Persons who have had chickenpox are at risk for shingles; the varicella virus responsible for shingles can stay dormant in the human body for decades before being activated. An article, by Patti Neighmond, in NPR says that a new shingle vaccine is being developed that will be more effective over time than the current one in use; it is also expected to be effective for a broad range of persons
In “Engineering A Shingles Vaccine That Doesn’t Wimp Out Over Time” (July 13, 2015), Neighmond writes:
There is a vaccine on the market. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it for people age 60 and older. But it's not very effective. It prevents shingles 64 percent of the time overall, but loses effectiveness as years go by, just when people are getting more susceptible. By the time people turn 70, the vaccine is only 38 percent effective.
A new vaccine that offers nearly complete protection against the painful shingles rash may be on the market as early as 2017. The vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, has proved to be effective more than 97 percent of the time regardless of age, says Dr. Leonard Friedland, GSK's director of scientific affairs and public health. That study involved more than 16,000 patients age 50 and older, with some patients well into their 80s. The high degree of efficacy was there for all ages, Friedland says.
What's different about this vaccine is something called an adjuvant — a chemical added to the vaccine with the sole job of "waking up" the immune system. The technology has been used in other vaccines, but not for shingles. Researchers are now looking at the potential for adjuvants in vaccines for older adults, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
This is particularly wonderful news for people like me. I have had two bouts of shingles this year within six months of each other: the first quite severe and the second comparatively mild, yet they were two cases too many.
More at http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2015/07/a-better-shingles-vaccine.html
Varicella Zoster: “[The] virus causes chickenpox in children, then lurks in the body for years and can cause painful shingles later in life,” Neighmond of NPR writes.
Image Credit: James Cavallini; Science Source
An article, by Casey Schwartz, in The New York Times Magazine looks at Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and how it can be used in a modern context by integrating it with what we know through the findings of advanced brain-scanning techniques like neuroimaging. Some call this new field neuropsychoanalysis
In “Tell It About Your Mother” (June 24, 2015), Schwartz writes that the idea of anyone using psychoanalysis alone sounds quaint if not counterproductive to finding answers, or more to the point, feeling better now (“the quicker the better”):
To invoke Freud and Dora today, though, is to run the risk of sounding instantly obsolete. The ideas of psychoanalysis, its very vocabulary — those familiar terms like ‘‘id, ego and superego,’’ ‘‘the Oedipus complex,’’ ‘‘penis envy,’’ ‘‘castration anxiety’’ — come across, for many, as quaint souvenirs pulled from a dusty attic. The very project of psychoanalysis — to cure through self-awareness, through an exhaustive exploration of the patient’s unconscious mind — is increasingly at odds with what most people seem to want: to fix their problems as quickly and painlessly as possible. With millions of Americans now taking pills for depression, expecting to feel better in a matter of weeks, the concept of signing up for a psychological treatment that can stretch on for years no longer seems to make the kind of sense it used to.
Yet, talk therapy, as it is often called will not go away; it has its place in our modern society. Neither will Freud’s name and his ideas of the human mind be forgotten, no matter what modern scientists think about him and his discoveries more than a century ago. (Many are dismissive, but we do not remember their names.) The reason, I would argue, is that the human brain is different than the rest of our other organs; the brain is the seat of our thoughts, our emotions, our ideas, and as such we resist reducing it to a collection of circuitry, or neurons or neurotransmitters, or neurochemicals, etc.
It does not matter the language, or its precision, there will be resistance, at least today, to such thinking, which seems too simple to explain our complicated selves. This is not to say that the machine cannot be a tool of analysis—it can—and such tools as functional magnetic resonance imaging (f.M.R.I.)—can provide valuable information on any changes in the brain, (Technically speaking, it is a neuroimaging, or a brain mapping, technique that infers brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow.) The operative word here is changes—the so-called before and after pictures. The question to probe is what causes such changes, whether these are positive or negative, beneficial or deleterious.
More at http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2015/06/modernizing-freud.html
The Machine & The Analyst: Schwartz writes: “Solms, whom I first met seven years ago while working on a book about psychoanalysis and brain research, is a main proponent of ‘‘neuropsychoanalysis’’ — a term he coined for the attempt to bring the two disciplines of neuroscience and psychoanalysis together. In this pursuit, Solms emphasizes that Freud envisioned a future in which brain science would one day be sophisticated enough to expand upon psychoanalytic ideas, like the power of the unconscious, the profound importance of early childhood experience and the significance of dreams. Solms argues that the day Freud awaited is now here.”
Image Credit: Jeff Riedel
La generosa condivisione proviene da un bravo giornalista che ha conosciuto su di sé la malattia e che l'ha coraggiosamente combattuta ( e spero vinta definitivamente) di recente.
Ho pensato che, con un buon doppiaggio, anche le nostre reti tv potrebbero dare un contributo a difesa della Medicina.
This is the complete Ken Burns documentary, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, which originally aired for three nights, between March 30 and April 1, six hours in total, on the American station PBS.
The film’s producers describe the documentary as follows:
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is a three-part, six-hour major television event on PBS presented by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, in partnership with WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C. Based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, the series is the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made. This “biography” of cancer covers its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence. The series also features the current status of cancer knowledge and treatment —the dawn of an era in which cancer may become a chronic or curable illness rather than its historic death sentence in some forms.
The creative individuals behind this initiative are Ken Burns, executive producer and series creative consultant; Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer; Barak Goodman, producer and director; and Laura Ziskin, co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), who died from cancer in June 2011.
The three parts are described as follows:
Episode One: Magic Bullets
The search for a “cure” for cancer is the greatest epic in the history of science. It spans centuries and continents, and is full of its share of heroes, villains and sudden vertiginous twists. This episode follows that centuries-long search, but centers on the story of Sidney Farber, who, defying conventional wisdom in the late 1940s, introduces the modern era of chemotherapy, eventually galvanizing a full-scale national “war on cancer.” Interwoven with Farber’s narrative is the contemporary story of little Olivia Blair, who at 14-months old is diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which spreads to her brain and spinal column. The film follows her as she and her parents struggle with the many hardships and decisions foisted upon a cancer patient. She remains in full remission a year after her diagnosis, but is still on her journey to finish her three-year treatment plan.
Episode Two: The Blind Men and the Elephant
This episode picks up the story in the wake of the declaration of a “war on cancer” by Richard Nixon in 1971. Flush with optimism and awash with federal dollars, the cancer field plunges forward in search of a cure. In the lab, rapid progress is made in understanding the essential nature of the cancer cell, leading to the revolutionary discovery of the genetic basis of cancer. But at the bedside, where patients are treated, few new therapies become available, and a sense of disillusionment takes hold, leading some patients and doctors to take desperate measures. It is not until the late 1990s that the advances in research begin to translate into more precise targeted therapies with the breakthrough drugs Gleevec and Herceptin. Following the history during these fraught decades, the film intertwines the contemporary story of Dr. Lori Wilson, a surgical oncologist who is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in both breasts in 2013. Her emotional and physical struggles with the disease provide a bracing counterpoint to the historical narrative.
Episode Three: Finding the Achilles Heel
This episode picks up the story at another moment of buoyant optimism in the cancer world: Scientists believe they have cracked the essential mystery of the malignant cell and the first targeted therapies have been developed, with the promise of many more to follow. But very quickly cancer reveals new layers of complexity and a formidable array of unforeseen defenses. In the disappointment that follows, many call for a new focus on prevention and early detection as the most promising fronts in the war on cancer. But other scientists are undeterred, and by the second decade of the 2000s their work pays off. The bewildering complexity of the cancer cell, so recently considered unassailable, yields to a more ordered picture, revealing new vulnerabilities and avenues of attack. Perhaps most exciting of all is the prospect of harnessing the human immune system to defeat cancer. This episode includes patients Doug Rogers, a 60-year-old NASCAR mechanic with melanoma, and Emily Whitehead, a six-year-old child afflicted with leukemia. Each is a pioneer in new immunotherapy treatments, which the documentary follows as their stories unfold. Both see their advanced cancers recede and are able to resume normal lives.
If you missed it, it is available to watch here in its entirety.
For more, go to http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2015/06/cancer-emperor-of-all-maladies-2015.html
Questa sala operatoria non esiste!
E' il frutto della fantasia dell’artista digitale Jon Rafman, che, ispirandosi a Franz Kline, l'ha ricostruita partendo modelli 3D che i webnauti pubblicano e condividono sul sito 3DWarehouse
(guardare e sognare ad occhi aperti)
Prime lezioni di chirurgia.
Gli esordi della neurologia.
The search continues, and with it the great hopes.
Here is some more good research news on the fight against cancer, in particular, on colorectal cancer. Jessica Berman writes (“Gene Reactivation Turns Colorectal Cancer into Normal Tissue”; June 18, 2015) in VOA News:
By manipulating a single gene, researchers turned cancerous colorectal cells back into normal tissue in experiments with mice. The strategy may eventually become one of the mainstays for a hard-to-treat malignancy, which kills nearly 700,000 people a year. If caught early using a screening technique called a colonoscopy, colorectal cancer is easily treated by surgery.
But once cancer spreads, it becomes very hard to conquer, according to Scott Lowe, a researcher with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Toxic chemotherapy drugs are often used in an effort to kill malignant cancerous cells. But they also kill healthy cells and many patients end up dying anyway. As the cancer evolves,
Lowe says a tumor suppressor gene called Apc becomes less active in the vast majority of patients. But his team genetically manipulated Apc with a surprising result. “The cells basically went back to normal. They didn’t die, they didn’t go away; they underwent the process of differentiation where a stem-like cancer now becomes a differentiated normal cell that seems to have many of its normal functions," said Lowe.
I was diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer in December 2012 and I have undergone chemotherapy, which does kills healthy cells as it does cancerous cells. (I am 2-½ years cancer-free, or as the medical community prefers to call it, “no evidence of disease” (NED; I am halfway to the milestone five-year mark.) I have written about the nasty and undesirable effects of chemotherapy in my cancer blog, where I have also written about the desirability of finding an effective replacement treatment for chemotherapy.
More at http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2015/06/gene-manipulation-turns-cancerous-cells.html
Colon Cancer Test: Berman of VOA News writes: “Lowe says 90 percent of colorectal tumors contain mutations that have a silenced Apc tumor suppressor gene, suggesting that reactivating the gene might cure the vast majority of colon cancer patients.”
Image Credit: AP
Source: VOA News
#cancer #cancertreatment #chemotherapy
An opinion piece, by Patrick Mustain, in Scientific American raises the question of whether a science journal ought to not accept corporate donations, notably from companies with which it ought to have an arm’s-length relationship, to better ensure scientific credibility and impartiality of their research findings; it also raises the broader philosophical or ethical question of whom such journals primarily serve; is it the general public or is it themselves?
The article looks at the particular case of food & nutrition and how the Food Industry both advises and influences governments and their regulatory agencies in ways that do not often benefit the consumer. Mustain, a communications manager at the international ocean conservation group Oceana, and a freelance health and science writer and digital media producer, writes:
Public health attorney Michele Simon today released an exposé on the conflicts of interest in the American Society for Nutrition. The ASN is the most prominent organization of nutrition scientists, publishes three scientific journals, including the respected American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and lays the scientific foundation for much of the dietary and nutrition policies and advice in this country.
The report details a flood of food industry influence within the organization, including membership on the ASN’s “Sustaining Partner Roundtable” ($10,000 per year). The list of 31 sustaining partners features names like McDonald’s, The Coca-Cola Company, and the Sugar Association. Also highlighted are conference sessions sponsored by the likes of PepsiCo, Kellogg, and the National Dairy Council. The report describes organizations like the Grocery Manufacturers Association or the Corn Refiners Association paying the ASN as much as $50,000 to host or sponsor sessions at its meetings.
Of particular concern, writes Simon, are the conflicts among the leadership of the organization. Her primary example is David Allison, who serves on the editorial board of the ASN’s prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Allison is in a position to determine which studies get published and which do not, and the list of his food industry ties is long, including gifts, grants, and contracts from the World Sugar Research Organization, the National Restaurant Association, Coca-Cola, and more.
In a world of dwindling public research dollars, is it wrong for organizations like the ASN to accept corporate money? In answer, the report, which is subtitled “Has the American Society of Nutrition Lost All Credibility?” does not mince words. And neither did Simon, when I spoke with her on the phone.
There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information surrounding the issue of health and nutrition; this explains, to some degree why this is so.
More at http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2015/06/clear-credible-science-please.html
Scientific Clarity: Mustain writes: “Let’s be clear: Science is a tool to get us closer to truth. When food companies are paying for science, they are not paying for truth. They are paying to use science as a tool to protect or enhance their profits. Sometimes that paid-for science happens to align with the public’s interest (as we understand it so far). But if any of its findings start to threaten food industry bottom lines, it’s a safe bet that the science is going to be a lot harder to get funded. And leaders at the American Society for Nutrition know that.”
Image Credit: Patrick Mustain, for Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
Source: Scientific American
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