Worse than Ebola

By now, the top false-color micrograph should be frighteningly familiar. It’s the Ebola virus, fear of which spreads faster than the actual pathogen. Below is something far more deadly – and even more familiar: the flu virus.

While there is not yet a vaccine for Ebola, there is one for the flu – a simple, single shot that almost everyone should get. There’s even a nasal spray version for those afraid of needles.

But millions of Americans each year do not get vaccinated. One reason is lethargy. Another is ignorance. Many myths surround the flu vaccine. National Public Radio recently cited 32.

Here’s myth No. 1: You should fear Ebola more than the flu.

Fact: The flu kills more people in a year in the United States than Ebola has killed in the history of the world.

Go get vaccinated.

We Spoke to a Psychologist About How Hollywood Portrays Mental Illness

Look at any classic horror film—Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13thThe Shining—and you’re likely to find mental illness. It’s a convenient, if inaccurate, explanation for the maniacal violence that makes up the backbone of these stories. But in most films portraying mental illness, especially violent and bloody horror films, real life pathology is willfully abandoned in favor of melodramatic storytellling. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it publicly and repeatedly demonizes the people who need the most help. In a recent article I wrote about the mentally ill being killed in disproportionate numbers by police, many people commented along the lines of “Well, of course, they’re much more dangerous,” which anybody working in mental health can tell you is not only untrue, but is the direct result of the media’s focus on a fictitious link between mental illness and violence.

I spoke with Dr. Danny Wedding, a former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology, to learn more about some of the more common movie myths.

VICE: How do you think mental illness is generally represented in film?
Dr. Danny Wedding: I mean, slasher films like Friday the 13th, films that portray people with mental illness as homicidal maniacs, those are pretty awful, and there are a lot of myths still being portrayed in films. But at the same time, there are many major films that do a surprisingly good job, and it’s becoming increasingly common for directors and producers to hire psychologists and psychiatrists as consultants.


What about the connection between violence and mental illness?
Yeah, perhaps the most common myth is that people with mental illness are dangerous and violent, and the evidence is very clear that somebody with a disease like schizophrenia is far more likely to be the victim of violence than to be the perpetrator of violence. People with mental illness, homeless people who you see on the street typically, they are victims. They’re robbed, they’re raped, they’re murdered, but they’re not robbers, rapists, and murderers. Usually when violence occurs, it occurs with family members, it doesn’t involve strangers, and usually involves people who are mentally ill and abusing drugs or alcohol.

Do you think that people like yourself—psychologists—are also misrepresented?
Yes, but it’s getting better. There are a number of recurring motifs. Sometimes mental health professionals are presented as being incompetent and buffoons… Did you see the movie What About Bob?

Actually I just watched that recently. With Bill Murray?
Yeah, right. I think it’s a great movie, but Richard Dreyfuss plays a psychologist and he’s kind of bumbling and incompetent, and I think there’s a lot of humor, but often times therapists are portrayed as looking foolish, looking silly, and not having much to offer. Sometimes, in movies like Hitchcock’s Psycho, they are portrayed as omniscient, they can see into the deep, the dark, and dirty. They see things that no one else can see. Sometimes, in movies like Silence of the Lambs, they’re portrayed as murders—Hannibal the Cannibal was a psychiatrist. In a movie like The Prince of Tides, they’re portrayed as unethical. Frequently in films, psychiatrists and psychologists are shown sleeping with their patients, having affairs. There’s a movie called Tin Cup in which a therapist trades psychotherapy for golf lessons and winds up seducing the golf pro. That portray therapists as being unethical or ineffectual or having powers that they really don’t have, like a special ability to see inside somebody’s personality and to make predictions about behavior, and the fact is that psychologists and psychiatrists really aren’t much better than anybody else at predicting future behavior.


Human Embryo Carnegie stage 8 (Week 3, 17 - 19 days, 1.0 - 1.5 mm)

Features: neural plate, brain fold, neural groove, amniotic sac, presomitic mesoderm, embryonic disc, primitive node, primative streak, primative groove, connecting stalk

View: embryonic disc, showing the epiblast viewed from the amniotic (dorsal) side. Amniotic membrane removed, brain fold top and connecting stalk bottom.

Events: Gastrulation is continuing as cells migrate from the epiblast, continuing to form mesoderm.

Mesoderm lies between the ectoderm and endoderm as a continuous sheet except at the buccopharyngeal and cloacal membranes. These membranes have ectoderm and endoderm only and will lie at the rostral (head) and caudal (tail) of the gastrointestinal tract.

From the primitive node a tube extends under the ectoderm in the opposite direction to the primitive streak. This tube forms first the axial process then notochordal process, then finally the notochord.

The notochord is a key to embryonic folding and regulation of ectoderm and mesoderm differentiation. It lies in the rostrocordal axis and the embryonic disc will fold either side ventrally, pinching off a portion of the yolk sac to form the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. 

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain.

The team described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses, in the Oct. 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

Neural researchers study, monitor or stimulate the brain using imaging techniques in conjunction with implantable sensors that allow them to continuously capture and associate fleeting brain signals with the brain activity they can see. However, it’s difficult to see brain activity when there are sensors blocking the view.

"One of the holy grails of neural implant technology is that we’d really like to have an implant device that doesn’t interfere with any of the traditional imaging diagnostics," says Justin Williams, a professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UW-Madison. "A traditional implant looks like a square of dots, and you can’t see anything under it. We wanted to make a transparent electronic device."

The researchers chose graphene, a material gaining wider use in everything from solar cells to electronics, because of its versatility and biocompatibility. And in fact, they can make their sensors incredibly flexible and transparent because the electronic circuit elements are only 4 atoms thick — an astounding thinness made possible by graphene’s excellent conductive properties. “It’s got to be very thin and robust to survive in the body,” says Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UW-Madison. “It is soft and flexible, and a good tradeoff between transparency, strength and conductivity.”

Drawing on his expertise in developing revolutionary flexible electronics, he, Williams and their students designed and fabricated the microelectrode arrays, which — unlike existing devices — work in tandem with a range of imaging technologies. “Other implantable microdevices might be transparent at one wavelength, but not at others, or they lose their properties,” says Ma. “Our devices are transparent across a large spectrum — all the way from ultraviolet to deep infrared. We’ve even implanted them and you cannot find them in an MR scan.”

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Brain aneurysm treatment. 

Coloured angiogram (blood vessel X-ray), in frontal view, of the head of a 49-year-old patient undergoing treatment for a brain aneurysm. A brain aneurysm is a dangerous swelling in a brain blood vessel. This treatment involves inserting metallic coils (black, centre) into the aneurysm. The X-ray is used to show the position of the coils, placed by electromagnetic controls, and a contrast medium shows the blood vessels (red). The coils cause clotting of blood in the aneurysm, and eventually the blood vessel reforms its wall. This technique is an alternative to direct surgery. The blood vessel being treated here is the basilar artery that supplies the base of the brain.

Source: http://bit.ly/ZXbDfR

through Daily Anatomy 

Robotic Brain Surgeon Takes First Steps


by Txchnologist staff

Mechanical engineers working to improve brain surgery for treating epilepsy have unveiled a machine that sounds like it came from a sci-fi movie.  At a recent conference, Vanderbilt University researchers presented a pneumatic robot that is designed to drill through a patient’s cheek, guide a steerable needle to the base of the brain, and then destroy malfunctioning tissue causing the disorder.

Their device, made of 3-D printed plastic pieces and a shape-memory alloy steerable needle, can operate inside a working MRI machine to let doctors monitor progress millimeter by millimeter. Their needle is composed of a mixture of nickel and titanium, which isn’t affected by the MRI’s powerful magnetic fields.

The problem the team is trying to address is that a majority of epileptic seizures occur in the hippocampus, an area near the base of the brain. While surgeons now probe for the source of epileptic seizures through the cheek of a patient, current treatments to fix the problem involve going in through the top of the skull with straight needles. This means that doctors must traverse other delicate structures of the brain and travel farther than if they could enter the skull through the cheek.

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Salmonella-infected mice that were given antibiotics became superspreaders

Salmonella-infected mice that were given antibiotics became sicker and began shedding far more bacteria in their feces than they had before.

Some people infected with pathogens spread their germs to others while remaining symptom-free themselves. Now, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine believe they may know why.

When the scientists gave oral antibiotics to mice infected with Salmonella typhimurium, a bacterial cause of food poisoning, a small minority — so called “superspreaders” that had been shedding high numbers of salmonella in their feces for weeks — remained healthy; they were unaffected by either the disease or the antibiotic. The rest of the mice got sicker instead of better and, oddly, started shedding like superspreaders. The findings point to a reason for superspreaders’ ability to remain asymptomatic. They also pose ominous questions about the widespread, routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in livestock.

About 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to livestock — mainly cattle, pigs and chickens — because doing so increases the animals’ growth rates. Experts have already voiced concerns about how this practice contributes to the rise of drug-resistant pathogens. But the new study, published online Oct. 20 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlights an entirely different concern.

"We’ve shown that the immune state of an infected mouse given antibiotics can dictate how sick that mouse gets and also carries implications for disease transmission," said Denise Monack, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology and the study’s senior author. "If this holds true for livestock as well — and I think it will — it would have obvious public health implications. We need to think about the possibility that we’re not only selecting for antibiotic-resistant microbes, but also impairing the health of our livestock and increasing the spread of contagious pathogens among them and us."

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Man With Severed Spinal Cord Walks Again After Cell Transplant

"A man paralyzed for two years is now walking again, albeit with a frame, after a transplant to his spine. The treatment, to be published in this month’s Cell Transplantation, has been under discussion for a while, but has only now shown success.

In 2010, Darek Fidyka was repeatedly stabbed, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. Fortunately, however, his nose was unscathed.

Olfactory ensheathing glia (OEGs) surround olfactory axons, the nerve fibers that conduct electrical charges from the nose to the brain to allow us to smell. What makes them of interest to spinal patients is that OEGs maintain their capacity to promote new neurons into adulthood.”


(via IFLScience)

There’s something i love about people who smoke. Like they’ve been through so much pain that they try to numb everything with a cigarette.
Or they’re broken and need a distraction and an addiction like that is the easiest way out.
I kind of understand why they do it.
You see, they don’t see it as a form of destruction but as a method of fixing themselves.
It’s repulsive to most, but I got used to seeing through their fumes.
—  Cigarettes are medicine to a few

Dosage of HIV Drug May Be Ineffective for Half of African-Americans

Nearly half of African-Americans may not be getting enough of the HIV drug maraviroc because their bodies get rid of the drug more quickly than most European-Americans, who generally lack a protein that is key to removing maraviroc from the body. A simple genetic test could determine the right dose.