Posts tagged medicine

There is no possibility for teaching without learning. As well as there is no possibility of learning without teaching.
Paulo Freire

It only took 35 years for flesh-eating bacteria to become an infectious terror

All it took for flesh-eating bacteria to go from harmless organisms to gruesome infectious pathogens was four mutations and about 35 years. That’s what an international group of researchers announced today in a study that outside experts are calling the largest bacterial genome paper ever published.

Mailbag: Post-CaRMS

A second batch of questions from my inbox. My apologies to those who waited and are still waiting.

Cotton Mather, you dog, dam you! I’l inoculate you with this; with a pox to you!
The semi-literate quotation in the title comes from a note attached to a bomb thrown into Cotton Mather’s house in Boston, Massachusetts on 14 November 1721 because of Mather’s public advocacy of the most important healthcare improvement of the colonial American era—smallpox inoculation. 

Map of Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks

The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports since 2008 to produce an interactive map that plots global outbreaks of diseases that are easily prevented by inexpensive and effective vaccines. These diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and rubella.

'Heart sock' could replace future implantable defibrillators

Implantable defibrillators and pacemakers have been around since the 1970s, but advances in materials science and 3-D visualization are transforming them from cumbersome life-support tools into streamlined therapies that could be props from Iron Man.

Smart skin patch knows when you need your meds

Researchers from South Korea have laid the groundwork for a dermal patch that not only dispenses medication continuously, but also knows when to stop.

A two-inch long patch made of stretchable nano-material, it can monitor muscle activity and body temperature. Current practical applications for the patch include drug delivery in patients with Parkinson’s disease, where muscle contractions and tremors can trigger medication release.

The researchers hope that in the future, more functions like wireless connectivity for remote monitoring can be achieved as the technology matures. The researchers estimate that the patch will not be ready for consumer use for another five years.

Is herd immunity a thing? Can vaccinated people get sick? — Asked by Anonymous

Herd immunity exists and it is well documented. In fact, there is a brilliant animation created by the Harvard Medical School that explains this process.

Vaccinations help prime your body to fight off a specific infection. However, it usually takes a few weeks for your body to create a reserve of immune cells for when you next encounter the infection again. Therefore, if you were infected just before or after receiving the vaccine, you might still get sick because the vaccine did not have ample time to provide any protection.

A summary of how vaccines work is available through the CDC.

Homeopathic drug company caught putting actual drugs in its remedies

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knocked the stuffing out of homeopathic drug company Terra-Medica last week, when the regulatory agency announced that a number of its “natural” remedies contained actual drugs.

Well that is just embarrassing.

Spray-On Polymer Mats Seal Surgical Incisions

Researchers from the University of Maryland have developed a spray on bio-degradable polymer that can be used to hold surgical incisions closed, sealing and protecting them from the environment.

The film has been tested on pigs for various operations and dissolve away over a 42-day period. Clinical trials and methodology planning are in the works.