Biology and Medicine

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Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:30 pm

Interesting and controversial article.

Wired | Trials and Errors: Why [Medical] Science Is Failing Us

Added [Medical] as the examples cited by the author apply specifically to that field.

But here’s the bad news: The reliance on correlations has entered an age of diminishing returns. At least two major factors contribute to this trend. First, all of the easy causes have been found, which means that scientists are now forced to search for ever-subtler correlations, mining that mountain of facts for the tiniest of associations. Is that a new cause? Or just a statistical mistake? The line is getting finer; science is getting harder. Second—and this is the biggy—searching for correlations is a terrible way of dealing with the primary subject of much modern research: those complex networks at the center of life. While correlations help us track the relationship between independent measurements, such as the link between smoking and cancer, they are much less effective at making sense of systems in which the variables cannot be isolated. Such situations require that we understand every interaction before we can reliably understand any of them. Given the byzantine nature of biology, this can often be a daunting hurdle, requiring that researchers map not only the complete cholesterol pathway but also the ways in which it is plugged into other pathways. (The neglect of these secondary and even tertiary interactions begins to explain the failure of torcetrapib, which had unintended effects on blood pressure. It also helps explain the success of Lipitor, which seems to have a secondary effect of reducing inflammation.) Unfortunately, we often shrug off this dizzying intricacy, searching instead for the simplest of correlations. It’s the cognitive equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.


The comments section is certainly worth reading.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby admin » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:52 am

Interesting topic moved from a superfluous biomed thread.

AzariLoveIran wrote:.

Compared with the real cadavers in the lab next door, the virtual one seemed as dynamic as Imax


.

. . a group of students wearing 3-D glasses made by Nvidia, a graphics processing firm, dissected a virtual cadaver projected on a screen. Using a computer to control the stereoscopic view, they swooped through the virtual body, its sections as brightly colored as living tissue. First, the students scrutinized layers of sinewy pink muscles layered over ivory bones. Then, with the click of a mouse, they examined a close-up of the heart, watching as deep blue veins and bright red arteries made the heart pump.

.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby AzariLoveIran » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:40 am

admin wrote:.

Interesting topic moved from a superfluous biomed thread.

AzariLoveIran wrote:.

Compared with the real cadavers in the lab next door, the virtual one seemed as dynamic as Imax


.

. . a group of students wearing 3-D glasses made by Nvidia, a graphics processing firm, dissected a virtual cadaver projected on a screen. Using a computer to control the stereoscopic view, they swooped through the virtual body, its sections as brightly colored as living tissue. First, the students scrutinized layers of sinewy pink muscles layered over ivory bones. Then, with the click of a mouse, they examined a close-up of the heart, watching as deep blue veins and bright red arteries made the heart pump.

.


.



I was thinking to put this in "Biology and Medicine" thread

but

IMO, this an interesting application for "Virtual" technology

and "Virtual" technology could and has many interesting applications unrelated to this

.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:51 am

Typhoon wrote:Interesting and controversial article.

Wired | Trials and Errors: Why [Medical] Science Is Failing Us

Added [Medical] as the examples cited by the author apply specifically to that field.

But here’s the bad news: The reliance on correlations has entered an age of diminishing returns. At least two major factors contribute to this trend. First, all of the easy causes have been found, which means that scientists are now forced to search for ever-subtler correlations, mining that mountain of facts for the tiniest of associations. Is that a new cause? Or just a statistical mistake? The line is getting finer; science is getting harder. Second—and this is the biggy—searching for correlations is a terrible way of dealing with the primary subject of much modern research: those complex networks at the center of life. While correlations help us track the relationship between independent measurements, such as the link between smoking and cancer, they are much less effective at making sense of systems in which the variables cannot be isolated. Such situations require that we understand every interaction before we can reliably understand any of them. Given the byzantine nature of biology, this can often be a daunting hurdle, requiring that researchers map not only the complete cholesterol pathway but also the ways in which it is plugged into other pathways. (The neglect of these secondary and even tertiary interactions begins to explain the failure of torcetrapib, which had unintended effects on blood pressure. It also helps explain the success of Lipitor, which seems to have a secondary effect of reducing inflammation.) Unfortunately, we often shrug off this dizzying intricacy, searching instead for the simplest of correlations. It’s the cognitive equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.


The comments section is certainly worth reading.


W. Briggs | Statistics Compared To Ladies Of Ill Repute?

And then there’s the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Stanley Young and Alan Karr’s “Deming, data and observational studies“. Here’s their abstract:

“Any claim coming from an observational study is most likely to be wrong.” Startling, but true. Coffee causes pancreatic cancer. Type A personality causes heart attacks. Trans-fat is a killer. Women who eat breakfast cereal give birth to more boys. All these claims come from observational studies; yet when the studies are carefully examined, the claimed links appear to be incorrect. What is going wrong? Some have suggested that the scientific method is failing, that nature itself is playing tricks on us. But it is our way of studying nature that is broken and that urgently needs mending.

Part of what’s broken is statistics.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:34 am

Resurrecting extinct proteins shows how a [cellular] machine evolves

By bringing long-dead proteins back to life, researchers have worked out the process by which evolution added a component to a cellular machine. The result, they say, is a challenge to proponents of intelligent design who maintain that complex biological systems can only have been created by a divine force.

Cells rely on ‘machines’ made of multiple different protein components to carry out many vital functions in the cell, and molecular and evolutionary biologists have puzzled about how they evolved. In an effort to find out, Joe Thornton at the University of Oregon in Eugene chose to study a particular machine called the V-ATPase proton pump, which channels protons across membranes and is vital for keeping cell compartments at the right acidity. Part of this machine is a ring of six proteins that threads through the membrane.

In animals and most other eukaryotes, this ring is composed of two types of protein; fungi are alone in having a ring with three. Thornton wanted to know how the machine evolved from the simple to the more complex form. And, because he has built a lab that specializes in resurrecting ancient proteins, he had just the tools to find out at hand.
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Trial uses tuberculosis vaccine to treat diabetes

Postby Azrael » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:22 pm

Azrael wrote:
Azrael wrote:Trial uses tuberculosis vaccine to treat diabetes.

Now Denise Faustman is gearing up for phase 2 of clinical trials. Please support.

Faustman Lab Winter 2011 Update
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:20 pm

TED Talks - William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

Very interesting

As per the cancer Torch's wife has, I found this:

Therapeutic Advances in the Treatment of Glioblastoma: Rationale and Potential Role of Targeted Agents

Abstract

Despite advances in standard therapy, including surgical resection followed by radiation and chemotherapy, the prognosis for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains poor. Unfortunately, most patients die within 2 years of diagnosis of their disease. Molecular abnormalities vary among individual patients and also within each tumor. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of GBM is its marked genetic heterogeneity. Nonetheless, recent developments in the field of tumor biology have elucidated signaling pathways and genes involved in the development of GBM, and several novel agents that target these signaling pathways are being developed. As new details on the genetic characteristics of this disease become available, innovative treatment regimens, including a variety of traditional treatment modalities such as surgery, radiation, and cytotoxic chemotherapy, will be combined with newer targeted therapies. This review introduces these new targeted therapies in the context of current treatment options for patients with GBM. It is hoped that this combined approach will overcome the current limitations in the treatment of patients with GBM and result in a better prognosis for these patients.

[snip]

Angiogenesis Inhibitors
The growth and survival of GBM are dependent on an adequate blood supply, and not surprisingly, malignant gliomas are highly vascularized [10]. The formation of new blood vessels is coordinated by the complex interaction of many angiogenic factors, including VEGF, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and PDGF [10]. Therefore, targeting factors and pathways implicated in angiogenesis may represent potential approaches to the treatment of this disease.

Because VEGF represents a major stimulatory factor for the initiation of angiogenesis, the inhibition of VEGFRs is a promising treatment for malignant gliomas [10, 20]. PTK787/ZK 222584 (Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Schering AG Corporation), a VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, decreases glioma growth and vascularization in vivo and is currently being investigated in phase I/II trials alone or in combination with lomustine or temozolomide in patients with GBM [10, 35].

Other VEGFR inhibitors, including ZD6474 (Zactima™; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals) and CEP-7055 (sanofi-aventis, Bridgewater, NJ), have produced significant growth inhibition of glioblastoma xenografts in nude mice [10]. Clinical trials of these and other VEGFR inhibitors, such as sorafenib (BAY 43-9006; Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation, West Haven, CT, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Emeryville, CA) and AZD2171 (AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), are ongoing or being planned [10, 36].

In recent trials, monotherapy with thalidomide (Thalomid®; Celgene Corporation, Warren, NJ) has been investigated for the treatment of GBM because of its antiangiogenic effects. However, results suggest thalidomide alone has only moderate antitumor activity in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas [20, 37]. Nonetheless, the combination of thalidomide and chemotherapy appears to be more active in patients with recurrent gliomas than either agent alone [20, 38]. The αvβ3 integrin inhibitor cilengitide (EMD 121974; EMD Pharmaceuticals, Durham, NC) induces apoptosis in brain tumor cells, and the protein kinase C (PKC) β2 inhibitor enzastaurin (LY317615; Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis) decreases VEGF levels in a mouse tumor model [39, 40]. Phase II trials in recurrent gliomas are under way for both of these agents [10]. Furthermore, metalloproteinase inhibitors, including SI-27 (Shionogi and Company Ltd., Osaka, Japan) and batimastat (British Biotech Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., Oxford, UK), inhibit angiogenesis invasion in vivo and have therapeutic potential for the treatment of GBM [10, 41]. Other angiogenic inhibitors of interest include cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors, angiostatin, atrasentan (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL), and lenalidomide (Revlimid®; Celgene Corporation) [10, 20, 42–44].

A new approach for delivering antiangiogenic agents to gliomas uses naked plasmid DNA targeted to brain tumors via intra-arterial injection [45]. The intra-arterial delivery of the gene for endostatin, a suppressor of angiogenesis, was recently investigated in a rat gliosarcoma model. Administration of the endostatin gene resulted in an 80% tumor volume reduction, and survival time was up to 47% longer [45].

To achieve the greatest therapeutic benefit from antiangiogenic agents, it will be important to determine the most effective combinations of therapies and drugs. Agents that target multiple receptors, including sorafenib, valatinib (PTK787/ZK222584), sunitinib (SU011248) (Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, New York), ZD6474 (zactima) and AEE788, allow a multipronged attack against vascularization (Table 1⇑) [10, 46]. Ultimately, the most effective treatment strategies may be tailored to the molecular phenotype of a patient’s tumor and include chemotherapy in combination with cytostatic agents.

Bevacizumab (Avastin®; Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA), a recombinant, humanized monoclonal antibody targeting VEGF, has been recently approved for use in colorectal carcinoma based on a significant survival benefit observed following its addition to fluorouracil-based chemotherapy [47]. Similarly, Stark-Vance recently reported that, among 21 patients with recurrent malignant glioma treated with bevacizumab plus irinotecan (Camptosar®; Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), one patient achieved a complete response, eight achieved partial responses, and 11 achieved stable disease [48]. Overall, the regimen was reported as well tolerated, although two deaths occurred on treatment, including one patient with an intracranial hemorrhage and one patient with bowel perforation. A formal, single-arm phase II study of bevacizumab plus irinotecan is being performed at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center for patients with recurrent malignant glioma. Preliminary analyses of results of this trial reveal that this regimen is well tolerated among malignant glioma patients and is associated with a highly exciting rate of radiographic response. Further investigation of the regimen of bevacizumab plus irinotecan is planned.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:35 am

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:13 pm



Register | Phages fight antibiotic resistant superbugs

They're the most abundant form of life on Earth – they have astonishing properties – and we know bugger-all about them.

Bacteriophages were only discovered in 1912, and the Red Army and the Wehrmacht both carried phage water as a bacterial treatment. Then antibiotics came along and science ignored bacteriophages for a very long time. Apart from research at one institute in Georgia, very little science was done for 60 years. Now, phages are being re-appraised in the fight against infection: bacteria are a phage's natural enemy, and with antibiotics becoming increasingly ineffective, we need the little critters more than ever.

Israeli scientists at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv have established in principle the technique of ensuring bacteria do not retain their resistance to antibiotics.

"Unlike conventional bacteriophage therapy, the system does not rely on the phage's ability to kill pathogens in the infected host, but instead, to deliver genetic constructs into the bacteria, and thus render them sensitive to antibiotics prior to host infection," they note in the abstract to their paper, Reversing Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics by Phage-Mediated Delivery of Dominant Sensitive Genes.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby AzariLoveIran » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:21 am

.

Alzheimer’s disease seems to spread like an infection from brain cell to brain cell, two new studies in mice have found. But instead of viruses or bacteria, what is being spread is a distorted protein known as tau.


.

The surprising finding answers a longstanding question and has immediate implications for developing treatments, researchers said. And they suspect that other degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s may spread in a similar way.

Alzheimer’s researchers have long known that dying, tau-filled cells first emerge in a small area of the brain where memories are made and stored. The disease then slowly moves outward to larger areas that involve remembering and reasoning.

much more @ the link

.



interesting


.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Demon of Undoing » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:53 pm

Here come the replacements I ordered.

83 year-old woman got 3D printed mandible

The University of Hasselt (Belgium) announced today that Belgian and Dutch scientists have successfully replacing a lower jaw with a 3D printed model for a 83 year-old woman. According to the researchers, It is the first custom-made implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw.

The lower jaw of the elderly woman was badly infected and needed to be removed. Considering the age of the patient, a "classical" microsurgical reconstructive surgery takes too long time and can be risky. Therefore a tailor-made implant is the best choice.

Normally it takes a few days to produce a custom implant, but with 3D printing technology it takes only a few hours.

This development is led by Research Institute BIOMED at Hasselt University, in collaboration with surgeons from the Netherlands, including the Orbis Centre in Sittard-Geleen, Xilloc Medical BV, Maastricht and Cam bioceramics BV in Leiden.

The 3D printer prints titanium powder layer by layer, while a computer controlled laser ensures that the correct particles are fused together. Using 3D printing technology, less materials are needed and the production time is much shorter than traditional manufacturing. The artificial jaw is slightly heavier than a natural jaw, but the patient can easily get used to it.

The operation was performed in June last year in the hospital in Sittard-Geleen. One day later the lady could start talking and swallowing.

"Computer technology is causing a revolution in medical industry", said professor Jules Poukens from BIOMED. "A traditional surgery takes up to 20 hours, and the patient should definitely stay 2 to 4 weeks in the hospital. But this operation lasted four hours and the woman could go home after four days."

The university expects that such patient-specific implants will be widely used in the future.


Between this and growing new organs on a cellular lattice, well, we'll simply replace it as it wears out.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Enki » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:14 pm

Combine the replacements with the Tricorder X-Prize and we can see a reduction in healthcare costs. Of course, not after a long protracted political/legal battle by the existing interests that want to control it and think the government should protect their bottom line.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Enki » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:29 am

Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:38 am

Alzheimer's brain plaques 'rapidly cleared' in mice

By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News

Destructive plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients have been rapidly cleared by researchers testing a cancer drug on mice.

The US study, published in the journal Science, reported the plaques were broken down at "unprecedented" speed.

Tests also showed an improvement in some brain function.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Demon of Undoing » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:40 pm

This is an old article.

It's also why the military uses $1000 toilet seats.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:11 pm

Nature | Debate bubbles over the origin of life

Image

Geothermal ponds, like this one in Yellowstone National Park, could have been where the first cells evolved.


How life began is one of nature’s enduring mysteries. Fossil and biological clues have led scientists to estimate that cells originated on this planet about four billion years ago, but exactly what catalysed their emergence has remained elusive.

In an 1871 letter to botanist Joseph Hooker, Charles Darwin wondered whether life might have begun “in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc. present.” Since then, scientists have come to conclude that life began in hydrothermal vents in the deep sea, but a controversial study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1 argues that Darwin might have been on the right track.

The study, led by Armen Mulkidjanian of Germany’s University of Osnabrück, suggests that inland pools of condensed and cooled geothermal vapour have the ideal characteristics for the origin of life. The conclusion is based mainly on the chemistry of modern cells. Citing an observation made in 1926 by biochemist Archibald Macallum that the composition of the cytoplasm of modern cells differs greatly from that of seawater2, and assuming that cells have changed little over the past four billion years led the researchers to propose that modern cell chemistry would provide clues about the type of environment in which life emerged.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:58 am

Med Exp | Diabetes may start in the intestines

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have made a surprising discovery about the origin of diabetes. Their research suggests that problems controlling blood sugar — the hallmark of diabetes — may begin in the intestines.


Given the rapid global rise in the incidence of diabetes and the cost of treating complications, this could prove to be a landmark discovery.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Demon of Undoing » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:39 am

Typhoon wrote:Med Exp | Diabetes may start in the intestines

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have made a surprising discovery about the origin of diabetes. Their research suggests that problems controlling blood sugar — the hallmark of diabetes — may begin in the intestines.


Given the rapid global rise in the incidence of diabetes and the cost of treating complications, this could prove to be a landmark discovery.



One word: corn.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:50 am

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:59 pm

All that remains is the ability to shrink three prominent scientists and a very attractive female technician to microscopic size.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:28 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:All that remains is the ability to shrink three prominent scientists and a very attractive female technician to microscopic size.


Great underrated sci-fi film.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:29 pm

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Demon of Undoing » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:08 am

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resurrected an Ice Age flower more than 31,000 years old

Postby AzariLoveIran » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:24 am

.

Russian scientists revive Ice Age flower


.
Permafrost holds promise as "a cryodepository, a potential source of ancient germplasm, and a natural laboratory for studies of crypopreservation of ancient genetic resources," the researchers wrote.

In the frozen soil, they might find "an ancient genetic pool, that of preexisting life, which hypothetically has long vanished from the Earth's surface," they wrote.

Gubin told the Associated Press that if frozen tissue can survive tens of thousands of years, that might mean that mammals -- maybe even mammoths -- could someday be brought back to life.
.



Hmmm


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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:37 am

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