research

Can We Smell Diseases: An Interesting Correlation Between Illness and Odor

You probably didn’t know this, but research shows that human beings can smell diseases. Most research conducted regarding smells usually involve mice and rats. Consequently, the sense of smell in human beings has been the last in the scorecard of senses. However, a recent study in the area disproves of the belief of the 19th-century scientists that the sense of smell is weaker than any other senses. A study published by Swedish Researchers from Karolinska Institute, Sweden, suggests that one can smell when another person is ill. Scientists who study volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have long established that each has a distinct odor. In that, we have an “odorprint” that is unique as one’s fingerprint. Your smell escapes from the skin, urine, breathe, and blood. Your body smell emanates from compounds that depend on your diet, age, sex, metabolism and most importantly, your health. As you consider an Australian medical residency, go through this article to gain more insight on the sense of smell in humans. Does Infection modify one’s body odor? One’s body odor is a complex combination of variable compounds. Microbes in our bodies play a role in how we smell. When pathogens invade our bodies, they change the level and type of these bacteria which leads to adjustment of one’s body odor. Once your immune system is activated to respond to the pathogens, it changes the...

A New FDA-Approved Therapy That Treats Leukemia and Lymphoma

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, is a precision medicine approach to treating certain forms of leukemia and lymphoma. The patients own cells are filtered and separated, then mixed with a deactivated virus that causes the cells to grow an artificial receptor that will track down the CD19 antigen expressed by these cancers. The modified T-cells are then reintroduced to the patient’s blood stream to begin therapy. Click here to read the press announcement from the FDA Newsroom. The FDA’s August 2017 approval of the CAR-T therapy known as tisagenlecleucel for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia was the first gene therapy approved in the United States. Less than two months later, the approval of axicabtagene ciloleucel expands the milestone further and reinforces the FDA’s willingness to support these novel therapies. Earlier this year, the FDA was in works to approve therapy which genetically alter’s a patient’s T-cells: The FDA may soon approve a new cancer therapy that genetically alters a patient’s own existing T-cells to fight leukemia. This new, investigational treatment is known as CTL019 and is a type of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. CTL019 utilizes a process in which T-cells are carefully harvested from each individual leukemia patient. These patient-specific T-cells are then genetically reprogrammed to express a chimeric CD19 antigen receptor and subsequently transfused back into the specific patient from whom they were originally collected. Once back inside the patient, these reprogrammed T-cells multiply,...

Scientists Develop New Antibody to Target HIV Strains

In 2016, HIV continued to confound patients, physicians, and researchers while resulting in one million deaths due to AIDS-related illness worldwide. Additionally, there were 36.7 million people living with HIV and 1.8 million new HIV infections reported. HIV mutational ability generally inactivates the immune system leading to lethal virulence. As a result of a collaboration between Sanofi and the United States National Institutes of Health, research scientists have developed a revolutionary tri-specific antibody designed to target three separate components of HIV, disrupting resistance mechanisms that render accepted therapeutic paradigms ineffective. Preliminary studies reveal that in twenty-four monkeys treated with the antibody and then infected with HIV, no test subjects progressed to developing symptoms or advanced disease. Beginning in 2018, the tri-specific antibody will be tested in humans. HIV life expectancy is improving. A new study published in The Lancet reports advances in antiretroviral drug treatment (ART) that improve life expectancy for patients living with HIV. ART is the standard treatment regime for HIV patients. While ART cannot cure HIV, a combination of medications help patients live longer and reduce the risk of HIV transmission. ART was first introduced in 1996. One year after ART was introduced, the FDA approved Combivir, a combination drug taken as a single daily tablet, which made taking daily medication HIV patients easier. Since then, ART initiation has improved by leaps and bounds, making medication management easier for patients. Reference: Xu L, Pegu...

Why we STILL Don’t Have a Male Contraceptive

The first female pharmaceutical contraceptive pill was approved by the FDA in 1960. That’s 57 years ago! With all the advances in medical research, why do we still not have a pharmaceutical contraceptive for men? Too Much Risk with Too Little Reward Surely there are many men who would love to have the sort of agency over their reproductive capacity that women have had for nearly 60 years. However, for-profit pharmaceutical companies allocate their research funds to the most profitable ventures, such as cancer medications or those that treat heart conditions. Although some non-profit and governmental groups, such as the NIH, are funding contraceptive research, they tend to look for a private-sector partner to share the financial burden of Phase 3 clinical trials. In addition to liability and profit concerns, the female contraceptive pill has about a 91% effectiveness rate; a male pill would have to be at least close to that range to be a viable option, and even worse, the marketing team would have to start from scratch. Image: Syringe by Zaldylmg / CC by 2.0 Men Just Can’t Take the Heat The most promising research into a pharmaceutical option has been hormonal contraceptives. In fact, researchers published a 100-person clinical trial in 2016 that showed that an injectable hormone treatment suppressed sperm concentration in 95.9% of the patients, with a pregnancy rate of 1.57% among their female partners....

Yes, Physician Burn-Out Is Real

They say dentists have a high rate of suicide due to the anxiety associated with their jobs. A criminal justice professor at Wayne State University, Steven Stack, studied the correlation between dentistry and suicide. In 1996 he conducted a study that cited several years of previous research on suicide rates among dentists and proved that being a dentist increased one’s risk of suicide by 564 percent! Job burn-out is a real thing. Or, in our case, physician burn-out. As future doctors, we like to think that once we become board-certified snazzy physicians, life will be perfect. We will love our jobs that we’ve worked so hard towards, and every day at the job will feel like a true gift. Well, not to be the bearer of bad news, but that won’t necessarily be the case. So I am here to expose the ugly truth of medicine; ie., the medical specialties yielding the highest reported rate of burn-out. According to the Mayo Clinic, job burn-out is defined as the following: “Job burn-out is a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” The Mayo Clinic then states several factors that may lead to job burn-out. To name a few, these can be, but are not limited to: Lack of control, unclear job expectations, dysfunctional workplace...

8 Super Foods for Medical Students

Med school is hard, it’s complex, and there’s a lot of things to learn. A typical day would be to attend a lecture during the day and hitting the books in the evening. Reviewing the note sheets and reading ahead. An hour or so for meals, exercise, and TV. Weekends are a respite, there is no new stuff coming in. Both days can be spent in reviewing the week’s notes and material. A bonus would be quality time with friends and family. Everything steps up a notch on test days. You have to work harder and be ready to change things if they don’t work. As you progress you gain a better sense when to cut corners. Free more time for important things, rather than trade sleep for fun. The brain takes a lot of pounding and what you eat takes a toll on your brain. Learning more about brain foods matter, it will boost memory and focus. Your food choices can enhance the health, vitality, and functionality of your precious brain Brain super foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins, and minerals provide energy that protects the brain against diseases and keeps it in tip-top shape. GEP Limited, a medical electives overseas provider, rounded up 8 brain foods to feed your mind and body. Delight in this concoction we’ve prepared that is a mix of fruits, veggies, oils...

The Flu Shot: It’s Not Just About You

It’s that time of year again. The powers that be (a.k.a. the CDC) have hedged their bets on this year’s flu vaccine components, and they will be encouraging patients to get vaccinated before the end of October, so that the body has plenty of time to develop resistance before flu season sets in. For the 2017-2018 flu season, the CDC has recommended that three-component flu vaccines contain the following: – an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated), – an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus, and – a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus. Four-component vaccines are recommended to contain a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus. In a deviation from previous years, the CDC recommends against using a nasal spray flu vaccine, also known as the live attenuated flu vaccine (LAIV) due to concerns about effectiveness. Sure, a shot can be a few seconds of pain, but it’s better than being laid out for days if you do contract the flu. For the first time, the CDC has approved a true cell-based candidate vaccine virus, in addition to those traditionally produced using fertilized chickens’ eggs. Many medical practitioners will likely get the flu vaccine, but how do we encourage more patients to get it too? Because the flu is not a reportable disease, the CDC uses modelling to estimate the number of infections each year. They currently estimate that in the U.S., the number of cases has been somewhere between 9.5 million and 35.6 million every year...