Posts

March 13, 2015

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3:35 PM | FluView Week 9: Influenza Decreases, But Remains Elevated
#9822     Although the level of influenza across the United States continues to wind down, in some places influenza lingers on, with widespread influenza activity still reported by nine states (Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Vermont). Influenza B, as we often see, is making a late season surge – and unlike with the mismatched H3N2 component of this year’s vaccine – the B  (trivalent […]
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2:36 PM | Molecule that fixes “leaky” blood vessels can impact cancer, stroke, and blindness
In a new study, a cellular protein called R-Ras was found to suppress the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a signaling molecule that helps create new blood vessels and is overexpressed in many tumors.
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2:13 PM | In Its Endlessness Life Abounds
The past one year has been rough - what with the deaths of a few close family members. Just as I am slowly settling into 2015, in quick succession come three harsh blows from life: first, that poignant announcement from Prof. Oliver Sachs, next, the untimely death of a beloved mentor and friend, Prof. Paula Pitha-Rowe, and now, the sudden passing of my ever-the-most-favorite author, Sir Terry Pratchett. One by one, my favorite people are leaving me, and I don't... Read more
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1:55 PM | CDC Grand Rounds: Childhood Emergency Preparedness – March 17th
  # 9821   Each month the CDC holds a Grand Rounds web presentation that focuses on a single health-related issue.  In the past I’ve highlighted their broadcasts on such diverse topics as Multidrug-Resistant Gonorrhea, Electronic Health Records, and Sodium Reduction . . . to name a few.   Next week the CDC will broadcast a new Grand Rounds on a topic near and dear to this former first responder’s heart:   Addressing Preparedness Challenges for […]
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1:23 PM | NIH Statement On Arrival Of American HCW With Ebola Virus For Treatment
The NIH Clinical Center.     # 9820   Yesterday the news broke that for the second time, the NIH will admit and treat an American Healthcare worker infected with the Ebola virus, this time having been air-evac’d overnight from Sierra Leone to their facility in in Bethesda, Md.. Although not exactly routine, the past six months has shown that Ebola cases can be successfully – and safely – treated in modern hospitals.   On October […]
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12:06 PM | Yes, Dr. Lanka, Measles is Real
This is something I thought would probably never happen – a science denier, in this case German virologist Stefan Lanka, was ordered by a court to pay 100,000 Euros to German doctor David Barden for meeting his challenge to prove that the measles virus exists. Lanka is clearly, in my opinion, a crank, which is a [...]
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12:01 PM | A better way to sequence exomes?
I caught up with a new company on the target capture scene, Directed Genomics, at AGBT. Their approach is based on a simple idea: if you want to sequence exomes, why not capture only exons? Most exome-seq methods (Illumina, Agilent, Nimblegen) use oligo-baits to pull-down adapter-ligated fragment libraries, with fragments of 200-300bp. As exons are only 170bp long (80–85% Human exons less than 200bp Zhu et al & Sakharkar et al) we sequence lots of near- or off-target bases. These can […]
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11:34 AM | China Reports 2nd H5N1 Case of 2015
# 9819   Despite being the probable birthplace of H5N1, and having both the world’s largest population and the greatest number of poultry – for reasons that are less than clear – China remains only 5th on the list of countries with the most reported human H5N1 cases, trailing well behind Egypt, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. This disparity is even greater when you factor in the differences in population, making the incidence of H5N1 in Egypt more than […]
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11:30 AM | A naturopathic “apostate” confirms that naturopathy is a pseudoscientific belief system
Naturopathy is 80% quackery, 19% science-based modalities like diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes rebranded and infused with woo, and maybe 1% valid medicine. Yes, I know I’m probably being generous given that naturopathy is based on a vitalistic, prescientific worldview and originated in the 19th century German “natural living” movement, but I’m in a generous…
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11:00 AM | Blood pressure drug protects against symptoms of multiple sclerosis in animal models
Guanabenz, an FDA-approved drug for hypertension, appears to prevent myelin loss and alleviates symptoms of MS by enhancing innate cellular protective response, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Chicago.
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11:00 AM | Riding on the Brain Train
Brain training has been around for a long time, long before communication technology, let alone smartphones. Still, the updated versions of brain training available through free apps are certainly becoming fairly advanced. Apps such as Luminosity break up the training into several domains, including memory, focus, problem solving and speed and flexibility of thinking. The […]
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11:00 AM | ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out
Editors’ note: With this guest post, we welcome Britt Marie Hermes to the SBM blog. Her new blog NaturopathicDiaries.com was mentioned by Jann Bellamy last week. Hermes is a former naturopath who came to doubt naturopathy. Through her contact with Jann, she has agreed to contribute occasional blog posts to us. Her insights into the […]
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8:30 AM | Image of the Week: Smartphone Microscope
2015 is the UN’s International Year of Light, and to celebrate, the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering at Heriot-Watt University is launching a smartphone microscope competition for students. ‘Enlightenment: Build it, See it, Show it’ aims to get schoolchildren across Scotland building their own microscopes from kits, and using them to take amazing […]

March 12, 2015

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10:04 PM | Sugar-Nanoparticles Reduce Inflammation Caused by Strokes
ByThe Toombst     New research finds that amino sugar-nanoparticles reduce inflammation and cell damage caused by a stroke. A stroke is when brain tissue becomes deprived of oxygen by a blood clot or a rupture causing bleeding. The reduced or blocked blood flow starves tissue downstream of the blockage causing tissue damage. Tissue damage leads to inflammation resulting in even greater damage. Reducing damage caused by inflammation could improve prognosis of stroke patients. New […]
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9:55 PM | Consequences of not vaccinating a child–measles complications
The Skeptical Raptor, stalking pseudoscience in the internet jungle. Updated 12 March 2015 This story was first published in May 2012. It has been updated mainly because another story about a child being diagnosed with SSPE after a measles infection published here by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. One of the memes of the vaccine denialists is that childhood diseases, like measles or whooping cough, are not dangerous. … Continue reading Consequences of not vaccinating a […]
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8:15 PM | Child pays price for anti-vaccine misinformation
The Skeptical Raptor, stalking pseudoscience in the internet jungle. This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA). She is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually-stimulating, articles about vaccines (generally, but sometimes moving to other areas of medicine), social policy and the law. Her articles unwind the … Continue […]
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7:52 PM | “Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?” Live forever in our hearts, PTerry
One by one, the luminous lights are being extinguished. A stark reminder yet again, that life is fragile, ephemeral, fickle. One of my most-favorite-ever of authors passed away today. Goodbye, and rest in peace, Sir Terry Pratchett. You have given me the gifts of laughter and a deeper understanding of life. Thank you for everything. You shall live forever in our hearts and minds. The following is a screenshot from the only official announcement (from the Publishers) that I could... Read more
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7:11 PM | Ci3’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab awarded $1 million MacArthur Foundation grant
The MacArthur Foundation has awarded $1 million over two years to Ci3's Game Changer Chicago Design Lab (GCC Design Lab) to advance its work developing game-based learning experiences that promote sexual health among urban youth.
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7:04 PM | TSRI: H10N8 and H6N1 Bind Poorly To Human Receptor Cells
Flu Virus binding to Receptor Cells – Credit CDC   # 9818   Considering the recent spate of worrisome H5 and H7N9 bird flu news, I’m happy to report that at least two recently emerged avian viruses haven’t yet acquired one of the main traits that would allow them to become serious pandemic threats; the ability to bind preferentially to human receptor cells. While our gaze has been focused primarily on H5N1 and H7N9, in the summer of 2013 Taiwan reported […]
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6:42 PM | Living a healthy life
This is a guest post by Nick Stokes. Nowadays, it is hard to do a job and remain healthy in the process. As the world changes, most of the people are starting to live in cities. These urban environments are filled with pollution. Furthermore, we live fast paced lives with a lot of stress. Back…
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6:14 PM | Saudi MOH Reports 2 More MERS Cases In Riyadh
    # 9817   Riyadh’s run of MERS Cases continues today with two new cases – including one health care worker.  Both are either suspected or confirmed to be nosocomial infections.   So far, Saudi Arabia has reported 30 cases during this month of March.  
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4:36 PM | Boko Haram and Africa’s Neglected Tropical Diseases
Peter Hotez (@PeterHotez), Co-Editor in Chief of PLOS NTDs, was named U.S. Science Envoy by the White House and State Department with a focus on vaccine science diplomacy and joint vaccine development with countries in the Middle East and North … Continue reading »The post Boko Haram and Africa’s Neglected Tropical Diseases appeared first on Speaking of Medicine.
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4:25 PM | India Media Report: NIV Denies Mutations In H1N1
  # 9816   Yesterday, in contrast to recent government denials (see No mutation of H1N1), we looked at an analysis by MIT: Genetic Changes In A 2014 Indian H1N1pdm09 Virus, that the authors offered as an possible explanation for the reportedly severe H1N1 season India is experiencing this winter (see press release Analysis suggests a more virulent swine flu virus in the Indian subcontinent).   Today, media reports are carrying denials by India’s National […]
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4:21 PM | Optogenetics without the genetics
Optogenetics, a technique which enables scientists to control the activity of neurons with light, has revolutionaized the field of neuroscience. However, it relies on genetic engineering, which limits its use. A new study demonstrates a potential solution to this problem: gold nanoparticles.
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3:15 PM | Sniffing out human pheromones
The science behind human sex scents is rancid, a scientist claims ScicuriousNeuroscience by Bethany Brookshire 12:00pm, March 12, 2015 There’s some appeal to the idea of a potion loaded with pheromones that makes us just a bit more attractive. But a new review claims that the research behind many putative human pheromones stinks.mikeledray/ShutterstockMany of us love […]
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3:05 PM | Match Day at Perelman: Family and French Countryside Before the Big Day
Each year, Perelman School of Medicine students and medical students across the country count down to annual “Match Day,” which marks one of the most important days in a medical student's career. Friday, March 20, students will come together with their classmates and wait for the envelope that will tell...
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3:00 PM | On penicillin
Today, we have a guest post by Philip Lederer, an Infectious Disease fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a former Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His views do not represent any of those organizations.Bright and alert, the elderly woman sat in a chair in the corner of her hospital room. Snow fell lightly outside. An IV ran into her arm, giving her antibiotics for a bloodstream […]
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2:50 PM | Netherlands: (Probably) Mild Bird Flu In Barneveld
Photo Credit – FAO # 9815   The Netherlands, which has seen several highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreaks this winter, appears to be dealing with yet another bird flu outbreak – but by outward appearances, this appears to be a mild  H7 subtype.   Testing will have to confirm that, of course, but for now culling of 30,000 hens has been undertaken in the centrally located town of Barneveld.     Probably mild bird flu in Barneveld News item | […]
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2:46 PM | 2015 Match Day: With Special Meaning and Pride
Editors’ Note:  Next week is Match Week, the anxiety-provoking yearly event when medical students across the country learn if they match to a residency program and if so, where they’ve been accepted. In this post, assistant dean for student affairs Dr. Joshua Nosanchuk reflects on how Einstein’s class of 2015 has inspired him and provides [...]
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2:12 PM | WHO: The DON Patrol
Credit WHO     # 9814   Amid the flurry of news reports and studies released yesterday, we also saw three World Health Organization DONs (Disease Outbreak News) summaries posted – 2 on MERS, and 1 on H7N9 in China.  While these are follow up reports, and mostly serve to recap cases we’ve already heard about, they do often provide additional details of value.     To view the latest reports, follow the links below:   […]
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