems and determine root cause, gather and analyze data, and implement corrective actions to reduce or eliminate cause; Lead the resolution of quality issues related to non-conformance reports and CAPAs; Assist in development, review and approval of process and equipment validation/qualifications (IQ, OQ, PQ); Provide QE support to production, purchasing and engineering; Support/lead test method validation activities; Conduct and support the development and validation of appropriate test methods for product and process performance; Develop and initiate sampling procedures and statistical process control methods; Support product line manufacturing and design stages by ensuring validation of manufacturing equipment and processes are conducted in accordance with the Validation Master Plan; Address systemic quality issues with suppliers or internal groups; Oversee calibration and preventive maintenance program; Assist in the review of lot history records and disposition of product (subassembly and finished goods); Work with engineering to develop adequate inspection criteria; Perform statistical analysis such as capability, gage R&R, and statistical process control; Evaluate product changes for qualification and validation requirements and assist in change implementations.

Requirements: A minimum of 7 years quality assurance/engineering experience is required. Experience in a regulated industry (medical device), Experience with FDA Quality System Regulations, ISO Standards (ISO 13485 and ISO 14971), Experience with non-conformances, CAPA, and Risk Management, Experience in performing test method validation and Gage R&Rs, Extensive experience regarding root cause analysis and statistical techniques (such as Cause and Effect Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, 5 Whys, Six Sigma processes) and BS in Engineering is required. CQE, CQA preferred.

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Making Surgeries Safer


Disposable Electrosurgical Pencil

Recently Dr. Stuart Mitchell gave a talk at www.bio2devicegroup.org zoom meeting on “Making Electrically Stimulated Surgical Devices Safer”.  Electrically stimulated surgical devices are now ubiquitous, said Dr. Mitchell. Some of the large players in the electrically stimulated surgical device space are Ethicon holding the largest market share, followed by Medronic, Olympus, Hologic, and Conmed. There are many such devices in use but two of the most dominant types are RF devices and Harmonic devices. Radio Frequency or High Frequency devices are the most common type of surgical units on the market. They transform mains current into HF current. One such device Bovie is used to incise tissue, destroy tissue through desiccation, and to control bleeding by causing the coagulation of blood. The harmonic device is used to simultaneously cut and cauterize tissue by using ultrasonic vibration to generate mechanical friction at the active blade site. 

Sharing the history of electrically stimulated surgical devices, Dr. Mitchell began with the fact that despite many hazards in the usage, surgical devices though not perfect, often make surgeries easier, faster and lead to lesser post surgical complications. It is an accepted truism in surgery that the time a patient spends under anesthesia, the better the outcome and electrically stimulated devices vastly lessen the time spent in the OR. 

However, 33% of surgeries result in complications. In the USA alone 16M patients experience surgical complications and 49% or nearly half of those are avoidable complications of which 77% were due to technical errors. Nearly 1 out of every 200 uses of RF devices result in severe burns or fires and that number is as high as 80,000 patients per year. And sometimes this impact goes beyond the patients and affects medical personnel as well. 

Of great concern, among the complications caused with these devices, are fires, burns, and smoke. 

One out of 200 uses of RF devices result in severe burns or fires. That affects 80K patients per year. Sometimes the fires affect medical personnel. Sometimes smoke causes the images to get blurred and impairs the ability of the surgeons to see clearly. Smoke can also create other health hazards post surgery, including toxic gas buildup, viruses, bacteria etc. There are now smoke evacuators available. However, that becomes one more equipment to be used in OR and the compliance can be low.

Some surgeons simply refuse to use electric surgical devices for certain procedures, due to these complications. 

Dr. Mitchell then shared about their company, Novuson’s range of surgical devices. Novuson’s Direct Therapeutic Ultrasound technology potentially can vastly improve surgical outcomes. DTU offers a range of next gen advanced emergency electrosurgical devices. These are electrically neutral, and they are effective in blood or liquid, cause no burning or charring, do not create smoke, and lead to considerably less thermal damage. Dr. Mitchell played a couple of videos showing how the device works. These devices can be used for all surgical procedures including for open, robotic, minimally invasive surgeries and lead to smaller scars, improve precision, speed and control and are far safer. 

This exciting talk was followed by Q&A around the regulatory pathway ahead for various Novuson devices.

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