research

How Can Oxygen Be Delivered Without the Lungs?

We hear about amazing innovations in medicine all the time: miracle drugs, the artificial heart, bionic contact lens. These ideas don’t pop up out of nowhere; many of them come from pressing need, accidents, and in certain cases, a situation of huge emotional impact. John Kheir, MD, discusses his journey to find a way to oxygenate blood without the use of lungs. Using microparticles injected with oxygen, Kheir and his team were able to keep rabbits with blocked windpipes alive for up to 15 minutes without a single breath. The technique has the potential to prevent cardiac arrest and brain injuries induced by oxygen deprivation.   Featured image is screenshot from video...

4 Most Common Myths About Autism

Raun Kaufman, CEO & Founder, Autism Treatment Center of America, describes the 4 most common misconceptions about autism: Myth #1: Autism is a behavioral disorder Reality: Autism is a social relational disorder Myth #2: Treatment should focus on changing behavior Reality: Treatment should focus on creating a relationship Myth #3: Social limitations should be compensated for by teaching an autistic child different skills Reality: Helping an autistic child relate to other people is crucial Myth #4: Parents get in the way of treatment Reality: Parents should be at the center of treatment for their autistic...

The Best Treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia Might Be Inside You Right Now

Welcome to the strange and fascinating world of persistent fetal hemoglobin. stocksy Fetuses are resourceful little buggers. You probably don’t remember what a great job you did being a fetus, but if you’re reading this it means you managed to be born, which is no small feat. When you were conceived, you immediately began to produce embryonic hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, in case you need an AP Bio refresher, is the means by which your red blood cells are able to transport oxygen around your body. The needs of an embryo are very different than that of an adult (who is not in fetu). The biomolecule that forms embryonic hemoglobin is specifically designed to meet the needs of the developing embryo, the structure of which is very unlike it’s final human form. The developing circulatory system of the embryo consists of blood islands; basically hemoglobin reserves at various points in this developing network of blood vessels. Eventually, the embryo has developed into a fetus, the blood islands have released their reserves of hemoglobin and now the fetus no longer needs embryonic hemoglobin, it needs its very own style. In fact, if the fetus continues to develop but embryonic hemoglobin production doesn’t cease, it can cause structural abnormalities. Embryos need embryonic hemoglobin and fetuses need fetal hemoglobin; giving embryonic hemoglobin to a developing fetus would be akin to giving a grown-up breast...

Can Video Games Treat ADHD, Depression?

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, the director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UCSF Medical Center, explains how the immersive nature of video games can be used to benefit medical disorders as a diagnostic, adaptive, and therapeutic tool. Read more about Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD. Filmed at FutureMed, in February 2013, at Singularity University. Featured image from...

Can Suspended Animation Be the Next Great Advance in Surgery?

We’ve all heard of those miracle cases of people surviving extreme colds: Wim Hof, nicknamed “The Iceman” who broke his previous world record by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 second; The stowaway who survived a 5 1/2 hour flight to Hawaii; and Anna Bågenholm, a Swedish radiologist, who survived after a skiing accident in 1999 left her trapped under a layer of ice for 80 minutes in freezing water. But more than just the latest news flash, can the natural effects of hibernation and bodily preservation be used in the operating room? A new article from Mosaic puts this question to the test as it delves into the plethora of research on hibernation and the possible clinical applications of suspended animation: In frenetic hospital emergency wards, it’s often not possible for doctors to identify the problem, fix it and keep the patient alive all at the same time. Patients suffering uncontrolled blood loss, for example, may go into cardiac arrest. When this happens, surgeons must fight the clock to stop the bleeding before they can start resuscitation efforts. “Somebody rolls in and they’re basically dying,” says Tisherman. “We’re quickly trying to resuscitate them, and figure out what’s wrong with them, and repair injuries all at the same time.” This is the fundamental underpinning of trauma medicine: you are always against the clock. An in-depth look at hibernating animals...

Yes, the Neuralyzer Could Be Real in the Not So Distant Future

A new article in The New York Times discusses the journey of Dr. Karl Deisseroth, the world’s leading researcher on optogenetics, a field which continues to push the boundaries of neurology and psychiatry: Neuroscientists have long been frustrated by their inability to study how the brain works in sufficiently precise detail. Unexpectedly, a solution has emerged from basic, genetic research on microorganisms that rely on light-responsive “opsin” proteins to survive. By inserting opsin genes into the cells of the brain, scientists can now use flashes of light to trigger firing by specific neurons on command. This technology, optogenetics, permits researchers to conduct extremely precise, cell type-targeted experiments in the brains of living, freely moving animals–which electrodes and other traditional methods do not allow. Although optogenetics is still in its infancy, it is already yielding potentially useful insights into the neuroscience underlying some psychiatric conditions. Read a more in-depth report from Scientific...

A Whole New Meaning to Having a Beer Belly

Getting drunk has truly become an art form – that is, people are getting very (and frighteningly) creative. ABC News even decided to warn our parents about these innovative techniques in their story, “5 Shocking Ways Your Kids Try to Get Drunk” (seriously, ABC, why do you always have to be such a buzz kill…literally.) But one 61-year-old man didn’t have to try very hard to raise his blood alcohol level to a whopping 0.37,and instead could do so without drinking a single alcoholic drink. Being “almost” docs, we have to jump into the science… According to a case study published in Scientific Research the cause of the man’s inebriation was Gut Fermentation Syndrome, also known, befittingly, as Auto Brewery Syndrome, where patients become intoxicated without drinking any alcohol. Sounds a little bit awesome…but maybe not when you think about the cause. When the 61 year old, who, ironically, had a home brewery himself, was admitted to the hospital, doctors observed the following: 1. History of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, where blood pressure was being treated but was not well controlled. 2. The patient denied taking any type of yeast as nutritional supplementation such as probiotics and denied previous gastrointestinal disorders or treatments. 3. Routine breath tests were conducted for lactose and fructose intolerance as well as hydrogen and all were negative. 4. A glucose tolerance was performed and was also negative. 5. An...