Stem Cells Used to Cure SSA

December 7, 2007

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Encouraging new research published in Science indicates that stem cells can be used to cure sickle cell anemia. The study used iPS cells and was done in mice. The sickle cell mice were treated with iPS therapy, and cured of the sickle cell without complication. The expected complications of using iPS in treatment are rejection and tumor growth. Rejection was controlled in this experiment, because the cells were identical (because they came from the mice) and it has been 4 months and still no tumor development. There is a lot of support for using the iPS cells they come from skin, not from embroynic cells.

“Induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells, are virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. They can morph into all of the more than 200 cell types in the body but are derived from skin, not from embryos. Mouse iPS cells were first derived earlier this year, and scientists reported last month to great fanfare that they had created similar cells from human skin.”

Although it will be many years before this technique could start appearing in humans clinically, it is still promising. The sickle cell diseases are just one group of genetics disorders, thousands of other genetic disorders could potentially be helped with similar technology. Although these “alternative” stem cells are showing great promise, most prominent geneticists want to clear up any confusion about the cells. They are inferior to using embryonic stem cells. Hopefully the world will just appreciate this discovery for the medical miracle it is and not attempt to use it for propaganda. The iPS stem cells have been touted by President Bush and some religious conservatives as the perfect and equal alternative to stem cells. But in reality, embryonic stems would make the research far simpler and expedite the discovery process.

Scientists Cure Mice Of Sickle Cell Using Stem Cell Technique

Read the full Article By Rick Weiss

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 7, 2007


Love, Violence, and Glue?

December 4, 2007

Imagine the scene – You are standing in the kitchen with your partner on a cold winter evening over the holidays. You get in one of those mega arguments . You call her fat, she calls you mean, tears are shed and voices are raised. She’s swinging her arms and trying to slap at you, you are trying to hold her still. Next thing you know she’s holding a knife…and wham… crazy bitch cuts you. Bloods everywhere. Previously there were only two courses of action.

Option 1: Go to the hospital before you bleed to death/pass out. Basically admit to the world you got owned. Since everyone will know what happened you will be forced to break up.

Option 2: Bleed to death/pass out. She’ll feel really bad for a few days, but won’t respect you anymore so you can expect more beatings for the duration of the relationship. You’ll be forced to stay with her forever because you feel like you can’t do any better.

But now there is an option 3..

Option 3: super glue up the cut and be a man about it. face the possibility of a banging scar and a nasty infection (thats what antibiotics are for anyway). she is so relieved you are okay, and so happy you are not going to the police/hospital, that you can expect some serious sex and attention from the crazy bitch.

Call it the secret life of Super Glue.

(NyTimes: Link)

During the Vietnam War, emergency medics began using the all-purpose glue to seal

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battle wounds in troops headed for surgery. The glue was so good at stemming bleeding that it was credited with saving many lives.

Nowadays, professional athletes often close small cuts with Super Glue or similar products to get back in the game in a hurry. The glues are also used by veterinarians, and many people keep a tube around the house to help them out of a medical pinch. It is believed that the glues — made from the chemical cyanoacrylate — not only stop bleeding quickly, but also lead to less scarring.

So should you keep some Super Glue in the medicine cabinet? Probably not, experts say. Studies show that although the glue can be useful in emergencies, it can also irritate the skin, kill cells and cause other side effects, particularly when used on deep wounds.

There is a safer alternative. In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration approved a similar, antibacterial form of the substance called 2-octyl-cyanoacrylate, which is marketed as Dermabond.


Automated Pharmacy

November 13, 2007

This article/press release is somewhat positively biased, but it does shed some light on Medco’s plan for pharmacy. It is interesting to consider the prospect of automated dispensing and how it will affect the jobs of pharmacists. I was asked in my interview for the University of Pittsburgh, “If I were to tell you that in ten years dispensing was completely eliminated by the use of machines, would you still want to be a pharmacist, what would you expect to do, and why?”


INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels joined executives from Medco Health Solutions, Inc. today to announce the company’s plans to build the world’s largest and most advanced automated pharmacy in Central Indiana, filling a growing nationwide demand for lower-cost medicines. The new 318,000-square-foot pharmacy, slated to open early in 2009, will cover an area equivalent to six and a half football fields — bringing approximately 1,300 jobs to the state by its anticipated peak operation in 2012.

“Medco has pioneered the use of computers, robotics, optical scanners and other technologies to create drug dispensing systems which are virtually error-free,” said Kenneth O. Klepper, Medco President and Chief Operating Officer.

The state’s business-friendly environment, modern transportation infrastructure, skilled labor pool and proximity to several schools of pharmacy including Butler University and Purdue University were other notable factors in the site selection process. Medco intends to provide competitive salaries and a comprehensive employee benefit package for a wide range of positions, including electrical and mechanical technicians, managers, warehouse specialists and more than 100 pharmacists, among other types of jobs. Hiring is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2008, with the majority of the hiring expected in 2010 and 2011.

Medco is leading the charge on transforming pharmacy care from a “generalist” practice to a “specialist” practice. “With advancements in science and technology blazing a path of personalized medicine, we can no longer take a shot gun approach to pharmacy,” Klepper said. “To that end, Medco has created condition-specific resource centers staffed with hundreds of pharmacists who receive specialized training in specific chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and asthma. This focus on one chronic disease state enables these specialist pharmacists to better help patients optimize their health.”

Coupled with its unparalleled dispensing pharmacy practice, Medco has created an industry leading end-to-end specialized pharmacy practice model.

Medco’s mail-order pharmacy business received an additional boost when the Federal Employee Program(TM) (FEP) awarded a contract for its mail-service and specialty prescription drug program for 4 million federal employees, retirees and their families, effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Medco’s two existing automated dispensing pharmacies in Willingboro, N.J. and Las Vegas dispensed 90 percent of the company’s mail-order prescriptions in 2006. Medco’s automated pharmacies currently have the capacity to fill more than 2 million prescriptions per week. Medco opened the world’s first fully automated pharmacy in Las Vegas in October 1996 and the world’s then- largest pharmacy at 280,000 square feet in Willingboro in 2001.

Full Article


8 Limbed Girl Undergoes Massive Surgery

November 11, 2007

BANGALORE, India (AP) — A two-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs regained consciousness Friday, wiggled her toes and smiled at her parents, 48 hours after massive surgery removed the extra limbs, doctors said.

Lakshmi, who has been revered by some in her village as a reincarnation of the four-armed Hindu goddess she was named for, was still in intensive care. Lakshmi was born joined at the pelvis to a “parasitic twin” that stopped developing in her mother’s womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.

On Wednesday, a team of more than 30 surgeons concluded the 24-hour operation, removing the extra limbs, transplanting a kidney from the twin and reconstructing Lakshmi’s pelvic area. Doctors said the complicated surgery was a great success, meaning she would not need further major reconstructive surgery. However, Lakshmi will need further treatments and possible surgery for clubbed feet before she will be able to walk.

Children born with deformities in deeply traditional rural parts of India such as the remote village in the northern state of Bihar that Lakshmi hails from are often viewed as reincarnated gods. But some had sought to make money from Lakshmi. Her parents kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, they said.

“They say she is going to be back to normal, I believe them,” said her father Shambhu, who goes by one name. “I have just these doctors to thank for this miracle. It is a debt I could never repay.”

Full Story


Faces of Autism and the Need for Screening

October 30, 2007

The Andrew Child Photography Project has an exhibit “Faces and Voices of Autism Photo Exhibition”

Presented by May Institute and the National Autism Center. The website has some of the sample photos. Here is one boy’s photo that caught my eye. It is just an intense look that translated well into the photo. It looks like he can just see right through the computer screen.

This is Austin.


“When Austin and I are together, we float away in our bubble. A giant bubble filled with appreciation, love, hope, and laughter. He has this effortless way of making me feel like a child all over again. When I am with him, it’s an escape from a chaotic world filled with noise and ignorance.” — Jessica, Austin’s cousin

 

Most popular news outlets are reporting what I have always supported and many medical practitioners have privately been saying for years, every child should be tested for autism. A condition as common as autism should be considered a priority in early childhood detection. Particularly because autism treated early has much higher rates of success. Additionally it helps parents cope with the process of raising an autistic child if they know that is what is wrong and what resources are out there.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening every child for autism twice by age 2. The report gives explicit instructions for the warning signs of autism at various ages. Current estimates by the CDC say as many as 1 in 150 children have a form of autism. Read More.

Maybe with some autism education out there, people will stop blaming the MMR vaccine, and more research into a science based cause could be discovered (cough=pollution).


It’s Maine-ly For Kid’s Protection

October 22, 2007

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This is related to the article I posted earlier this week about contraceptives in a Portland middle school.

Some parents are in a huff, that a Maine Middle School will now offer prescription contraceptives. While I think it is to a large degree unnecessary at a middle school, it is not necessarily a bad idea. If it stops one kid from getting pregnant it is worth this whole controversy. And when are parents going to get it, access to contraceptives does not make kids have sex.

The New York Times ran a good article on the situation.

Article


“Excuse me is your boob beeping?”

October 20, 2007


Bras soon won’t just be fighting the sag. A British researcher is working on a prototype bra that could detect early stages of breast cancer. The “smart bra” uses microwave antennae to pick up on temperature changes that happen when there’s an increase in blood flow to a developing tumor. The same types of passive microwaves are used to pinpoint submarine and distant star locations.

An audible or visual alarm would be built into the bra alerting wearers that they should head to the doctor. This seems like it would be a bit stressful. Especially if it happened during a business meeting or an interview! “Sorry, gotta run. I may have cancer.”

Some docs aren’t too psyched on the whole idea either, citing that many benign growths and nonmalignant inflammatory changes can also increase blood flow. But hey, any research helping women find and fight breast cancer is worth looking into in my breast opinion!

Source

I think it is at least a step in the right direction. The right direction is prevention and early detection. I bet Japan has a working prototype in 6 months. And in 9 months there will be a recall of bras manufactured with cancer causing lead from China.


Eugenics is apparently making a comeback

October 19, 2007

I love me some DNA, but I am not loving James Watson right now. The Nobel winning biologist most famous for his part in the discovery of DNA structure has hit some nerves across the country with his racist remarks.

LONDON, England (CNN) — Nobel laureate biologist James Watson was suspended Friday from his longtime post at a research laboratory and canceled his planned British book tour after controversial comments that black people are not as intelligent as white people. Watson, 79, an American who won the 1962 Nobel prize for his role in discovering the double-helix structure of DNA, apologized Thursday for his remarks — but not before London’s Science Museum canceled his talk there, planned for Friday evening.

The controversy began with an October 14 interview Watson gave to the Sunday Times, which quoted him saying he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.” Watson also asserted there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically, and he said that while he hoped everyone was equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true.” The biologist apologized “unreservedly” Thursday for his comments and said he was “mortified” by the words attributed to him.

Watson is no stranger to controversy; he has a history of saying offensive and often scientifically inaccurate statements:

In 1997, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph quoted Watson as saying that if a gene for homosexuality were isolated, women who find that their unborn child has the gene should be allowed to have an abortion. During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between skin color and sexual prowess and between a person’s weight and their level of ambition. And in a British TV documentary that aired in 2003, Watson suggested that stupidity was a genetic disease that should be treated.

I have a theory about his statements. My theory is that the old man in a racist homophobe who feels superior to most people and is now senile enough to say what he thinks in public. I mean theory in the scientific way, like the theory of evolution.


Clinical Pharmacy

October 18, 2007

Cute video about the troubles of clinical pharmacy.  Today we had the the former director of pharmacy for Jefferson Hospitals.


Lipstick Lesbians Beware

October 15, 2007

To all my lady readers, well those who like to look lady like, there is some potential bad news.  Luckily I have nothing to worry about.  Although I rarely encourage supporting the vegan hipsters, maybe organic based and/or US produced lipsticks or glosses might be a good idea until this is checked out.  Its not the companies in the United States putting the lead in (although their negligence is to blame) it is the raw materials from places like China.  As my pharmaceutics professor always says, “you can’t buy your materials in China, they’d sell you arsenic if you had cash.”

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WASHINGTON: The United States will review an advocacy group’s findings that lipstick sold under brand names including L’Oréal and Cover Girl contained potentially dangerous levels of lead.

Twenty of 33 brand-name lipsticks had detectable levels of lead in the tests, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration has collected lipstick samples for testing to follow up on the group’s results, although the agency has not found dangers previously, said an FDA spokeswoman, Stephanie Kwisnek.

The levels of lead found by the cosmetics group in the lipsticks – ranging from 0.03 part per million to 0.65 part per million – have the potential to increase risks of health hazards, said Joel Schwartz, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard University. Long-term exposure to lead can result in higher blood pressure, kidney damage and loss of mental function.

U.S. sales of lipstick totaled $2 billion in 2006, with 270 million individual containers sold, according to Kline & Co., a consulting and research firm in Little Falls, New Jersey.

Warning: Think before kissing that hot lipstick lesbian from the club, she might give you lead poisoning.  Think, damn that would be worth it.