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Italian Doctor Invents Device To Save Hearts From Afar

ALESSANDRIA — A small portable tool developed in Italy now allows doctors to treat patients with heart conditions in remote areas that don't have access to medical facilities. A 27-year-old doctor, Alessandro Faragli, and his colleague, Edoardo La Porta, a nephrologist, created the imaging device known as Impedance App.

The device measures bio-impedance or how much the body impedes the flow of electric current. While fat resists high current flow, blood doesn't restrict it as much.

"Patients with conditions like heart failure are completely dependent on hospitals to measure bio-impedance," Faragli told Italian newspaper La Stampa. "This instrument is portable, easy to use, and non-invasive."

Faragli developed the device after years of studying chronic heart failure, a condition that afflicted his father for more than a decade, he told the paper.

Impedance App, which consists of two electrodes and a small belt, does high-quality imaging within two minutes. The device rapidly processes and sends exam results and graphs to a doctor's smartphone, allowing him or her to monitor their patient's condition from a distance.

"Impedance can help doctors and patients interact more, reduce re-hospitalization rates, and ensure a higher quality of life," Faragli told the daily. "All of this reduces costs too."

During his work on a similar project for a portable electrocardiogram named D-Heart in southern Senegal, Faraglirealized that portable imaging devices could save lives by reaching patients who otherwise wouldn't have access medical care.

Faragli hopes that these portable medical devices can ultimately work toward reducing patient mortality. By improving access to medicine and treatment for people in the most remote areas of the world, devices like D-Heart and Impedance App could just achieve that.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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