Monday, May 26, 2014

Medical Avatars Become a Divine Teacher

I have been slacking on my blog posts lately, but I have an important subject to discuss today!

Stupid Cancer!
Cancer is one disease that has the ability to affect millions of people each day.  It is a major public health concern where one in four people will die from the disease.  I'm sure you at least know one person in your life who has unfortunately been a victim to cancer, I do too.  But I am a firm believer that with improved research and technology that a cure for cancer may one day be discovered.Researchers have created a type of "cancer avatar" by replicating cancerous cells through computer simulations.  The study focused the research on those who suffer from glioblastoma which is a very aggressive brain cancer. 

Through computer simulation a virtual healthy cell can be created.  The researchers can then change the healthy cell into a cancerous one by distorting it's normal metabolic pathway.  Long story short, changing the cells properties to those that are found in cancerous cells.  Once the healthy cell becomes the cancerous cell, it is then known as the patients "cancer avatar".  Since no two cancers are alike, it has been difficult of for researchers to determine which drugs will do more good than harm.  Researchers say that it does not make much sense to give patients the same types of drugs if their cancer types are different. Certain drugs may be beneficial for one type of cancer, but do more harm for another type.  The computer simulation allows for the computer model to determine which drugs can kill the cancerous cell based on the cells function.  I find that fascinating!  So those who have brain cancer versus those who have lung cancer can receive the best treatment and drugs based on function of the cell rather than just distributing the drug because it may work due to it being a drug for cancer.  Not only will patients be able to get a more personalized treatment for their type of cancer, but also receive treatment in a faster, more cost efficient way.  Cancer research continues to proceed forward!

To learn more about cancer avatars and how the researchers conducted their study read the article titled: Cancer avatars for personalized medicine help researchers find genomic signatures of cancers

Monday, May 19, 2014

Transfuse life.

One of my daily rituals is to sit and listen to my mother converse with her friends about the world.  I enjoy their perspectives on science especially.  We had a weird discussion about blood transfusions the other day.  One individual thought that when a blood transfusion is performed, all the unhealthy blood is pumped out and the new blood is pumped in.  Another individual thought that you could receive any blood and survive.  Let's just say there was a lot of confusion on blood types and the transfusion process.

Bloody Hell!

Blood transfusions are used to replace lost blood during surgery or after a serious injury.  An IV is used to insert the new blood into your body through the blood vessels.  The overall procedure does not take long, but may depend on how much blood you need.  The new blood just replaces what you have lost, but does not replace all of your original blood.  Blood transfusions are fairly common as well.  Many people in America have to receive transfusions each year.  One of the most important factors involved in the transfusion process is blood type.  There are four blood types and everyone in the world has one of those types.  A, B, AB, O.  There is also something called Rh-positive or Rh-negative that is attached to each persons blood type.  When a person needs a blood transfusion the blood that they receive must match up.  If the blood types do not match the antibodies in their blood will see the antibodies of the new blood as foreign, attack them resulting in sickness.  So if you are type A blood your transfusion must come from another A blood type.  There are some exceptions such as blood type O.  People who have type O blood are also known as the universal donors.  This means that any person in the world can receive type O blood as healthy transfusion blood.  Type AB blood is known as the universal recipient and can receive any type of blood.

This was an informative post to allow some insight on blood transfusions. The transfusion process and why type O and AB blood are so critical to human life have always been topics I've continued to research.  To read more about why blood types match up and details on blood transfusions read the article titled: What are Blood Transfusions?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Secret Life of The Toothbrush!

Smile Like You Mean It!
Confession time... I have a weird obsession with teeth! I floss almost six times a day and brush my teeth three times.  I know, I am a little crazy.  While on my daily researching kick I came across an interesting article about teeth.

Did you know that there are dangerous microorganisms living on the same toothbrush you use to clean those pearly whites?  Bacteria such as Staphylococci, yeasts, intestinal bacteria and even fecal matter can be found on your toothbrush! Gross, I know.  But don't get discouraged just yet. There are ways to help reduce the amount of bacteria housed on your toothbrush.  The proper cleaning and storage of your toothbrush are the most beneficial ways to fix this dilemma. 

Below are a list of ways to clean your toothbrush:

1. Rinse toothbrush with water after brushing to eliminate excess toothpaste and debris particles.
2. Soak toothbrush in antibacterial mouth wash to decrease bacteria build up.

Proper ways to store toothbrush:

Brush Up!

1. Do not store in a closed container because damp areas attract more bacteria
2. Set upright and allow to air dry until next usage.
3. More than one toothbrush; keep them separate to avoid cross contamination of germs.

When it comes to being sick and using your toothbrush, it is highly recommended that the toothbrush be thrown out.  I never thought to throw my toothbrush out after being sick, but it makes sense to do so.  Those same sick fluids that are transferred to the toothbrush while your sick can therefore be transferred back into your healthy mouth when your no longer sick.  It is also important to get a new toothbrush every three to four months.  Keeping your toothbrush for too long will ensure more bacterial build up. 
Just when I think my floss work is enough to keep my teeth properly clean... now I have to worry about bacterial build up on my toothbrush!

To read the full click here: Clean before you clean: What's on your toothbrush just might surprise you

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bring On The Beer!

Beer is one of my favorite alcoholic drinks, especially during the summer. My beer preference has changed over the years from liking nasty old Bud Light, to a wide variety of Pale Ales, and now I have a thing for Lager beers.  Yuengling to be exact! 
Beer is life!

While researching the positive effects beer has on the body I came across an article discussing how beer can be used to marinate meat for grilling.  I have heard of people using alcohol to marinate meat, but not beer, so I read on.  I am not a big meat fan, as I have mentioned in previous posts, but I do like to learn about healthier ways to cook meat.  I have to inform the meat lovers in my family! The article explained how grilled meat has been linked to colorectal cancer due to Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) forming when the meat is cooked at very high temperatures. 

When grilling or charring meat the exposure the chemical is greater.  So you are probably wondering what PAHs are right? When products like coal, gas, oil, and even garbage are burned but the entire burning process is not complete, the end result are PAHs.  Do not get me wrong there are natural PAHs as well that can affect us.  Fumes from a car exhaust, wildfires, hazardous waste sites are all ways to be exposed.  High levels of this chemical are found in cigarette smoke and also associated with cancers in animals.

Research has concluded that beer, wine, and tea marinates are able to reduce the amount of PAHs present when meat is grilled!  It's amazing that something so simple as beer can have that great of an affect on the food we eat.  As soon as I completed the article I told my mom how my beer drinking will come in handy with her meat cooking this summer!

To read the full article and learn more on PAHs click here:
Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats