Thursday, July 2, 2009

Medical News

I went for a hike to explore some ruins of an old mine today, and need a break from processing pictures. So here's what has been going on in the medical world lately.

- We all know its good to eat your veggies. But more and more we're finding out that it not only matters what you eat, but also how you eat it. For example, it's healthier to eat whole fruit instead of their dried counterparts, which we consume more of in a single sitting, which causes us to intake more sugar. Or, as a Newcastle University study finds, cooking carrots whole seems to boost their antioxidant properties. I can hear the vegans rejoice!
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- Now, while some researchers are skeptic of the full effectiveness of antioxidants, people in general are looking more and more to antioxidant foods to boost their health. Well good news gentlemen, eating all those blueberries and cooked carrots is boosting your sperm quality and your manliness! (What woman can resist a guy seductively munching a carrot?) According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, men who eat antioxidant rich foods have a high sperm quality than men who have a meat-heavy diet.It should be noted that this study was done mostly by survey, but it does show potential and I hope to see it studied more in the future.
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- Anyone who has experienced insomnia (like me) knows the toll it can take on everyday life. Doctors have preached the importance sleep for decades, and new studies occur every year which support their advice. The most recent of these studies is one lead by Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at MIT. The study displays a link between long term memory and sleep, specifically memory replay and memory consolidation. Translation: sleep helps us transform our recent, short-term memories into long term memories.
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- Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a nasty little critter, and tuberculosis was once a fairly common ailment. Even today it poses great risks among impoverished nations, and even among the homeless here in America. Researchers of Ohio State University are using the power of math to help fight the air-born disease, hoping a change in the natural switching time with result in a better immune response. It studies the complex relationship between the Mycobacterium, the human lungs, and immune system, and I'm not gonna lie, the article is pretty long and intense. But it's a great and thorough article, and hopefully will greatly impact the future of how we deal with TB and other airborne pathogens.
Learn more @

- Your brain is a remarkable organ, and one you want to take care of. Come on, who doesn't sing lullabies to their sweet little neurons when no one is looking, or occasionally spoil them with crossword puzzles?
Glioblastoma multiforme is a nasty brain tumor, which accounts for 52% of all primary brain tumor cases, as well as 20% of intracranial tumors. It is both the most common and most aggressive brain tumor; Definitely not something you want hanging around your innocent neurons. Good news, however: scientists have identified a specific biomarker which is effective (in animal trials) in gauging the response to a new gene therapy treatment for glioblastoma multiforme. The biomarker is a protein released by dying tumor cells, and it's effectiveness in animal trials means it will soon go into Phase 1 clinical trial, hopefully later this year.
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- Any way you cut it, it's still surgery. So when it comes to abdominal surgery, transverse and midline incisions shouldn't be that different. Or are they? While most abdominal surgery today is done with minimally invasive techniques ("keyhole surgery"), larger abdominal surgeries still require good old-fashioned incisions. So to satisfy the curiosity of doctors, Heidelberg University Hospital's surgery department conducted a study on the healing quality of both midline and transverse incisions. The results: wound infections were slightly higher in transverse incisions. Other then that, healing time, quality, and complecations were consistant and seemed to be unrelated to incision type.
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- Scared of going blind? Munch on saffron!
This overpriced spice has been linking preventing certain common types of blindness by increasing the resilience of eye cells.
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