Why Brain Surgeons Want Help From A Maggot-Like Robot

While watching TV, a neurosurgeon got the idea for a robot that would help minimize collateral damage during operations to remove tumors. Now he and colleagues at the University of Maryland are making progress on a wormy robot that could be ready for testing in humans in a few years.

Can Diagnostic Ultrasound Be Useful In The Right Hands?

My colleagues confound and confuse me at times. I was very fortunate that in my residency, I had significant exposure to the benefits of offering diagnostic ultrasound as a modality in my future practice. I learned (along with my attendings because this was “new” at the time), what to look for and how to make out all those shades of gray you see when evaluating an image on the screen. Luckily, we were also sending our images to a radiologist who was always open to have us call him and ask about the results, and teach us how to “see” what was there.

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New Clues to Memory Glitch Behind ‘Senior Moments’

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel and colleagues write of a memory gene that appears to retire as the brain ages — leading to those “Where’d I put my keys?” moments. Kandel says such memory glitches may be reversible with the right intervention.

Are You Treating Heel Pain Like A Specialist?

I often read and listen to colleagues describing their preferred treatment for plantar heel pain. I am surprised at how many podiatric physicians follow the same protocols typical of primary care providers. This raises a question: Why aren’t foot and ankle specialists really practicing like foot and ankle specialists?

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Can White Blood Cells Spread Cancer?

Reporting in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Lorenzo Ferri of McGill University Health Centre and colleagues write of a new way that cancer might spread in the body. Working with mice, the researchers say they’ve shown that white blood cells, the body’s main line of defense against infection, may aid in spreading cancer when an animal with the disease experiences a severe infection.

Skin Cancer on the Rise in Young Women

Friends and colleagues were surprised to see the scar on my face because I was only 28. Even the medical resident who attended my surgery said I was the youngest skin cancer patient she had met. But as I learned more about skin cancer, I discovered that it is becoming increasingly common, especially among young women.

Vegetables Respond to a Daily Clock, Even After Harvest

Vegetables plucked from grocery store shelves can be made to respond to patterns of light and darkness, according to a report in the journal Current Biology. Janet Braam and colleagues found that cabbages change their levels of phytonutrients throughout a daily cycle.

Having a Dog May Mean Having Extra Microbes

North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn and colleagues surveyed people’s pillow cases, refrigerators, toilet seats, TV screens and other household spots, to learn about the microbes that dwell in our homes. Among the findings, reported in the journal PLoS One, homes with dogs had more diverse bacterial communities, and higher numbers of “dog-associated” bacteria.

Having a Dog May Mean Having Extra Microbes

North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn and colleagues surveyed people’s pillow cases, refrigerators, toilet seats, TV screens and other household spots, to learn about the microbes that dwell in our homes. Among the findings, reported in the journal PLoS One, homes with dogs had more diverse bacterial communities, and higher numbers of “dog-associated” bacteria.