‘Suspended Animation’ Trials: Surgeons To Test New Technique For Saving The Almost-Dead


A science fiction staple screen-grabbed from the Syfy channel may soon be playing in a hospital near you. Surgeons at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh will be testing a new technique to save patients’ lives by placing them in a state of suspended animation, hovering within the mists between life and death. Squirm-inducing details include draining all of a patient’s blood and replacing it with a saline solution that stops nearly all cellular activity. This process, which could be equated to inducing hypothermia, would give surgeons enough time to operate on injuries that would otherwise be fatal.

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“We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,” Dr. Samuel Tishman, the lead surgeon in the trial told New Scientist. “So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”

Possibly the wildest thing about this new technique is that clinical trial testing has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which does not require approval from the patient or the family. Since eligible patients are not likely to survive their injuries anyway, the FDA figures it’s OK for doctors to make this unusual, last-ditch effort to save a life. Once you’ve been awakened from near-death with all your blood replaced, you’ll simply be grateful… right?

Animal Testing
Suspended animation was first tested by Dr. Hasan Alam and colleagues at the University of Michigan Hospital in 2002. First, the scientists sedated a group of Yorkshire pigs weighing in at 100 to 125 lbs. Next, the researchers induced a massive hemorrhage as a way to mimic the effects of gunshot wounds. Quickly, they drained the swines’ blood and replaced it with, in the first run of animals, a cold potassium solution, and in a second run, a saline solution. With either solution, the body temperature of the wounded animals cooled swiftly. Next, the doctors treated the injuries and afterward, drained the solution and restored the animals’ blood. In the first run, seven of nine animals survived. In the second run, all but one. These revived animals, no matter which method had been used, “were neurologically intact, and their capacity to learn new skills was no different than for control animals,” the authors wrote in their published research.

The scientists explain that a cool body can be kept technically alive more easily than a warm one. When a body is cooled to this extreme level, less work is required of individual cells, which need less oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis) to perform their chemical reactions at lower temperatures. Having tested the technique on pigs, it’s time for trial runs of the emergency preservation and resuscitation method on humans. Yee-ha!

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For the first 10 human experiments, UPMC Presbyterian surgeons will need to identify the right patients. The perfect profile, according to Tishman, would be someone who has gone into cardiac arrest after a gunshot or some similar injury — someone who isn’t responding to attempts to restart their heart. Then surgeons will pump the saline solution into their heart and brain, and eventually through the entire body. Once this has been accomplished, the surgeons will operate on the patient now considered clinically dead: no blood, no brain activity, and no breathing. Tishman explained that his team will have about two hours to fix a patient and replace the saline solution with blood. The heart should restart by itself… if not, a patient will receive a complementary jumpstart.

The surgeons will test their technique on an initial batch of 10 non-consenting patients, compare results, and then continue, making their way forward, 10 patients at a time, until they have accumulated enough data. “Can we go longer than a few hours with no blood flow? I don’t know.” Tisherman told the New Scientist. “We’re trying to save lives, not pack people off to Mars.”

 

3 Strange Eating Disorders That You May Not Have Heard Of — One Of Them Includes Eating Dirt, Chalk, Or Sand


Eating disorders are not a new phenomenon. The standards of beauty have put pressure on men and women of all ages to conform to unrealistic physical goals. However, it’s important to understand that eating disorders do not just encompass overeating and starvation. Many common disorders such as binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia affect a large percentage of the population, especially women. However, while anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating affect many, there is still a large population of diagnosed an undiagnosed suffers facing a few uncommon eating disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM) recognizes the following three as a mental illness — they might leave you scratching your head.

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1. Selective Eating Disorder (SED)
This can sometimes lead people to thinking that it’s just a case of someone being a “picky eater.” However, many suffering with SED believe that there is only a finite amount of foods that they can eat. “People who are picky aren’t doing this just to be stubborn,” said eating researcher Nancy Zucker of Duke University, to Live Science. “Extremely picky eaters experience food differently than the rest of us.” Since there is not much data on this disorder, there are not significant findings as to how many people suffer from SED. Zucker sent out a survey in 2010 to better understand how many people consider themselves picky eaters, and approximately 7,500 people responded. Zucker and her team decided to further study the information they received in order to full understand the scope of SED. Many people are often embarrassed of this disorder and don’t want to seem difficult about their eating habits.

2. Pica
Many have heard of people with this disease but have not recognized it by its name. Pica is when people eat non-edible things such as chalk, feces, dirt, sand, and a whole number of items that would make almost anyone else gag. The condition has gained some awareness on TV shows like TLC’s My Strange Addiction, where many participants could be seen eating things that could sometimes be dangerous. This is also particularly dangerous because oftentime doctors cannot tell if their patients are consuming things that are not meant for consumption. The numbers for pica have begun to rise. According to Psychology Today, “between 1999 and 2009, the number of hospital stays for patients with pica nearly doubled (from 964 to 1,862), said Dr. Faith Brynie. “Patients with pica and other eating disorders may also be hospitalized for other conditions such as depression, fluid and electrolyte disorders, schizophrenia, or alcohol-related disorders.” Side effects for this can include, poisoning, bowel obstruction, and sometimes even death.

3. Night Eating Syndrome
This is when there are recurrent episodes of night eating after awakening or persistent pattern of late-night binge eating. It’s classified in the DSM as an Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. Sometimes those with the disorder are overweight. Approximately 28 percent of people suffering from NES ask for gastric bypass surgery, according to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

While seemingly strange, it’s important to understand that these disorders can affect many people in emotional, mental, and physical ways. It’s hard to fully understand these diseases because of the fact that they have not been studied in depth. Unfortunately, negative views toward mental illnesses leave many suffering in silence.

First synthetic yeast chromosome built .


An international team of scientists has synthesised the first working chromosome in yeast, the latest step in the quest to make the world’s first synthetic yeast genome.

The research, reported today the journal Science, could lead to the development of new strains of the organism to help produce industrial chemicals, medicines and biofuels.

An international team of scientists has synthesised the first working chromosome in yeast, the latest step in the quest to make the world’s first synthetic yeast genome.

The research, reported today the journal Science, could lead to the development of new strains of the organism to help produce industrial chemicals, medicines and biofuels.

Instead of just copying nature, the team extensively modified their chromosome, deleting unwanted genes here and there.

It then successfully incorporated the designer chromosome into living yeast cells, endowing them with new capabilities not found in naturally occurring yeast.

“It is the most extensively altered chromosome ever built,” says study leader Jef Boeke of New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

While other teams have synthesised bacterium and viral DNA, Boeke’s project is the first report of a synthetic chromosome in a eukaryote, an organism whose cells contain a nucleus, like human cells.

The achievement, which took seven years, involved the use of computer-aided design to construct one of 16 chromosomes in brewer’s yeast, known scientifically as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The synthetic version, which the scientists call synIII, is a slimmed-down version of the yeast’s naturally occurring chromosome III, which has 316,667 base pairs. The team picked this chromosome because it is the smallest and controls how yeast cells mate and undergo genetic change.

“We have shown that yeast cells carrying this synthetic chromosome are remarkably normal. They behave almost identically to wild yeast cells, only they now possess new capabilities and can do things that wild yeast cannot,” says Boeke.

Such methods could be used to improve yeast’s ability to thrive in harsh environments, such as very high concentrations of alcohol.

Tour-de-force in synthetic biology
Jim Collins of Boston University and a pioneer in the field called Boeke’s work a “tour-de-force in synthetic biology,” an emerging field of science which applies the principles of engineering to living systems.

“This development enables new experiments on genome evolution and highlights our ever-expanding ability to modify and engineer DNA,” says Collins, whose lab is engineering a probiotic yogurt bacterium to neutralise cholera infections.

Synthetic biology is best known for work done by genome scientist and entrepreneur Craig Venter, who in 2010 reported he had built the first synthetic genome of a bacterium out of chemicals.

That work generated a lot of hype and considerable worry that scientists were tinkering with nature.

Boeke says the work in his lab and many others is much less like “playing God” and more akin to genetic engineering, but on a broader scale.

Chromosome scrambling
For their designer yeast chromosome, Boeke and his team made more than 500 changes, removing repeating sections of nearly 50,000 base pairs of DNA they deemed unnecessary to chromosome reproduction and growth.

They also removed what has been called “junk DNA” – parts of the genetic code that do not make proteins – and segments known as “jumping genes,” stretches of DNA that randomly hop around the genome and can cause mutations.

Despite all of those changes, Boeke says, “we still have a chromosome that works.”

He is most excited about the ability to selectively delete or rearrange the letters of the chromosome, a process he calls chromosome scrambling. To make this happen, the scientists added in stretches of DNA known as loxP, a gene sequence that works as a genetic switch that can be activated by a protein.

“What’s really exciting is in addition to yeast being healthy and happy, we’ve also endowed this chromosome with this almost magical property of being able to rearrange its structure when we wave our magic wand and generate millions of variant chromosomes,” says Boeke.

Having the ability to produce new synthetic strains of yeast could result in some very useful types of yeast that could be used to make rare medicines, such as artemisinin for malaria, or certain vaccines, including for hepatitis B, which is derived from yeast, says Boeke.

Synthetic yeast could also be used to make more efficient biofuels, such as alcohol, butanol, and biodiesel.

Lei Wang, assistant professor in the Chemical Biology and Proteomics Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, says the work “will enable us to artificially speed up the evolution process in the lab.”

Wang, who was not involved in the research, says he is impressed to see the yeast behaving normally after so many changes, which suggests “you can do very bold things to the organism.”

Labs in United States, Britain, China and India are working toward making synthetic versions of all of the organism’s 16 chromosomes by 2017, and Boeke thinks there could be at least one or two more yeast chromosomes published this year.

Tags: biotechnology, research, genetics

Instead of just copying nature, the team extensively modified their chromosome, deleting unwanted genes here and there.

It then successfully incorporated the designer chromosome into living yeast cells, endowing them with new capabilities not found in naturally occurring yeast.

“It is the most extensively altered chromosome ever built,” says study leader Jef Boeke of New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

While other teams have synthesised bacterium and viral DNA, Boeke’s project is the first report of a synthetic chromosome in a eukaryote, an organism whose cells contain a nucleus, like human cells.

The achievement, which took seven years, involved the use of computer-aided design to construct one of 16 chromosomes in brewer’s yeast, known scientifically as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The synthetic version, which the scientists call synIII, is a slimmed-down version of the yeast’s naturally occurring chromosome III, which has 316,667 base pairs. The team picked this chromosome because it is the smallest and controls how yeast cells mate and undergo genetic change.

“We have shown that yeast cells carrying this synthetic chromosome are remarkably normal. They behave almost identically to wild yeast cells, only they now possess new capabilities and can do things that wild yeast cannot,” says Boeke.

Such methods could be used to improve yeast’s ability to thrive in harsh environments, such as very high concentrations of alcohol.

Tour-de-force in synthetic biology
Jim Collins of Boston University and a pioneer in the field called Boeke’s work a “tour-de-force in synthetic biology,” an emerging field of science which applies the principles of engineering to living systems.

“This development enables new experiments on genome evolution and highlights our ever-expanding ability to modify and engineer DNA,” says Collins, whose lab is engineering a probiotic yogurt bacterium to neutralise cholera infections.

Synthetic biology is best known for work done by genome scientist and entrepreneur Craig Venter, who in 2010 reported he had built the first synthetic genome of a bacterium out of chemicals.

That work generated a lot of hype and considerable worry that scientists were tinkering with nature.

Boeke says the work in his lab and many others is much less like “playing God” and more akin to genetic engineering, but on a broader scale.

Chromosome scrambling
For their designer yeast chromosome, Boeke and his team made more than 500 changes, removing repeating sections of nearly 50,000 base pairs of DNA they deemed unnecessary to chromosome reproduction and growth.

They also removed what has been called “junk DNA” – parts of the genetic code that do not make proteins – and segments known as “jumping genes,” stretches of DNA that randomly hop around the genome and can cause mutations.

Despite all of those changes, Boeke says, “we still have a chromosome that works.”

He is most excited about the ability to selectively delete or rearrange the letters of the chromosome, a process he calls chromosome scrambling. To make this happen, the scientists added in stretches of DNA known as loxP, a gene sequence that works as a genetic switch that can be activated by a protein.

“What’s really exciting is in addition to yeast being healthy and happy, we’ve also endowed this chromosome with this almost magical property of being able to rearrange its structure when we wave our magic wand and generate millions of variant chromosomes,” says Boeke.

Bakers yeast

Having the ability to produce new synthetic strains of yeast could result in some very useful types of yeast that could be used to make rare medicines, such as artemisinin for malaria, or certain vaccines, including for hepatitis B, which is derived from yeast, says Boeke.

Synthetic yeast could also be used to make more efficient biofuels, such as alcohol, butanol, and biodiesel.

Lei Wang, assistant professor in the Chemical Biology and Proteomics Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, says the work “will enable us to artificially speed up the evolution process in the lab.”

Wang, who was not involved in the research, says he is impressed to see the yeast behaving normally after so many changes, which suggests “you can do very bold things to the organism.”

Labs in United States, Britain, China and India are working toward making synthetic versions of all of the organism’s 16 chromosomes by 2017, and Boeke thinks there could be at least one or two more yeast chromosomes published this year.

 

Medical Terminology: 4 Terms We Should Probably Stop Using In Everyday Language.


Political correctness wields undoubted power in today’s world, as people are compelled more than ever to decide whether insulating everyone from so-called “bad words” is worth sacrificing certain forms of speech. We want people to feel safe, and empathized with, but we also want to say what we want to say.

People tend to think that in relying too much on preserving political correctness, we’ll lose our sense of humor, our irreverence. In one sense, this camp is right. A world hell-bent on sensitivity may indeed crumble under the pressure of taking itself too seriously. But while lawyer jokes and the occasional stereotype may inject some levity into our lives, some medical terminology deserve a little more respect — especially if we’re ever to break their damaging stigmas.

4. Depressed
It’s been estimated that 17 percent of the U.S. population will experience a depressive episode at some point in their lives. That’s almost one in five people, yet the stigma and misinformation surrounding mental illness has never been greater. Too few understand that Major Depressive Disorder is a medley of social, chemical, and environmental factors that, working together, profoundly impair someone’s mental health.

They aren’t sad. Yet words like “depressed and “depressing,” used to describe a movie, piece of music, or recent conversation, paint the experience as little more than a mood-killer. People who are depressed aren’t wet blankets; they’re sick in the same way anorexics and Alzheimer’s patients are sick.

3. Retarded
People with mental disabilities used to be called “retarded,” and up until the most recent addition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) relabeling it as “intellectual developmental disorder,” the formal diagnosis was mental retardation. Despite the name change, “retarded” stuck. And today it’s used to describe things and people that are of poor quality, lacking common sense, cheaply made, or generally unfavorable.

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Words have the annoying quality of outgrowing their usefulness. We have the natural tendency to grow comfortable with certain words being around, like a reassuring elder that seems to have things all figured out. We bristle when words are taken out of usage, so we struggle to keep them around, whether they have meaning or not.

2. Schizophrenic
Colloquial usage of schizophrenia employs it wrongly — there’s little other way of saying it. Many people think the illness is synonymous with dual personalities, a person jumping between aliases that can’t get either story straight. Metaphorical use of the illness stays faithful to this assumption, as writers and their writing are considered “schizophrenic” if the plot is erratic.

Schizophrenic has come to mean “volatile,” “contradictory,” “frazzled,” in numerous scenarios that take place day-to-day. In truth, schizophrenia involves paranoia, a lack of emotion, disorganized thinking, and delusions. Despite, or perhaps because of, the low prevalence rate — 0.3 to 0.7 percent of the general population — the term is one of the most commonly used, yet misunderstood terms in medicine.

1. Paranoid
Somewhere between 2.3 and 4.4 percent of the population suffers from paranoid personality disorder — an illness characterized by heavy anxiety and fear, often to the extent that the person has delusions. Sufferers make false accusations and generally distrust others, distinct from a phobia, which carry no blame.

But common usage takes paranoia and assigns it a more banal meaning. We’re paranoid we left the oven on, or that we might have sent a scandalous email to the wrong person. We get so used to the term, in other words, that we forget how serious it can be — if we ever took the time to find out in the first place.

Speak Deliberately, Not Because of Convenience
In reality, the ability to reclaim clinical terms should empower us. We give words meaning, which means we have the power to designate a thing’s importance by what we call it. Our labels should be careful, and used deliberately, not because it’s convenient or hyperbolic or what we’re used to.

We don’t have to needlessly censor ourselves — in dark times, sometimes dark humor is all we have — but working overtime isn’t the same as pulling double duty. Some words are simply overqualified for everyday speak. So let’s keep them where they belong.

Patients to be treated while suspended between life and death


Patients to be treated while suspended between life and death.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/suspended-animation-patients-could-soon-be-treated-while-neither-dead-nor-alive-9218527.html

From the desk of Zedie.

Coffee and cigarettes actually a terrible, not very tasty, combination, say scientists


Coffee and cigarettes actually a terrible, not very tasty, combination, say scientists .
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cigarettes-and-coffee-are-actually-a-terrible-combination-say-scientists-9214709.html

From the desk of Zedie.

Nasa’s twin mission to space: Brothers used to study the effects of orbiting the Earth


Nasa’s twin mission to space: Brothers used to study the effects of orbiting the Earth .
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasas-twin-mission-to-space-brothers-used-to-study-the-effects-of-orbiting-the-earth-9217567.html

From the desk of Zedie.

Moment deaf woman hears for the very first time captured


Moment deaf woman hears for the very first time captured .

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/amazing-moment-deaf-woman-joanne-milne-is-overwhelmed-as-she-hears-for-the-first-time-after-having-cochlear-implants-switched-on-9218755.html

From the desk of Zedie.

Faecal bugs ‘safe for gut treatment’


Faecal bugs ‘safe for gut treatment’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26753116

From the desk of Zedie.

Overweight ‘being seen as the norm’


Overweight ‘being seen as the norm’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26765078

From the desk of Zedie.