research

Social Rejection And Alcoholism

Source: Pixibay We all know that there’s a distinct connection between leading a miserable life and alcoholism. Sometimes, cause, consequence, and correlation become inextricably tangled within the vicious cycle of heavy drinking and personal misfortune. A recent study, however, has shone a light into the connection between alcoholism and social rejection. It’s an important finding, which has implications across the board – on a healthcare level, it could help us to both prevent and treat alcoholism in vulnerable people. On a societal level, it demonstrates the kind of changes we need to make in order to keep the (fast-growing) spectre of alcoholism at bay. The study, published by the Research Society on Alcoholism, saw participants use their smartphones to record social interaction and personal alcohol usage for fourteen consecutive days. Researchers then analyzed the style of interactions recorded, and the alcohol usage on the days when they occurred. They found that there was an association between rejective social experiences and the amount of alcohol drunk, with those who had had interactions classified as ‘rejective’ tending to drink more than those who had not. Researchers were keen to stress that the closeness of the relationship in question appeared to be a significant factor. Those who had experienced rejection from those they considered ‘close’ were significantly more likely to drink heavily on the days when said interactions occurred than those who had experienced...

Medicine’s Gender Pay Gap is Huge

  A new survey conducted by Doximity, a social media site for physicians, shows that female physicians make an average of 26.5% (or $91,000) less than male doctors. The self-reported data—which was gathered from 36,000 licensed physicians and controlled for factors such as hours worked—shows that the pay gap exists in all medical specialties and in every U.S. city.   The largest wage gap is in neurosurgery, where female neurosurgeons are paid, on average, $93,000 less than males. One of the smallest pay gaps is in preventive medicine, where females still make $35,000 less on average. Meanwhile, in terms of geography, the largest wage gap exists in Mississippi, where female physicians make, on average, $118,000 less than males. The smallest gap is in Hawaii, where women make $45,000 less.   Medicine’s gender pay gap is especially concerning considering many medical specialties rely greatly on female physicians. For instance, specialties such as Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology are predominantly female, but male physicians in these specialties still make an average of 21% more than their female counterparts. These specialties, among others, will likely see more females in coming years as close to half of the graduates from U.S. medical schools are women. In fact, female graduates outnumbered males in states such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington. Furthermore, research suggests that female doctors perform better than males—a recent Harvard study showed...

Is Money Addictive Like Cocaine?

How addictive is money? It turns out there is neuroscience and biochemistry behind every dollar. Ian H. Robertson discusses how receiving money can activate parts of our brain like the ventral striatum, closely mirroring the physiologic responses associated with cocaine or alcohol consumption. Read more about The Winner Effect and...

Can Aging Be Cured?

Aubrey de Grey, MA, PhD, believes the coming decades will bring us anti-aging medicine that is at the same level of medical control as any other infectious disease. How similar is aging to other health problems, and can medical science really “fix” it? Watch as Aubrey de Grey offers a definition of aging that refocuses the question of whether or not it can be delayed or even reversed. Filmed at FutureMed, in February, 2012, at Singularity University. Featured image from Flickr |...

Can Spinach Leaves Replace Damaged Cardiac Tissue?

Featured From The Doctor’s Channel     Perfusion decellularization has recently been used to remove genetic material in pig organs, allowing them to be seeded with human stem cells in the hopes of securing a renewable source of organs for transplantation. In a similar (but non-mammalian) vein, researchers from the Myocardial Regeneration Lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have performed decellularization processes on spinach leaves and infused them with human heart muscle cells to determine if the remaining cellulose scaffold could support the demanding job of replacing dense heart tissue. The spinach-heart combinations were able to beat for up to three weeks in some of the experiments.   Next steps in this research include more in-depth testing of the compatibility of cellulose with human heart tissue, as well as “stacking” the plant-derived material to determine if layering the decellularized spinach leaves will yield “tissue” strong enough to maintain efficacy over long periods of time. The team, led by Glenn Gaudette, PhD, and Joshua Gershlak, MSc, have already begun testing other abundant plant species for viable veinous networks.   Click here to read an article about this research in the Washington Post.   Click here for the paper published in the journal Biomaterials via ScienceDirect.   Featured Image:...

Would You Google a Patient?

With social media permeating our lives, the lines between professional life and personal life often become blurred. Going on a first date? A quick Google search can give you a glimpse into your date’s life and potential conversation topics. Taking a class with a new professor? Google will give you a heads-up as to his or her professional interests or recent publications. Have an appointment for a check-up with a new doctor? Many websites will give you patient reviews and ratings of the practice.   …But what if your doctor is Googling you right back?     Researchers have had the better part of two decades to figure out if doctors could use social media to the benefit of their patients, but there still seems to be a wary skepticism among med school students and practicing physicians of all ages that prevents investigation of potential benefits. After all, knowledge is power, but it often comes with an ethical dilemma.   Research from James Brown et al at the University of Sydney found that 1 in 5 doctors surveyed had received a “friend request” from a patient. A similar survey from Bosslet et al found that 93.5% of medical students surveyed used social media in their everyday lives, but it was practicing physicians who were more likely to have looked up the profile of a patient or patient’s family members...

The Language of Transplanted Organs

Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre have discovered a cellular structure that could potentially revolutionize organ transplantation. Mélanie Dieudé, PhD, and Marie-Josée Hébert, MD, identified apoptotic exosome-like vesicles, which, when injected into mice, stimulate autoantibody production and increase the risk of graft rejection after transplantation. They also identified a novel concept: The transplanted organ “talks” to the immune system. As Dr. Hébert explains, “It’s not only the immune system of the recipient of the organ that sees the organ as foreign, the organ shouts to the immune system ‘I may be detrimental to you.’ This starts a feud between the immune system and the recipient.” This feud may end in rejection of the graft.   Video: Source   How to interrupt this feud? Dr. Dieudé and Dr. Hébert have identified a way to block the enzyme activity of apoptotic exosome-like vesicles through the administration of bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor currently approved for the treatment of certain bone marrow cancers. Results are preliminary and phase 3 trials are underway, but this research suggests new ways to anticipate and control organ rejection after transplantation. Click here to review the article published in Science Translational Magazine.   Featured From The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...