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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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‘ATM,’ intellectual property and lung disease

INTELLECTUAL property issues continue to come up around the world. Sometimes, the Philippines becomes the target of interest because of the way Filipinos are fascinated with low-cost products even if these are pirated, such as compact discs and similar items, or faked, such as branded consumer products sold in a store in Davao, as recently reported in the news.

However, there are words, phrases or letter combinations that are difficult to legally protect. Take the letter combination “ATM,” for instance. Banks use this for their “Automated Teller Machine” (ATM). Some highly non-creative, but enterprising water refilling stations use the letter combination for their “Automatic Tubig (water) Machine.” Right now, I am looking at a globally distributed medical journal, the Annals of Translational Medicine, which expressedly print on its cover the letter combination “ATM.”

Now, who has the right to claim ownership of the brand “ATM”? Well, that is for the legal minds among us to debate.

The value of “ATM” in this week’s article of Breakthroughs is the journal’s publication of a report from two researchers from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (Pedro Silva) and the Technische Universzitat Dresden in Germany (Marcelo de Abreau). The researchers noted that the ability of the human lungs to create pressure within them (the pressure is called “transpulmonary pressure”) also creates the risk for lung inflammation to spread into the peripheral organs, particularly those near them. They explained that, once the transpulmonary pressure is created, the lung pressure moves toward the long peripheries at a less predictable (heterogeneous) manner. In an inflamed lung, those areas reached by the pressure will develop inflammation as well.

Thus, if a person’s lung pressure is strong, widespread damage in the lungs can occur even when the initial inflammation is confined only in a small area. The vessels in between cells and the lymphatic vessels also help in spreading the inflammation toward other peripheral organs.

Healthy individuals can moderate this consequence through variations in their breathing, which include far less lung pressure. However, the same is not possible with people under a respirator. That is why there is that so-called “ventilator-induced lung injury” or a damage of the lungs, which results from the use of a ventilator. This means that breathing support and treatment of lung diseases can be tricky.

Nevertheless, your pulmonologist is expected to know this situation. Reading about it here makes you a well-informed patient or offspring, parent, sibling or relative of a lung-disease patient. In such a situation, never forget to pray and use the sacrament of holy unction for healing.


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