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The Doctor's Channel

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The Future Prescription Drugs Being Developed Right Now

At any one time, there are hundreds of drugs being developed around the world. Some of them could change the way we treat conditions such as lung cancer and asthma. Here are six drugs currently in development that have a real chance of finding their way onto shelves. Drugs are a very touchy subject for aspiring doctors — medical students have definitely taken the time to learn about prescription drugs. The pharmaceutical industry forms a big portion of the affairs that physicians carry out everyday. From the drugs prescribed to the clinical trials conducted, medicine is closely intermingled with the development and use of new medications. However, issues arise when the reporting on the safety, efficacy, and utility of these drugs remains undisclosed due to certain conventional procedures. If you are a medical student who has gone through clinical rotations, you might likely have had this experience (especially on the surgical floors). If you are just starting medical school, it’s something to look forward to! Medical students must also keep cognizant of the opioid epidemic. All it took was one-hundred words to kill over hundreds of thousands of Americans. A new report from the New England Journal of Medicine tells the story of how this short doctor’s note helped facilitate today’s American opioid epidemic. Read more about it here. Since opioids were not widely used forty years ago, so doctors did not have...

What Can Nurses Do That Doctors Can’t?

Patients are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners instead of physicians for a number of reasons. For one thing, they may be more accessible since physicians’ offices are sometimes overcrowded and an appointment is hard to come by. It can also help lower the cost of medical treatments since nurses don’t bill out as high as doctors do. Mostly it’s because people are coming to realize that nurse practitioners are extremely capable and knowledgeable health professionals that can offer a high level of excellent care. In fact, because of their background in nursing, some even say that nurse practitioners have a unique ability to make stronger connections with their patients. As more nurse practitioners open their own practices or become more commonplace in medical facilities, the big question that’s been on the mind of those in the medical community is if nurses can actually replace doctors. There is no simple answer, but there’s no doubt that nurse practitioners are certainly making an impact in the healthcare world. Take a look at how nurse practitioners compare with doctors, and why in some cases, their services might be interchangeable. What can nurse practitioners do NPs have to go well beyond the education and training of a regular RN in order to practice at that advanced level. For starters, you must complete a master’s or doctoral degree program, and then complete advanced practice...

We’re One Step Closer To Identifying Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have devised a diagnostic tool for identifying Parkinson’s disease (PD) in patients who may not yet display any motor symptoms. The importance of such a tool lies in the fact that by the time motor symptoms appear, there is usually already irreversible damage to brain tissues. Dinesh Kumar, PhD, the chief investigator on the study, says “many treatment options for Parkinson’s only prove effective when the disease was diagnosed early.“ The team at RMIT built custom software that analyzes a patient’s spiral-drawing style via pen, paper, and a digital drawing tablet. Although the team admits to some limitations within their initial studies, the 93% accuracy rate of early PD diagnosis is spurring additional research and hope for achieving a reliable diagnostic method for identifying PD early. We’ve come a long way to identifying Parkinson’s disease. Earlier this year, researchers have developed an instrument that can identify seventeen diseases, including Parkinson’s. A new instrument has recently been developed to diagnose disease in a non-invasive, cost effective manner. Based on the idea of the breathalyzers used to identify and quantify alcohol consumption, this device would allow for specific programmable disease detection in still healthy individuals. Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are expressed by the body when pathologic processes occur. Currently, seventeen diseases can be identified with breath analysis with an accuracy of eighty-six percent. Researchers were able to...

Cows Might Be The Future For HIV Vaccines

Until recently, no one has identified an immunogen capable of eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (Bnabs) for HIV vaccines in either human or animal models. However, a 2017 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) research initiative has immunized four cows with the soluble cleaved trimer BG505 SOSIP in an attempt to produce these Bnabs – and has succeeded. Since antibodies in cows are approximately 4 to 5 times longer than typical human antibodies, the cows antibodies have a greater chance of penetrating the sugars surrounding the HIV virus and neutralizing it. There is not yet a clear path to achieving the same results in humans, but according to the director of vaccine research at the NIAID, John Mascola, MD, while the study “doesn’t tell us how to make a vaccine for HIV in human patients […] it does tell us how the virus evades the human immune response.” How far have we come from HIV Vaccinations? It has been a long road in the battle against HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began in the early 1980s. However, in 2013, the virus hit what was widely referred to as a tipping point when, for the first time, more people were newly being treated with antiretroviral drugs than became newly infected with HIV. Despite this milestone, there are still 35 million people estimated to be living with HIV today — 19 million who are estimated to be unaware of their HIV-positive status — and 2 million more people are being infected each year....

Portable MPM Will Change How Doctors Diagnose Breast Cancer

Michael Giacomelli, PhD, Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his laboratory team have developed a portable system for multiphoton imaging (portable MPM) of large tissue samples within an operating surgical suite. “The system enables true 10x/20x/40x imaging at video rates using VH&E rendering to produce virtual histology images in real-time.” The technology is currently being tested in breast cancer surgeries, since many lumpectomies result in second surgeries to remove more tissue after histology from the first surgery is complete. With imaging taking place during surgery, these subsequent reoperations may be reduced significantly. Currently, doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering are considering the tool and/or technique for skin cancer and prostate cancer as well. Read more about this imaging experiment by clicking here. Complete removal of cancerous tissue during surgery for breast cancer is essential.  Unfortunately, about 1 in 3 women undergoing lumpectomy for breast cancer will require more than one surgery due to inadequate surgical resection.   Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) can be used to perform video-rate imaging of tissue during surgery to evaluate pathology, ensuring complete removal of cancerous tissue.  I have developed MPM systems enabling very wide area imaging of tissue specimens with real-time rendering using H&E-like appearance (“virtual H&E”). For more on X-Rays, make sure to check out our article on how medical students utilize them: No one expects a radiology expert at the level of...

What Is TNT Research and What Can It Do for Future Clinical Applications?

As a follow-up to a previous Video of the Week (that can be revisited by clicking here), this week’s video provides additional information regarding ongoing research in tissue nano-transfection technology (TNT). The TNT system consists of two components: a hardware chip, and a cargo load containing a combination of cell reprogramming factors specific to the cell type attempting to be induced/produced. The chip is the size of a cufflink, and according to it’s developers, only needs to be present on the skin’s surface for a few minutes. More impressively, the actual activation time required for the chip to initiate its long-lasting cellular reprogramming effects is less than 1 second. In mice-based ischemic limb injury models, the researchers noticed positive changes in revascularization just 7 days after treatment. More astonishingly, they report that by week 3 the injured legs of the treated mice were actually saved (all achieved without implementing any other forms of treatment). The researchers also indicate the utility of TNT is not limited to just cutaneous use. In fact, they also tested its ability to transform skin cells into neuronal cells and then injected those new cells into the brains of mice-based stroke models to help restore neural function. Click here to read more about this research from Ohio State University in the journal Nature: Here, we report a novel yet simple-to-implement non-viral approach to topically reprogram tissues through a nanochannelled device validated with well-established and newly developed reprogramming models of induced neurons and endothelium, respectively. We demonstrate the simplicity and...

Should Nurses Date Doctors? 6 Reasons Why They Shouldn’t

Most nurses have seen the Grey’s Anatomy episode where Rose, the nurse, and Derek, the dreamy surgeon, take their relationship to the next level. But it’s not that simple. Nurses rarely sneak off to on-call rooms in the middle of a shift. In fact, hospital call rooms have very small, squeaky beds and very thin walls! Doctors used to marry nurses — it was a more common practice in previous generations. Now, nurses are choosing NOT to date doctors. Here’s a list of reasons why you may not want to either. 1. Nurses shouldn’t date doctors because they have crazy hours Typically, nurses enter into relationships with first year interns or residents. After all, most fellows or attending physicians are engaged or married. Interns are assigned quite possibly the worst schedule and on-call rotation in the hospital. So, a relationship can be tough. At a facility I’m familiar with, interns in the ICU and cardiology are on call every third day and cover one week of night call per month. Residents (second and third years) are on call every fourth night. My advice: avoid dating medical trainees. That is, unless you want to coordinate your crazy hours with those of the intern or resident. 2. Nurses shouldn’t date doctors because you get the looks, gossip, and questions When a nurse and a doctor date, it becomes everybody’s business. Coworkers feel invested in these relationships and...