March 29, 2014
Suspended Animation? Docs Try Stopping Clock to Save Lives - NBC News

This is, to put it lightly, some “next level shit:”

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: a mortally injured patient is put into suspended animation so doctors can buy time to close up his wounds and save his life.

But that seemingly improbable scenario is about to become a reality at five centers around the United States where doctors will try to stop the clock on patients who’ve sustained gunshot or knife wounds that were so severe their hearts stopped.

In the past, when efforts to restart the heart failed because so much blood had been lost, these patients would have been declared dead because there was no way to get enough oxygen to the brain before it was irreparably damaged.

Scientists now think that by quickly and dramatically cooling down a trauma patient by replacing blood with cold saline solution, they can send all the cells of the body into slow motion. That would mean the cells would need less oxygen, which would give doctors the time needed to make repairs that would stop the bleeding.

[…]

Once repairs are made, blood would be exchanged for the saline solution through a heart-lung bypass machine. This would restore circulation and bring body temperature back up to normal. In animal models, the effect has been quite stunning.

"It’s really fascinating," said Dr. Paul Vespa, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery and director of critical care at the University of California, Los Angeles. "They have basically suspended animation and in an animal model, there’s an amazing recovery."

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Filed under: medecine science 
April 23, 2012
How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death

Pam Sakuda was 55 when she found out she was dying. Shortly after having a tumor removed from her colon, she heard the doctor’s dreaded words: Stage 4; metastatic. Sakuda was given 6 to 14 months to live. Determined to slow her disease’s insidious course, she ran several miles every day, even during her grueling treatment regimens. By nature upbeat, articulate and dignified, Sakuda — who died in November 2006, outlasting everyone’s expectations by living for four years — was alarmed when anxiety and depression came to claim her after she passed the 14-month mark, her days darkening as she grew closer to her biological demise. Norbert Litzinger, Sakuda’s husband, explained it this way: “When you pass your own death sentence by, you start to wonder: WhenWhen? It got to the point where we couldn’t make even the most mundane plans, because we didn’t know if Pam would still be alive at that time — a concert, dinner with friends; would she still be here for that?” When came to claim the couple’s life completely, their anxiety building as they waited for the final day.

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January 16, 2012
In Which Throwing Little People And Leaving Them Paralyzed Is Probably Not Ok

The Daily What tells the story of Martin Henderson, a dwarf actor who was recently assaulted when he was “tossed” into the air by an unknown party, resulting in injuries that left him paralyzed:

In his acceptance speech, actor Peter Dinklage, who won Best Supporting Actor for Game of Thrones, referenced a man named Martin Henderson, asking the audience and viewers at home to Google him.

Henderson made headlines this week for being the victim of an assault that has left him partially paralyzed.

The 37-year-old dwarf actor, who is best remember for his role as a Goblin in two of the Harry Potter films, was standing outside the White Horse pub in Wincanton, Somerset, when he was suddenly picked up by an unknown assailant and thrown across the pavement.

Henderson believes the man who attacked him may have been inspired by English rugby player Mike Tindall, who is said to have been a spectator at a “dwarf tossing contest” in a New Zealand bar last year.

“It all happened so quickly – I think he was with a group of mates and they thought it would be a laugh,” Henderson said. “I guess I was an easy target and the only reason I was picked on was because I am small.”

He suffered multiple injuries, and has been told by doctors he may be permanently bound to a wheelchair.

Horrifying.  As I read this story, I had time to reflect on what the world must be like for people with any of various dwarfism-related conditions.  There must be few forms of discrimination more odious than people refusing to take you seriously.  The hooligan who tossed Martin Henderson probably had a head full of booze and a Cro-magnon  notion of hilarity percolating within his psyche when he decided to “toss” Henderson through the air.  Imagine doing the same thing to a grown human being, knowing they’re going to land on pavement.  It loses its “humor,” doesn’t it?  

In fact, I’ll bet it’s difficult to imagine such an event without it occurring under the pretext of some sort of violent confrontation.  But in Martin Henderson’s case, it was done to vindicate the pretense of humor which inures from his condition.

To quote Peter MacNicol: I’m troubled.

December 8, 2011
What Were You Doing At Seventeen Years Of Age?

Probably not curing cancer.  I tell you what:

For her design of a cancer-fighting technique that targets tumors and leaves healthy tissue intact, Angela Zhang, of Cupertino, has won a best-of-the-best national science competition and a $100,000 scholarship. She is all of 17 years old.

Zhang, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, won the grand prize in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, which funds and recognizes outstanding achievement. She designed a gold-iron oxide nanoparticle to deliver chemotherapy. It’s like sending in a cellphone-carrying ninja to assassinate cancer stem cells and report back while in action.

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Filed under: cancer medecine 
September 27, 2011
Household Vinegar Being Used To Detect Cervical Cancer In Thailand.

Nurses using the new procedure, developed by experts at the Johns Hopkins medical school in the 1990s and endorsed last year by the World Health Organization, brush vinegar on a woman’s cervix. It makes precancerous spots turn white. They can then be immediately frozen off with a metal probe cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide, available from any Coca-Cola bottling plant.

h/t TDW

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Filed under: politics medecine cancer 
September 9, 2011
Scientists Develop Blood Swimming Microspiders To Heal Injuries, Deliver Drugs

I wish I was filled with bloodswimming microspiders.

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Filed under: politics medecine 
August 10, 2011
New Drug May Be Effective Against Most, If Not All Viruses

new drug could be as effective against viruses as antibiotics are against bacteria, according to researchers at MIT.

The drug, called a DRACO (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers), targets double-stranded RNA that is only found in infected cells. So far, it’s worked on 15 different viruses, including the common cold rhinovirus, H1N1 flu, a stomach virus, a polio virus, and dengue fever.

Researchers are currently testing the treatment against more viruses in mice, and they hope to license it for testing in larger animals and eventually humans.

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Filed under: politics medecine 
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