03 7 / 2013

Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant.
I often speak with patients who tell me that they do not wish to be vaccinated because they do not see the point, that it is a farce, that it can cause autism (it does not), despite educating and informing them of the reasons behind it. 
In the same way that people who did not grow up during the great wars of the mid-twentieth century have little frame of reference as to what the toll of total war can be, neither can a newer generation of people who have never seen the effects of polio, smallpox, and measles ravage humanity. For many people in the developed world, these are just distant, faded memories captured in the pages of medical textbooks. 
I sincerely hope that the understanding of why we vaccinate does not become lost over time, that people need not fall victim to these preventable diseases; otherwise, the suffering, the challenges, and the research that went into developing these vaccines were all for nothing.

Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant.

I often speak with patients who tell me that they do not wish to be vaccinated because they do not see the point, that it is a farce, that it can cause autism (it does not), despite educating and informing them of the reasons behind it. 

In the same way that people who did not grow up during the great wars of the mid-twentieth century have little frame of reference as to what the toll of total war can be, neither can a newer generation of people who have never seen the effects of polio, smallpox, and measles ravage humanity. For many people in the developed world, these are just distant, faded memories captured in the pages of medical textbooks. 

I sincerely hope that the understanding of why we vaccinate does not become lost over time, that people need not fall victim to these preventable diseases; otherwise, the suffering, the challenges, and the research that went into developing these vaccines were all for nothing.

(via medicalstate)

03 7 / 2013

The AbioCor self-contained mechanical replacement heart in 2001A pioneer at heart
Twelve years ago today, doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky. implanted a self-contained mechanical heart inside a 59-year-old retired librarian named Robert Tools. Dubbed the AbioCor, the replacement heart was made of plastic and titanium, about the size of a softball, weighed four pounds and was powered by a wireless battery pack strapped to the patient’s waist.
Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of the year.
Though artificial hearts had been tested much earlier, most famously the Jarvik-7 in 1982, the AbioCor represented a first: it was self-contained and it was intended to be permanent, not just a transitional device until a real heart could be found for transplantation.
For Tools, it was a last…chance. He was in the end stages of chronic heart failure. He had lost more than 50 pounds, mostly muscle, and was essentially bedridden. Repeated cardiac events had reduced his heart to barely functional. He had been rejected as a heart transplant candidate because his kidneys were failing too. Without the AbioCor implantation, doctors estimated he had an 80 percent chance of dying within 30 days.
The operation was a relative success. Tools said as soon as he awoke from surgery, he knew he was getting better. His new heart made a constant whirring sound. “As long as I can hear that sound,” Tools said, “I know I am here.”
Doctors battled constantly with episodes of spontaneous bleeding and other complications, but Tools improved enough to occasionally venture outside the hospital for trips to ice cream parlors, a comedy club and a park. Alas, he never became well enough to be fully discharged and on November 30, 2001, Tools died from multiple organ failure. 
But not his artificial heart, which beat flawlessly to the very end – an estimated 20 million times. Indeed, engineers needed to override safety commands in a computer to stop it.

The AbioCor self-contained mechanical replacement heart in 2001

A pioneer at heart

Twelve years ago today, doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky. implanted a self-contained mechanical heart inside a 59-year-old retired librarian named Robert Tools. Dubbed the AbioCor, the replacement heart was made of plastic and titanium, about the size of a softball, weighed four pounds and was powered by a wireless battery pack strapped to the patient’s waist.

Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of the year.

Though artificial hearts had been tested much earlier, most famously the Jarvik-7 in 1982, the AbioCor represented a first: it was self-contained and it was intended to be permanent, not just a transitional device until a real heart could be found for transplantation.

For Tools, it was a last…chance. He was in the end stages of chronic heart failure. He had lost more than 50 pounds, mostly muscle, and was essentially bedridden. Repeated cardiac events had reduced his heart to barely functional. He had been rejected as a heart transplant candidate because his kidneys were failing too. Without the AbioCor implantation, doctors estimated he had an 80 percent chance of dying within 30 days.

The operation was a relative success. Tools said as soon as he awoke from surgery, he knew he was getting better. His new heart made a constant whirring sound. “As long as I can hear that sound,” Tools said, “I know I am here.”

Doctors battled constantly with episodes of spontaneous bleeding and other complications, but Tools improved enough to occasionally venture outside the hospital for trips to ice cream parlors, a comedy club and a park. Alas, he never became well enough to be fully discharged and on November 30, 2001, Tools died from multiple organ failure. 

But not his artificial heart, which beat flawlessly to the very end – an estimated 20 million times. Indeed, engineers needed to override safety commands in a computer to stop it.

(Source: ucsdhealthsciences)

12 7 / 2012

neurolove:

This is a video showing blindsight, which I talked about last week.  Patient TN had lost his sight due to a brain injury to his visual cortex.  They persuaded him to walk without his cane in this video, through a hallway with obstacles (but they also followed him just in case).

09 6 / 2012

decaturjim:

Inside the human heart
National Geographic have an impressive gallery showcasing one of the most beautiful, complex and important organs of the human anatomy: the heart.
From NG:

Tissue-paper thin but tough, the valves of the human heart open and close to pump 6 quarts (0.9 liters) of blood a day through 60,000 miles (97,000 kilometers) of vessels. That’s equivalent to 20 treks across the United States from coast to coast. The heart is a magnificent machine when it’s in good working order. But coronary heart disease is the number one killer of American men as well as women, resulting in 500,000 deaths in the United States and killing 7.2 million people worldwide each year.

Photograph by Lennart Nilsson

decaturjim:

Inside the human heart

National Geographic have an impressive gallery showcasing one of the most beautiful, complex and important organs of the human anatomy: the heart.

From NG:

Tissue-paper thin but tough, the valves of the human heart open and close to pump 6 quarts (0.9 liters) of blood a day through 60,000 miles (97,000 kilometers) of vessels. That’s equivalent to 20 treks across the United States from coast to coast. The heart is a magnificent machine when it’s in good working order. But coronary heart disease is the number one killer of American men as well as women, resulting in 500,000 deaths in the United States and killing 7.2 million people worldwide each year.

Photograph by Lennart Nilsson

08 6 / 2012

jtotheizzoe:


I found my son’s killer.
It took three years.
But we did it.
I should clarify one point: my son is very much alive.
Yet, my wife Cristina and I have been found responsible for his death.

That’s how Matt Might (of The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. fame) introduces us to his heart-wrenching tale of a sick child. Months of research, dozens of doctors’ visits and no answers found … only more questions. Time was, and is, running out for their son. 
So they decided to go beyond the cutting edge, and have their genomes sequenced (the parts that encode proteins, anyway). Their son is patient zero of a never-before seen disorder, and the knowledge to save his life lies just beyond our reach.
It’s a must-read, and a reminder of why we toil in labs across the world: To move that line a bit farther out, and help people like Matt and his son.
If you’d like to help support this work, Matt is selling printed copies of his famous Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. with proceeds going to research to benefit genetic disorders.

jtotheizzoe:

I found my son’s killer.

It took three years.

But we did it.

I should clarify one point: my son is very much alive.

Yet, my wife Cristina and I have been found responsible for his death.


That’s how Matt Might (of The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. fame) introduces us to his heart-wrenching tale of a sick child. Months of research, dozens of doctors’ visits and no answers found … only more questions. Time was, and is, running out for their son. 

So they decided to go beyond the cutting edge, and have their genomes sequenced (the parts that encode proteins, anyway). Their son is patient zero of a never-before seen disorder, and the knowledge to save his life lies just beyond our reach.

It’s a must-read, and a reminder of why we toil in labs across the world: To move that line a bit farther out, and help people like Matt and his son.

If you’d like to help support this work, Matt is selling printed copies of his famous Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. with proceeds going to research to benefit genetic disorders.

07 6 / 2012

discoverynews:

Paralyzed Rats Regain Mobility in Lab
After severe spinal cord damage, paralyzed rats are able to walk again with the help of a robot to hold them up and stimulate their nerves, a new study shows.
After the rats are trained on the machine for about two months, they gained the ability to control their hind legs — which had previously been cut off from communicating with the brain — with enough dexterity to climb stairs and navigate around objects. This control means that the brain has forged new connections to get around the spinal cord injury.
keep reading

discoverynews:

Paralyzed Rats Regain Mobility in Lab

After severe spinal cord damage, paralyzed rats are able to walk again with the help of a robot to hold them up and stimulate their nerves, a new study shows.

After the rats are trained on the machine for about two months, they gained the ability to control their hind legs — which had previously been cut off from communicating with the brain — with enough dexterity to climb stairs and navigate around objects. This control means that the brain has forged new connections to get around the spinal cord injury.

keep reading

06 6 / 2012

biologylair:

Fluorescent microscopy capturing neuron differentiation.
Photo Credit:
Dr. Torsten Wittman, Scripps Research Institute3rd Place Winner, Nikon Small World Contest 2004

biologylair:

Fluorescent microscopy capturing neuron differentiation.

Photo Credit:

Dr. Torsten Wittman, Scripps Research Institute
3rd Place Winner, Nikon Small World Contest 2004

05 6 / 2012

othergeeks:

HeLa cells treated with a compound so that distinct groups of proteins become visible. That is; tubulin, which is a generic family of proteins turns red, and DNA blue.
There’s more here, by the way.

othergeeks:

HeLa cells treated with a compound so that distinct groups of proteins become visible. That is; tubulin, which is a generic family of proteins turns red, and DNA blue.

There’s more here, by the way.

04 6 / 2012

03 6 / 2012

sagansense:

Smithsonian to Create Its 1st Human Genome Exhibit
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is developing its first major exhibit on the human genome with a $3 million pledge announced Monday from a biotechnology company.
The philanthropic foundation of Life Technologies Corp. is the lead sponsor for a 2,500-square-foot exhibition slated to open on the National Mall in June 2013.
The museum will collaborate with the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health to develop a high-tech presentation of the history and future of genome sciences. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health also raised $500,000 for the project.
The effort marks the 10th anniversary of researchers producing the first complete human genome sequence as a blueprint of the human body. The Human Genome Project was launched as an international effort in 1990 to better understand the genetic impact on health and disease.
Elizabeth Duggal, the museum’s associate director for public programs, said most people probably don’t know how quickly genomic science has advanced since then and how much of an impact it can have on their lives.
Carlsbad, Calif.-based Life Technologies recently announced it has developed a machine to decode an individual’s DNA in a day for $1,000. The cost of sequencing DNA has tumbled since the first sequencing of the basic human genome was announced at the White House in 2000.
“Genetic research is probably one of the most important components of the 21st century in terms of life science advances,” she said.
Reaching the $1,000 target is considered a key step in making the technique more accessible and practical for doctors to use to help their patents by revealing vulnerabilities or tailoring medical treatments.
“What science has taught us about genomics in the last 10 years will undoubtedly be dwarfed by the revolutionary advancements to come,” Gregory Lucier, chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, said in a statement.
The museum also plans to delve into ethical questions that arise with advancements in genetic science.
Curators will ask visitors their thoughts on whether to find out about prenatal health issues or risks their children may face. In some cases, treatment can begin for a genetic defect before symptoms ever develop to dramatically improve the lives of those children.
Knowing more about the latest research can empower visitors and get them thinking about how their own choices can impact their genome.
“I think all of us know someone who maybe has cancer or diabetes and how those things can be looked at from both a genetic and environmental factor,” Duggal said.
Genetic research also is part of the museum’s future. It recently built the world’s largest natural history biorepository with 24 liquid nitrogen tanks and 58 freezers to store animal DNA, RNA and tissue samples, and it is planning a genomics research lab on the National Mall, said Dr. Jonathan Coddington, the museum’s associate director for research.
“So we’re thinking about becoming a museum of genomes,” he said. “We’ll still be the old fashioned museum we’ve always been, but we’ll add to that genomics.”
The human genome exhibit will be open at least a year in Washington before traveling nationally and internationally.

sagansense:

Smithsonian to Create Its 1st Human Genome Exhibit

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is developing its first major exhibit on the human genome with a $3 million pledge announced Monday from a biotechnology company.

The philanthropic foundation of Life Technologies Corp. is the lead sponsor for a 2,500-square-foot exhibition slated to open on the National Mall in June 2013.

The museum will collaborate with the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health to develop a high-tech presentation of the history and future of genome sciences. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health also raised $500,000 for the project.

The effort marks the 10th anniversary of researchers producing the first complete human genome sequence as a blueprint of the human body. The Human Genome Project was launched as an international effort in 1990 to better understand the genetic impact on health and disease.

Elizabeth Duggal, the museum’s associate director for public programs, said most people probably don’t know how quickly genomic science has advanced since then and how much of an impact it can have on their lives.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Life Technologies recently announced it has developed a machine to decode an individual’s DNA in a day for $1,000. The cost of sequencing DNA has tumbled since the first sequencing of the basic human genome was announced at the White House in 2000.

“Genetic research is probably one of the most important components of the 21st century in terms of life science advances,” she said.

Reaching the $1,000 target is considered a key step in making the technique more accessible and practical for doctors to use to help their patents by revealing vulnerabilities or tailoring medical treatments.

“What science has taught us about genomics in the last 10 years will undoubtedly be dwarfed by the revolutionary advancements to come,” Gregory Lucier, chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, said in a statement.

The museum also plans to delve into ethical questions that arise with advancements in genetic science.

Curators will ask visitors their thoughts on whether to find out about prenatal health issues or risks their children may face. In some cases, treatment can begin for a genetic defect before symptoms ever develop to dramatically improve the lives of those children.

Knowing more about the latest research can empower visitors and get them thinking about how their own choices can impact their genome.

“I think all of us know someone who maybe has cancer or diabetes and how those things can be looked at from both a genetic and environmental factor,” Duggal said.

Genetic research also is part of the museum’s future. It recently built the world’s largest natural history biorepository with 24 liquid nitrogen tanks and 58 freezers to store animal DNA, RNA and tissue samples, and it is planning a genomics research lab on the National Mall, said Dr. Jonathan Coddington, the museum’s associate director for research.

“So we’re thinking about becoming a museum of genomes,” he said. “We’ll still be the old fashioned museum we’ve always been, but we’ll add to that genomics.”

The human genome exhibit will be open at least a year in Washington before traveling nationally and internationally.