Hospitals and medical centers across the country are marking Colon Cancer Awareness/Prevention Month by using inflatable colons to educate the public about colorectal cancer and to encourage people to be screened for the disease.
Visitors can walk through an inflatable colon, see what healthy tissue is supposed to look like, and learn how problems such as polyps and cancer develop. Doctors hope that inflatable colons will get people talking about colorectal cancer and encourage them to get themselves checked for early signs of the disease.
Colorectal cancer can affect as many as one in 20 people. The American Cancer Society predicts about 93,900 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year. The group also predicts almost 40,000 cases of rectal cancer.
The death rate associated with colorectal cancer has declined in recent years, probably because of screening that is leading to early detection. Still, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States if men and women are considered separately. If men and women are combined, it is the second-leading cause of death. The disease is projected to lead to about 49,700 deaths this year.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened. Doctors recommend that most people get a colonoscopy at age 50 and at least every 10 years after that. People with a family history of cancer should talk to their doctor about getting screened prior to age 50.
Colon cancer often does not have any signs or symptoms until the disease is at an advanced stage. Detecting and removing polyps early can save lives. People can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by eating more fruits, vegetables, and legumes; eating less red meat; and exercising.
NASA has just unveiled the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), an inflatable habitat that will be tested on the International Space Station starting in September. It could be used to protect astronauts on the surface of Mars in the future.
NASA signed a $17.8 million contract with Bigelow in 2012 to build the BEAM. It could be produced at a relatively low cost because fabric was used over metal.
The inflatable habitat measures 13 feet x 10 feet. It will give the astronauts an additional 565 cubic feet of volume. After it is attached to the ISS, astronauts will be able to use it as a lounge area and testing facility. The inflatable habitat weighs 3,000 pounds.
The BEAM has several layers of fabric to keep air trapped inside. It is coated with a layer of bulletproof Vectran, a liquid crystal polyacrylate superfiber that is twice as strong as Kevlar and is one of the most advanced fabrics ever made. It can withstand impacts from micrometeoroids that could damage the International Space Station’s aluminum hull. The module is inflammable. The walls of the BEAM have already undergone extensive testing.
The BEAM will be transported to the ISS on a SpaceX routine resupply mission on September 2. It will be attached to the ISS for two years. When its mission is complete, the BEAM will be ejected and will burn up when it reenters the atmosphere.
NASA scientists have long believed that inflatables would make the best habitats for humans on Mars because they weigh less than rigid habitats that need to be bolted together and take up less space on rockets. Two similar inflatable habitats are currently orbiting the Earth. They were launched in 2006 and 2007.
NASA intends to rely on American commercial partners for future space missions in the 21st century. This will include sending rockets into space and using new technologies, such as the BEAM. Bigelow Aerospace is currently working on the BA330, an inflatable module that will have 330 cubic meters of space.
Reebok is reintroducing the Pump, its inflatable sneakers that were one of the company’s most popular products after they were originally marketed in 1989. Reebok is bringing back the Pump to try to revive the brand’s image, which declined in the 1990s when Nike became more popular.
The technology in the original Pump was developed based on rare ski boots and inflatable splints. The bladders were manufactured in a medical device factory.
When the Pump was introduced, basketball was wildly popular. Reebok marketed the inflatable shoes to appeal to athletes. Reebok sold 4 million pairs of Pumps in the first 18 months and later created inflatable shoes for golf, baseball, and tennis.
The new inflatable shoe is called the ZPump Fusion. It resembles other sneakers, with a seamless mesh upper and a lightweight and thin sole. It uses the original Pump’s air-bladder design that adapts to fit each person’s individual foot. Most running shoes have 46 parts, but the ZPump Fusion has only three: the ZRated outsole, an inflatable Pump membrane to cover the middle of the foot, and a seamless sleeve upper.
The ZPump Fusion is structureless when it is not inflated. After the wearer puts it on and inflates it, the shoe molds itself to the shape of that person’s foot. The number of pumps necessary to inflate the shoe will vary from person to person.
Reebok is targeting a new market with its ZPump Fusion shoes. It calls them “Fit Gen-ers,” a group that includes runners, CrossFitters, UFC mixed martial artists, and Spartan Racers. The new inflatable shoes can be manufactured at a much lower cost than the original Pump.
Sinfonia Viva, an orchestra based in Derby, England, has received a grant from Arts Council England to buy an inflatable mobile stage and auditorium that can seat up to 250 people.
The inflatable venue can easily be transported from one location to another and set up by two or three people. The orchestra also plans to purchase lighting and sound equipment, a van to transport the equipment to concert locations, and an industrial storage space in Derby.
Sinfonia Viva currently does not operate its own venue. The orchestra performs at a variety of locations throughout the East Midlands and other areas, which range from large concert halls to community venues.
The orchestra will be able to have its own venue for the first time and take its performances to more communities, including those in rural areas. The new venue will allow the orchestra to perform and to showcase its work with schools and communities. Sinfonia Viva will be able to expand its educational efforts and give more young people the opportunity to work and perform with professional musicians in their communities. The inflatable stage and auditorium will create chances for people who would ordinarily not have an opportunity to experience musical performances.
A local radio presenter is leading a campaign to raise match funding of 30,000 pounds to cover the remainder of the money needed to purchase the inflatable stage and auditorium. The orchestra is seeking grants, business and advertising sponsorships, and donations. The group hopes to have the inflatable venue, van, and storage facility in place by early summer.