• Less Weird, More Grotesque Medical Museum

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    Few of us may know about a fascinating medical museum located in Philadelphia. It’s the Mutter Museum – and is trained on the anatomically grotesque, just blocks from some of our country’s top medical centers. But its proximity should not be a surprise, and may teach us about the curiosity physicians have for anatomy…as well as compassion for others.

    Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)

    A fascinating event to be held at the museum is the design and build of The Monster Frankenstein scheduled for the evening of January 27, 2016. (The museum’s website image is a bit too graphic for this posting so a stock image of The Monster Frankenstein is substituted above – to see the site’s event image click here. For information about the event click here.)

    Visiting the Mutter Museum’s website may also satisfy your curiosity…read more if you dare.

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  • Weird Connections between Halloween and Medicine…Porphyria

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    Halloween – the time for all those weird oddities to come out of the dark, dank woods stirring our imaginations…

    If it were not for Dr. Patrick Nesbitt, a family physician in Vancouver, B.C., this weird oddity may have never posted to this blog again. Dr. Nesbitt delves into the disease, porphyria…the need for blood.

    ...blood

    Porphyria is fascinating with multifacited variants that include a werewolf variant, menstrual and chemically-induced variants, and even biological variants. Vincent Van Gogh and King George III, were afflicted as were many others. One in 400 are afflicted. Hm…could someone you know be a porphyriate?

    Read more if you dare on Dr. Nesbitt’s special Halloween-edition website.

    Thank you, Dr. Nesbitt!

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  • This Past Year’s “Top 10″ Weird but Most Fascinating Medical Anomolies – #8

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    Menopause is weird – not just for hot flashes anymore!

    Okay so this find is from OWN…but there is medical proof to this…women who are peri-menopausal can experience more than just the common symptoms of intense heat, sweating and uneasiness that fluctuating hormone levels cause.

    Researcher from institutions across the U.S. have seen symptoms such as:

    • sore joints
    • dizziness
    •  “burning tongue,”
    • heart palpitations
    • “buzzing sensations” in the head

    A few years ago – in October 2010 – scientists from the University of Exeter and the Institute of Cancer Research in England also documented genetic variants that can indicate a woman’s predisposition to early-onset menopause.

    Read more… , more… and even more…

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  • This Past Year’s “Top 10” Weird but Most Fascinating Medical Anomolies** – #10

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    Happy New Year!

    It is clear that 3-D printing still has its challenges from the bioproduction marvels of the human body…

    Our #10 pick of the Top 10 **WBMFMA is the patient whose autologous tissue was used to grow her own prosthetic ear. See the amazing CNN news video broadcast from Atlanta below.

    Ear Grown on Cancer Patient’s Arm

    Marvelous is the human body!

    Next week…#9 of the “Top 10  WBMFMAs!

     

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  • Weird – Hot Flashes lead to Healthier Heart

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    …not spontaneous combustion as previously thought.

    Seriously…Researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Northwestern University’s medical school have found that women experiencing hot flashes during the earlier years of menopause tend to have a lower risk of heart attack and death than their older counterparts who experience hot flashes and night sweats near the end of menopause.

    The possible mechanism? The “blood vessels dilating in response to the normal hormone fluctuations of menopause” allows more fluid blood flow and, therefore, more efficient heat transfer from more dilated capillaries located at the surface of the skin. This apparently is healthy cardiovascular reaction for a younger woman, but for an older woman in her 60’s can signal blood vessel abnormalities that could affect the heart.

    Thus NO spontaneous combustion!

    Read more…

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  • Weird Medical Science in Space

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    Exploration Medical Capability Project
    NASA…no need to say more.

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  • Top 10 Weird Healthcare Stories of 2010

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    Some of the most weird and heart-warming stories of 2010…

    Mother’s touch revives premature twin pronounced dead…

    Mother's touch revives dying premie twin
    “Kangaroo Cuddle”

    Afghani teen receives nose transplant in California…

    Afghani Teen has Reconstrutive Surgery in California
    Afghani Teen Harmed by Family

    All 33 Chilean Miners Survive Ordeal…

    Chilean Minors Survive Ordeal
    All Chilean Minors Survive

    …and seven more…

    Thank you, AOL, TIME, LWA, AP, Getty Images & Youtube.com!

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  • Weird…Twinkies the New Diet Food!

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    This is tough to believe given the AHA/ACC guidelines and thousands of healthcare services ranking the leading nutritionally balanced weight loss programs…

    Nutrition professor's "convenience store diet" helped him shed 27 pound

    Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

    But Professor Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University is proof positive. There’s a dichotomy here – you can loose weight and be healthy but not eat healthy.

    The net-net is if you eat too many calories – no matter how healthy their sources – and do not exercise enough to burn the excess – you get chubby!

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  • Weird Biomolecular Science of Exercise

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    We know that exercise is good for us and why, right?

    Wrong. None of us do. No one knows the granular biochemistry. But here’s a S.W.A.G. (click to first term)

    Exercise is Good for Your CV System

    Translucent Woman Running Illustration by Bryan Cristie

    A new study suggests it offers both acute and long term benefits:

    “These findings suggest that exercise has both “acute and cumulative” effects on your body’s ability to use and burn fat,” says Gregory Lewis, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an author of the study. After only 10 minutes of exercise, even the least fit showed evidence that their bodies were burning fat; the more fit, the more metabolic evidence of fat burning.”

    Read on McDuff!

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  • Weird New Advances in Ancient Device Material

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    Number ten in the Top 10 new tech advances of 2010 goes to an ancient material…

    Got Silk?

    Implanted under the skin, an array of light-emitting diodes could signal the concentration in the blood of biomarkers such as insulin. Over time, the array will dissolve away, eliminating the need for surgery to remove the implant. Flexible silicon electronics (inset) are held in place with a silk film. Incorporating antibodies or enzymes into the film will allow devices to detect biomarkers. Credit: Bryan Christie Design. Source: MIT's Technology Review

    According to MIT’s Technology Review, such “dissolvable devices make better medical implants.”

    And what is that mysterious yet familiar bioabsorbable material for advanced implantable electronics­?

    Silk!  It can be engineered to transmit images via light waves along its fibers, deliver drugs, measure vital signs or test blood, and can be resorbed over hours or as long as two years depending upon how long it is needed. And all from the belly of a worm? Amazing. For more amazing apps…read on.

    Got silk?

    Implantable Electronics­
    Dissolvable devices make better medical implants.Implantable Electronics­

    Dissolvable devices make better medical implants.

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  • Weird Floral Therapy for Leukemia?

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    “Experts have discovered that an extract from the white flower commonly known as Baby’s Breath can boost the efficiency of anti-cancer drugs by a staggering million times,” stated on the British MailOnline website by its Healthcare Section editors.

    Apparently this staggeringly significant discovery was made by scientists working for the charity, Leukaemia Busters, based in Southampton, Hampshire. The scientists extracted the molecular substance called saponins from the Gypsophila Paniculata plant. Saponins appears to break down the membrane of cancer cells leaving them vulnerable to antibody-based drugs, known as immunotoxins. Immunotoxins can then more easily attack and kill the cancerous cells.

    Leukaemia Busters name and its logo were both devised by Simon Flavell the son of the researchers, Dr David Flavell and his wife Dr Bee Flavell. Drs. Flavell run the charity that was set up in memory Simon who died from the disease aged 10. Simon was a great fan of Ghost Busters.

    To learn more about this dedicated research team and their findings read on…

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  • Weird Taxpayer-Funded Museum of Medical Oddities

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    Now this is a good use of our federal tax dollars…

    In the northwestern reaches of Washington (D.C. that is) sits a museum that is a “must see” if you like the slightly off-taste, arcane, twisted and in some cases, down-right gross medical oddities. Visit the bricks and mortar “Roadside America of American medicine,” the National Museum of Health and Medicine, America’s oldest taxpayer-funded Cabinet of Curiosities near Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    A row of little skeletons.

    At the National Museum of Health and Medicine you can see precariously displayed and disturbingly barely described:

    • hanging display of a complete brain and spine, suspended in liquid in an eerily lit glass cylinder
    • girl’s head preserved in arsenic
    • well-preserved hairball from the stomach of a 12-year old girl who compulsively ate her own hair
    • skull with a huge civil war bullet buried in its frontal lobe
    • and the list goes on…

    To visit…virtually go to the RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Reporters or National Museum of Health and Medicine, or in real life visit:

    6900 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC

    Hours:     M-F 10 am – 5:30 pm, Sa, Su, Hol call ahead

    No kidding. This is for real – so when you go to the NMHM in D.C., tell them you want your tax dollars’ worth!

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  • Weird…New Venous Intervention for MS?

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    If you are struggling for therapeutic relief from multiple sclerosis, you’ve got a lot of competition…

    An new investigational procedure using an old “Gold Standard” technology is causing MS patients to apply in droves for a single site clinical trial. Over 1,000 patients applied for 3o positions at a lone study site in Buffalo, New York in its early trial. And the technology?…Is it a drug or an active agent?…no…it’s “POBA” –> Plain Old Balloon Angioplasty!

    The theory of balloon angioplasty’s anticipated success in this new indication for use? This  provocative new theory proposes that abnormal blood drainage from the brain may cause or play a role in multiple sclerosis. According to early studies by an Italian vascular specialist, Dr. Paolo Zamboni, who was running out of treatment options for his wife, poor deoxygenated blood drainage caused by twisted, narrowed or blocked cerebrospinal veins may cause “leakage of immune cells into the brain that starts a cascade of inflammatory problems.” In this venous application, balloon angioplasty opens these vessels to increase the volume and rate of drainage…and patients can not wait to receive treatment.

    “A lot of people are starting to go to fly-by-night places,” according to Dr. Carlo Tornatore at Washington’s Georgetown University Hospital. “It’s a marathon, not a 100-yard sprint. We have to be very careful.” (Source: Seattle PI, Seattle, WA)

    The indication is chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency or CCSVI. Further studies of 65 patients by Dr. Zamboni reveal this therapy may be most effective in treating the relapsing-remitting form of MS. But there appears to be a significant relapse rate nearly 50%, similar to that for POBA for coronary arteries in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    Stay tuned…this opens a whole new opportunity for peripheral vascular device manufactures as well as their new MS patients!

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  • Weird Hormonal Affects on Neonates

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    March 19, 2010 /  Biological Wonders, Weird Babies

    Obstetricians will not find this weird but those in other medical specialties may…

    Mother’s hormonal balance during gestation can have a weird affect on their newborns. An over-production of estrogen can cause neonates, male or female, to present with enlarged breasts.

    MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Hormonal effects in newborns

    MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Hormonal effects in newborns

    In fact, these neonates can experience a type of milk production with the white discharge called, “witch’s milk.” This witch’s milk or colostrum is just like mother’s initial fluid before breast milk production is established. For more on this condition, visit the iVillage website.

    But not to worry…this condition usually disappears within 2-3 weeks…a relief for already nervous new mom’s!

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  • Not so Weird for Parents…

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    Ah…soon to be springtime! That marvelous time of year when those lovely little darlings throw their hats and coats into piles in the playground at school…

    …and bring home head lice, followed by traumatic visits to drug stores and at least one weekend shot to heck fumigating their heads, toys, clothes and entire bedrooms!

    (Source WebMD)

    And worse yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the first line of defense is a neurotoxin that is losing its effectiveness. Despite being an FDA approved over-the-counter (OTC) active ingredient, pediculicides containing neurotoxic pesticides are creating a strain of lice that is resistant.

    So if  neurochemistry does not work, how about “biomechanical topical science?” Good old home remedies such as  mayonnaise, olive oil, and petroleum jelly seem to work initially. But lice cannot be asphyxiated easily so they bounce back to life within the next shampooing.

    Clinical research to the rescue! –> In a study published online February 23, 2010 in Pediatric Dermatology, three (3) recent clinical trials studying 700 subjects showed that Benzyl alcohol lotion 5% (BAL 5%), a non-neurotoxic topical treatment successfully kills head lice by suffocating them. According to MedScape Today, “BAL 5% is safe and effective in children as young as 6 months and is the first non-neurotoxic compound to win approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Downsides? BAL 5% is:

    • Only available by prescription – so you first need to see your pediatrician
    • Non-ovicidal (does not kill nits) – requiring a second treatment 7 days later (plan on tying-up 2 weekends in a row!)
    • Expensive – requiring multiple bottles for longer hair times two applications

    So if your insurance covers it, fret no longer, moms and dads!

    BAL 5% is on its way to a drugstore near you to “head lice off at the pass!

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  • Weird…Physics Meets Physiology

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    Remember what your dad always told you about grilling in the great outdoors?…thoroughly dowsing the new coals with lighter fluid BEFORE setting them ablaze?

    Clearly principles of  physics apply…if you apply more lighter fluid AFTERWARDS the flame can travel up the stream of lighter fluid and set your can (of lighter fluid that is) ablaze as well.

    Well, the same applies to urinating on a live electrical wire…it is an unfortunate lesson for all of us. We are saddened for this family’s loss and send them our sympathy – read on.

    In the immortal words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young:

    “Teach your children well…” that applies to physics and physiology.

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  • Weird Biochemical Links: Silicon -> Beer -> Bones?

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    Who would have thought that avoiding osteoporosis would be such yummy fun?

    We now have new evidence that beer is more of a health food than originally thought. It’s been discovered that silicon found in commercially produced beer promotes strong bone development.

    Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis have proven there is a relationship between commercial beer production methods and producing a final end product rich in silicon essential for greater bone mineral density.

    According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Charles Bamforth, “The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied. We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer.”

    “Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are richest in silicon,” Dr. Bamforth concluded.   [See February 2010 issue – Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.]

    So beer once again is king...and ounce-for-ounce it’s easier on our budgets than wine!

    http://www.sirtified.com/images/product/winestein3.gifpicture courtesy Sirtified’s Blog

    No more wine for our cardiovascular systems…let’s drink a few beers to our skeletal health!

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  • Weird Facts about Phil

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    As the one of the more obscure U.S. holidays comes to a close…and with 6 more weeks of winter to endoure…

    It is time we all learned more about…you guessed it…Punxsutawney Phil.

    Yes, today was Groundhog Day Tuesday, and Phil saw his shadow! But did you know that this little guy is a huge American tradition? The Christian Science Monitor shares with us 5 little known facts about our little PA buddy:

    1) Phil is immortal.

    2) Phil’s about as accurate as your average meteorologist.

    3) Phil’s got competition.

    4) Phil’s gone high tech.

    5) There’s no Groundhog Day in Alaska.

    Hey…this post is fair game. We never promised consistent medical oddities but we always promised consistent weird.

    Stay tuned for Fastnacht Day Tuesday – now that IS a medical condition waiting to happen!

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  • More Weird Fish News…now the Fountain of Youth?

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    February 1, 2010 /  Amazing Foods, Biological Wonders

    Here we go again with fish…can you believe that the fountain of youth is now believed to be found in the sea?…

    Researchers recently completed a study that confirms previous findings –> Omega-3 fatty acids promote long, healthy telomeres!

    For those who are scratching their heads, telomeres are part of our DNA. They are the “nonsense ends” at the end of our chromosomes that allow accurate, reliable DNA replication (“copying”) during cell division.But repetitive cell division causes these ends to be chewed-up. If they get too short, inaccurate DNA replication occurs. And then…you guessed it…you are more likely to get cancer or other diseases caused by “cellular aging.” More reliable accuracy dictates longevity. So the longer your telomeres are, the better.

    “What we’re demonstrating is a potentially new link between omega-3 fatty acids and the aging process,” according to Ramin Farzaneh-Far, a clinical cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. UCSF and other hospitals studied 608 patients and found that those with high omega-3 fatty diets had significantly less telomere shortening over a 5-year period. While they did not distinguish if sources other than specific fishes are best to get your omega-3, they did note that it requires about two (2),  1000 milligram servings a day to have an effect.

    Article Source: The Wall Street Journal, Image Source: ABC News, Chicago

    Bad news is you will smell a bit fishy…but good news is you will live long to annoy others with it!

    “Live long and prosper!” – Spock, StarTrek

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  • Weird Way to Sleep with the Fishes

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    Preclinicals – not for just rats, mice and pigs anymore…

    Now, zebrafish…For the treatment of Insomnia researchers from Harvard have recently found a new surprising option to aid in therapy development.

    Found in tropical regions, this fish proves a worthy test subject in either adult or larvae form. One interesting point noted by the researchers was that zebrafish generally show more relation to humans in sleep patterns than other animals. Also, zebrafish can be cheaply and quickly raised as test subjects. In all, the researchers found 463 sleep altering compounds in the fish, of which many resembled human characteristics.

    Sleepy head:
    Credit: Albert Pan and Alexander Schier

    Having trouble sleeping? Oddly enough you may a sleep study with this fish!

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  • Weird Potato Salad Remedy

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    January 13, 2010 /  Biological Wonders, Historically Weird

    Ready for a weird workout routine for 2010?

    The Ross sisters have a weird ability. During the 1940s they performed a unique blend of  acrobatics and contortionism. While they have not performed in years, the Internet has brought them renewed interest with clips of their act appearing on YouTube. In their “Solid Potato Salad” clip they perform one of the most weird displays of motion one can imagine. Named Veda, Dixie, and Betsy Ann, these sisters may look alike but what may really add to their weird and uniqueness is that they are born three years apart from 1926 to 1929.

    Biographical Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ross_Sisters, Video Source: Thats Entertainment III DVD

    Biographical Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ross_Sisters, Video Source: That's Entertainment III DVD

    You have NO excuses for your 2010 fitness resolution…get off your chair and go workout!

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  • More Interesting than Weird…”The Emotional Life”

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    January 6, 2010 /  Biological Wonders

    Ready for a 6 hour journey of the emotions?

    Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, a three episode PBS series is exploring research into human emotion. Want to know the secret to happiness? This third episode in the series promises to offer insight provided by cutting edge science on happiness. It will most assuredly provide less weird but more interesting answers…

    Source: The Seattle Times

    Source: The Seattle Times

    TONIGHT’S EPISODE? –>

    “Rethinking Happiness”

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  • Weird Ability to Eat Anything…but 6,000 Calories in One Day?

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    December 22, 2009 /  Biological Wonders, Weird Holidays

    Keep an eye on dads as well as the kiddies!

    A recent study found that children can consume up to 6,000 calories on Christmas day, December 25. This includes all the snacks, cookies and meals found between family dinners and treats Saint Nick leaves behind. The study was performed by experts for the Carnegie Weight Management based in Leeds Metropolitan University. They found on average, 956 calories for dinner 587 for desserts on top of breakfast lunch and treats. While children were the most indulgent Men were also found to be gluttons. While this may not be the weirdest display of human nature, it is definitely not healthy.

    Source: Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1236388/Obesity-warning-children-eat-6-000-calories-Christmas-Day.html)

    Source: Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1236388/Obesity-warning-children-eat-6-000-calories-Christmas-Day.html)

    Note about your family:  Watch-out for each other during this special time of the year!

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  • Weird Survival Story…From a 23-Year Coma Patient

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    November 23, 2009 /  Biological Wonders, Image-ine This

    For most people in today’s reduced-healthcare-cost, right-to-die, euthanasia-friendly culture a persistent vegetative state diagnosis is essentially the final blow if not death sentence…

    The human brain is on par with space in terms of what we don’t know. The traditional means of determining consciousness can only measure so much. For one lucky man, science caught up. Rom Houben, now 46, suffered in silence for 23 years until Dr Steven Laureys used state of the art imaging equipment to discover his hidden mind. Just recently disclosed, Dr Laureys plans to use Mr. Houben’s case to highlight what many patients around the world may need.

    For Mr. Houben his horror is over. What may be one of the weirdest-nightmare-like experience ever described he “I screamed, but there was nothing to hear…”

    Man trapped in 23-year coma reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious (Source: Daily Mail, UK)

    Man trapped in 23-year 'coma' reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious (Source: Daily Mail, UK)

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  • A Weird and Annoying Disorder…

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    November 16, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Talk about sneezing your head off…

    A 12-year-old girl from Virginia, Lauren Johnson, has developed a weird disorder. As reported last Wednesday, Lauren has been sneezing 20 time a minute, 12,000  times a day for over two weeks. Currently, her worst side effect is a raw nose from the incessant use of tissues.

    Lauren’s syndrome is referred to as “Machine Gun Sneezing” during which victims cannot stop sneezing. She is one of less than 40 known cases in the world, doctors have tried 11 medical therapies and hypnosis, nothing has worked so far. Her weird condition began after she caught a common cold.

    Source: Ah-ah-achoo! The girl who sneezes 12,000 times a day has doctors baffled, Daily Mail, UK

    Source: "Ah-ah-achoo! The girl who sneezes 12,000 times a day has doctors baffled," Daily Mail, UK

    Just imagine…they have tried everything from conventional medicine to hypnosis therapy…any ideas for Lauren?

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  • Weird…Immortality and Cancer Inextricably Linked

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    November 11, 2009 /  Awesome Medical Feats, Biological Wonders

    Nobel winners uncover a connection…

    The 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine went to three scientists who discovered an  enzyme called telomerase that allows cells to divide indefinitely. In general, cells have a limit on the number of times they can divide and over time this causes degradation of organic structures, or aging. In an article published by WIRED Aaron Rowe reveals that the scientists realized that they could persuade cells into producing telomeras.

    However, there is a catch.

    Currently cells in adults divide roughly 80 times before they die off, which limits susceptibility to cancer. When cells produce telomerase they continue dividing, which eventually leads to a higher probability of developing cancer.

    Chromosomes

    Chromosomes

    Mark Muller, a cancer and telomerase researcher at the University of Central Florida, stated that “Ninety percent of all cancer cells are telomerase rich.” Further, he posits that telomerase inhibitors could fight cancer itself and allow the cancer cells to essentially die off.

    While currently the telomerase enzyme causes a Catch 22 of immortality and cancer, ethical and other pragmatic issues aside, it may be that in the future drugs may be able to combat cancerous cells without attacking all telomerase-rich cells, allowing mankind to achieve immortality in a safe manner.

    Ready to rise above mere mortality?

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  • Weird Sibling Rivalries

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    September 21, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Rare…“Fetus in fetu”?

    Not a completely unheard of situation but doctors in China have just recorded one of the rarest. A case of “fetus in fetu in a 1-year-old girl. Her Parasitic twin became trapped in her abdomen and continued to develop over the last year, creating a huge bulge and major health risk.

    According to Wikipedia this occurs in only 1 of 500,000 live births***.

    One-year-old girl has baby in stomach (Source: NEWS.com.au)

    One-year-old girl has baby in stomach (Source: NEWS.com.au)

    Now awaiting surgery, this girl will have a weird story to tell!

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  • Live to be 200! Viva La Fountain of Youth!

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    August 21, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Want to look much younger then your years?

    As humans advance in science, more and more interest is shown in the field of anti-aging drugs. The Juan Ponce de León’s mythical Fountain of Youth may one day become a reality if biologists have their way.

    Recently, a new discovery was made about a drug that tricks the body into thinking it is on a calorie restrictive diet. Calorie restrictive (CR) diets have historically shown to expand the lifespans of mice and it appears the principle reaction to this can be triggered through drugs.

    Anti-Aging in Action (Source: NYTimes, Nicholas Wade)

    Anti-Aging in Action (Source: NYTimes, Nicholas Wade)

    The major drug candidates are “sirtuin activators” which appear to provide similar reactions to a lower calorie diet. The leading drug of this type is resveratrol by Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. The drug appears to detect and activate when a cell’s energy reserves run low, which is mimics the outcome of calorie restrictive diet.

    As many other drugs begin evaluation for their anti-aging effects, it is very likely that we will start to see the fruits of these scientists’ labor. (Source: NYTimes, Tests Begin on Drugs That May Slow Aging).

    Weird but…let’s start starving on CR!

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  • Wet but Weird Drinking Water?

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    August 12, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Something’s causing twins in a remote Indian village…

    In Kodinji, a small village in India with about 15,00 people, there are 230 sets of twins. This is four times the the standard rate of twins occurring naturally. It’s no wonder the village has been dubbed “twin village” by locals.

    A local doctor has hypothesized that increased rate of twins could be caused by the water near the village, although no formal studies have been performed.  According to current knowledge, there are no pollutants, toxins or other unnatural chemicals that the villagers interact with.

    Two Twins

    Two Twins from Kodinji Village (Source: Reuters)

    While it remains to be seen what the cause of this is, we do know that just growing up there can sometimes be difficult. Twins can have difficult lives with people often confusing one person with another. And at least one boy, not a twin, feels a little left out in a village that makes twins trendy. (Source: Reuters “Doctors baffled by Indian village of over 200 sets of twins“).

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  • Weirdly Cool…The next evolution of the stent

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    …Fully Absorbable!

    For years scientists and doctors have been developing stents that can be absorbed into the body after they have done their job. Abbott’s new Absorb stent, an Everolimus-coated stent made from polylactic acid (PLA), is finally showing progress towards this futuristic goal.

    The way the stent works is that water in the artery wall converts the polylactic acid into lactic acid, which is then completely absorbed back into the body.

    In an article by Amy Feldman of Fast Company (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/122/artery-heal-thyself.html) it was stated that Abbott is hoping for FDA approval by in the United States by 2012 with the potential to market in Europe even earlier. At first it may seem weird to have a device break down into your body, but it represents a new evolution of devices to keep open the artery during healing.

    Absorb Stent (Source: Fast Company, Artery, Heal Thyself)

    Absorb Stent (Source: Fast Company, "Artery, Heal Thyself")

    It’s about time – let’s use it when we need it…and get rid of it when we don’t!

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  • Not Weird…but Interesting Way to Boost Fertility

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    July 2, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Most couples marry with the dream of reproducing, however life and biology can hinder that. One element, sperm DNA damage, has recently been studied. An Australian study of 118 people having sex every day for a week significantly reduced the amount of DNA damage in their patients’ sperm. However sperm DNA is (obviously) only one part of the fertility equation, as Bill Ledger (not connected to the research), a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Sheffield, stated, “Maybe this will improve pregnancy rates, but we still need to do more studies.” Definitely not weird…but no harm in “trying.”

    Study: More Sex May Help Damaged Sperm, Source: http://abcnews.go.com

    Study: More Sex May Help Damaged Sperm, Source: http://abcnews.go.com

    A famous cardiovascular surgeon in most U.S. households, Dr. Mehmet C. Oz of Oprah show and “You” books fame, takes this claim further. His and Dr. Michael F. Rozen’s “prescription” is that frequency helps increase men’s life expectancy by decreasing the risk of stroke and heart attack by 50%. They claim the magic number is 200 times per year. (No kidding…see the ABC News, Dr. Oz  & “You” book )

    Not so weird…now you gentlemen have medically and scientifically proven reasons to plead your case!

    Enjoy your long Independence Day weekend!

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  • Weird – Now We’re Building Organs…

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    June 16, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Regeneration is just not for frogs anymore!

    Developed by researches from University of Twente, this is a first for stereolithography. Biodegradable and resorbable polylactic acid (PLA) can now be used to create three-dimensional scaffolding for new organs. Organ cells grow around and throughout the PLA structure. As the PLA resin simultaneously breaks down and absorbs, no foreign resin material is left behind leaving a perfectly-formed new organ in its place. A very unique and weird development.

    Read more by clicking on the image below…

    Biodegradable synthetic resin replaces vital body parts (Source: University of Twente)

    Biodegradable synthetic resin replaces vital body parts (Source: University of Twente)

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  • Weird Bio-wire for Personal Electronics…

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    Did anyone ever accuse you of being wired strangely…well soon they could be right.

    With promise for both military application and future consumer devices, Georgia Institute of Technology scientists have discovered a way to use heart beats, body movements and wind resistance to produce electricity. The key is in the movement of nano zinc oxide wires. When stretched and released these wires produce electicity, enough to power radios, night vision goggles, cell phones and other personal devices.

    Checkout GIT’s website…

    Getting a charge out of a beating heart (Source: Georgia Institute of Technology)

    Getting a charge out of a beating heart (Source: Georgia Institute of Technology)

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  • Weird Twist…Tough Older Baby Boomers Resist Swine Flu

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    May 22, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    While most flu viruses are hardest on elderly and infants, recent tests run by the CDC show that those in the 60+ years of age bracket are  more immune to the swine flu than younger generation.  Scientists at the CDC report that flu viruses prior to 1957 bore more resemblance to the current pandemic. While those in the older age bracket do stand a great chance of immunity health officials still recommend the same precautions.

    Swine Flu (Source: CDC)

    Swine Flu (Source: CDC)

  • Scratching Settles Nerve Cells?…Weird!

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    April 13, 2009 /  Biological Wonders

    Scratching actually settles down “itchy” nerve cells? How does that work?

    Researchers at the University of Montana answered that question reporting their findings on the cellular mechanics of scratching an itch. While itching and scratching has been commonplace for as long as recorded history, how and why it occurs have yet to be explained, until now. Researchers  found specialized cells in the spinal cord that sense both pain and itching. These cells interpret scratching an itch as a relief, in other words they settle down the active (itching) cells. The behavior is weird because scratching is an activity that generally causes pain or increases the activity in a cell; however when scratching the itch or the area around it these spinal cells interpret the activity as a calming effect and stop the firing of electrical impulses (the feeling of the “itch”).  The cells, which are spread throughout the spinal cord, are also strongly affected by the brain as additional research has shown itching to be contagious, leading to a neurological explanation in addition to the recent cellular findings.

    Source: James Steinberg, The New York Times

    Although no treatment has been recommended, besides scratching yourself, this is the first step in the process that may one day yield benefits to many who suffer both weird and chronic itching. Read more…“Scratching Relieves Itch by Quieting Nerve Cell” ; The New York Times, B. Carey.

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