Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home stretch

We're nearing the end of a busy week in biotechnology. Many investors are already flying back to their strongholds in New York City and the New England region, where they will no doubt have to engage in a rather stressful activity known as snow shoveling.
Investors taking in the rays before going home

Snow shoveling is not something many of us Californians have to worry about. Except for those lucky enough to own a vacation home in Tahoe -the poor are now rumored to have vacation homes too-, snow shoveling is about as foreign to us as curling. And maybe that is a good thing, because according to a recent article published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, shoveling leads to about 11,500 injuries and medical emergencies requiring a hospital visit each year. This year there will probably be many more.

Shoveling puts extreme demands on the cardiovascular system and can raise heart rates to the max in about two minutes. Couple that with freezing temperatures that constrict peripheral blood vessels to further stress the heart and you have a recipe for disaster. More than half the injuries are due to acute muscular exertion, almost 10% result from damage to the heart, including heart attack and another 20% are due to slips and falls.

Ice skating in Union Square, San Francisco
One thing the article also pointed out is that a lot of injuries are due to the non-ergonomical design of the shovel. Unlike the ultra-modern carbon fiber bikes that many people ride in summer, the snow shovel remains an old fashioned, 19th century contraption. It appears there is an unmet need and potentially a large market here.

Carbon Fiber, only $3,000!!

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