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The Doctor's Channel

Take a bite from the adults' table. The Doctor’s Channel is the world’s leading video site for physicians. Get the latest news in clinical medicine, disease resource centers, CME programs, and Doc Life, all in under 3 mins or less.

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Describing the Brain’s Encoding Process

Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are studying brain activity in the hopes of deciphering the mechanisms behind the brain’s decision-making process. By monitoring the activity of neurons directly after a stimulus, and using algebraic topology to visualize that activity, computers are able to recognize patterns in the overwhelming amount of data. Kathryn Hess Bellwood, PhD describes how the research output seems to show a clear delineation between when the brain is processing the stimuli and the exact moment a decision is made. This research will help us determine the brain’s encoding process, how bits of information gets transferred throughout the body. From EPFL’s Article: Brains of healthy rats that are the same age share many features, such as similar numbers and types of neurons present in the six layers of the cortex. But how do neurons exchange information? Which neurons are activated? How does this change with time? To answer these questions, a team of scientists led by EPFL’s Blue Brain Project used the mathematical language of algebraic topology to describe just how rat neurons connect to each other – and respond to stimuli – providing the first geometrical insight into how information is processed in a rodent brain. The results are published 12 June 2017 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. “Our previous mathematical approaches struggled to make sense of the activity generated...

The Cancer Moonshot and the Rise of Immunotherapy

The discovery of a cure for cancer has long been awaited. Although death rates dropped by 25 percent between 1991 and 2014, cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease. In an effort to reach the goal faster, the Cancer Moonshot was created to develop new research, trials and eventual treatment methods. Designated by former President Barack Obama in 2016 and led by former Vice President Joe Biden, the initiative aims to complete 10 years of cancer research by 2020. High-level goals include the expansion of cancer prevention and detection strategies, minimizing treatment side effects, establishing a network to allow for direct patient involvement, increasing data sharing, and devoting research time and money to immunotherapy. Many doctors and researchers envision immunotherapy becoming the best treatment option we’ve seen in years. Still early in its development, this cancer treatment utilizes the body’s natural defense system to fight off cancer cells. These cells, normally hidden from the body’s immune system, are unveiled when one of three main types of cancer immunotherapy is involved: First used in 1981 to fight liver cancer, cancer vaccines are a form of immunotherapy. Therapeutic vaccines are injected once a person is already diagnosed with cancer as a form of treatment to stop growth or recurrence. (Although vaccines for cancer can also be preventative, like the HPV vaccine, that...

New Applications That Diagnose Patients In Minutes

Diagnosis can be a long, laborious journey, but novel technologies have the potential to drastically shorten that journey. The company RightEye has developed a test that uses eye tracking and infrared sensors to determine autism risk in children between the ages of 12 and 40 months in a matter of minutes. FACE2GENE, a test based on facial analysis and artificial intelligence technologies developed by digital health company FDNA, can recognize rare genetic disorders in seconds by analyzing a photo of a child’s face. Quicker diagnosis means earlier treatment, so these technologies aren’t just dazzling, they can make real differences in the lives of patients. FACE2GENE is a “search & reference tool provided for informational purposes and not intended to replace the clinician’s judgment or experience, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat medical conditions.” The application is not meant to be used by those without proper medical training. You can download the application on Android and iTunes. For RightEye’s: For 30 years, eye-tracking science and research languished in the halls of academia, only occasionally stepping out into the real world. During this time, vast amounts of health and vision research and testing, while fragmented, created a cumulative understanding of: How our eyes work and how they are connected to the brain; how injuries and illness change the ways our eyes work in consistent and predictable ways; and how eye-tracking...

Why Immunotherapy Is The Future of Cancer Treatment

The immune system is a complex network that attacks foreign substances like germs and viruses. But cancer has historically been resistant to the body’s natural defenses, mainly because the body doesn’t see it as foreign. T-cells participating in the immune system’s response are unable to recognize the rogue cancer cells because they carry proteins called PD-L1 that act like masks allowing the cancer to blend in with other normal cells. Immunotherapy is a treatment that essentially simulates natural human antibodies to block the PD-L1 protein and expose the tumor for T-cells to attack. The Past The rise of immunotherapy has been experimental in nature. Beginning in the late 1800s, a New York surgeon named William Coley saw impressive responses from children with sarcoma that he treated with bacterial extracts. However, due to the success of antibiotics, immunotherapy research largely fell by the wayside. A few small breakthroughs during the 1900s, including the introduction of the first cancer prevention vaccine in 1981, eventually led to the continued growth we’re seeing today. The Present In the wake of multiple government-backed research initiatives, including the Human Genome Project of the 1990s and early 2000s and the Cancer Moonshot announced in 2016, immunotherapy has once again surged into the spotlight as an emerging cancer treatment. Growing antibiotic resistance, the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and the overall low survival rates of...

Stem Cells Can Now Regrow Teeth

Can stem cells really regrow teeth? It sounds like something straight out of a science fiction movie. For most dental patients with missing teeth, there are only a few options: getting dental implants or false teeth. And for dental patients with cavities the remedy usually is a filling or cap. But, what if you could get new teeth – real teeth growing right in your mouth. David Mooney and his team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute are working on making this science fact and not fiction. What’s his idea? To use lasers with stem cells and regrow teeth. He and his research team have developed a technique using a low-power laser. The laser’s job is to get stem cells to reform dentin. This could have huge implications for cosmetic dentistry, for wound healing, and even for bone restoration. Arthur Glosman DDS, famous cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills specializing in dental implants, says: This could be the next big thing, even beyond teeth implants. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine But, what are stem cells, anyway? Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that can differentiate into specialized cell types by using proteins called growth factors. Adult stem cells can divide, or self-renew on an indefinite basis. Adding different growth factors can force these cells to develop into a particular type of tissue. However, to accomplish this is not...

What Will Medical Technology Look Like in 2025?

Take a trip to the future of medicine in these excerpts from TED Talks. What might 2025 hold? Patient-specific pluripotent stem cell lines stored in the freezer until they’re needed for regenerative therapy. Medical devices embedded in clothing that send signals when something goes wrong. Patients taking ownership of their own bodies and their own data. And nanotechnologies to detect and treat cancer. The brave new world may also be a healthier world. From Induced pluripotent stem cells. A new resource in modern medicine: Pluripotent stem cells possess a remarkable unlimited self-renewal capacity and offer unparalleled in vitro differentiation potential. This provides a unique model system not only to study early human development but also gives renewed hope in terms of developing cell therapies and regenerative medicine. S. Yamanaka, a medical doctor and researcher, reported the possibility of reprogramming somatic cells to so-called induced pluripotent stem cells via the ectopic expression of four transcription factors, namely Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc. This Nobel Prize winning work has since revolutionized stem cell research and paved the way for countless new avenues within regenerative medicine. This includes disease modeling in a patient-specific context with the ultimate aim of individually tailored pharmaceutical therapy. Additionally, genetic correction studies have rapidly increased in basic science and thus there is hope that these can be effectively and efficiently translated into clinical applications. Addressing the medical...

Virtual Reality is the Future of Medicine

What does it really feel like to manage an emergency in the operating room? The Cleveland Clinic Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery is using virtual reality (VR) simulations of OR cardiac emergencies to replicate the experience as closely as possible and train cardiac surgery residents. “The two-minute video shows how Cleveland Clinic is using virtual reality scenarios to teach cardiac surgery residents how to maintain ideal performance under the pressure of OR crises.” The VR simulations incorporate scenarios from real operations to create an immersive, realistic, 360-degree experience that includes the viewpoints of multiple members of the surgical team. The scenarios map right decisions, wrong decisions, and their consequences. This video, narrated by Douglas Johnston, MD, the cardiac surgeon who heads the program, shows the scenario of a patient who has gone into ventricular fibrillation as seen through the VR headset of a surgical resident. From the study on pubmed.gov: The traditional system of clinical education in emergency medicine relies on practicing diagnostic, therapeutic, and procedural skills on live patients. The ethical, financial, and practical weaknesses of this system are well recognized, but the alternatives that have been explored to date have shown even greater flaws. However, ongoing progress in the area of virtual reality and computer-enhanced simulation is now providing educational applications that show tremendous promise in overcoming most of the deficiencies associated with live-patient training. It will...