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Stem Cell Research Shows Promise For In Vivo Integration

864ei5e4w Combining Stem Cells and Optogenetics Holds Promise for Neurodegenerative DisordersEmbryonic stem cells have the potential to treat a range of diseases and conditions for which current treatment options are lacking. Capable of differentiating practically into all of the types of tissues in the human body, the cells could be used in therapies to treat conditions such as paralysis, brain damage, and Parkinson’s disease. Among the many challenges to be overcome before human embryonic stem cells live up to their promise is difficulty in proving whether transplanted stem cells can integrate successfully in vivo.

Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison have announced progress on that front. Having created Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

New Technology Allows The Assessment Of Myelination In Vivo

A technique to identify myelination in order to map the layout of cortical areas in the human brain has been developed by researchers led by David van Essen at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It is generally known that myelination levels are different throughout the cerebral cortex. The best way to assess it is to investigate the brain post mortem. Using the new technique of myelination mapping, it will be possible to accurately map individual cortical areas in vivo. The researchers used their method on a group of control subjects and found an excellent agreement between the spatial gradients of the myelin maps and already published anatomical and functional information about cortical areas, mostly based on post-mortem histology.

Using data from T1 and T2-weighted MRIs, the team has been able to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

New Contrast Agent Provides Better In Vivo Imaging Of Bacteria

A new contrast agent based on maltodextrin has been developed at Georgia Tech that can provide in vivo imaging of bacteria with a sensitivity two orders of magnitude greater than previously achieved.

Unlike most previous methods, the new probes are able to enter bacterial cells by pretending to be food, while avoiding being ingested by the mammalian cells.

From Georgia Tech:

Maltodextrin-based imaging probes consist of a fluorescent dye linked to maltohexaose, which is a major source of glucose for bacteria. The probes deliver the contrast agent into bacteria through the organism’s maltodextrin transporter, which only exists in bacterial cells and not mammalian cells.

In experiments using a rat model, the researchers found that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

First In-Vivo Gene Delivery Mastered?

While gene therapy has always seemed just on the verge of being right around the corner, the limitation has always been delivery of the gene. How do you get the new gene to the right cells and activated?

An in-vivo mice study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) may take us closer to a usable delivery system. Rui Maeda-Mamiya of the University of Tokyo and others were able to get diabetic mice to increase their insulin levels after delivery of a insulin 2 gene by a water-soluble fullerene. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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