As a life-long benefit of your high school language requirement, surely you recognize the English version of one or more of these foreign questions: Sprechen Sie deutsch? (German); Parlez-vous francais? (French); and Habla usted espanol? (Spanish).
Aside from being able to order a meal or ask directions when one travels to foreign lands, neurologists have found that bilingualism is also helpful to aphasia sufferers. Aphasia, often caused by strokes or a brain injury, is an impairment that causes inability to use or comprehend words.
But thanks to rehabilitation and neurology collaborative studies, it seems that researchers have discovered that when a person speaks at least two languages and that person experiences brain damage, the less dominant language can be utilized to transfer knowledge to the primary language, thereby helping with the rehabilitation phase.
Without getting too technical, beneficial rehab treatment comes from the cognitive connections of similar sounding words in both languages creating likes between phonology, syntax and vocabulary. Scientists are calling this connection a "structural overlap" between languages.
On a different health topic from an equally interesting research approach, a geriatric epidemiological theory has been put forth that speaking a second language could prevent later-life dementia and cognitive decline.
I think just these two health research findings alone should strengthen the language course requirements in all educational institutions.
As the weather heats up due to seasonal changes, professional and amateur swimmers from Arizona to Zimbabwe will be stripping down to swimwear to begin the water splashing ritual. I can't think of anyone who doesn't like a dip in the crisp clear waters.
But beware, because the CDC has issued alerts that emergency room visits for injuries form pool chemicals is on the rise. The CDC notes that beginning 2012, there are been a noticeable increase of chemical-related illnesses.
It doesn't take much research to uncover that for over 100 years, chemicals have been applied to swimming pools to kill off bacteria and other pathogens that could make people sick. And with the invention of whirlpools and hot tubs, the same chemical applications were instituted. But according to the CDC, improper additive applications, such as over use, unacceptable mixing, and inadequate storage is causing a rise in injuries.
The CDC in collaboration with another government agency, namely the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) has calculated that the number of hospital visits from chemical-associated pool injuries is on a steady climb. The most frequent diagnoses range from poisonings, vapor inhalations and the handling of chemicals without goggles and other protective wear.
What is notable is that both the CDC and NEISS report that the incidents of pool chemical-related injuries are preventable.
The result of the collaborative efforts between hospital emergency rooms and the two federal agencies collecting and analyzing data is a publication titled The CDC's Model Aquatic Health Code. This pamphlet can be used as a resource to prevent these types of injuries. I've viewed the model and let me say it is good to see that not only are volumes of public health data collecting data, but we also look to extract a meaningful outcome.
Healthy collaboration brings industry experts together to help businesses achieve their missions. When you collaborate with the right partners, the results will exceed your expectations. For example, a meaningful collaboration that is occurring is that of cardiovascular medicine and a federal regulatory authority, namely the FDA.
For close to 20 years, many professionals and laypersons have pushed forth the theory of ingesting low-dosages of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes. But not so fast, for recently, the FDA has stated that everyone needs to understand there is no one size fits all cure as it relates daily aspirin dosages.
The FDA does support the research that low-dose aspirin can prevent "reoccurring" cardiovascular problems, but confirming aspirin can prevent the very first episode needs further evidence-based research.
As medical biologists, we know that aspirin, like other blood thinning medications, for such as Coumadin (warfarin), Pradaxa and others, interferes with the blood's clotting action, thereby reducing the potential for clots to develop and obstruct the flow of blood and oxygen.
The FDA suggests that pharmaceutical manufacturers collaborate with clinical life scientists to conduct additional scientific studies to confirm and support with data the beneficial affects of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular events. In the meantime, the federal agency is encouraging the public to consult with their individual primary physicians regarding a daily low-dose aspirin regime to ensure that ongoing ingestion is not contraindicative with other medicines and does not cause other health risks.
A philosophical unknown author is recorded as saying, "Gray hair is a blessing-ask any bald man." How true, though many men including male celebrities opt for the clean shaved head, many still crave the fashion of shiny and thick tresses.
As life scientists, we are all well aware of the biological importance of hair. Hair shades the head and keeps the scalp cool from extreme heated temperatures; hair protects our brains from ultraviolet rays; and hair can be utilized for toxicology studies in the detection of harmful substances.
For over a century, cosmetologists and biologists have been trying to cure problems of thinning and missing hair. And now geneticists, who are new on the scene, have been studying the DNA connection with baldness for decades.
Now scientists have jumped onto the hair color bandwagon. It was recently discovered by a team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher that there is only one letter in the genetic code that determine hair color. It seems that this letter can generate blonde hair in humans.
Hair coloring is a big money industry. In fact the cosmetic industry has been making large sums on hair coloring for over 50 years. Treating the hair with various artificial dyes and bleaches can be dated as far back the Egyptians.
This newest discovery of genetic hair pigmentation will make every hair strand stand and take notice. For one day soon, it make be possible to forgo hair dyes and have a scientist click on certain letters in your genetic code to provide you with the hair color of your desire ... provided you have hair to begin with.
Reality is a unique concept to each and every individual. Our perceptions dictate to us what is real. But just because we see a thing a certain way does not make it so. I think this quote best sums it the point: "The real voyage of discovery is not is seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Proust.
Healthcare professionals are taking expeditions to new discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old methodologies and create new ones. As much as we think we know about science, I can assure you that new knowledge will continue to be written for centuries to come.
How are undiscovered innovative territories uncovered? New healthcare frontiers are discovered as a result of tests and close scrutiny of testing results. However, lately there has been a lot of chatter regarding unnecessary laboratory testing occurring. More specifically, and most likely the heightened concern is a result of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) and closer study of costs by insurance companies.
I read a couple of articles that put forth the idea that many tests are given, but just as many are thrown in the waste bin, because there wasn't a clear rationale on the part of the practitioner for ordering the test. In other words, there is a level of "uncertainty" involved on the clinician's part when they order and interpret the tests.
There is support that the greatest issue contributing to the "hasty uncertainty" involves a human factor of practitioners being overwhelmed due to demanding workloads and the on-going pressure to produce results.
This year, a collaborative research effort involving from the CDC and a few university hospitals will be examining how increased use of electronics and technology can assist clinicians in better lab tests decision making, thereby reducing the waste.
More technology is cool. I love technology. However a word of caution is time management considerations. Electronics specialists and healthcare providers need to come to the table and chat on managing time for injecting more electronics onto the scene. Often times more availability of technology inputs and outputs literally drown professionals. So a consideration should also be to ensure that a unhurried dedicated amount of time be set aside to examine the necessity of ordering; time to effectively transmit data; time to review electronic lab results before adding more technology on top of current tools. Enough said.
Not only is diabetes a complicated disease, it is a confusing disease as well. This week I read a series of conflicting epidemiology research reports, where on one hand the studies report that diabetes-related complications have declined. But on the other hand there are reports stating that the diabetes illness is rising in at an alarming rate.
What's behind the research inconsistencies?
I am thinking that the paradox must be linked to how the statistics for health outcomes are tallied and reported. For example, diabetes can cause serious health issues, such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure and deaths. But it seems that rates for these illnesses are only linked to diabetes when attached to blood sugar complications.
I think researchers are struggling with placing the puzzle pieces together for a clearer outlook of diabetes due to the multiple disparity timetables for the onset of pre-diabetes, diabetes, type 1, type 2; discrepancies among age groups; variations among ethic groups; a large volume of adverse signs and symptoms; and many health prevention and treatments regimes expanding across pharmaceutical and surgical medicine to natural/herbal/lifestyle change remedies.
There is even literature suggesting sleeping patterns and insomnia could be attributed to the prevention or onset of diabetes. Diabetes can be attributed to sleeping too long or not sleeping long enough in respect to hours.
Furthermore, when the pre-diabetic/diabetic patient is sleeping, are they getting "good quality" sleep? In other words, they may be sleeping the right amount of hours, but is there mental distress and restless sleep.
To reduce the amount of conflicting information, there will need to be a more intimate relationship between epidemiologists, bioinformatics specialists and healthcare providers in order to pinpoint and attribute diabetes associated health complications and deaths.
There are two idioms regarding smoke, first one state, “There is no smoke without fire”; and the other assert “Where there’s smoke there’s fire”. However in the case of electronic cigarettes neither of these phrases holds water. Yes, there is no fire, but there sure is a lot of legislative and regulatory oversight smoke brewing.
Electronic cigarettes, also called E-cigarettes or ẹ-cigs, looks like the traditional tobacco cigarette, but it is actually a battery-powered device that contains favoring, glycol, propylene glycol, nicotine, and water. The attraction of this smoking technology is that for a smoker or one trying to quit smoking, the lifting a device to their mouth still provides the experience of smoking yet there is a reduction in inhalation of tar. The outcome is similar to if the smoker were wearing a nicotine patch, chew gum, or suck on lozenges. The claim is that this new device introduced to the American public around 2007, is reportedly healthier than tobacco cigarettes.
In a collaborative effort to address the unknowns regarding electronic cigarettes known as E-cig) healthcare professionals, regulatory, and manufacturers are reviewing the proposed stricter regulations released by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For years healthcare professionals have been singing that tighter regulatory scrutiny, warning labels and restrictions to the sale of minors should be as rigorous for E-cig as they are for regular tobacco cigarettes. Another concern raised by the healthcare community is that there is not enough research data to validate the health outcomes and the potential affects.
Reportedly the smoking E-cigarettes is growing in popularity. A quick visit to the not-for-profit, Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA), reports that currently there are approximately 3.5 million users. Hollywood has been helpful in introducing the public to the technology. For those of you who saw the movie, “The Tourist”, may remember Johnny Depp puffing away on an E-cig. Also, supposedly, Leonardo DeCaprio has been seen smoking the electronic cigarettes while on leisure activities around New York City. TVECA and other supportive groups are currently gathering to petition the government to not increase FDA legislation on this technology.
Recently the FDA released their wish list for electronic cigarettes. You can obtain details with flesh by visiting their website, www.fda/gov, but the essence of their desires include, but are not limited to: sales from vending machines and to minors under 18 will be banned; manufacturer will have to undergo product application revealing ingredients and studies outcomes; manufacturers will be accountable to oversight activities; packages will have to carry warning labels; and commercial, advertising, marketing activities will be under regulatory scrutiny. In a future post, I will provide you with an update with the smoke settles.
Even toddlers re taught early about the benefits of using a mouthwash to reduce the onset of cavities
There are countless name brand and generic washes available that advertises to do just that. But recently a friend mentioned that rather than purchasing washes, they are embracing the environment-friendly approach of alternative the chemical washes with oils. It seems that you can literally swish your mouth out with oils, such as coconut, clove oil, sesame, or sunflower oil to and combat cavities and gum disease.
My friend went on to say that many store bought washes contain ingredients such as, but not limited to ethyl alcohol, methylparaben, hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine gluconate, coloring, perfumes, and preservatives. Since many of these chemical names are tongue twisters, her comment about having an au natural dental approach sent my curiosity soaring on how would this work?
I began my investigation of reading articles expressing the opinions of lay persons, health experts and dentists. Proponents of the oil gargling method claim that natural oils can actually prevent decay, aid in helping gum bleeds, and reduce plaque buildup. The ancient practice of Ayuvedic Medicine, which is known for herbal approach, supports the “oil pulling” (as it is called since “pull” out harmful toxins from mouth). Many practicing the method for hundreds of years expresses that the process works in making the mouth healthier.
Researchers express that studies show an oil wash can reduce strep bacteria. In fact during the Society for General Microbiology’s 2012 conference, the Athlone Institute of Technology of Ireland reported Streptococcus strains found in the mouth can be reduced with the use of coconut oil.
The biochemical sense which supports the method as we eat foods, our mouths creates an acidic environment. The acid lowers pH level giving rise to unhealthy bacteria which then leads to cavities. Since natural oils are alkaline based, swishing the mouth with oil neutralizes the pH and reduces the acid levels, thereby reducing the risk of cavities. So when the oil used as an alternative to store bought chemical washes; and the oil is swished and gargled with; and finally spit out followed with a clean water rinse, the toxins are expelled from the mouth.
All I have to say is based on published oil gargle research studies; it appears that my friend is not on a slippery slope.
Everyone has heard the expression,” There is no rhyme or reason”, which simply means something is occurring without any reasonable explanation or purpose. But with all the recent chatter regarding synthetic biology, there appears to be is a definite rationale to this fairly new science.
Synthetic generally means that a substance is produced by an artificial process. Without a thought we can quickly name several man made items, such as synthetic rubber and clothing fibers. I have been hearing a lot lately about synthetic biology.
Upon further investigation synthetic biology is defined as the manipulation of cells, genes, genomes, and proteins to produce things like biofuels, medicines and vaccines. The possibilities are as diverse and probably endless.
Has synthetic engineering replaced genetic engineering? I do not think one has replaced the other as much as even though the terms are used interchangeably, genetic engineers deal with the gene circuit of the organism, whereas synthetic biologists take on a wider scope (i.e. living and nonliving) of activities. Synthetic engineering are applying this method to human applications. Another way to view the differences is that genetic engineers are focused on structure (i.e. DNA assembly); whereas synthetic engineers are focused on function (i.e. activities alter intended purpose).
There is rhyme and reason to the divergence of these two fields. And I must admit I like the synthetic side a lot. Synthetic biologists are looking at the possibilities of growing enhancing our world, with such projects as growing the fuel and habitat infrastructure. For example, there is a team of these engineering that are looking at combining the living biological to grow in-live real estate properties. How cool is that?
A word of caution is being voiced by these new wave biologists. They are quick to point out that the knowledge being gained through synthetic data can be harmful in the wrong hands. There is a concern of use in bioterrorism, accidental release environmental toxins, and unknown adverse long-term evolutionary outcomes. But regardless of the potential dangers, these scientists are also swift in high lightening the benefits of synthetic biology activities. That being said, this area is on a growth path.
I am happy that there are so many innovative biologically-based and synthetic interventions for bones. As a result of electronics and technology implantable bones and externally worn skeletal casts are being created with 3D technology.
Engineers have already conquered reproducing artificial bone and cartilage bone and are successfully implanting these internal and external systems. But a bigger problem looms in conquering the issues of bone marrow. Marrow transplants are the only potential cure for many blood cancers.
Globally there are countless of patients awaiting marrow matches for transplants only to not find a match during their lifetime. Bone marrow is the sponge-like gelatin/vascular tissue located inside of the one. This is such a vital part of the body, in that it is the very site of where stem cells are located.
Stem cells transplants help patients whose marrow is unable to produce the white blood cells needed to fight infections, red blood cells that carry oxygen, and the necessary platelets that aid in the blood clotting factor.
Now while are emerging options for persons who cannot find a marrow match, such as Haploidentical and cord blood transplants, the good news is that engineers are hitting upon some innovative 3D marrow solutions.
But good news – engineers and medical research scientists have devised a method called vitro replicas of the bone marrow from 3D scaffolds. And it seems that this marrow can provide a continuous source of blood cells for transplantation. The process is too technical to even try and repeat it within this post. That being said, the hope of 3D bone marrow creation is indeed inspiring.
Historically, lion’s share meant obtaining the whole thing. In today’s vernacular it is defined as obtaining the largest portion of a thing. Well, whichever way you slice it, the bottom line is the medical field is staking a large claim to bioinformatics.
Bioinformatics allows for the electronic analysis and interpretation of complex biological information through the use of software technologies. In other words, this field links clinical data with information technology (IT) into accessible data bases to tailor treatment and research based on sequences.
Because of the capabilities of the technology bioinformatics is big business, particularly in the area of genomics. Some business leaders estimate the current value of bioinformatics to be $7.3 billion industry, with rapid future growth.
Of all of the sectors that utilizes bioinformatics technology, including but not limited to academia, agriculture, environmental services and forensics, the medical arena is value in the billions above all of the other sectors. The medical sector includes biotechnology, laboratory science and pharmaceuticals.
I think that the fact that the bioinformatics industry is bounding into the billions and there appears to be no ceiling is important. The global interplay for medicine, drug discovery and innovative approaches will only increase laboratories and employment opportunities to meet the need for this technology. The medical sector accounted for the lion's share of the bioinformatics market, owing to the increasing use of bioinformatics in the drug discovery and development process. It is predicted that this sector will produce stock market billionaires similar to the technology dot com era.
This is an emerging science which will play an important role in computational molecular biology, genetics and genomics. This approach will usher in a new way to quickly screen, identify and measure diseases. The work efforts of clinical and research laboratorians will be significantly enriched by bioinformatics tools.
Good music is timeless and just does not go away. For example, the MC Hammer 1990 hip hop tune, “Can’t Touch This!” Hammer’s rhythm and beat in that song still sends people into a frenzy of dance moves when they hear it.
Well recent microbiology “research” studies as to the length of time dropped food can lie on a germ infested floor and you can still eat it, should send you into a frenzy happy dance too.
According to the biology department of Birmingham University, research reveals that the old five-second rule of when food falls on floor is true. Studies of surfaces containing E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus microbes reveal that if a piece of bread falls and remains for a few seconds it accumulates fewer microbes than food remaining on contaminated surfaces loner.
On the flip side regarding microbial accumulations, other microbiology researchers have deduced that for the most part food containers are germy. There are several public food containers that are suggested to handled with care or just don’t touch. They include: condiment dispensers, such as ketchup bottles and menus, which may contain flu and clod virus from previous customers. In addition, it is suggested that bathroom door handles, soap dispensers and paper towel knobs in restaurants contained multiple organisms.
Germs like to breed in places other places to, for example shopping carts. A 2007 study out of the University of Arizona revealed that close to 70% of shopping cart handles contained fecal bacteria. It seems that these handles are more contaminated than the restrooms of airplanes and other public facilities.
And while we are on the subject, let’s talk about healthcare facilities. Studies have uncovered that clinic, physicians’ office waiting rooms which are loaded with delightful reading magazines and colorful toys. However these items contain numerous germs from the coughing and sneezing droplets.
Moral of this post is always be conscious of what you are touching. Well enough of that. Another of my MC Hammer fav’s is his tune “Too Legit To Quit”, in which the lyrics depict his workaholic behavior. However, it’s 1:00 a.m., and my lids are getting heavy. So unlike Hammer, I am legit enough to quit and relinquish my keyboard to the sandman. Good night.
There are some unique cases of people who have never felt the sensation of pain due to deficiencies in the ion channel of their nerves. In other words, these nerves fail to transmit the necessary signals require to experience physical pain.
It seems that mice and rats have keen smelling depending the gender of their lab handlers they experience different gradients of pain. In recent studies animal lab scientists have recently discovered that experimental rates express lower rates of adverse reactions to painful stimuli when administered by male research assistants. A Canadian scientist noticed that these mice and rats may be able to recognize gender of the researcher by body smell of men.
The rodents in the McGill University lab were giving pain-inducing injections and upon awakening. They made less painful facial grimaces when male investigator sat in the room versus when a female researcher was present or for that matter even when the room was empty. The scientists concluded that the animals must detect the mammalian scent molecules of male versus female differences in perspiration.
It conclusion was that heighten stress levels of another male being present in is viewed as aggression and brings on the territorial/fight-flight response. More specifically, the stressed rodents’ blood levels increased the stress hormone corticosterone which reduced the pain stimuli which was administered.
The biomedical research team played around with other gender, such as sweaty T-Shirts worn the previous night by male and female rodent handlers placed in room with rodents. These variations yielded similar pain level behavioral outcomes.
Other study conclusions equally as important are that a research outcome is affected by the experimenter. The physiological and psychological factors uncovered by this study are valuable information for all types of psychiatric, pharmaceutical and clinical trial research being conducted.
Biologists, culinary professionals and environmentalists all
have got to be giddy about the new edible water bottles. This ingenious
invention is the creation of the London Imperial College team, led by Rodrigo
Garcia Gonzalez. I am sure that just about every scientist imaginable is
smiling, because an edible water bottle is both biologically and environmentally
The idea came to Gonzalez when he was trying to think of a
way to develop an artificial cloud for evaporating sea water that could be
transported it to where it was needed. But delivery of the volumes of sea water
in the multiples of plastic containers would cause some problems. Then he thought
of the culinary process called “spherification” and well, the rest is history.
“When faced with the task of delivering water, we wanted to
avoid plastic containers so we began to experiment with different ways to
packaging water,” Gonzalez told ABCNews.com. “After a lot of lateral thinking
and experimentation, we started to play with the technique of spherification
and found a potential way to solve the problem we had identified.”
Edible water bottles are beneficial to sustaining marine
life and the reefs, reduce the cost of trash hauls, eliminate the every growing
pile of landfills from the dumping of the plastics; reducing millions of
plastic bottles in garbage landfills and eliminates the clogs and debris in lakes
and the other waterways.
Without going into a bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo (i.e.
calcium chloride forming membrane) -- simply put, the edibles are containers
are made from the culinary process of forming a gelatin membrane around the
frozen water liquid.
Now, while I do not purchase water in bottle, I do consume
water throughout the day from my thermos, when I am away from a tap. I cannot wait until I can get my hands on the
My issue is not clogging or the waterways, but it sure would
be nice not to have to refill that darn thermos every day.
There is a hidden camera television show series that
periodically airs on American Broadcasting Company (ABC), titled “What Would
Your Do?” The television host sets up various unethical scenarios to test the
moral character of onlookers. The behavioral outcomes to the ethical dilemma
are generally 50/50. Half of the onlookers respond in an ethical way, while the
other half generally decides just to observe or walk away without intervening.
As healthcare professionals, we are faced with ethical
decisions daily. Dilemmas surface whether you possess a direct (clinician) or
indirect (researcher) role. As a result of a recent development of biomedical
companies patenting “designer baby” technology, one of the newest ethical
topics is being debated within the genetics arena. The debate is whether or not
a fertility procedure should be allowed to blend the genes from multiple
persons with a goal to create a baby free of defects. Some circles are calling
this method the designer baby approach.
To try and get a handle of the process, potential outcomes
and the professional/laypersons’ opinion, the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) are reviewing findings from similar mitochondrial blending approaches
conducted on monkeys about a decade ago. The regulatory agency’s main focus is
on the science of this combining method and not the ethics.
Although scientists posed the beneficial possibilities as
early as 2001, and now the quest has been heightened due to technological
advances, the FDA has informed researchers that they need special permission to
perform similar procedures in humans since, to date, the outcomes of the
earlier studies were limited to lab animals.
There are numerous medical research scientists that are in
the front of the line to jumpstart the process. The central benefits
highlighted to gene combination from multiple donors are that it will give
mankind the power to prevent and/or repair genetic errors before the child is
born. It is believed that a side benefit would be reduced future healthcare
costs treating and curing illnesses. Other scientists are airing on the side of
caution due to concerns of unwanted mutations, that may other be revealed
Nothing is ever pure black or white science. So, given the
power to bring down the decision gavel to approve or disapprove the process, as
a lab professional, what would you do?