Functional Neurons Induced From Adult Stem Cells. Meanwhile, stem cells may be better than bone marrow for certain cancers, and have the potential to revolutionize the supply of blood. Anecdotal success stories continue to pile up.
What if we could rid the world of AIDS? The notion might sound like fantasy: HIV infection has no cure and no vaccine, after all. Yet there is a way to completely wipe it out - at least in theory. What's more, it would take only existing medical technology to do the job.[more inside]
Combat Outpost. "As US and the UK forces struggle for a way forward in Afghanistan, John D McHugh's unique film from one of the US military's most dangerous outposts shows just how western forces are losing ground to the Taliban." Where are Afghanistan's missing millions? "Clancy Chassay hears charges of corruption levelled against the UN and aid agencies after millions earmarked for a Kabul hospital disappear."
In the background behind attention-grabbing headlines about famous (and wannabe-famous) cancer patients, a quiet revolution may be on the brink of changing oncology. [more inside]
Recent work by Yichao Wu, Judy Lieberman, and Deborah Palliser has led to a topical treatment that knocks out the herpes virus in testing with mice by way of RNA interference (RNAi). Notably, it works when applied prior to or after sexual contact and holds promise for human usage. (RNAi is a very recent (1998) discovery that garnered the 2006 Nobel prize [MetaFilter thread] for Fire and Mello.) You can read more about the intravaginal application of siRNAs in the January issue of Cell Host & Microbe.
A clinic nurse first removed her intrauterine birth-control device without permission, says the patient in a federal action, then told her that "having the IUD come out was a good thing," because "I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them."
“It would be completely unethical to give the drug to someone else,” he said, “but if you’re in a marriage and want to maintain that relationship, you might take a little booster shot yourself every now and then. Even now it’s not such a far-out possibility that you could use drugs in conjunction with marital therapy.”
In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections.- Going Under by Jason Zengerle of The New Republic [print version] is heartbreaking article about the high rates of drug addiction among anesthesiologists. It tells the story of Brent Cambron and his spiral into addiction. His live was also sensitively chronicled in The Boston Globe by Keith O'Brien in Something, anything to stop the pain [print version]. [more inside]
The Economist on Drugs -- Scientists in North America, Europe and Israel are studying the use of MDMA, LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and other banned psychoactive substances in treating conditions such as anxiety, cluster headaches, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are supported by private funds from a handful of organisations: the Beckley Foundation in Britain; the Heffter Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in America. [related]
A modified cellphone will revolutionize medicine in the Third World, improve your health, and maybe even make your one-night stands much less nerve-wracking.
Search for an Rx - We asked Johns Hopkins administrators, physicians, and researchers about the health of a system Americans rely on to keep them healthy. Afterall, an ounce of prevention... [more inside]
Claudia Castillo's new bronchus is the result of stem-cell research. The first hollow tube body part is transplanted with no rejection issues. A lab in Italy stripped the donor trachea of living tissue leaving a collagen matrix. Claudia's stem cells were grown in a Bristol lab, (all 6 million of them) to flesh it out, so to speak. Epithelial cells from her nose & lungs formed the lining. But...... [more inside]
What's wrong with primary care in the US? With a new survey suggesting that nearly half of all primary care physicians would leave medicine if they had a viable alternative, and with American medical schools not generating nearly enough new doctors going into primary care, in this, their first issue to hit doctors' desks since the election, the New England Journal of Medicine has devoted their entire editorial section to exploring yet another challenge that threatens the stability of the US health care system. Video of the roundtable discussion. Individual essays, at times touching, at times hopeful, from various primary care perspectives in the US and Britain. [more inside]
Do you have a yearning to be online? Do you suffer from difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritation, or mental or physical distress? According to doctors in China, you might have an internet addiction. [more inside]
The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive can be used as a training tool for CPR, because it has a near-perfect rhythm for timing compressions, it's well-known and it has a tendency to get stuck in your head. Unfortunately, another song useful for training, with a similar rhythm, isn't quite so uplifting.
The Sleep Medicine Home Page: A comprehensive links and resources one-pager for both professionals and sufferers, resources regarding all aspects of sleep including, the physiology of sleep, clinical sleep medicine, sleep research, federal and state information, patient information, and business-related groups.
"Hidden within the basement archives of Yale University's Historical Medical Library lie the original oil painting collection and personal papers of the first American surgeon to practice in China." Extraordinary paintings of compassion in a medical setting. [Warning, these are graphic depictions, some NSFW] Elegant, disturbing and moving portraits of patients by Lam Qua, commissioned by a medical missionary named Peter Parker in the 1830's. [No, not that Peter Parker. Via MeFite tellurian's awesome blog]. [more inside]
The Medicalisation of Everyday Life. "As the pace of medical innovation slows to a crawl, how do drug companies stay in profit? By 'discovering' new illnesses to fit existing products." An extract from Ben Goldacre's new book, Bad Science. [Via]
Scientists Repurpose Adult Cells - "Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research." [nature abstract, nature writeup, audio announcement]
We all know that marijuana has some medical uses. It has been discussed on Mefi many times before. Earlier this month a group of pharmacists and chemists published a study in which they found that cannabis is a source of antibacterial chemicals for multidrug resistant bacteria. If you are a pharmacists or chemist here is the actual study. A synopsis of the study for everyone else.
Lancet reports say partial face transplants are a reality. Face transplant before and after pictures here.
When Jamaican-born Mary Seacole, an experienced nurse, volunteered her services to the British Army during the Crimean War, she was rejected. Undaunted, she travelled to Crimea at her own expense and built a "mess-table and comfortable quarters," which she called the "British Hotel," and began taking care of soldiers. Her work was snubbed by Florence Nightingale, who called Seacole "a woman of bad character" and insinuated that the convalescent hotel was little more than a bordello, but Mary was beloved by the men in her care who called her "Mother Seacole." Her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands [link goes to full text and illustrations], was published a year after the war ended. Mary, who was feted by high-ranking military men and high-born civilians, went on to other nursing-related pursuits, including a stint as personal masseuse to Alexandra, Princess of Wales. Her work in Crimea was but one highlight in a very interesting life. [more inside]
Superbugs. "The new generation of resistant infections is almost impossible to treat."
Quack and fugitive from justice Professor Bill Nelson, inventor of the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface, sings of his noble struggle against the evils of conventional medicine! Via Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre. [more inside]
The owner of a California medical marijuana dispensary has been found guilty of violating federal drug laws. [LA Times] FTA: ...jurors had a clear sense that Lynch was not an ordinary street-corner drug dealer, but the fact that he was dispensing medical marijuana didn't matter under federal law. [...] "It was a tough decision for all of us because the state law and the federal law are at odds." Detailed coverage of the trial by Reason TV. Federal raids on California's medical dispensaries were recently featured on MeFi.
Scientists report a breakthrough in stem cell production: Stem cells created from ALS patient and used to make neurons. [Via]
Medpedia is coming. "In association with Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School and other leading global health organizations, the Medpedia community seeks to create the most comprehensive and collaborative medical resource in the world." Apply to contribute content. [more inside]
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey died last night a few months shy of 100 years old. The father of modern cardiovascular surgery, he extended the lives of thousands through multiple surgical innovations. [more inside]
Two years since Massachusetts instituted major statewide healthcare reform, the statistics are coming in. 340,000 residents, roughly half the state's previously uninsured, are now insured. The state says that 95% of its population is now covered, based on Department of Revenue estimates. However, a large portion of them are enrolled through state-subsidized insurance programs, and those program's rate of enrollment have far outpaced estimates. This has led lawmakers to forsee a budget shortfall. Premiums and co-pays are going up, cigarette taxes have increased, and a cost control proposal is making its way through the legislature. Assessments have been all over the map.
Please take your meds. Here's some cell minutes if you do. Or hmm, how about a chance for $10 or $100 if you take your meds? No? Well fine - it's your funeral, and then maybe we can just give you a lil somethin to take those organs off your hands. [more inside]
According to a new report, children in Sweden are becoming increasingly concerned by their parents' internet habits. "This summer she has been sitting up all day and all night and she forgets what's important to me. And when she's not at the computer she's like a lost soul. She just looks straight ahead and says nothing. I'm not doing so well." Dr Jerald Block from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is pushing for internet addiction (and its three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations and e-mail/text messaging) to be included as a common disorder in the next update of the DSM (DSM-V). "The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer... It's much more acceptable for kids to talk about game use, whereas adults keep it a secret. Rather than having sex, or arguing with their wife or husband, or feeding their children, these adults are playing games..."
Rehabilitating Carson: "Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson responsible for millions of malaria deaths?" [more inside]
Blogging could be positively deadly (previously); or (previously) at least stressful, if not lethal. Then again, it might actually be good for you!
An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson from the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
The blood substitute PolyHeme has been previously discussed on MetaFilter, but new evidence shows that PolyHeme actually raises the chances of death by nearly 30%. PolyHeme was notable mostly for the reaction to its clinical trials, which, controversially, did not require patient consent.
Awaiting autopsy, the newly deceased lies supine, naked, on a metal table. The head is positioned as if the closed eyes were looking straight up. The arms are at the side. The knees and elbows are straight. The ankles are bent forward, not to the side, at an angle of about 45 degrees. I have seen the bodies this way of persons I had known, persons I had spoken with the previous day. And sometimes a live patient, consulting me for a physical examination, will lie the same way on the examination table, naked, looking up, arms at his side; and my thoughts turn to the autopsy suite. I wonder if I will someday see him too lying this way, recently cold, and I wonder about the complicated awful predicament of the physician.Short essays by Charles Bardes, M.D. on the practice of medicine. An appreciation of Charles Bardes by Sven Birkerts.
Thirty-six years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates
lit up hailed the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
Are you batshitinsane? Viruses and/or bacteria may be the cause.
Sick Around the World, the newest documentary piece produced by PBS's Frontline asks: "Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health care system?" Having previously shared a Pulitzer Prize with The New York Times, and produced such quality programs as Bush's War, this should be well worth a mere hour of your time.
The Kanzius Machine: A Cancer Cure? 60 minutes (12:38) investigates an amateurs garage technology that some are saying "in 20 years of research this is the most exciting thing that I’ve encountered" and one Nobel Prize winner said it "will change medicine forever." The nanotechnology-based cancer therapy without side effects is nearing trials.
Scientists have discovered that "endometrial regenerative cells" (ERC's) -- in other words, human menstrual blood -- contains stem cells. ERC-derived stem cells seem to have a number of superior traits to both bone marrow derived and umbilical cord derived stem cells, the previous gold standards: they can give rise to a variety of different cell lines without differentiation, they multiply more quickly than other stem cells, they are able to replicate more times without adversely mutating, and they apparently do not need to be closely genetically matched to the recipient. Now some women have even begun banking their menstrual blood to preserve their stem cells through a company called "C'Elle: Your Monthly Miracle" -- check out their FAQ and online video. This follows last May's announcement that menstrual blood derived cells can pretty much cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in mice, a disease for which there is no current therapeutic treatment available.
The state of Oregon is holding a health insurance lottery where 91,000 hopeful enrollees will be competing for a couple thousand spots under the Oregon Health Plan, the state's Medicaid program. OHP was created to cover those who made too much to enroll in traditional Medicaid but too little to afford market healthcare, and this development comes as a result of budget cuts and a subsequent enrollment closure in July of 2004. It's a far cry from the universal health care coverage that the plan was suppose to lead to, and marks a dramatic turn for the state's once-ambitious health care reforms.
(Previously in dystopic health care developments)
(Previously in dystopic health care developments)
Can People Regenerate Body Parts? "Progress on the road to regenerating major body parts, salamander-style, could transform the treatment of amputations and major wounds."
Hannah Poling is a nine year old girl with mild to moderate symptoms of autism, which developed three months after she received vaccinations. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that her family will receive a settlement from the vaccine compensation fund. Autism activists are encouraged, but the DHHS officials insist they are not admitting a link between autism and vaccines and maintain that for most, vaccines are safe. Rather, they say, the series of vaccines Hannah received exacerbated an underlying mitochondrial condition, causing the symptoms of autism. [more inside]
“Just put your feet up here and let your legs go all floppy. Just flop your knees apart. OK, just relax.” On this week’s episode of CBC Radio's “White Coat, Black Art” [mp3], Dr. Brian Goldman talks to both patients and doctors about that important, intimate, yet often alienating experience called the pelvic exam. In case you’ve ever wondered, “How DO male doctors feel when they do a pelvic exam?”, this show may provide some interesting answers. [more inside]