Archive for the ‘medicine and medical research’ Category

The thing that ties each of the following links together is a discussion of the need to incorporate equity, affirmation, and continued learning into social, scientific, and political spheres.  And to recognize that the lines between these spaces is a social construct.

This article offers an explanation of how sexism affects both the oppressed and the oppressor.  While they use a binary gender system in their drawings (male vs. female), it  is easy to understand how this could be applied to people in any gender system: http://imgur.com/gallery/n01WW

This article describes the work of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi who were recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on expanding women’s and children’s rights in Pakistan and India, respectively.  Their stories highlight how personal identities are political and politics is personal: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/world/europe/kailash-satyarthi-and-malala-yousafzai-are-awarded-nobel-peace-prize.html?_r=0

This article goes in depth about African American and AfroCarribean identities in the U.S. as part of a larger history of colonization and slavery – how has this history impacted black Americans now and how is this oppression and the struggle for mutual humanization ongoing: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ferguson-wasnt-black-rage-against-copsit-was-white-rage-against-progress/2014/08/29/3055e3f4-2d75-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html

This article highlights some of the queer and trans* people of color working on gender, race, and sexuality equity in the U.S.  This is especially important given that the U.S. media (news, movies, t.v., radio, etc) predominately rewards and publicizes white, domestic, heterosexual, and cisgender people: http://www.autostraddle.com/22-badass-qtpoc-couples-that-make-our-hearts-flutter-253889/

Lastly, this article shows some really interesting research being done about children’s responsiveness and understanding of human emotions and interactions.  It has incredible implications for understanding the impacts of trauma, domestic violence, and healthy or unhealthy relationships on children as young as 15 months old!  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/toddlers-angry-behave-study-video_n_5959482.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

 

Best,

Skye

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opinion/sunday/always-hungry-heres-why.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

In my last post, I provided several links to general introductions of stem cells. In this post, I will share several documentaries that show how bad people are taking advantage of desperate patients who have heard stem cells therapy may give them a last hope.

II. Desperate patients and people who take advantage of their situation

1. BBC Panorama – Stem Cells & Miracles (2009)

(2015-02-22) Youtube.com has taken this BBC video off from their site.

2. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem Cell Snake Oil (2010)

 

This is part 1 of the show; here are the links to part 2, part 3 and part 4.

3. CBS 60 Minutes – Stem cell fraud (2012)

Youtube link

CBS link

Over the years, I have been leading a discussion about the ethical and social issues of stem cells research in my class and have used a few useful videos on various aspects. You may find them useful too.

I. Introduction to the topic

References

Here are two recent scientific references that give the current status of iPSCs research and compared that with hESCs, as well as the challenges ahead in research and ethical issues.

  1. Robinton DA, Daley GQ. The promise of induced pluripotent stem cells in research and therapy. Nature. 2012 Jan 18;481(7381):295-305. PubMed PMID: 22258608.
  2. Hug K, Hermerén G. Do we still need human embryonic stem cells for stem cell-based therapies? Epistemic and ethical aspects. Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Nov;7(4):761-74. PubMed PMID: 21461713.

This reference is a general scientific review on various ways that one can reprogramming cells that may potentially be used for therapeutic purposes.

  1.  Gurdon JB, Melton DA. Nuclear reprogramming in cells. Science. 2008 Dec 19;322(5909):1811-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 19095934.

From Washington Post:

For the first time, an experimental treatment made from human embryonic stem cells has shown evidence of helping someone, partially restoring sight to two people suffering from slowly progressing forms of blindness.

In short, the authors of this study that is just published in Lancet differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a key eye tissue that is often affected in retinal degeneration. Then, they transplanted these RPE cells into two patients suffering from Stargardt’s disease and age-related macular degeneration. The purpose of the trial was to find out whether this procedure is safe. Interestingly, there was a pleasant surprise that both patients seem to have some improvements in eye sight. While there is still a lot to do before stem cells therapy will become widely applicable as a general treatment, this finding is an encouraging first sign.

Reference

Embryonic stem cell trials for macular degeneration: a preliminary report [Lancet][pdf]

How Doctors Die – It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be

A deep article written by Ken Murray about how some physicians and patients would opt for less or no treatments when they encounter terminal illness.

I just come across with this article in Slate Magazine “The Mouse Trap – The dangers of using one lab animal to study every disease.” that talks in great details about the limitation of using animal model to look for new drugs to treat human diseases.  For example, the control healthy mouse can actually be metabolically abnormal because of the way we keep and grow them. A recent paper published in the PNAS has unveiled some of these issues.

Martin B, Ji S, Maudsley S, Mattson MP. “Control” laboratory rodents are metabolically morbid: why it matters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6127-33. Epub 2010 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 20194732; PubMed Central PMCID:  PMC2852022.

And I just notice that this slate article belongs to a series of article, including one that talks about my favorite – naked mole rats.

The Mouse Trap – The Trouble With Black-6A tiny alcoholic takes over the lab.

The Mouse Trap – The Anti-Mouse – Could a hairless African rodent be our secret weapon in the war on cancer?

Naked mole rat from Wikipedia

The genome sequence of the naked mole rat is published recently (Kim et al., 2011) ! This is an amazing creature that lives almost up to 30 years in captivity, 9 times longer than mice. At the same time they do not seem to suffer from cancer or a decline in fertility (Buffenstein 2008).

I have been fascinated by the research on the naked mole rats since I read an research article published by Vera Gorbunova’s group in 2009 (Seluanov et al., 2009). In this study, the authors elucidated the naturally occurred anti-cancer mechanism inside this creature. As it turns out, the cells from the naked mole rat will initiate a program to turn off cell growth as soon as the cells start touching each other in culture, a much earlier response than that in regular rats or mice. The most impressive finding is that this early program that can turn off cell growth actually uses the same cell division control mechanisms as in us, but it is just fine-tuned to respond to growth more sensitively. In the new study that sequenced the genome of the naked mole rat, a number of interesting findings have been found and may reveal other aspects of its longevity and physiology for this success and etc. I will save this for your own personal reading.

I find all these results beautiful and  powerfully remind us how studying our nature can lead to potentially important findings that can “translate” to human health; and how the “traditional” clinical research on human and classical animal models can miss the answer that is already out there.

Extended readings

  1. Buffenstein R. Negligible senescence in the longest living rodent, the naked mole-rat: insights from a successfully aging species. J Comp Physiol B. 2008 May;178(4):439-45. Epub 2008 Jan 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 18180931.
  2. Kim EB et al., Genome sequencing reveals insights into physiology and longevity of the naked mole rat. Nature. 2011 Oct 12. doi: 10.1038/nature10533. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21993625.
  3. Seluanov A et al., Hypersensitivity to contact inhibition provides a clue to cancer resistance of naked mole-rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 17;106(46):19352-7. Epub 2009 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 19858485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2780760.