Friday, July 27, 2012

Life of a Nantucket Surgeon

Dr. Lepore sounds like a great doctor whose practice of medicine reminds me of what it is often like to practice in the third world.

In her new book, “Island Practice,” the New York Times reporter Pam Belluck tells the story of Dr. Timothy Lepore, a quirky 67-year-old physician who for the past 30 years has been the only surgeon working on the island of Nantucket. But Dr. Lepore (rhymes with peppery) is no ordinary surgeon. Life on an island, even one that has become a summer playground to the rich and famous, requires a certain amount of resourcefulness and flexibility.

Blink and Block: Eye Makeup Adds SPF

Eye creams with SPF are standard fare — the skin around the eyes, after all, is among the most delicate and wrinkle-prone on the body — and now eye makeup is getting a boost of sun protection too. More and more concealers, and a few eye shadows, too, are claiming to ward off harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rat Heart Cells And Electricity Power This Silicone Cyborg Jellyfish

Yup, scientists have put all those crazy things together into one creature, with the hopes of one day finding a way to grow new parts of the human heart.

The New Science Behind America's Deadliest Diseases

What do heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, stroke and cancer have in common? Scientists have linked each of these to a condition known as chronic inflammation, and they are studying how high-fat foods and excess body weight may increase the risk for fatal disorders.
Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury and outside irritants. But when the irritants don't let up, because of a diet of high-fat foods, too much body fat and smoking, for example, the immune system can spiral out of control and increase the risk for disease. Experts say when inflammation becomes chronic it can damage heart valves and brain cells, trigger strokes, and promote resistance to insulin, which leads to diabetes. It also is associated with the development of cancer.
"We've learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules," Dr. Libby says. The most important step patients can take is to lose excess weight, which can reduce inflammation in a matter of weeks or months, he says.

Greater dietary fiber consumption was associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein and other markers in the blood that signal inflammation, according to a new study involving nearly 600 adolescents published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Norman Pollock, a researcher at Georgia Health Sciences University and a co-author of the study, says one explanation may be that fiber is associated with higher levels of a protein hormone that improves insulin sensitivity, which in turn lowers levels of inflammation.
A combination of nutrients found in dairy food may also help ease inflammation in patients at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Situation of Success

As Bryan explained to me, “it’s not that people’s ideology doesn’t matter, it’s just that their views on important issues can move around significantly depending on how they think about their own success. When they’re focused on their own talent and effort, they’re much less willing to contribute to the common good than when they pause to recognize that luck and help from other people played a big part in their ability to succeed.”
Via Simoleon Sense

Saturday, July 21, 2012

View from the International Space Station at Night

From Knate Myers: "Every frame in this video is a photograph taken from the International Space Station. All credit goes to the crews on board the ISS.
I removed noise and edited some shots in photoshop. Compiled and arranged in Sony Vegas.
Music by John Murphy - Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)"

View from the ISS at Night from Knate Myers on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nanoparticle Completely Eradicates Hepatitis C Virus

Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have developed a nanoparticle that has shown 100 percent effectiveness in eradicating the hepatitis C virus in laboratory testing. 
The nanoparticle, dubbed a nanozyme, consists of a backbone made from gold nanoparticles and a surface with two biological components. One biological component is an enzyme that attacks and destroys the mRNA, which provides the recipe for duplicating the protein that causes the disease. The other biological part is the navigator, if you will. It is a DNA oligonucleotide that identifies the disease-related protein and sends the enzyme on course to destroy it.

The Humans With Super Human Vision

An unknown number of women may perceive 
millions of colors invisible to the rest of us. One British scientist is trying to track them down and understand their extraordinary power of sight.

LinkResearchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches. And because perceiving color is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Troubled New York Hospitals Forgo Coverage for Malpractice

Several of the city’s most troubled hospitals are partially or completely uninsured for malpractice, state records show, forgoing what is considered a standard safeguard across the country.
Some have saved money to cover their liabilities, but others have used up their malpractice reserves, meaning that any future awards or settlements could come at the expense of patients’ care, and one hospital has closed its obstetric practice, in part out of fear of lawsuits.
Executives of these hospitals, most of which are in poor neighborhoods, say their dire financial circumstances and high premiums make it impractical to pay millions of dollars a year for insurance.

Joan Didion, “On Self-Respect”

Although to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials, it seems to me now the one condition necessary to the beginnings of real self-respect. Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception.
In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of mortal nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues. The measure of its slipping prestige is that one tends to think of it only in connection with homely children and United States senators who have been defeated, preferably in the primary, for reelection. Nonetheless, character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Eyes Have It: Marketers Now Track Shoppers' Retinas

To find out what really draws their test shoppers' attention, companies likeProcter & Gamble Co., PG +1.81%Unilever UL +1.58% PLC and Kimberly-Clark Corp. KMB +0.62% are combining three-dimensional computer simulations of product designs and store layouts with eye-tracking technology. And that, in turn, is helping them roll out new products faster and come up with designs and shelf layouts that boost sales.

Falling costs are helping to make the use of such technology more commonplace. A retina-tracking camera embedded in the rim of a computer screen and attached to special glasses or free standing typically costs $25,000 to $40,000, Dr. Wedel says. The information it collects can be used to form a "heat map" that uses color to show where people looked on a simulated shelf.
Some companies also attach bands to testers' heads to monitor brain-wave activity showing which designs trigger pleasurable responses, says David Johnston, a senior vice president at JDA Software Group Inc. JDAS +1.46%Companies also track involuntary facial expressions to gauge true emotional reaction, says Jonathan Asher, an executive vice president at marketing firm Perception Research Services International Inc.

Vital Signs "We Can Take His Heart Out, Remove the Tumor, and Put It Back In"

My own heart sank. Primary tumors, which originate in tissues rather than spreading there from some other place in the body, are uncommon in the heart. They occur in less than 0.05 percent of autopsies. Seventy-five percent of them are benign, but this one did not look harmless. Benign tumors typically grow out from the surface of the cardiac wall like a mushroom on a stalk; malignant tumors look more like a bulge of varying thickness in the wall. Most cardiac surgeons will encounter only a few benign primary tumors in a career, and many will never deal with a malignant one.
“If we were to think about removing it,” I asked, “how would we approach it?”
“How old is the patient?”
“Thirty-seven,” I answered.
“Any history of coronary disease?”
“The transfer notes don’t mention anything.”
“Good,” said Mike. “There might be one way to remove this, but it is drastic. We can take his heart out of his body, remove the tumor, reconstruct the heart, and put it back in.”
“Okay…wow,” was all I could say.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where is Matt 2012

What a a great idea Matt has...and has been living...

Seeking a Laptop? What You Need to Know

David Pogue (NYtimes) guide to laptop shopping

So here’s a guide to help you figure out what’s worth paying attention to, and what you can skip.

Obama’s Fantastic Boring Idea

The latest from Kristof..
The farm fields here are cemeteries of cornstalks: a severe drought has left them brown, withered and dead. Normally, a failed crop like that signifies starvation.
Then television cameras arrive and transmit images of famished children into American and European living rooms. Emergency food shipments are rushed in at huge expense.
Yet there is a better way, and it’s unfolding here in rural Malawi, in southern Africa. Instead of shipping food after the fact, the United States aid agency, U.S.A.I.D., has been working with local farmers to promote new crops and methods so that farmers don’t have to worry about starving in the first place.
President Obama has made agriculture a focus of his foreign aid programs with mixed results. On the plus side, these initiatives are smart, cost-effective and potentially transformative. On the negative side, they’re boring. At a time when there’s a vigorous political debate in America about foreign aid, outreach to African farmers doesn’t wow Congress or the American people.
But if it’s boring, it’s also succeeding. I’m on my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student — this year, it’s Jordan Schermerhorn of Rice University — and we have seen fields here being irrigated for the first time, powered by foot pedal treadle pumps (resembling elliptical machines from an American gym).

In Dieting, Magic Isn’t a Substitute for Science

We asked Dr. Jules Hirsch, emeritus professor and emeritus physician in chief at Rockefeller University, who has been researching obesity for nearly 60 years, about the state of the research. Dr. Hirsch, who receives no money from pharmaceutical companies or the diet industry, wrote some of the classic papers describing why it is so hard to lose weight and why it usually comes back.

What would you tell someone who wanted to lose weight?
I would have them eat a lower-calorie diet. They should eat whatever they normally eat, but eat less. You must carefully measure this. Eat as little as you can get away with, and try to exercise more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

EyeMusic Sensory Substitution System to Help Navigate World in Audio

Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel have developed a new, more intuitive way for blind people to perceive and interact with objects in the environment around them.  EyeMusic is a sensory substitution device (SSD) that converts visual input into audio output, and many have been attempted before. According to a study just published in journalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience, EyeMusic is an effective system that users can quickly learn to use and that may one day lead to an effective interface for blind people.

To treat genes, apply directly to the skin

Scientists have shown that they can deliver gene-regulation technology directly through the skin with regular moisturizers.
This first-time demonstration of the method indicates its great potential for life-saving therapies for skin cancers, say the researchers, who were led by a physician-scientist and a chemist from the fields of dermatology and nanotechnology.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Life-Death Predictor Adds to a Cancer’s Strain

In May 2011, Cassandra Caton, an 18-year-old with honey-colored hair and the soft features of a child, suddenly went blind in her right eye. Five months later, an ophthalmologist noticed something disturbing. A large growth in the back of her eye had ripped her retina, destroying her vision.

He sent her to Washington University in St. Louis, a three-hour drive from her sparsely furnished apartment in the working-class town of Sedalia, Mo.
And there, Ms. Caton, mother of a 2-year-old daughter, wife of a chicken factory worker, got almost incomprehensibly bad news. The growth was cancer, a melanoma, and it was so huge it filled her eyeball.
“Am I going to die?” Ms. Caton asked. “Is my baby going to have a mommy in five years?”
It is a question that plagues cancer patients. Doctors try to give survival odds based on a tumor’s appearance and size, but often that is just an educated guess.
But Ms. Caton had a new option, something that became possible only in this new genetic age. She could have a genetic test of her tumor that could reveal her prognosis with uncanny precision. The test identifies one of two gene patterns in eye melanomas. Almost everyone in Class 1 — roughly half of patients — is cured when the tumor is removed. As for those in Class 2, 70 to 80 percent will die within five years. Their cancers will re-emerge as growths in the liver. For them, there is no cure and no way to slow the disease.
No test has ever been so accurate in predicting cancer outcomes, researchers said.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Bees can 'turn back time,' reverse brain aging

Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia. In a study published in the scientific journal Experimental Gerontology, a team of scientists from ASU and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, led by Gro Amdam, an associate professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, presented findings that show that tricking older, foraging bees into doing social tasks inside the nest causes changes in the molecular structure of their brains.

Don't Indulge. Be Happy

The catch is that additional income doesn’t buy us any additional happiness on a typical day once we reach that comfortable standard. The magic number that defines this “comfortable standard” varies across individuals and countries, but in the United States, it seems to fall somewhere around $75,000. Using Gallup data collected from almost half a million Americans, researchers at Princeton found that higher household incomes were associated with better moods on a daily basis — but the beneficial effects of money tapered off entirely after the $75,000 mark.

Yes, and it’s not even close. When we follow up with people who receive cash from us, those whom we told to spend on others report greater happiness than those told to spend on themselves. And in countries from Canada to India to South Africa, we find that people are happier when they spend money on others rather than on themselves.
To be clear, having more goldfish (or more gold) doesn’t decrease our happiness — those first few crackers may provide a genuine burst of delight. But rather than focusing on how much we’ve got in our bowl, we should think more carefully about what we do with what we’ve got — which might mean indulging less, and may even mean giving others the opportunity to indulge instead.

A New Treatment’s Tantalizing Promise Brings Heartbreaking Ups and Downs

Mrs. McDaniel, the 69-year-old wife of a retired corporate executive, had gambled on the ultimate in personalized medicine, an approach known as whole genome sequencing, and it seemed to be paying off.
Scientists had compared the entire genetic sequences of the tumor cells invading her body with those in her healthy cells, searching for mutated tumor genes that could be thwarted by drugs approved for other cancers or even other diseases. That had led them to give her an expensive drug approved just a month earlier formelanoma patients. It had never been given to anyone with a blood cell cancer like hers. In theory, the drug should have killed her. Instead, it seemed to have halted or even reversed her cancer.
But would it last? And what would it mean if it did not?
Related Posts with Thumbnails