• February 24, 2010 /  Our Weird Medical Industry, Weird Trends

    Apparently…even in this economy…medtech use is still way up!

    According to Cole Petrochko, Staff Writer at MedPage Today, and a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) – the definition of medical technology – more succinctly “medtech” – is broadly interpreted beyond just medtech but clearly its usage trend is up…way up.

    Mr. Petrochko and the NCHS go on to say, “Increases among those technologies from 1996 to 2007 included the following:

    • Total knee and hip replacements for patients 45 and older increased by 70% and 60% respectively, as measured by hospital discharges. Although joint replacements were more common in those 65 and older, they increased at a faster rate among younger patients.
    • The number of kidney transplants increased 31% (43.7 per million in 1997 versus 57.2 per million in 2006); liver transplants were up 42% in the same time span (15.6 million in 1997 versus 22.2 per million in 2006).
    • Heart transplants declined 20% from 1997 to 2004, but rose slightly from 2004 to 2006. The 2,147 heart transplants in 2006 accounted for 8% of solid organ transplants, the third most common solid organ transplant, behind kidney at 16,646, and liver at 6,136.
    • Outpatient colonoscopy rates tripled in adults over age 19 but increased in all age groups. The biggest gains were posted among those 45 to 64, although the procedure is most common in those 65 to 74. Similar gains were noted for upper endoscopy procedures.

    Image of Health, United States, 2009 book cover

    Clearly medtech, as well as biotech and pharmaceutical drugs, usage is way up – so let’s challenge ourselves, to ask:

    “Why aren’t the U.S. medical industry service providers thriving and why are industry jobs becoming scarce?”

    We’d like to hear your thoughts.

    Increases among those technologies from 1996 to 2007 included the following:

    • Total knee and hip replacements for patients 45 and older increased by 70% and 60% respectively, as measured by hospital discharges. Although joint replacements were more common in those 65 and older, they increased at a faster rate among younger patients.
    • The number of kidney transplants increased 31% (43.7 per million in 1997 versus 57.2 per million in 2006); liver transplants were up 42% in the same time span (15.6 million in 1997 versus 22.2 per million in 2006).
    • Heart transplants declined 20% from 1997 to 2004, but rose slightly from 2004 to 2006. The 2,147 heart transplants in 2006 accounted for 8% of solid organ transplants, the third most common solid organ transplant, behind kidney at 16,646, and liver at 6,136.
    • Outpatient colonoscopy rates tripled in adults over age 19 but increased in all age groups. The biggest gains were posted among those 45 to 64, although the procedure is most common in those 65 to 74. Similar gains were noted for upper endoscopy procedures.

    The change in stenting practices

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  • February 16, 2010 /  More Yummy than Weird, Weird Holidays

    Here’s a heart stopper – bad for you but oh so yummy…

    Today is good ol’ Pennsylvania Dutch Fastnacht Day or Shrove Tuesday. The PA Dutch ladies could sure cook and bake even better! And just less than 2 weeks after Go Red for Women Day, February 5. But these lovely ladies of German decent came long before the American Heart Association,  the American College of Cardiology and our First Ladies of our nation teamed up to make us feel guilty… or worse being scared out of our whits… for being a few pounds over-weight.

    But that’s fine – we Americans can endure. So let’s take February, this month of dichotomies, and throw caution to the wind…let’s eat a fastnacht or three…


    This Fastnachts image was taken from the website – BellaOnline –
    Sandy Moyer, BellaOnline’s Home Cooking Editor.
    …then let’s go for a 10-mile run!

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  • February 11, 2010 /  Critical Design Improvements

    Tired of that drafty ol’ back door?

    You’ll soon bee in luck!…perhaps the next time you visit your doctor’s office.

    British patients scheduled for their next physical or ob/gyn examination may soon be treated with dignity. US-born top fashion designer, Ben de Lisi has said “enough!” to the traditional tie-in-the-back gown. He has designed a wraparound gown that is being tested in the city of Bristol, England. As of Tuesday, local hospital officials’ report that patient feedback has been positive.

    photo
    (The Times Online)

    The new gowns may not be quite what Kate Winslet or Demi Moore would wear floating down the red carpet at the Oscars. However, these utilitarian wraparounds will be unveiled next month, and the British government hopes to have them in hospitals next year.

    And since most of us don’t have cute enough bumms, this design has arrived none too soon!

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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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  • February 3, 2010 /  Weird Holidays

    It’s  that time of year again for women to think about taking care of their “heart health”…

    Friday, February 5 is Go Red for Women Day and has become a huge movement in the U.S. Originating in the 1990’s with the American Heart Association (AHA) many organizations have taken upon themselves to help expand the core message of heart health to all women across America and around the world. But sadly cardiovascular disease is still the #1 killer of women.

    YOU can do something about it!

    You can:

    1) Download the Complete Guide to Women’s Health from the AHA, and…

    2) Join a corporate, family or friends group – the AHA is now encouraging us all to raise awareness and funds for critical women’s heart disease research.

    Click here –> to start a group, join a group or  download essential materials to present and encourage others to participate.

    3) …or Get heart healthy yourself by going to AHA Heart Makeover.

    Do something for women around the world – get the word out!

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • ‘Tis the season for merriment!

    One of the most popular consumables used for bringing in the New Year is alcoholic beverages. As we all know, the effects of alcohol are governed by metabolism and drink composition. However, many of us are more concerned about the morning after a night of heavy drinking than the caloric effect.

    To the rescue!…a toxicology expert and professor, Wayne Jones, of the University of Health Sciences in Linkˆping, Sweden. In this article he details all the pros and cons of drink options. Some of his suggestions may seem a bit weird but a little preplanning can not only help you remember Dec 31, 2009 but enjoy January 1, 2010…

    Source: Daily Mail, UK

    Source: Daily Mail, UK

    So if you plan to imbibe on December 31, try one of professor’s remedies!

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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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  • Programming our bodies to heal themselves…

    Researchers at the Harvard University have discovered a method to make cancerous tumors self destruct. By implanting a plastic disc with tumor-specific antigens that mimic infection into a mouse, the immune system is reprogrammed to attack the tumor.

    “Our immune systems work by recognizing and attacking foreign invaders, allowing most cancer cells — which originate inside the body — to escape detection,” according to Harvard’s David J. Mooney, Gordon McKay Professor of Bioengineering in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as described in the current issue of the journal Nature Materials. “This technique, which redirects the immune system from inside the body, appears to be easier and more effective than other approaches to cancer vaccination.”

    This weird, in vivo technique may prove very effective in human cancer survival.

    Causing Cancer to Self-Destruct (Source: Phsyorg.com)

    Causing Cancer to Self-Destruct (Source: Phsyorg.com)

    Someday it may be said…“cancer patient, heal thyself!”

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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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  • November 19, 2009 /  Legislate This

    Watch your pocket books…

    For those considering cosmetic surgeries such as botox or other “enhancements” they may not wish to wait for a 2010 resolution.

    The current US Senate healthcare bill is adding a 5% tax on such operations. This proposed funding source may unfairly target women ages 35-50 who make up 86% of such operations. That said, there is no such tax in the House of Representatives version. If it does make it through it is estimated to generate $5 billion over the next 10 years.

    Cosmetic Surgery Funds Healthcare Reform (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    Cosmetic Surgery Funds Healthcare Reform (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

    Looks like its time for “Facercize,” ladies!

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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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  • 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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  • November 4, 2009 /  Unsolicted Messages
    Dentists across the nation have begun a movement to support US soldiers and combat cavities…
    The “Halloween Candy Buy Back” works by buying-back candy from young trick-or-treaters and shipping it to soldiers overseas. Many Dentists have had their own programs similar to this for many years, but now there is the HalloweenCandyBuyBack.com site to help coordinate this effort. It was started by Dr. Chris Kammer and Bite Down Productions. Just log in your Zip Code and you instantly find a participating dentist close to you.
    Not only assisting in the fight against tooth decay, this helps with other diseases such as diabetes and obesity as well. On top of the financial incentive children can also go to bed knowing that they have made a calore-burning soldier’s day a little sweeter.

    Dentists across the nation have begun a movement to support US soldiers and combat cavities…

    The “Halloween Candy Buy Back” works by buying-back candy from young trick-or-treaters and shipping it to soldiers overseas. Many Dentists have had their own programs similar to this for many years, but now there is the HalloweenCandyBuyBack.com site to help coordinate this effort. It was started by Dr. Chris Kammer and Bite Down Productions. Just log in your Zip Code and you instantly find a participating dentist close to you.

    Not only assisting in the fight against tooth decay, this helps with other diseases such as diabetes and obesity as well. On top of the financial incentive children can also go to bed knowing that they have made a calore-burning soldier’s day a little sweeter.

    Candy Buy Back (Image Source: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barbara L. Patton - http://www.defenselink.mil/, Article Source: http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

    Candy Buy Back (Image Source: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barbara L. Patton - http://www.defenselink.mil/, Article Source: http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

    Gather your extra Halloween candy and go visit your nearby participating dentist today!

  • A new application for an old drug…

    Renewed interest in the 2007 discussion of Dichloroacetic acid (DCA) for cancer treatment, long-used for metabolic disorders, has surfaced based on its few side effects when compared to current cancer treatments. The main proponent of studying DCA for the treatment of cancer is Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta. He claims that his research has been hindered because the pharmaceutical industry does not want to fund research into a non-patentable compound.

    While some may rush to judge Big Parma, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society offers a more tempered view. Stating “Right now, we simply do not know what is going to occur as DCA moves through the research pipeline…It is way too soon to know whether this is a cancer treatment breakthrough or an urban legend or something in between” in his 2007 blog post < http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130 > is perhaps the best statement to date on this drug.

    In September 2007 Dr. Michelakis generated enough funding for a small phase II trial in about 50 patients < http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130 >. For those following this story, results can be expected within the next year (expected by Q4 2010 to as late as Q2 2011), upon completion of the 18 month follow-up.
    (Article Source: http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130, Image Source: http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca/)

    (Article Source: http://www.cancer.org/aspx/blog/Comments.aspx?id=130, Image Source: http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca/)

    Stay tuned later for more news on this potentially more cost effective treatment.

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  • Time to take notes from your great grandma!

    In these troubled times people will find that they are required to be more resourceful with their lives. Home remedies offer an economical option for many ailments. From Netty pots to Epsom salt soaks there are many weird options that can save a trip to the doctor, and may also protect you from MRSA or H1N1. Who wouldn’t want a peppermint oil rub for a headache?

    Here’ are some from the blog “Forgotten Medical Cures” to improve the iron deficiencies in your blood…

    Wish to try:

    — iron nails soaked in water?
    — using iron utensils as well as skillets and pans?
    — even viscous black strap molasses?

    And only for the bold…spinach cooked with ox blood and silver beets…an acquired taste! Read more…

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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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  • September 14, 2009 /  Historically Weird

    Many of today’s products, medical or otherwise, have weird histories…

    Discovery and invention are impossible to predict. As many in the medical and pharmaceutical industry have found, trying to invent a new product, drug or device is often more luck than scientific method. Many inventions have weird histories that include a long series of  trials, errors and changes in purposeful application.

    Superglue is one example…

    Did you know that Superglue (or as we know it in the medical industry today, cyanoacrylate) was originally developed by a Dr. Harry Coover from a glue to fashion plastic gun sights for the WWII battlefields? The substance proved too sticky for this application but in more recent years he perfected it to secure cold war era jet canopies.  In medicine today, its super sticky qualities has found it a home in liquid sutures and home Bandaid use. Read on about its history and those of other inventions by clicking on the image link below.

    9 Oddities in Discovery and Invention (Article Source: ThomasNet - http://news.thomasnet.com/mt41/mt-tb.cgi/1601, Image Source: Wikipedia)

    9 Oddities in Discovery and Invention (Article Source: ThomasNet - http://news.thomasnet.com/mt41/mt-tb.cgi/1601, Image Source: Wikipedia)

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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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  • 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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  • August 6, 2009 /  Awesome Medical Feats

    An awesome feat of medical engineering!

    In a brilliant surgical move, physicians in the UK have managed to repair a 42 year old man’s eyesight by implanting material from his tooth into his eye socket.

    Martin Jones lost his eyesight in a 1997 construction accident. The reason tooth material was used was to provide a living anchor for a man-made replacement lens to be accepted by the eye.  Read more… , and see below.

    Congratulations to Mr. Jones and Dr. Christopher Liu, the corneal specialist and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based at Sussex Eye Hospital, Brighton, who performed this surgery!

    Blind man sees after tooth implanted into his eye for repair (Source: Daily Mail, UK)

    Blind man sees after tooth implanted into his eye for repair (Source: Daily Mail, UK)

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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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  • July 27, 2009 /  Legislate This, UNwelcome Messages

    Look-out brewers of America!

    In a move that may send many more American workers home jobless the Senate Finance Committee has announced their consideration of a 150% hike on federal beer taxes. This increase would directly fund the Healthcare Reform promised in the 2008 election. Additionally a number of states are considering raising taxes to offset their budgets as well.

    If you enjoy freedom of choice and free enterprise as well do, let your Senators know! Read more below…

    Weird Way to Fund Reform (Source: Chicago Business)

    Weird Way to Fund Reform (Source: Chicago Business)

    For more information and to learn how to join others in you state to be heard on your position on this issue visit:

    A thought…perhaps this tax is a weird effort to reform Americans from “heathen” and “unhealthy” habits?

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  • July 24, 2009 /  Resurrected Remedies

    With the fall of 2009 coming soon, swine Influenza has many looking for ways to protect themselves and there families.

    One not just weird but unsafe way that developed in early 2009 and seems to be staying with us is “swine flu parties.” Similar to chicken pox parties these include parents intentionally exposing their children to others infected with the disease.

    Dr Richard Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association’s public health committee, recently said “I have heard of reports of people throwing swine flu parties. I don’t think it is a good idea…I would not want it myself. It is quite a mild virus, but people still get ill and there is a risk of mortality.” While this flu does not carry a high mortality rate, this weird way of inoculating children is most likely unwise.

    With the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting well over 300 confirmed H1N1 related deaths earlier this year health, and with June report of 263 deaths in the U.S., (see the U.S. Center for Disease Control CDC website) officials do not like this development.

    In addition on June 10, the CDC released a “Phase 6″ warning about Swine Flu – Verbatim from the CDC website:

    A Pandemic Is Declared – On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1) was underway by raising the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6. This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus. At the time, more than 70 countries had reported cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) infection and there were ongoing community level outbreaks of novel H1N1 in multiple parts of the world.”

    (Doctors warn against swine flu parties, Souce: CNN.com)

    (Doctors warn against 'swine flu parties,' Souce: CNN.com)

    Stay tuned for CDC & WHO experts’ suggestions of better safeguards.

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  • July 7, 2009 /  Amazing Foods

    In a 40 patient study of patients undergoing spinal operations and split into two groups, researchers found that those in a group who gargled a solution with licorice five minutes prior to receiving anesthesia reported lower rates of sore throat than those in the non-licorice group. Patients were split into two groups of 20 and only four patients in the licorice group had a sore throat due to anesthesia compared to 15 in the non-licorice group. At 24-hours, two licorice-garglers still had a sore throat compared to seven in the non-licorice group. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/health/research/07regi.html?_r=1&ref=health)

    The soothing properties of licorice make it appealing for coughs and sore throats and it has been used for thousands years – now it is again resurfacing as a useful treatment for new medical problems (Source: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm).

    Source: http://www.licoricecandytwist.com/

    Source: http://www.licoricecandytwist.com/

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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)

  • May 15, 2009 /  Amazing Foods

    More than weird…yummy!

    In a new 614 patient study at the University of Rochester in New York, doctors treated cancer patients who previously received chemotherapy and standard anti-nausea medication with either a placebo or three different doses of ginger (1/2 gram, 1 gram, 1.5 grams). The doctors found that ginger was effective in treating nausea and that the lowest two doses (1/2 gram and 1 gram) were the most effective out the three doses.

    Although the physicians were not clear on how this weird phenomenon actually occurs in a biological sense, they do know that ginger has been reported to reduce inflammation in the stomach. The principle investigator in the study, Dr. Julie Ryan, went on to state that it is possible that with the right amount of ginger, even ginger cookies could reduce nausea. (Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE54D68I20090515)

    In an earlier post we also highlighted the fact that ginger can be used to temporarily raise your IQ by as many as 10 points.

    This is good news for everyone who loves ginger cookies and feels a little under the weather – eat up* for your health!

    Ginger Cookies

    Ginger Cookies (Source: Allrecipes.com)

    *Only 1/2 a gram is needed to achieve the full effect, but we won’t tell if you eat a few more just to make sure!

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  • Weird library connections?

    Clofazimine, a drug used more than a 100 years ago to treat leprosy, is now showing effectiveness against autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis to toenail fungus. Clofazimine apparently also fights tumors.

    Just one case how The Johns Hopkins University Drug Library with more than 3,000 of the approximately 10,000 known drugs is giving life to old remedies .

    More weird connections may be found but with this find archived drug resurrection may be the booster shot the pharma industry needs…read more…

    Drug Library (Source: The New York Times, With Aid of Drug Library, New Remedies From Old)
    Drug Library (Source: The New York Times, “With Aid of Drug Library, New Remedies From Old”)

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  • April 21, 2009 /  Unsolicted Messages

    Imagine Artyom Sidorkin surgeon’s surprise when the cancerous tumor he thought he was pulling was actually a five-centimeter baby fir tree. At 28 years old Mr Sidorkin was none the wiser that he housed a biological rebreather in his body. If you find this weird story unbelievable, you may be right. Not yet confirmed by outside sources this symbiote story seems to have a number of issue standing before its validity, photosynthesis being chief among them. Regardless, we’ll give Russia the credit for this unique medical mystery.

    Fir Tree inside Lung: Xray (Source: Daily Mail, "Shocked Russian surgeons open up man who thought he had a tumour... to find a FIR TREE inside his lung")

  • April 15, 2009 /  UNwelcome Messages

    It’s that time of year again…no, not pretty daffodils and tulips blooming…no, not the end to the (seemingly) never-ending and unpredictable snowfalls thanks to global warming…no, not bikini laden spring break…but…

    Tax time – April 15th!

    Nothing more predictable than the need to pay taxes and die…most often in that order. Unless, you are an appointed federal official. Despite what our fearless leaders chose to do with their capital gains, stock dividends and comfortable salaries, let’s do our fiscal and civic duty. Let’s file that income tax return today and pay our taxes…or get our refund…so we can bail ourselves out of the federal debt!

    Here’s to us – the not-so-common, hard-working healthcare industry professionals!

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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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  • April 1, 2009 /  Foolishly Weird Treatments

    HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY…to US All!

    Aren’t there just those days when you wondered what you were thinking when you did something?

    …you may have been traveling  and just picked-up a bit of the flu, making you a little mentally fuzzy,

    …or came down with one of your worst migraine headaches in months and ran out of your most effective migraine prescription med, making thinking clearly through moguls of pain the next new Olympic winter sport,

    …or just had a long 14 hours in the office and needed to go home for the day but couldn’t quite get there.

    In any case, you were lacking a bit of good judgment just for a few moments.

    Well, sometimes we do something that seems harmless, and may even seem like a pretty good solution to a problem at the time to later find out in the light of day (when our thinking is finally a bit clearer) that it may not have been the brightest thing we’ve ever done.

    But what’s worse is when we get caught…Others may view what we have done much more harshly (in the much brighter light of day – most likely using a 500 watt spotlight making the Spanish Inquisition look like duffers), and thinking of more crisply succinct adjectives than “brilliant” about  us and our solution du jour.

    This is the case for this foolish gent…according to the New York Post a dentist from Long Island was arrested by police for abusing laughing gas after the he had been found by a patient. The dentist stated that he had a migraine. There are far better treatments than illegal use of nitrous oxide…BUT let’s give this fellow the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps his personal supply of Maxalt, Zomig or Imatrex had just run out and he had too much pain to pick up the phone and speak with his pharmacist.

    Reportedly his dental license was suspended multiples times before this incident, leading us to believe that he suffers migraines often and, therefore, lacks judgment often. (Is this guy truly human, or what?)

    So here’s the deal…let’s cut this guy a break.

    Let’s put ourselves in this guy’s blue scrubs and walk around in them for a while…Thus we be judged someday to be fools ourselves!

    Dr. Norman Rubin

    Dr. Norman Rubin (Source: NY Post DENTIST GASSED OUT AND PASSED OUT: COPS)

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  • March 30, 2009 /  Amazing Foods

    Need a quick mental boost?

    It is said that an ounce of pickled ginger can temporarily raise your IQ by as many as 10 points.

    Browse the link above to find a recipe or visit your favorite sushi bar when you need a moment of brilliance. [www.factropolis.com]

    Pickled Ginger

    Do you like Japanese pickled ginger accompanies sushi? Shin-shoga (young ginger) is suitable for making pickled ginger. It has thin skin and changes its color to light pink when pickled. Spring and early summer are great times to make pickled ginger.

    How to Make Pickled Ginger
    Pickled Ginger Recipe

    [Pickled Ginger Photo © 2007 Setsuko Yoshizuka, licensed to About.com, Inc.]

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  • March 24, 2009 /  Futuristic Devices

    Any Trekkies remember Dr. McCoy and the amazing Tricorder?

    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging allows for a “Miracle Diagnosis” – Handheld Medical Scanner 800 Times More Sensitive Than Full-size Scanners…” developed by Harvard University start-up, T2 Biosystems, Inc. (Boston , MA).

    According to blog author, Jason Mick, this “new scanner provides cancer, diabetes, and bacterial detection in the palm of your hand; also useful for anti-terrorist efforts.” His blog detailing how this device works is accessible by clicking here.

    Georgia Tech Creates Palm “Tricorder” Scanner Technology – Images from that site…

    The mosaic filter can be paired with standard digital camera sensor chips to produce a cheap advanced multi-spectrum scanner. (Source: Georgia Tech’s Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA))


    The new tech allows cheap “tricorder”-like handheld multispectral scanners that analyze injury. (Source: Georgia Tech’s Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA))

    Beam me up, Scottie!

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  • March 1, 2009 /  Welcome Messages

    This is for YOUbiotech and medtech professionals!

    Take a break from our bleak economic news to have a little ooky fun.

    From odd medical relics to amazing medical discoveries – get a peek into the future of medical care…if we dare.

    Stay tuned for your mini-mental holidays by April Fools Day!

    With weird regards  –

    Your WM Team

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