"On a sunny day in 1998, Maura Gillison was walking across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, thinking about a virus. The young oncologist bumped into the director of the university's cancer centre, who asked politely about her work. Gillison described her discovery of early evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) — a ubiquitous pathogen that infects nearly every human at some point in their lives — could be causing tens of thousands of cases of throat cancer each year in the United States. The senior doctor stared down at Gillison, not saying a word. “That was the first clue that what I was doing was interesting to others and had potential significance,” recalls Gillison."
Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer— leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Nov 22, 2013 -
Science Fiction Comes Alive as Researchers Grow Organs in Lab
1997 -- Charles Vacanti of University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Robert Langer of Massachusetts Institute of Technology report the growing of a cartilage structure – in the shape of a human ear – on a mouse’s back. 2008 -- Doris Taylor at the University of Minnesota and colleagues grow a beating rat heart in the lab. 2008 --Surgeons in Spain transplant a new windpipe into a patient. The organ is made from a cadaver windpipe stripped of its original cells and reseeded with the patient’s own cells. 2010 -- Researchers at Mass General Hospital grow a rat liver. 2010 -- Yale University scientists grow a functioning rat lung. 2010 -- Alex Seifalian in London transplants a lab-made tear duct into patient 2011 -- Dr. Seifalian makes a windpipe from nanocomposite materials plus a patient’s own stem cells; the new windpipe replaces the patient’s cancerous one, saving his life. In a separate procedure, an artery made at Dr. Seifalian’s lab is transplanted into a patient. 2012 -- Surgeons in Sweden transplant a major blood vessel into a 10-year-old girl. The vein was taken from a dead man, stripped of its tissue, then reseeded with the girl’s own cells. 2013 -- Scientists from Cornell University report the making of a human ear using living cartilage cells.
posted by jason's_planet
on Mar 23, 2013 -
What do 3D printing, jelly, liver transplants, chainmail, dental fillings, ferrofluids, and the Six Million Dollar man have to tell us about our future? Materials scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik lets us know in this Royal Institution lecture
posted by cthuljew
on Mar 22, 2013 -
The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection
, "Each norovirus carries just nine protein-coding genes (you have about 20,000). Even with that skimpy genetic toolkit, noroviruses can break the locks on our cells, slip in, and hack our own DNA to make new noroviruses. The details of this invasion are sketchy, alas, because scientists haven’t figured out a good way to rear noroviruses in human cells in their labs. It’s not even clear exactly which type of cell they invade once they reach the gut. Regardless of the type, they clearly know how to exploit their hosts. Noroviruses come roaring out of the infected cells in vast numbers. And then they come roaring out of the body. Within a day of infection, noroviruses have rewired our digestive system so that stuff comes flying out from both ends." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Jan 3, 2013 -
Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality [FULL TEXT HTML]
: "We used data from a very large study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study
(ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00340015
), to determine whether coffee consumption is associated with total or cause-specific mortality. The current analysis, involving more than 400,000 participants and 52,000 deaths, had ample power to detect even modest associations and allowed for subgroup analyses according to important baseline factors, including the presence or absence of adiposity and diabetes, as well as cigarette-smoking status." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 25, 2012 -
The drugs don't work
: a modern medical scandal - "The doctors prescribing the drugs don't know they don't do what they're meant to. Nor do their patients. The manufacturers know full well, but they're not telling.
posted by Gyan
on Sep 22, 2012 -
Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking is known to enhance serum hemoglobin levels ... alcohol may further enhance this beneficial adaptation.
A recent paper
by Kenneth Myers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
reviews the potential benefits of smoking for endurance atheletes. [more inside]
posted by nangar
on Nov 26, 2011 -
The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 15, 2011 -
"We were concerned that the study would raise a lot of controversy and be misused," Pardo said. "We were right." Some practitioners
treat autistic children with the anti-inflammatory intravenous immunoglobulin
, citing a study
by Carlos Pardo, et al. showing inflammation in the brains of deceased autistic patients. Pardo: "modulators of immune reactions (e.g. intravenous immunoglobulins, IVIG) WOULD NOT HAVE a significant effect."
Others, following the work of Simon Baron-Cohen on autism and the male brain
, treat autistic children with testosterone inhibitors
, a prospect which Baron-Cohen says "fills me with horror." Another anti-inflammatory treatment, hyperbaric therapy, is supported by one recent clinical trial
, but looks bad in another
. Side effects include horrible death by fire
(via the Chicago Tribune)
posted by escabeche
on Nov 23, 2009 -
- "If a new drug were as effective at saving lives as Peter Pronovost’s checklist, there would be a nationwide marketing campaign urging doctors to use it" [single page]
posted by Gyan
on Jan 2, 2008 -
The Placebo Effect In Action
. "When patients believe a drug will help them, they sometimes heal themselves"
(a report on a new study from Columbia University and the University of Michigan). And, an additional take
on the Placebo Effect from the Skeptic's Dictionary.
posted by amyms
on Aug 2, 2007 -
has a somewhat technical but free supplement
on stem cells (alongwith a podcast and related blog
posted by Gyan
on Jul 2, 2006 -
No pain, no gain, they say, and when it comes to real pain, the inverse is true as well
now have research indicating there's a memory of chronic pain,"
said Dr. Doris K. Cope, director of chronic and cancer pain for the
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It changes the genic code
sometimes, it changes the biochemistry, and it causes new proteins to
Or in other words, the more pain you have, the more pain you have. (More on this
.) It's no wonder, then, that more money is spent on pain relief than any other medical problem, and that there has been so much pain research
and so many clinical trials
revealing such painful facts as redheads feel more pain
, men feel less pain
, and that there's a genetic difference
between tough guys and wimps. (Much more pain inside.)
posted by taz
on Sep 20, 2004 -
When drug companies hide data. "The attorney general's civil suit accuses the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline of committing fraud by concealing negative information about Paxil, a drug used to treat depression. The suit says that the company conducted five clinical trials of Paxil in adolescents and children, yet published only one study whose mixed results it deemed positive. The company sat on two major studies for up to four years, although the results of one were divulged by a whistle-blower at a medical conference in 1999 and all of the studies were submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 when the company sought approval for new uses of Paxil. At that time it became apparent that Paxil was no more effective than a placebo in treating adolescent depression and might even provoke suicidal thoughts.
My Dad was on Paxil until 26 days ago..... that's when he shot himself.
posted by Lusy P Hur
on Jun 6, 2004 -
Patient confidentiality vs. cancer research.
New rules on patient confidentiality prevent "research that recognises dangerous side effects of treatments and it would prevent research that would recognise avoidable causes of diseases and death. "
What is more important: 'medical progress' or 'your medical file'?
posted by nonharmful
on May 19, 2001 -
Lots of posts lately about the election, about other strange things, (and especially about my favorite subject to not read: Nader) and we haven't had a knock-down drag-out argument about ethics for a while. So I thought I'd start one about this.
Using up humans to collect medical data is unquestionably immoral and those who do it should be hung, if not put to death by torture. The question is whether those of us who had nothing to do with the collection of that data and have not done anything immoral become
immoral by using data collected that way in order to save lives. I'm going to make three posts below, so be patient.
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Oct 22, 2000 -