research

The Success of the Vaping Market

E-cigarettes, also known as ‘vaping’ is one of the biggest growing markets in the world, with the number of consumers increasing from 2.8 million in 2013 to a dizzying 6.1 million in 2016. That’s a rise of 120%! In this piece, we’ll look at who’s vaping, where it’s become the most popular, how the vaping market has boomed, which devices most people are using and even which e-liquid flavors are the most sort after. A JAMA Report claims that Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are becoming increasingly popular among teens. A new study looks at whether younger teens who never smoked cigarettes and who begin using e-cigarettes might be more likely to go on to use conventional tobacco products. Researchers from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles surveyed more than 2,300 Los Angeles area high school students who reported never using tobacco products at the beginning of 9th grade. The students were surveyed again six months later and also when entering the 10th grade. In a comparison of teens who had used e-cigarettes to those who had not, the researchers found that those who had used e-cigarettes were four times more likely to have gone on to use conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars. The researchers acknowledge that their findings, while suggestive, cannot prove that e-cigarette use directly causes subsequent tobacco use. Infographic Source: Smoke without fire! by Grey...

Learn How Scientists are Decoding the Most Complex Object in the Universe: The Brain

Researchers from University College London (UCL) are working on a project with the lofty goal of analyzing the entirety of a brain’s neuronal activity in real time. Most estimates place the number of neurons in the average brain somewhere between 70 and 100 billion. Trying to record all of the relevant activity in one brain as it occurs will be difficult enough, but beyond that, the UCL team is planning to employ considerable processing power towards deciphering the meaning of each firing synapse. NeuroPixels, as the prototype probes are being called, are the width of a human hair and can monitor hundreds of neurons at once over multiple regions of the brain while simultaneously digitizing the signal on-board and sending the information to a database. Developed in collaboration with a consortium of leading non-profit organizations in neuroscience, these super-sensitive electrode sensors are already being studied in mice models, and are expected to be available for purchase by research labs in mid-2018. The researchers are already in the process of developing the next generations of these sensors. Click here to read more about this technology on the UCL News Outlet. Rafael Yuste, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University, discusses the research goals of the brain activity map project. He explains the purpose of this ground breaking research is to develop tools that will allow scientists of the future to measure the activity of every neuron in the brain. The Brain Activity...

Human World Records: The Greatest Achievements of the Human Body

Every year, thousands of people around the world submit their entry for a new world record. From the world’s longest fingernails to the most pints of beer drank in under 5 minutes, many of them show what the human body is capable of when it’s taken to extremes. For many of these people, it is a case of pushing the limits of the human body and mind. Mental barriers and physical hurdles are overcome. When signals are sent from the brain saying “stop”, they break through those, exercising incredible willpower and pushing beyond what they know is capable, breaking records time and again. There have been incredible feats of bravery and endurance. However, pushing mind and body to the limit isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The challenge though, is to many, addictive and the sense of achievement once the goal is completed gives them unparalleled satisfaction. The “three needs” theory breaks motivation into three, arguing that motivation can be sliced into three: People push forward for achievement, for power and for belonging. This is certainly the case when the goal is more obscure or niche. They may be the only one striving for this goal and pursuing something against the advice of others. As humans, we strive to grow faster and stronger. To say, “what’s next?” and move forward. We enhance our capabilities every day and we all have...

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....