Human brains have a consistent molecular architecture despite all the other genetic differences across individuals and ethnicities, according to two studies that recorded when and where genes turn on and off in multiple brain regions throughout life.
Despite individual and ethnic genetic diversity, the human prefrontal cortex shows a consistent molecular architecture, as shown in this picture. The vertical span of color-coded areas is about the same, indicating that our brains all share the same tissue at a molecular level, despite distinct DNA differences on the horizontal axis. Each dot represents a comparison between two individuals.
The research appeared in the Journal Nature and was described by the National Institutes of Health in a press release.
The first study focused on Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
The human genome has been around for a bit more than ten years, but on February 15, 2001, the first complete human genome sequence was published. This was nothing short of a revolution within medicine. Since then, great advancements have been made in our understanding of genetics and its associations with human traits and diseases.
Nature is celebrating this tenth birthday with a special titled “Human Genome at Ten.” In it, multiple papers reflect on what we learned and discovered, what is still unknown, and what we can expect for the near future. Best of all, Nature has packaged the special in a free iPad app for everyone to read, which features interactive graphs, videos, and audio commentaries.
Nature special: The Human Genome at Ten…
iTunes link: Nature Human Genome Special Edition…
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
There’s hematology news, times two (at least):
1. Progress in developing synthetic red blood cells
A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill research group has created hydrogel particles that mimic the size, shape and flexibility of red blood cells (RBCs). The researchers used PRINT® (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates) technology to generate the fake RBCs, which are said to have a relatively long half-life. The findings were reported on-line yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (abstract available, subscription required for full text). According to a PR-ish but interesting post on Futurity, a website put forth by a consortium of major research universities, tests of the particles’ ability to perform functions such as transporting oxygen or carrying therapeutic drugs have not yet been conducted.
Developing competent, artificial RBCs is a hematologist’s holy grail of sorts, because with that you might alleviate anemia without the risks of transfusion.
2. Progress in using human stem cells to generate lots of platelets
In an exciting paper published today in Cell Research, investigators stimulated human embryonic stem cells to become platelet-producing cells, called megakaryocytes. According to the article (open-text at Nature PG), the platelets were produced in abundance, appeared typical and clotted appropriately in response to stimuli in vitro. The researchers injected them into mice, used high-speed video microscopy for imaging, and demonstrated that the stem cell-derived human platelets contributed to clot formation in mice, in vivo (i.e., they seem to work). Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*
One of the things that disturbs me the most about where medicine is going is the infiltration of quackery into academic medicine. So prevalent is this unfortunate phenomenon that Doctor RW even coined a truly apt term for it: Quackademic medicine.
In essence, pseudoscientific and even prescientific ideas are rapidly being “integrated” with science-based medicine, or, as I tend to view it, quackery is being “integrated” with scientific medicine, to the gradual erosion of scientific standards in medicine. No quackery is too quacky, it seems. Even homeopathy and naturopathy can seemingly find their way into academic medical centers. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*