By Alan W. Dowd

Vote of Confidence
Congress has passed legislation strengthening military voter rights in time for the 2010 elections. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) requires all states “to have at least one method of electronic voter registration and ballot applications” by November 2010, MilitaryTimes reports. In addition, states must provide blank absentee ballots by mail and electronically. This will be helpful when ballot changes, late runoffs and/or delays cause problems with final ballots. Under the MOVE Act, overseas voters/servicemembers who request a ballot “must have 45 days from when it is sent to when it must be returned” to ensure they have enough time to vote for federal offices. And state rules on notarization of absentee ballots can no longer be used as cause for disqualifying a ballot.

Battlefield Breakthrough
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have developed synthetic platelets to speed the process of blood-clotting, especially in relation to internal bleeding. The breakthrough could have a positive impact on battlefield medicine, analysts say.

Erin Lavik and James Bertram injected synthetic platelets into lab rats and were able “to stop internal bleeding after an injury 23 percent faster than in untreated rats,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The platelets are made of biodegradable polymers that are “designed to home in and link up with the patient’s own platelets at the site of the injury,” according to the BBC.

Lavik and Bertram’s synthetic platelets include three layers: a core made of material used in dissolvable stitches, water soluble polymers in the middle and an outermost layer including a molecule that helps the synthetic platelet “bind to naturally occurring platelets, augmenting the body's own clotting process,” according to the Plain Dealer. The water-soluble layer is key because it speeds the process of flushing out the platelets once they have completed their life-saving work.

As a contributing editor to The American Legion Magazine, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.