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Personalized Medicine and the Future of Health Care

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Personalized Medicine and the Future of Health Care

Recommendation and review posted by sam

The “Telomere Test” for Aging

Telomeres are disposable non-coding regions of DNA at the tail end of each chromosome. Every time a cell divides and its chromosomes are replicated, a small piece of each telomere is removed. That’s because replication stops just short of the end of the original strand because of the need for a primer sequence on each developing new strand. This natural erosion of the telomeres is thought to play a key role in the aging process. Once the telomeres are worn away by repetitive cell divisions, according to at least one current theory of aging, the cell may begin to lose pieces of functional genes with each additional cell division. Eventually the loss of genes either causes the cell to stop dividing or the cell loses some of its normal function.

Now, two commercial companies (one in the U.S., one in Spain) are offering to measure the length of your telomeres - for a price, of course. According to a news report, the companies are promoting the idea that the length of your telomeres may be predictive of how fast you will age, and perhaps even predictive of your risk of developing chronic diseases. Long telomeres for your age? - you’re lucky, you may live a long life. Short telomeres? - perhaps you’d better change your lifestyle or begin looking at ways to reduce your risk of chronic diseases while there’s still time!

Pardon my skepticism, but it sounds a bit like having your fortune told. Spend your money if you wish, but don’t count on learning anything very meaningful just yet from measurements of your telomere’s lengths.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

StorableOrganics.com Launches World’s First Line of Organic, Non-GMO Preparedness Superfoods

StorableOrganics

StorableOrganics.com Launches World’s First Line of Organic, Non-GMO Preparedness Superfoods

Tucson, Ariz - May 11, 2011 - StorableOrganics.com has just launched, offering a full line of long-term storable superfoods and organic foods packed in steel cans for long-term shelf life. The company sells directly to consumers over the web and caters to people interested in preparedness and food security who understand the need for high-density nutrition during stressful emergencies.

“In an emergency, you don’t want to be living on Pop-Tarts and Cheetos,” said StorableOrganics founder Mike Adams. “You need high-density nutrition to support your health, keep you alert and provide the stamina to make it through any crisis.”

StorableOrganics.com offers chlorella, spirulina, organic chia seeds, organic quinoa, organic brown rice, rice bran solubles, palm sugar, Himalayan Pink Crystal salt and many other high-density superfoods. They’re packed in BPA-free bags that are sealed inside steel cans, giving them from 2 - 10 years of long-term storage (depending on the item).

“These are the superfoods that will not merely keep you alive in an emergency,” explained Adams, “they will also keep you healthy and well-nourished.” Chlorella and spirulina microalgae, for example, contain hundreds of different plant-based nutrients (phytochemicals), each with its own scientific function. Rice bran solubles, similarly, are made from the most nutrient-dense part of rice seeds — the part containing the vitamins and minerals that sprout the rice seed into a living plant.

Prices for the long-term storable superfoods are set at “bulk” pricing levels, actually making them cheaper than purchasing the products without the steel can (in most cases). That makes Storable Organics a place to acquire not just storable superfoods but also bulk pricing for volume purchases of superfoods.

StorableOrganics.com also offers long-term storable superfoods by the pallet for institutions or retreats requesting very large quantities.

StorableOrganics
520-232-9300
http://www.storableorganics.com

Source: Storable Organics

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Drug Makers Replace Reps with Digital Tools

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Drug Makers Replace Reps with Digital Tools

By Jeanne Whalen

Big pharmaceutical companies have found replacements for the army of sales representatives they’ve laid off in recent years: digital sales tools that seek to sell doctors on drugs without the intrusion of an office visit.

Tens of thousands of pharmaceutical sales reps have been eliminated in the U.S., creating a void that drug makers are now increasingly filling with websites, iPad apps and other digital tools to interact with doctors who prescribe their treatments.

Doctors can use the tools to ask questions about drugs, order free samples and find out which insurers cover certain treatments.

Sometimes drug-company representatives will engage them in live chat, or phone them back if they have more questions.

The changes are designed to cut costs and to reach doctors in ways other than the traditional office visit, which many busy physicians say they find intrusive and annoying. In 2009, one of every five doctors in the U.S. was what the industry calls a “no see,” meaning the doctor wouldn’t meet with reps.

Just a year later, that jumped to one in four, according to Bruce Grant, senior vice president of Digitas, a digital marketing agency of Publicis Groupe SA that has created tools for companies including AstraZeneca PLC and Sanofi-Aventis SA. About three-quarters of industry visits to U.S. doctors’ offices fail to result in a face-to-face meeting, he adds.

Most companies say they’re using digital tools to supplement personal sales calls, but widespread layoffs in the sector suggest that technology is replacing, not just supplementing, human reps.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, drug companies spent lavishly to increase their U.S. sales forces, an escalation most companies came to regret as a burdensome arms race. Sales reps with company cars and trunks full of free samples became a ubiquitous, and expensive, industry symbol.

AstraZeneca set up a digital marketing group in 2009 and substantially ramped up its work last year, says John McCarthy, vice president of commercial strategy and operations in the U.S. The group, which is primarily focused on marketing to health-care providers as opposed to consumers, created “AZ Touchpoints,” a website doctors can use to ask questions, order free samples and ask about insurance coverage. The site also contains brochures and other “educational materials” that doctors can print out.

Touchpoints gives doctors a number to call if they want to speak to an AstraZeneca rep, or they can request a callback. Many of these calls are handled by third-party contractors including TMS Health, a call-center provider. If those reps can’t answer the doctor’s questions, the call gets passed to an AstraZeneca staffer with more scientific training, Mr. McCarthy says.

AstraZeneca, which sells the heartburn treatment Nexium and the schizophrenia drug Seroquel, tracks what doctors view on the site and uses that information to tailor content to the doctor during subsequent interactions, Mr. McCarthy said.

Touchpoints has helped AstraZeneca cut its marketing costs and “redirect our sales force to new products that need more of a scientific discussion,” he says. Last year, AstraZeneca said it planned to eliminate 10,400 jobs by 2014, including thousands of sales positions in Western markets. The company said the cuts, amounting to about 16% of its work force, would help it save $1.9 billion a year by 2014.

Many other drug giants are slashing their sales forces and experimenting with digital marketing. Sanofi-Aventis has http://www.ipractice.com, which offers services and information similar to AstraZeneca’s Touchpoints, and Merck & Co. has http://www.merckservices.com.

Digital marketing isn’t always as successful as the human variety. Mr. McCarthy says the websites aren’t ultimately as “effective as having someone in the office.”

When German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH launched the cardiovascular drug Pradaxa in the U.S., it put together a digital-marketing package to target doctors, including organizing webcasts for leading physicians to speak to other physicians about the drug. But the company found that sales calls to doctors’ offices were still the most powerful tool for driving new prescriptions, says Wa’el Hashad, vice president of cardiovascular and metabolic marketing. “No doubt digital marketing does have an impact…I don’t believe, however, the shift happens overnight. I think it’s a gradual shift,” he says.

Christopher Luyken, a general practitioner near Cologne, Germany, says he exchanges views with other doctors online, but sees some of the industry’s online marketing as “spam.” He says he’d rather hear about new drugs from a sales rep he knows and trusts.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk AS says it hasn’t cut its U.S. sales force over the past five years but is still adding digital marketing tools. Late last year the company launched a website and iPad/iPhone application called Coags Uncomplicated, which offers tools to help doctors diagnose bleeding disorders. The site and app include a plug for Novo Nordisk’s drug NovoSeven, which helps stop bleeding related to acquired hemophelia.

Citing data from market-research firms, Eddie Williams, head of Novo Nordisk’s biopharmaceutical business in the U.S., said 72% of U.S. doctors own a smartphone, and 95% of them use it to download medical applications. Novo Nordisk has several other applications available on iTunes, including one that helps doctors calculate blood-sugar levels. Novo Nordisk is a major seller of insulin and other diabetes treatments.

Other companies offering iPhone and iPad apps for doctors include Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Novartis AG.

Eli Lilly & Co. set up lillyconnect.com in 2002 as a new channel for marketing its drugs to doctors. But the company has since shut the site down, according to a Lilly spokesman, who says the site “outlived its goals.” He says Lilly is now considering “newer on-demand portals” that will allow doctors to “access information instantly as they are treating patients.”

Source: Wall Street Journal Online

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

The Other Side of the Lectern: A Reflection on My First Year of Teaching Undergrads

Last summer I defended my PhD, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, and accepted my first teaching position at an undergraduate liberal arts university in the midwest. I have just finished my first year of teaching our two-semester organic chemistry sequence. I had an absolute blast. It was a lot of fun. As I reflect on my first year, here are some reflections:

1. New Class Preparation takes a lot longer than I thought. I know organic chemistry really pretty well, so I didn’t have to teach myself the material before I lectured on it or anything. But the text we use emphasizes different reactions and different nuances in different orders. So I needed to make sure I was covering the material presented in the text – and I needed to keep pace with my fellow organic professors (there are 4/5 of us teaching sections of organic chemistry in any semester).

Choosing examples to cover on the board in class is not as easy as it sounds. One can only look at 2-substitued butane so many times. 2-butanol, 2-butyl bromide, butanone, and 2-butene as the same starting material for every example gets real boring after a while. I wanted to choose an example that was simple enough to convey the point – while emphasizing issues of stereo- or regiochemistry, but just difficult enough to show students some nuances, but not too difficult that the students can’t internalize and generalize the reaction. Students are not hesitant to point out when a side reaction you didn’t consider makes your example useless.

Plus, being a new course prep, I didn’t have any problem sets, quizzes, practice exams or exams written. Our department likes to supplement end-of-chapter problems with instructor-written practice problems which challenge the students more than the book problems. Students like to point out mistakes made in these, too. Even though most won’t look at them til the night before the exam, those that do work ahead want them as soon as possible. These take a long time to write and write well, and I often found myself rushing to finish a problem set, which would invariably lead to errors which only confused students more.

2. Meetings aren’t so bad. I had two regular meetings every week: full department meeting and a meeting of just the organic faculty (to discuss lab issues or any lecture issues that arise). Everyone always warns you about being flooded with meetings and how fingernail-pulling-ly painful they can be. Our department chair does a really nice job keeping our department meetings focused, and we rarely run longer than 30 or 45 minutes. Being my first year, I haven’t served on any committees yet, but I’m sure that will happen in due time. Maybe my perception of meetings will change. I hope not.

3. Good exams are really hard to write. It needs to be long enough, but not too long where no one finishes – but not too short that everyone’s done in 30 minutes. It needs to be hard enough, but not too hard that students can’t figure out the answer – but not too easy that every writes the answer key. It needs to cover all the material, but to incorporate every reaction and concept would make the exam too long – but I don’t want to over-emphasize any one reaction or concept.

Really hard exam questions are really easy to write. It’s way too easy to see if they know some facet of a reaction that’s really obvious to me (having taken graduate level Advanced Organic and worked with organic reactions every day for 5 years of grad school). But sometimes these students have literally only seen this reaction for the first time 4-6 weeks ago (maybe 1 week ago if it was the last concept before the exam). Which reminds me – don’t schedule an exam for the day after you finish the last chapter. Learned that one the hard way.

4. It’s important to keep your customers happy. Your customers, of course, being your students. During first semester, when I didn’t know how to write good exams, my exam averages were pretty low. I tried to justify this by thinking pretentious thoughts, “well… A-level students would be able to finish this exam in 50 minutes… If a student wants to earn an A, the student needs to be able to answer these more-difficult questions…” As a result, morale was – shall we say – low. I have a huge stock of chemistry/science-themed comic strips, and I would always put up a comic strip on the screen before class. Even that wasn’t working.

Second semester went much better than first semester. With mentoring, I got my exams under control and exam averages improved dramatically without sacrificing my standards. I continued the comic strips. And I started Wednesday morning’s class with a little International Year of Chemistry mini-lecture. We talked about medicinal chemistry and how difficult it is to get a new drug to market. We talked about DDT, its pros and cons, then I opened it up and said ‘ok, you’re the leader of a developing nation that is being ravaged by malaria, and half the deaths are children. One secretary is telling you to use DDT to control malaria by listing the pros, another secretary is telling you that you can’t use DDT because of the cons. What do you do?’ We had a good discussion on nanotechnology and nanomachines (where I explained rotaxanes as molecular shake weights). We discussed antibacterial resistance near World Health Day. These discussions really helped students engage with chemistry and went a long way to improving morale.

5. I have found my calling. When I was an undergrad, I did 2 summer internships at a major US pharmaceutical company in their Med Chem R&D department. That was so cool. I worked on making prodrug analogs and submitted them for testing and analyzed the result, then made more analogs… It was fascinating and rewarding and the chemistry worked and it was glorious. I knew I was going to graduate with my BS and work for this pharmaceutical company. Well… they weren’t hiring. So I thought I’d get my PhD, boost my credentials, then work for this pharmaceutical company. Well… we know what happened to the Med Chem job market in the last decade.

Additionally, I started tutoring undergrads for some extra money. I loved it. It was so awesome when I finally saw it ‘click’ with the students. I developed my own set of tricks to help students learn and always received positive reviews from students. I even got a thank you card at the end of one semester of tutoring. So I looked into developing this talent. I found a few fellowships that provided some training for future faculty and found myself in front of undergrads. That rush, along with a string of failed research projects, nudged me away from bench chemistry toward teaching chemistry.

And I’m having the time of my life. This is exactly what I want to be doing, exactly where I want to be doing it. The students are fun, I love teaching, I have great coworkers, I even find time to blog every now and then, and I can absolutely see myself teaching here until I retire. The learning curve is a bit steeper than I thought it would be, but that’s no problem. I’ve adjusted. I know next year will go more smoothly than this year, and hopefully every year thereafter will be even better than the year before.


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Energy Frontier Research Centers

We cannot meet the expanding energy needs of our growing human population using oil-dependent, 19th century technology. We need to expand renewable energy technologies, develop methods for storing renewable energy, and clean up problems generated from our oil dependency like atmospheric CO2.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences is supporting this goal by funding scientific innovation on the atomic and molecular scale - the foundation of renewable energy technology. One such effort is the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) program which was established to “integrate the talents and expertise of leading scientists in a setting designed to accelerate research toward meeting our critical energy challenges.”

Each of the 46 EFRCs represent a collaborative unit that can contain universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms (mapped out below). Beginning in 2009 each center receives $2-5 million per year for a 5-year period to focus on one of the following: advanced nuclear systems, catalysis, clean and efficient combustion, electric energy storage, geological sequestration of CO2, materials in extreme environments, hydrogen science, biofuels, solar energy utilization, solid state lighting, and superconductivity.

On May 25-27, 2011, the DOE will host the first Science for Our Nation's Energy Future: Energy Frontier Research Centers Summit & Forum to gather researchers from all the EFRCs and discuss recent progresses and the challenges ahead. The summit will include notable speakers like Steven Chu (U.S. Secretary of Energy) as well as presentations and posters by gradate students, research scientists and professors (The Official Agenda). The event is free and open to the public but you must register ahead of time.

In a build up to the summit, the DOE invited the EFRCs to produce a 2-3 minute video that “educates, inspires, and entertains an intelligent but not expert audience about the extraordinary science, innovation and people” involved with the program. Between now and May 24th a contest is underway to decide which of the 26 submitted videos is the public’s favorite. The winning video will be shown at the EFRC Summit and may be featured on the DOE YouTube channel, Science for Our Nation's Energy Future website, and the DOE websites. Please vote for your favorite here. Here are a few of my favorite videos, in case you’re interested:

 


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Moon’s Rough ‘Wrinkles’ Reveal Clues To Its Past

Written on the moon’s weary face are the damages it has endured for the past 4-1/2 billion years. From impact craters to the dark plains of maria left behind by [...]

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Features and events: latest updates

The Third BHD Symposium concluded yesterday after two days of fascinating talks, informative posters and stimulating discussion. It was a delight to see the largest gathering yet of the BHD [...]

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

As time goes by, it gets tougher to ‘just remember this’

It’s something we just accept: the fact that the older we get, the more difficulty we seem to have remembering things. We can leave our cars in the same parking [...]

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Pigs susceptible to virulent ebolavirus can transmit the virus to others

Canadian investigators have shown that a species of ebolavirus from Zaire that is highly virulent in humans can replicate in pigs, cause disease, and be transmitted to animals previously unexposed...

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Drinking Water

A bacterial gene associated with resistance to antibiotics is turning up in water samples in New Delhi, India, including two of 50 public drinking-water samples and more than a quarter of all water samples drawn from water pools in streets or small streams.

Even more concerning is that the gene was identified in 11 different species of bacteria in which it had not been reported previously. What this means is that antibiotic-resistant bacteria typically found only in the human gut (such as E. coli) may be passing the gene on to other species of bacteria. Whether bacterial gene transfer is occurring in the human gut or after the resistant E. coli are released into the water supply isn’t certain at this point. But it does point to the development of widespread bacterial resistance to antibiotics through bacterial gene exchange, perhaps even in the environment.

The only good news here is that the researchers did not find the bacterial gene (yet!) in wastewater supplies in Cardiff, U.K. But it may only be a matter of time.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Genomics and Personalized Medicine

(October 20, 2009) Michael Snyder, Professor of Genetics and Chair of the Department of Genetics at Stanford, discusses advances in gene sequencing, the impact of genomics on medicine, the potential for personalized medicine. and efforts at Stanford to further study these issues

Visit link:

Genomics and Personalized Medicine

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Recovery C-5 Incomplete

***Call or email us for holiday 2009 special rate!*** http://www.pressingontx.com Pressing On is a Spinal Cord Injury Research and Recovery Center in San Antonio,TX. Through our high intensity, non-traditional, exercise based program, Pressing On focuses on recovery rather than adaptation for people with spinal cord injuries.

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Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Recovery C-5 Incomplete

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Medicine, 1 of 2

For their final course lecture in the Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Medicine, first-year Einstein students heard Allen M. Spiegel, MD, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, discuss the promise and pitfalls of genetic medicine.

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Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Medicine, 1 of 2

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Genetics 101 Part 1: What are genes?

Find out about the basics of cells, chromosomes, and the genes contained in your DNA. More information about 23andMe can be found at http://www.23andme.com

Continue reading here:
Genetics 101 Part 1: What are genes?

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Why Personalized Medicine…?

This is an interesting illustration of the question: "Why Personalized Medicine...?" especially with CNS drugs such as Antidepressants in mind where drugs are often prescribed based on trial-and-error and objective criteria for succesful treatment outcome are lacking. (This movie is from a Dutch commercial from Eiffel)

The rest is here:

Why Personalized Medicine...?

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Personalized Medicine

Researchers at the VA Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, analyze samples of genetic data to develop drug treatments customized for individual patients, based on their unique genetic profiles. View a Section 508-compliant version of this video at VA.gov: www1.va.gov

Original post:

Personalized Medicine

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Car accident causes spinal cord injury

A car accident permanently damaged Heather Tice's spine.

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Car accident causes spinal cord injury

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Levels of Function in Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries range from minor to severe, the labeling of these injuries can sometimes be confusing. This video explains the different severities of these labels, as well as exactly what areas are affected by these injuries. Please visit BrainAndSpinalCord.org for more information.

See more here:

Levels of Function in Spinal Cord Injury

Recommendation and review posted by sam

Genetic research could unlock breeding seasons in sheep

SUNUP's Clinton Griffiths talks with OSU animal geneticist Raluca Mateescu about the work she is doing to identify a genetic marker in sheep that will allow them breed more frequently and at different times throughout the year.

Read this article:
Genetic research could unlock breeding seasons in sheep

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

annstewart82’s Genetic Medicine and God

annstewart82's webcam video September 22, 2010, 11:55 AM

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annstewart82's Genetic Medicine and God

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Future of genetic engineering – by Futurist Dr Patrick Dixon. Genetic mutations and genetic disorders. Gene science by conference keynote speaker

http://www.globalchange.com Gene therapy, genetic engineering, gene swops.

Originally posted here:
Future of genetic engineering - by Futurist Dr Patrick Dixon. Genetic mutations and genetic disorders. Gene science by conference keynote speaker

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Prof. Martinez Cruzado Lecture Part 2 "Amerindian Gene Study In Puerto Rico"

Juan Carlos Martínez Cruzado is Professor of Genetics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. Some important research contributions of Genetics to the study of Population History and Anthropology in Puerto Rico.

Link:
Prof. Martinez Cruzado Lecture Part 2 "Amerindian Gene Study In Puerto Rico"

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Jewish DNA – Genetic Research and The Origins of the Jewish People

Excerpt of a lecture by Dr. Jon Entine discussing why the Jewish people are interesting research subjects for genetic and DNA research. And how it helps us track the origins of and the differences between different Jewish Groups

Visit link:
Jewish DNA - Genetic Research and The Origins of the Jewish People

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

What is the future of genetic medicine?

Penn State Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Stephan Schuster shares his view on the future of genetic medicine.

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What is the future of genetic medicine?

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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