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  • richardmitnick 5:21 pm on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Depression and anxiety are the leading cause of disability and lost productivity worldwide with only one-third of patients recovering from treatment, Five new categories of mental illness have been identified by researchers in a Stanford-led study, Many different types of anxiety and depression exist new study finds, , , Stanford SCOPE, Tension-anxious arousal- general anxiety- anhedonia - the inability to feel pleasure - and melancholia, The researchers collected and processed data from 420 participants both with healthy diagnoses and with multiple anxiety and depression diagnoses, The same tests were conducted with a second independent sample of 381 people   

    From Stanford Scope blog: “Many different types of anxiety and depression exist, new study finds” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    Stanford Scope blog

    December 4, 2017
    Tracie White

    1
    Photo by Sodanie Chea

    Five new categories of mental illness that cut across the current more broad diagnoses of anxiety and depression have been identified by researchers in a Stanford-led study.

    The five categories, defined by their specific symptoms and areas of brain activation, are: tension, anxious arousal, general anxiety, anhedonia — the inability to feel pleasure — and melancholia.

    “We are trying to disentangle the symptom overlap in our current diagnoses which can ultimately guide tailored treatment choices,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

    The research is part of an ongoing effort by Leanne Williams, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and senior author of the study, and her lab, along with other groups within the field of psychiatric neuroscience, to better define mental illness in order to provide improved treatment plans for the millions of Americans who suffer from these disorders.

    Currently, depression and anxiety are the leading cause of disability and lost productivity worldwide with only one-third of patients recovering from treatment, the study said.

    The broad diagnostic categories as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, such as anxiety and depression, have so many overlapping symptoms that it’s difficult to identify biological markers for potential treatments or cures, the researchers explained.

    “Currently, the treatments would be the same for anyone in these broad categories,” Williams said. “By refining the diagnosis, better treatment options could be prescribed, specifically for that type of anxiety or depression.”

    For their work, the researchers collected and processed data from 420 participants both with healthy diagnoses and with multiple anxiety and depression diagnoses. The participants underwent a series of tests involving brain mapping, self reporting of symptoms, and psychiatric diagnostic testing. Researchers measured how well participants functioned in everyday life, their capacity for building social relationships and general outlook on life.

    The same tests were conducted with a second independent sample of 381 people. Using a data-driven approach that involved machine learning algorithms, researchers processed the data and were able to identify the same five new categories across both groups.

    Results showed that 13 percent of participants were characterized by anxious arousal, 9 percent by general anxiety, 7 percent by anhedonia, 9 percent by melancholia and 19 percent by tension.

    “Interestingly, we found that many people who did not meet diagnostic criteria, but were still experiencing some symptoms, fell into the tension type,” said Katherine Grisanzio, lead author of the study and research lab manager in Williams’ lab.

    In the paper, the researchers further described the new categories:

    Tension: This type is defined by irritability. People are overly sensitive, touchy, and overwhelmed. The anxiety makes the nervous system hypersensitive.
    Anxious arousal: Cognitive functioning, such as the ability to concentrate and control thoughts, is impaired. Physical symptoms include a racing heart, sweating, and feeling stressed. “People say things like ‘I feel like I’m loosing my mind,” Williams said. “They can’t remember from one moment to the next.”
    Melancholia: People experience problems with social functioning. Restricted social interactions further cause distress.
    Anhedonia: The primary symptom is an inability to feel pleasure. This type of depression often goes unrecognized. People are often able to function reasonably well while in a high state of distress. “We see it in how the brain functions in overdrive,” Williams said. “People are able to power through but at some time become quite numb. These are some of the most distressed people.”
    General anxiety: A generalized type of anxiety with the primary features involving worry and anxious arousal — a more physical type of stress.

    See the full article here .

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    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

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  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on October 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anandi Krishnan, , , Stanford SCOPE,   

    From Stanford Scope blog: Women in STEM – Anandi Krishnan “How a NIH re-entry grant helped this researcher return to the lab” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    Stanford Scope blog

    October 12, 2017
    Michelle Brandt

    How did a National Institutes of Health grant help a Stanford bioengineer get back into research after a break? In a recent story in Inside Stanford Medicine, my colleague Kris Newby tells the story of Anandi Krishnan, PhD:

    1
    Anandi Krishnan, PhD. Kris Newby.

    ” In 2011, Krishnan was on the fast track to a promising academic research career.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Oct 3 2017
    By Kris Newby

    While she feared that the extended leave might end her research career, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health career re-entry grant in 2016 that enabled her to move from a staff position at Stanford back into research.

    After she returned from her family leave in 2012, Krishnan and her husband, a postdoctoral scholar, faced the difficulty of landing jobs at the same university. Faculty research positions are scarce, and the competition for NIH grants is fierce. To increase their odds of success, the couple decided to relocate to the job-rich San Francisco Bay Area. Krishnan took a staff position in 2012 as the academic and research program officer at Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education, and the family moved to Palo Alto.

    Krishnan said she enjoyed her role at Stanford in educating young scholars on clinical and translational research. But over time, she found herself missing hands-on research. Then, through Spectrum, she heard about a new career re-entry program funded by the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program. She applied in 2016, and six months later, she had the funding to start again.

    Called a “re-entry supplement,” the program funds the salary of investigators whose careers have been interrupted for one to eight years for unavoidable reasons. Examples of qualifying interruptions could include child-rearing, an incapacitating personal or family illness, a spouse relocation or military service.

    “It was like the grant had been written specifically for my situation,” Krishnan said.

    To apply, Krishnan first had to identify a mentor and lab space. Then she had to write a short research plan, draft a mentoring and career-development plan, and obtain letters of support. Stanford faculty and staff rallied to help.

    James Zehnder, MD, professor of pathology and of medicine, agreed to be her mentor. When awarded the re-entry grant, the Pathology Department offered her an instructor position.

    Krishnan decided to focus her current research on looking for blood platelet gene markers in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms, or MPNs, which are blood cancers that cause too many white or red blood cells or platelets to be produced in the body. Such markers could be used to diagnose and assess treatments in MPN patients.

    Thrilled to do research again

    “Platelets are understudied when it comes to blood cancers,” said Krishnan. “They aren’t simply sacks of glue that stop bleeding.”

    Jason Gotlib, MD, professor of hematology, is advising her on her research and providing her with staff support for access to his MPN patient data registry.

    Krishnan said she is thrilled to be back doing research, and is busy working in her new lab and expanding her bioinformatics skills. As she finishes her first year since receiving the re-entry grant, she’s putting the finishing touches on a new research paper and using her preliminary data to apply for more research grants. (She was recently awarded a research grant from the Pathology Department.)

    “I am thankful to the various Stanford faculty and staff who helped me secure this unique opportunity and look forward to guiding the careers of others who might be navigating similar life-related interruptions,” Krishnan said.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Missing research

    A research fellow at Duke University, she had earned a PhD in bioengineering from Penn State in less than four years and was the lead author of 11 scientific papers. But a complicated pregnancy, an illness in her family and time off to care for her newborn child derailed her plans.

    She applied in 2016, and six months later, she had the funding to start again.

    Called a ‘re-entry supplement,’ the program funds the salary of investigators whose careers have been interrupted for one to eight years for unavoidable reasons. Examples of qualifying interruptions could include child-rearing, an incapacitating personal or family illness, a spouse relocation or military service.

    ‘It was like the grant had been written specifically for my situation,’ Krishnan said.”

    After a break and a cross-country move, Krishnan took a staff position at Stanford — but, she said, she found herself missing lab work. Then she heard about a new career re-entry program funded by the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program.

    As Newby outlines in her piece, Krishnan is now back in action and working in the lab of James Zehnder, MD, where she studies blood platelet gene markers in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.

    See the full article here .

    See the post by Kris Newby here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

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  • richardmitnick 4:39 pm on July 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Stanford SCOPE, Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health,   

    From Stanford SCOPE: Women in STEM- “Stanford’s Michele Barry on why we need more women leaders in global health” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    SCOPE blog

    June 20, 2017 [Where was this hiding?]
    Holly MacCormick

    1
    Image courtesy of Michele Barry.

    As the women began to clap, Michele Barry, MD, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, realized she’d touched on something big.

    It was summer of 2016 and she was at a conference in Nairobi when a panel composed entirely of men took the stage. Barry rose from her seat in the audience and addressed the panel saying, “It behooves you— if you want to be the continent that is leading the next generation — to get some women up there.”

    “For that, I literally got a standing ovation from the women in the audience,” Barry said recalling the event as we sat recently in her sun-drenched office in Stanford’s Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

    This experience inspired Barry to create Stanford Medicine’s first Women Leaders in Global Health conference, a two-day event (starting this fall) that aims to spotlight emerging and established women leaders in global health while giving future female leaders the tools and support they need to become trailblazers in their field.

    Barry told me about her own path to leadership saying, “I didn’t start off thinking I would be a leader. I originally went into medicine for political reasons. It was after the Vietnam War and I was very interested in making a difference.”

    The pivotal moment arrived roughly 10 years into her career, when Barry received a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship and $50,000 to study anything outside of her field. Barry was one of the few doctors in a diverse group of 40 people, including a schoolteacher, a TV anchor, and four college presidents, that studied leadership skills for three years.

    “It was really transformative for me.” Barry said. Leadership skills are, she said, “an important skillset have to ‘move the needle.’ It was one thing to take care of patients, but it was another to inspire other people. And that’s what I think a leader does, a leader listens and inspires others.”

    For women who advance to leadership roles, like Barry, the issue of gender doesn’t necessarily fade away. “It’s something I think about all the time, mostly as a mentor to women now,” she told me. “I do think it is harder for a woman to achieve leadership. There’s no question about it.”

    Although women comprise roughly 75 percent of the health work force and most students in academic and global health tracks, women hold just eight of the 34 World Health Organization executive board positions and fewer than 25 percent of the global health leadership positions at the top U.S. medical schools.

    Addressing why gender equality hasn’t spread to the leadership levels is one of the topics Barry hopes to discuss in the upcoming WLGH conference.

    “I think it has been a boys’ network,” Barry said. “I don’t think it’s malignant bias, I don’t think it’s misogyny. I think it’s more about unconscious bias, that we’re more comfortable with people that look and talk like us.”

    Men and women both have an important role to play in changing this unconscious bias but ultimately, “it’s up to women to step up to the plate,” Barry said.

    “I hope to inspire women to think leadership can be on top of their list and they can still do all the other things that are important,” she explained. “I managed to raise two wonderful daughters while dragging them all over the world doing global health. I’m very proud of them. Do you have kids?”

    “No,” I said.

    “You’ll see when you do,” Barry said. “It becomes very important what you leave them, the legacy that you leave them.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 11:08 am on July 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Stanford SCOPE   

    From Stanford Scope: “Researchers discover new mechanism involved in gene silencing” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    Scope blog

    June 30, 2017
    Jennifer Huber

    1
    No image caption or credit.

    Heterochromatin is a key player in gene regulation. This tightly packed complex of nuclear proteins and DNA is usually found in regions where genes are silenced. Unfortunately, how it works is not fully understood.

    Now, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that heterochromatin organizes DNA into different physical compartments inside a cell nucleus to promote distinct genome functions. And it does this using liquid-liquid phase separation, the same mechanism that separates mixtures of oil and water, as recently reported in Nature.

    Previously, scientists thought that heterochromatin’s dense packing silenced genes by preventing regulatory proteins from gaining access. The theory was that the tightly wound strands made it difficult for the proteins to get to the genetic material inside. However, this didn’t explain why heterochromatin excludes some small proteins while admitting other large ones.

    The new study, using fruit flies and mouse cells, identified a different mechanism. The Berkeley Lab researchers observed two non-mixing liquids in the cell nucleus: one that contained silenced heterochromatin and another that contained DNA with expressed genes. They found that the heterochromatin droplets fused together like drops of oil in water, indicating that the distinct heterochromatin compartments arise through liquid-liquid phase separation.

    “We are excited about these findings because they explain a mystery that’s existed in the field for a decade,” said lead author Amy Strom, a biology graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, in a recent news release. “That is, if compaction controls access to silenced sequences, how are other large proteins still able to get in? Chromatin organization by phase separation means that proteins are targeted to one liquid or the other based not on size, but on other physical traits, like charge, flexibility, and interaction partners.”

    The researchers hope a better understanding of how heterochromatin works will ultimately lead to improved gene therapy or other treatments that rely on accurate regulation of gene expression.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:02 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CLIO-ICT, Glioblastoma, , New strategy to attack deadly glioblastoma tumor uses molecular scissors to release drug, Stanford SCOPE, Temozolomide   

    From Stanford Scope: “New strategy to attack deadly glioblastoma tumor uses molecular scissors to release drug” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    Scope blog

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    No image caption or credit

    Molecular scissors sticking out from the surface of a hard-to-treat type of brain tumor could be harnessed to deliver drugs to exactly the right spot in the brain, a new Stanford study suggests.

    In the study, published this week in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a team led by pediatric radiologist Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, tried a new strategy to tackle a brain tumor called glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is a particularly awful tumor — the mean survival time after diagnosis is now 12 months in both children and adults. Daldrup-Link’s research was conducted in mice implanted with human glioblastoma tumors; the findings still need to be confirmed in people.

    The tumor is difficult to treat because a small group of aggressively malignant cells, called glioblastoma-initiating cells, are very good at hiding from existing forms of chemotherapy. When glioblastoma is surgically removed and treated with radiation and chemotherapy (the standard approach now), it recurs in 90 percent of patients. Researchers think GICs start the regrowth.

    But these nasty cells have a potential weakness: They rely on tumor blood vessels to survive. If these blood vessels can be destroyed, researchers think the GICs will die, too.

    Tumor blood vessels are leakier and less organized-looking than normal blood vessels, and some prior attempts to get chemo drugs into tumors have relied on the resulting “enhanced permeability and retention effect” [PubMed] — basically, the idea that drugs will leak into tumors more easily than into healthy tissue. But this leaky-pipe effect isn’t uniform enough to reliably wipe out GICs.

    Hence the Stanford team’s idea. They decided to try harnessing a different property of tumor tissue. Many copies of an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase-14 stick out from glioblastoma cells. These enzyme molecules function as high-specificity scissors, able to snip a certain sequence of protein in two.

    To take advantage of the enzyme, the scientists built a sort of molecular Tinkertoy with three components: a cancer-drug precursor at one end, an iron nanoparticle at the other and a connector in the middle consisting of the protein targeted by the molecular scissors.

    Early tests in a different tumor model suggested this system worked as the researchers hoped. The cancer enzyme snipped the middle of the “Tinkertoy”, which the researchers call CLIO-ICT, in two, releasing and activating the cancer drug exactly where it was needed.

    In the new study, the team showed that their strategy helped fight glioblastoma. The drug caused collapse of tumor blood vessels, appeared to starve GICs (the very nasty cells) and slowed tumor growth. There was another advantage, too: After the molecular scissors did their job and released the cancer drug, the iron nanoparticles from the other end of CLIO-ICT hung around the tumor and showed up on MRI scans. The iron helped researchers monitor the shrinkage of the tumor.

    In the new study in mice, the scientists also confirmed that CLIO-ICT doesn’t hurt healthy organs such as the heart and lungs. In these healthy organs, absent the cancer enzyme, the cancer drug isn’t released or activated, preventing possible toxicity. And CLIO-ICT worked even better when given in combination with a second cancer drug, temozolomide, that is already used to treat glioblastoma.

    The scientists hope their new approach will ultimately be used to improve survival in people with the brain tumor.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:36 pm on June 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Stanford SCOPE, The importance of engaging communities in research   

    From Stanford: “The importance of engaging communities in research” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

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    Scope blog

    June 12, 2017

    1
    No image caption or credit.

    Getting help from the community to identify and address health concerns is critical to public-health researchers. That was the message of one of the sessions at the 16th Annual Breast Cancer Conference of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), held earlier this spring.

    The session brought together researchers, clinicians, community advocates, and breast cancer patients and survivors to discuss how unmet community needs can inform research studies in what has come to be known as community-based participatory research (CBPR).

    Panelists emphasized the importance of engaging community advocates as full partners when embarking on a CBPR program and identified these as key things that researchers should do to ensure success:

    Obtain input from the people who are directly impacted by the issues
    Establish equal footing between the researcher and the community in choosing a research topic/program
    Agree on what the outcomes should be (e.g. social/policy changes)
    Empower the community to take action that translates to real transformation once the research study or program is complete

    While the approach needs to be customized for each study, panelists offered some examples of how one might establish or maintain the “buy-in” of a CBPR program:

    Use qualitative data, such as stories from people who have been through the program, which are powerful in demonstrating the value of the study
    Use an integrative approach of policy, advocacy, community outreach and engagement, as well as research to address the big issue.
    Form advisory groups comprised of community members, who are part of the research program, and train them to discuss cancer education and outreach within the community.

    During the session, several researchers provided examples of engaging with various communities in their work. Thu Quach, PhD, an epidemiologist with CPIC, described how fifteen years ago workers with Asian Health Services, a community health center in Oakland, kept hearing local nail salon workers say, “You know, whenever I work in nail salons I breathe a lot of these chemicals and they just don’t make me feel very good.” This led to Quach and other researchers looking into the problem and finding that the chemicals used in nail salons led to health ailments among workers.

    And research was just one piece of an integrative approach of policy, advocacy, community outreach and engagement. While the studies were taking place, Quach explained, the center was simultaneously taking such actions as urging manufacturers of nail polishes to phase out some of the harmful chemicals and training nail salon owners on how to replace those nail polishes with safe alternatives.

    Catherine Thomsen of Zero Breast Cancer described a study looking at early puberty onset and breast cancer. The researchers asked the girls who were part of the study for their opinions and ideas. What questions should be asked? How should the questions be asked? How do they want to communicate with this study? Since these prepubescent girls spent so much time on their mobile phones researchers wound up modifying their interaction around mobile technology.

    Session moderator Judy Luce, MD, a clinical professor at UCSF, also shared an example from earlier in her career at San Francisco General Hospital. A health center was referring a large number of women for mammograms, but many were not showing up for their appointments. Once this health center saw how they compared to other health centers in the area, they took action by assigning a language-appropriate nurse to contact the referred w omen and make sure they knew when their appointment was, how to get there, and essentially guide them through the process. By making these changes, the clinic had the highest mammography rate in the entire system.

    The panelists noted that measuring the impact of a CBPR program presents a challenge since the outcomes, such as reducing the incidence of breast cancer, of any research study may take time to unfold. But, based on these and other examples, this type of research is clearly worth the investment.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:38 pm on February 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Stanford SCOPE   

    From Stanford Scope via Huffington Post: “People With ADHD Have Different Brains 

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    Stanford University

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    Huffington Post

    Huffington Post

    02/24/2017
    Carolyn Gregoire

    The largest-ever brain imaging study on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has led scientists to say the condition should be considered a neurological disorder, not just a behavioral one.

    The brain structures of children with ADHD differ in small but significant ways from those of normally developing children, according to the findings, which were published online in the journal Lancet Psychiatry on Feb. 15.

    Up to 11 percent of U.S. children and around 5 percent of U.S. adults have been diagnosed with ADHD, which causes symptoms like difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, irritability and forgetfulness.

    The study’s authors hope that the research will help to combat widespread misunderstanding of ADHD, which is often seen as some sort of motivational deficit or character failing rather than a real disorder. The findings show that the disorder is as real as other neuropsychiatric disorders like depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    “I hope it gives a bit more understanding of the disorder,” Dr. Martine Hoogman, a geneticist at Radboud University in the Netherlands and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post. “This research shows that there are neurobiological substrates [brain changes] involved ― just as in other psychiatric disorders ― and there is no reason to treat ADHD any differently.”

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    iLexx via Getty Images

    For the study, a team of Dutch neuroscientists analyzed MRI scans of the brains of more than 3,200 people between the ages of four and 63 years old (with a median age of 14 years old), measuring total brain volume as well as the volume of seven brain regions thought to be linked to ADHD. Roughly half of the participants had a diagnosis of ADHD.

    The brain scans revealed that five brain regions were smaller in people with ADHD. These include the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure involved in processing emotions like fear and pleasure; the hippocampus, which plays a role in learning, memory and emotion; and three brain areas within the striatum ― the caudate nucleus, the putamen and the nucleus accumbens. The structures within the striatum are involved in the brain’s reward system and in its processing of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control motivation and pleasure.

    These differences were more dramatic in children than in adults, leading the study’s authors to conclude that ADHD involves delayed brain development. It appears that as the brains of people with ADHD develop and mature, these brain regions “catch up” to the brain regions of people without ADHD.

    At the time of the study, 455 of the participants with ADHD were taking psychostimulant medication like Adderall, and more than 600 others had taken psychostimulants in the past but were not currently on medication. Brain volume differences did not correlate with stimulant use, suggesting that such discrepancies were not a result of medication.

    The findings represent a big step forward from previous brain-imaging studies of ADHD, which tended to be smaller and generally yielded inconclusive results. The new research points the way toward new diagnostic and treatment options for the disorder, but much more research is needed first.

    “We only studied a small part of the brain,” Hoogman said. “There is still a long way to go.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Scope is an award-winning blog founded in 2009 and produced by the Stanford University School of Medicine. If you’re curious about the latest advances in medicine and health and enjoy compelling, fresh and easily digestible news and features, then we’ve got just the thing. We’ve written quite a bit (7,000 posts and counting!), and we’re quite proud of it — so please enjoy.

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 2:15 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Stanford SCOPE, Stem cells create faithful replicas of native tissue according to Stanford study   

    From Stanford: “Stem cells create faithful replicas of native tissue, according to Stanford study” 

    Stanford University Name
    Stanford University

    1
    SCOPE

    August 18, 2016
    Krista Conger

    1
    Image of heart cells courtesy of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

    Researchers in the laboratory of cardiologist Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, are working to clear up an essential stem cell mystery — how closely do cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells mimic the function and gene expression of the native tissue? In other words, do lab-grown heart muscle cells twitching in a cell culture dish mirror those beating in that person’s own heart? The answer, which was published in Cell Stem Cell this morning, has important implications for nearly all aspects of regenerative medicine.

    From our release:

    “The ability to create stem cells from easily obtained skin or blood samples has revolutionized the concept of personalized medicine and made it possible to create many types of human tissue for use in the clinic. Researchers have wondered, however, whether the process of creating stem cells, and subsequently coaxing those stem cells to become other tissues, might affect the patterns of gene expression and even the ways the specialized cells function. If so, these changes could limit their clinical usefulness.”

    The researchers, led by cardiovascular medicine instructor Elena Matsa, PhD, created several batches of iPS cells from seven people not known to be predisposed to cardiac problems. They then coaxed the cells to become beating heart muscle cells called cardiomyocytes, and compared the patterns of gene expression both within and among the individuals.

    As Matsa described:

    “We found that the gene expression patterns of the iPS cell-derived cardiomyocytes from each individual patient correlated very well. But there was marked variability among the seven people, particularly in genes involved in metabolism and stress responses. In fact, one of our subjects exhibited a very abnormal expression of genes in a key metabolic pathway.”

    Furthermore, the cells from the individuals responded in varied ways to increasing amounts of two drugs associated with adverse cardiac effects in some people, validating a key potential use of iPS-derived tissues — predicting how a patient might react to a particular drug.

    As Wu, who directs the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, explained:

    “Many people talk about precision medicine or precision health, but there are only few examples of how to carry it out in a clinically meaningful way. I think the patient-derived iPS cell platform gives us a surrogate window into the body and allows us to not only predict the body’s function but also to learn more about key disease-associated pathways.”

    See the full article here .

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