Page 6 - CSANews 84

Basic HTML Version

Device will diagnose medical
conditions on Earth and in space
In the movie Iron Man 2, billionaire-turned-super-hero Tony Stark
uses a pocket device to instantly measure his toxicity levels caused
by the fictional reactor core in his chest that gives him super-pow-
In real life, such instantaneous personal medical technology doesn’t
exist, yet. But soon, a new device, funded by the Canadian Space
Agency, could pave the way for real-time analysis of everything
from infections to stress, blood cells to cancer markers.
The device – called Microflow – is a miniaturized version of a flow
cytometer (commonly used for a range of bioanalysis and clinical di-
agnoses). Microflow can spot cells and biological molecules rapidly
in a stream of liquid as they pass single-file in front of a laser—all
within 10 minutes.
It can then analyze the physical and chemical properties of mol-
ecules or cells in the sample.
Weighing less than 10 kilograms and roughly the size of a toaster,
Microflow’s small size and light weight make it ideally suited for
space, since it costs much more to launch heavier objects into
space, and bulky objects are more difficult to stow.
Making it Micro
Miniaturizing flow cytometer technology, and making it work in
space, required the Quebec City-based INO to find a way to keep the
fluid stream small and from becoming unfocused in weightlessness.
Led by principle investigators Dr. Ozzy Mermut from INO and Dr.
Luchino Cohen from the Canadian Space Agency, the Microflow
team built a device that suspends particles in just a tiny amount of
liquid. Once the particles are detected in this structure, the device
transfers the data to a USB key for analysis.
Uses in Space
Microflow will be put to the test on the International Space Station
during Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s six-month
mission in 2012-13. If the technology proves successful in space, it
could revolutionize how astronauts are able to diagnose and treat
themselves and others throughout long-duration missions by allow-
ing the crew to test for medical conditions without having to send
samples back to Earth for analysis.
Uses on Earth
Microflow could allow people in remote communities to be tested
quickly for things like infectious disease, thereby reducing health-
care costs and putting hospital-level care into the hands of more
Canadians. It might also help reduce the travel required for medical
analysis by testing people in their home communities. The technol-
ogy could also allow food and agricultural processing plants to run
on-site quality control inspections and tests.
What you should know before
launching a consumer complaint
Deciding to make a complaint against a company or organiza-
tion that you feel has done you a disservice can be worthwhile
if you enter into the process with the right knowledge and ex-
pectations. It can be time-consuming and yes, frustrating. But
the more preparation you put into it up front, the more you’ll
get out of the process in the end.
There’s a new tool available online that can help you take a
more methodical, step-by-step approach to preparing your
claim. The Complaint Roadmap, created by Industry Canada,
walks you through everything you need to know to make
an effective consumer complaint; from preparing your initial
complaint to accessing municipal, provincial, and federal bod-
ies that can help you get redress. The roadmap is a valuable
resource that guides you through the formal process from be-
ginning to end.
The first step of the roadmap gives a good overview of what
you need to know and do before launching your complaint.
For example, make a file and keep it in a secure place. Store
every piece of correspondence you have – receipts, faxes,
e-mails, notes from telephone conversations, reference num-
bers – in the file and keep adding to it as you move along.
You can also check out some of the main issues affecting con-
sumer protection by visiting step one of the roadmap online
d opening the following
windows for information on specific topics. For example, un-
der refund and exchange policies, you will find information
Items that go on sale after purchase;
Basic contract terms;
Contract cancellations;
Defective products;
Private sales, and;
Claims or holds against property.
Some complaints may involve specific provincial, federal or
territorial legislation that you need to know about in order to
successfully pursue your complaint. Step one of the roadmap
also has a link to summaries of consumer protection laws.
Once you’ve done your initial preparation, you’re ready to
move on to the rest of the steps. Steps two through six help you
decide what to say and how to say it, how to write a complaint
letter (there’s a downloadable template in step four), how to
elevate your complain to a higher level and finally, what you
need to know about going to court. Each step allows you to
customize your search by topic and where you live. You can
find the Complaint Roadmap at