Much enjoyed the Concord Art Association’s New England Impressions III,”  the Unique Print,  March 21-May3, 2009.”

Peik Larson, Red Tree

Peik Larson, Red Tree

The show,  presented on two floors in  the CAA’s lovely colonial home at 37 Lexington Road in Concord Center,   is a colorful collection of monotypes, monoprints and experimental prints composed of  fabrics, hand quilting, stamping, sandpaper, and pastel, on wood, metal, ink and paper, and combinations of the above. In the words of curator Dorothy Thompson,   the show is one in a series celebrating New England artists and printers “trying something new, breaking the rules.”

All of the works–with photos of each work and a video of the opening reception available at www.concordart.com, were stunning. My  favorites included:

Inner Courtyard

Inner Courtyard

Roz Karal Ablo’s Interior Courtyard--a dramatic collage and pastel work in vibrant blues, mauves, with a little red and green thrown in. It seemed to embody the splitting of space into time, a la Duchamp, a rushing, perhaps, through what might be a structural, village courtyard composed of buildings, streets and sky– or, perhaps, an inner personal one.

dsc_9783

Randy Garber, Cognitive Dissonance

Randy Garber’s elegant Cognitive Dissonance, composed  composed of hard and soft grand spit bite etching, wood cut transfer, monoprint on piano player scrolls.

Pastel colors, different on each side of the scrolls, are printed with abstract shapes, hands, gears, heads and other forms. The scrolls, though still,  seem to undulate, mesmorizing the viewer as s/he comes to realize that words, presented in reverse order, actually make some sense. Appear may love where ing tell no there’s.

Mazur, Rocks and Water

Michael Mazur, Rocks and Water

Olin, Gliki's Flight

Debra Olin, Gliki's Flight

Orange Construction, Fence Series



Jeanne Williamson, Orange Construction

Jan Arabas, Bird Flu. dsc_98272

From its title, “Oppression and Pleasure,” I expected  the Pierre Menard Gallery’s current show of works by the feminist writer and artist Kate Millett to be  heavy-duty, in-your-face and  angry but was pleased to find,  for the most part, colorful, simple brush-strokes that looked like Japanese characters, one to a painting.  Perhaps I am slow, but it  took me awhile  to realize that each was a representation of female genitalia  or other body parts.

Kate Millett artwork

Kate Millett artwork

I didn’t agree with one observer who found the work overly aggressive; to me,  the paintings seemed lighthearted and whimsical–despite my interpretation of the title’s message that women’s sexuality can lead to both misery and  joy.

I did wonder, however, if the two huge black and white close-up photographs of female sex organs (from which even the staunchest of men looked away)  had been placed just over the food table to cut down on the demand for wine and chips.

The show, at 10 Arrow Street,  in Cambridge, will be up through April 12.
AMH

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, of Cambridge, MA.

I’m not much of an opera fan, but because friend Rachel was singing in the chorus I managed to take in the final performance of this year’s  Lowell House production: Otello.

The  Verdi opera itself doesn’t have much of a story (Rachel says it cuts back on the complexity of the Shakespearean drama to the point where it’s just the villain Iago planting the lovely Desdemona’s handkerchief in the home of his rival Cassio’s home in order to provoke her husband’s Otello’s jealousy-so I found myself thinking that,  if it weren’t for the music, there wouldn’t be  much there.

But the music was spectacular. Even before the opera started,  the tuning up phase brought palpable energy and anticipation to  the audience. And throughout, the orchestra, a mix of student and professional musicians  conducted by  Channing Yu (who,  in his other life, an attending physician at a Boston teaching  hospital) played dramatical clashes and soothing lows that provided a vibrant backdrop for wonderful singing by both professional  musicians and students.

I was particularly entranced  by Andrew Young, who played the villain Iago so well that he was  booed, during his graceful bow, at the end). I felt that his powerful performance upstaged Brian Landry’s  Otello, who, along with Malynda Davis, gave excellent performances–as did a slightly weaker Andre De Mesquita, playing Cassio. The principals, who also included Ana Ugarte as Emilia, John Erban, as Lodvico, an James Liu, as Montano, and DJ Robinson, as Roderego,  were backed up by an enthusiastic (if slightly hard-to hear) chorus–including the soprano Rachel who appeared to be dressed as a boy.

I never thought I was in Venice or at the Met, but the vibrancy and professionalism of the production and the performers far surpassed what I’d expected to hear–especially  in a college dining hall.

I was happy to join  a well-deserved standing ovation offered by the sold-out crowd.

As a graduating  PhD, Robert Langer, now Institute Professor at MIT, was having trouble finding work.

As he told the Health Innovators Group of Combined Jewish Philanthropies on Friday, most of his classmates took jobs with oil companies but  he knew that wasn’t for him.  Having helped found an alternative high school in Cambridge, he  applied for 50 or 60 jobs in curriculum development, but no one wrote him back. Then he tried medical schools and hospitals, but “they didn’t write back, either.”  Finally, someone  in his lab told him that someone at Children’s Hospital sometimes hired “unusual people.”

That “someone” was Judah Folkman, who, in 1974,  was beginning to work on angiogenesis, which involved the idea that cutting the blood flow to tumors could halt  their growth.  The possibility  intrigued Langer, who  was hired–but made a rather inauspicious start.

As a post doc, he spent half of his time scraping meat off of cow bones delivered from a South Boston slaughterhouse. He   discovered 200 methods that didn’t work;. He  faced  hostile scientists who told him they didn’t believe anything he said, and,  as time went on,  was denied many patents by officers who were were unwilling to accept his proof.

It took until 2002 for  the first angiogenisis drug to gain FDA approved.  By then, Bob, who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, was MIT’s most prolific inventor and a University Professor who had helped found many companies and   inspired countless students–who now run departments, labs, and companies of their own.

I’ve known Bob since the 7th grade…and was in the 8th-grade English class  in which, he tells people , he was so shy that he froze during a public speaking exercise, and got an F.  We both went to Cornell, where, he’s told me, he found that he learned more studying on his own (and playing bridge) than going to class.  And I remember sitting in a pizza parlor with him in  1982, watching as he diagrammed  his ideas on a mechanism for “slow release” for pharmaceuticals–on a napkin.

Despite his success, a recent writeup in Nature,  and much  excitement about possible “pharmacies on a chip,”,  a stem cell device to help individuals with spinal cord injuries,  and an adhesive for heart surgery based on the sticky-stuff that allows gekkos to climb up walls, Bob  remains the same old Bob, who sometimes gets  ideas for new devices, materials and methods  from television and magazine magazines.    He’s still down-to-earth, supportive, and even funny.   (Did  you know that the most  surgical devices are invented by doctors who use household materials to fit their operating needs…which is why the “stretchiness” material used in artificial heart is the same stuff used in ladies’ girdles? )

So- for job hunters out there the message is simple but profound. Believe in yourself and your ideas, treat people kindly, and  keep on going.

Great talk, Bob. Once again, bravo.

AMH

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

Look back, move forward

March 10, 2009

In his 3-05-09 post “Probe the Past to Protect the Future,”  Washington DC business-advocate- returned-investigative journalist Andrew Kreig says that the idea that the country should look forward without addressing the wrongs of the recent past is  “nonsense”.

He writes: As always,  justice starts by a review of the evidence. ‘Sunshine is the best disinfectant,’ Supreme Court Justice Louis Bandeis famously said. But pest control is useful too.  Either way, strong measures are required to build public confidence for legitimate initiatives on such complex questions as which companies are “too big to fail,” and which ones should pay the price for their terrible decisions.”

The media are unlikely provide much insight,  he implies.

Their income stream is increasingly dependent on affiliated businesses and not on serving subscribers. The major TV networks,  for instance, make virtually nothing form direct customer billings via cable and satellite, although many in the public naively assume that they’re being served via a “marketplace of ideas.”

In fact, traditional and new media alike depend heavily on the goodwill of government officials, plus advertising. The financial reports of the Washington Post, for instance, show that since 2007, it has been making more than ten times its revenue from its education industry affiliates as from its Post subscriptions,  new media are more entrepreneurial and increasingly broader-based in consumer appeal, many of their roots are in fairly recent federal Internet research and privatization policy–and many of their futures are highly dependent on favorable regulation, merger approval and stimulus spending.

Kreig calls for transparency in the Obama Administration’s decisionmaking process and for vigorous public pressure to ensure that current Congressional investigations into allegations of Bush Administration wrong-doing are not just for show.

I’m not anxious to delve back into the murky recent past and don’t relish the possibility of investigations, indictments, or imprisonments. Bytemperament, like Obama,  I’d rather move forward and let it all go.  But as George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  I do think it’s important to find out why things went so wrong in hopes that we never have to go through times like those–or these–again.

AMH

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

I’m  helping Cambridge Heart and Kogs Communications get out the good news that the company’s non-invasive test, which is administered much like a stress test, on a treadmill, accurately predicts the risk of sudden cardiac arrest–the leading killer in the US.

Here’s today’s release:

Tewksbury, Mass., March 3, 2009 – Cambridge Heart, Inc. (OTCBB-CAMH), today announced the publication of five articles supporting the use of Microvolt T Wave Alternans™ (MTWA) testing in a supplement to the March issue of the Heart Rhythm journal. Featured in the supplement is a comprehensive meta-analysis of 6,000 patients confirming the value of MTWA as a non-invasive marker of risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The MTWA test, administered much like a stress test on a treadmill, was developed by Cambridge Heart as a diagnostic tool to help physicians determine a patient’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest — the leading cause of death in the United States.

The meta-analysis, conducted by a group led by Stefan Hohnloser, MD, FHRS, of the JW Goethe University Division of Cardiology in Frankfurt, Germany, assessed 13 MTWA clinical studies involving approximately 6,000 cardiac patients.

“The results demonstrate that MTWA testing is a consistently accurate predictor of sudden cardiac death and cardiac arrest in patients who do not already have implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs),” said Dr. Stefan Hohnloser. “These are the patients for whom MTWA testing is intended.”

The meta-analysis authors also conclude that:

· Patients who test negative for MTWA abnormalities are at extremely low risk (0.3%) for SCA in the next 12 months.

· MTWA testing can help doctors guide ICD therapy to appropriate patients and overcome the widespread reluctance of patients and referring physicians to accept ICD therapy.

· In clinical trials, appropriate ICD shocks are an unreliable surrogate endpoint for SCA and can skew results of risk stratification studies.

“This comprehensive analysis confirms the findings of numerous peer-reviewed studies which underscore the important role of MTWA in assessing a patient’s risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Ali Haghighi-Mood, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Heart.

The Heart Rhythm supplement also includes:

· A second meta-analysis of MTWA testing in patients with non-ischemic heart disease, authored by Gaetano De Ferrari, MD and Antonio Sanzo, MD of the Department of Cardiology at Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia Italy. Analyzing eight available trials involving 1,450 patients, the paper indicates that in this population negative MTWA results can help patients and their physicians decide whether ICD therapy may safely be avoided.

· An article by Michael J. Mirro, MD, Medical Director of the Parkview Health System Clinical Research Center in Fort Wayne Indiana, who describes how his center has incorporated MTWA testing into clinical practice to complement other methods for identifying and educating patients about the risk of SCA.

· A review of numerous studies concerning the underlying cellular mechanisms of T-wave alternans. The authors conclude that microvolt T-wave alternans is a marker of cellular changes that make the heart susceptible to sudden cardiac arrest. The review was carried out by Michael Cutler, DO, PhD, and David S. Rosenbaum, MD, of the Heart and Vascular Research Center at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

· A review by Navinder Sawhney, MD and Sanjiv Narayan, MD of the University of California at San Diego that underscores the value of MTWA testing in patients who have had heart attacks but do not fall within current guidelines for ICD implantation.

The articles in the supplement can be found on the Heart Rhythm journal website at:

http://www.heartrhythmjournal.com/issues/contents?issue_key=S1547-5271(09)X0006-8

About Cambridge Heart, Inc.

Cambridge Heart develops and commercializes non-invasive diagnostic tests for cardiac disease, with a focus on identifying those at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The Company’s products incorporate proprietary Microvolt T-Wave Alternans measurement technologies including the patented Analytic Spectral Method® and ultrasensitive disposable electrode sensors. Medicare reimburses the Analytic Spectral Method® under its National Coverage Policy. Cambridge Heart, founded in 1990, is based in Tewksbury, MA. The company’s Microvolt T-Wave Alternans™ (MTWA) test, developed by Cambridge Heart (OTCBB: CAMH), is based on research originally conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://www.cambridgeheart.com.

Statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, we use words such as “believes”, “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “estimates”, “could”, and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause or contribute to such differences include failure to achieve broad market acceptance of the Company’s MTWA technology, failure of our sales and marketing organization to market our products effectively, inability to hire and retain qualified clinical applications specialists in the Company’s target markets, failure to obtain or maintain adequate levels of third-party reimbursement for use of the Company’s MTWA test, customer delays in making final buying decisions, decreased demand for the Company’s products, failure to obtain funding necessary to develop or enhance our technology, adverse results in future clinical studies of our technology, failure to obtain or maintain patent protection for our technology and other factors identified in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10‑K/A under “Risk Factors”, which is on file with the SEC and available at http://www.EDGAR.com. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our estimates only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so except as may be legally necessary, even if our estimates should change.

The New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

I’m pleased to announce that Scientia Advisors has launched ScientiaNET,  a “knowledge network” for  health care and the life sciences. ( True,  they are my client, but I AM pleased).

The network now has 10 thousand member/experts and is seeking additional ones.  Members are leading scientists, physicians, practitioners, academics and industry professionals who are  paid their hourly rates to provide Scientia and its clients with analyses, opinions, surveys and consultation on life science tools and technologies, medical devices, diagnostics, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, functional foods, and regulatory issues.

The member/experts typically consult with business leaders and decision-makers on industry trends and developments, operational problems/solutions, or specific products/services.

If you’d like to become a ScientiaNET member or engage one (or many)   please visit www.scientiaadv.com

AMH

Scientia Advisors, based in Cambridge, MA and Palo Alto, CA, is a global management consulting firm specializing in strategic growth and operational strategies  for major and emerging companies in health care and the life sciences.


New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.