When you check in to a hospital in the future, along with checking your vitals and ordering a blood panel, your doctors may assign you a personal mouse. The immune-deficient creature will receive a transplant of your tissue, which will allow it to mimic your immune system, or maybe your specific type of cancer. Then doctors can try out a cocktail of drugs or gene therapies to see what might work on you.
For more than two years, Stanford University geneticist Michael Snyder donated his living body to science. He and fellow researchers examined his DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, creating an incredibly detailed profile of his personal "omics." They watched in real time and at the molecular level as viruses attacked his cells, and they figured out, to their shock, that he was prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
By Katie Peek and Ryan BradleyPosted 03.06.2012 at 10:10 am 0 Comments
Strains of seasonal influenza behave slightly differently season to season and strain to strain. The differences are revealing. The rate of transmission of the 1918 pandemic, which killed 40 million people, closely mirrors the data from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The two strains are, in fact, closely related. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epidemiologists study the patterns of flu data from the current season against historic data. The comparison helps them make informed decisions about how to respond to the virus: what kind of vaccine to make, how to make it, and how and where to distribute it. As data sets improve, scientists will be able to better predict how future strains of seasonal influenza will spread.
See the infographic in full here.
The ability to heal--to repair oneself repeatedly and thus sustain damage repeatedly--is one of biology’s greatest tricks, and one that humans have been trying to replicate in synthetic materials for years. Now, bioengineers at University of California, San Diego, have done so via a hydrogel that could be something of a game-changer in disciplines like medicine and materials science.
By Jeremiah ZagarPosted 02.29.2012 at 1:04 pm 9 Comments
Heart Stop Beating is a three-minute documentary film about the no-pulse, continuous-flow artificial heart, which Dan Baum writes about in our Future of Medicine issue. It tells the story of Billy Cohn & Bud Frazier, two visionary doctors from the Texas Heart Institute, who in March of 2011 successfully replaced a dying man's heart with the device they developed, proving that life was possible without a pulse or a heart beat.
Meeko the calf stood nuzzling a pile of hay. He didn't seem to have much appetite, and he looked a little bored. Every now and then, he glanced up, as though wondering why so many people with clipboards were standing around watching him.
Fourteen hours earlier, I'd watched doctors lift Meeko's heart from his body and place it, still beating, in a plastic dish. He looked no worse for the experience, whisking away a fly with his tail as he nibbled, demonstrably alive—though above his head, a monitor showed a flatlined pulse. I held a stethoscope to his warm, fragrant flank and heard, instead of the deep lub-dub of a heartbeat, what sounded like a dentist's drill or the underwater whine of an outboard motor. Something was keeping Meeko alive, but it was nothing like a heart.
By Ryan BradleyPosted 02.29.2012 at 10:18 am 12 Comments
My first migraine arrived in a fuzzy cloud of reds and purples, a stab of pain that left me bent over in the back of an auto-rickshaw, squinting and nauseous, on my morning commute to Connaught Place, in New Delhi. Months later, when I left India, I thought that the headaches would disappear along with the chaos of the overcrowded capital. They didn't. And finally, after months spent stumbling into my room, drawing the curtains, and lying in the darkness for hours wishing for sleep, I went to an internist, who prescribed a brain scan.
To catch a fast-acting virus, response teams have to be faster
By Ryan BradleyPosted 02.28.2012 at 10:05 am 8 Comments
A man who worked in a lead and gold mine in southwest Uganda died suddenly from a hemorrhagic fever. Concerned that it could be the beginning of an outbreak of Marburg virus, which is similar to Ebola, doctors sent a blood sample to the Uganda Virus Research Institute, where pathologists confirmed that Marburg was indeed the cause of death and alerted the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both the WHO and the CDC are tasked with containing the spread of virulent diseases.
Today in non-cosmetic body piercings: A group of engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a way to control, well, just about anything (but most likely, things like wheelchairs) with a combination of a magnetic tongue piercing and a paired retainer. The user would press the tongue piercing against different parts of the retainer to send signals. Shift into neutral! Pretend like you're saying the word "lilt"!