Wait or Treat Prostate Cancer: The Fork in the Road

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Feb 21, 2017 5:33:00 AM

    

Introduction

Prostate cancer is one of the single most common manifestations of cancer in the world today. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over the course of their lifetime. If given time and poor circumstance, it can be a fatal disease that can damage tissue all across the body, leading many to act quickly to have it treated and removed. As a result of the large system in place for handling prostate cancer cases, the idea that quick action is the best action has been put forward. However, recent studies conducted by Harvard Medical School seem to indicate that this may not be the case. Now there is an air of uncertainty surrounding prostate cancer that can not be so easily dismissed. The question at its core is this: Treat as quickly as possible, or wait it out?

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Why Do Researchers Need Healthy Samples?

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Feb 14, 2017 5:02:00 AM

    

Introduction

In medical studies, doctors and pharmaceutical professionals often need tissue samples to test drugs or other stimuli out and in doing so, learn more about the human body. It comes as no surprise, then, that tissue with a certain disease or other maladies would be of great value to researchers.

This tissue is often subject to advanced testing to see if new breakthrough drugs will be better than their predecessors without risking any living person. It also means there is a lot more room for trial and error, as no person’s quality of life is in direct jeopardy.

One lesser known side of this wonderful process is the need for what is called a “control group.” In every experiment, scientists need a group that is unaltered by experimentation so that they can tell when something has changed. This control group in the case of human samples is tissue (often blood) from perfectly healthy individuals.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Osteoarthritis, What's the Difference?

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Feb 7, 2017 5:00:00 AM

    

Introduction

Many people have run across rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime, from developing the disease, having a loved one or friend who develops it, or simply hearing an advertisement on television for some new medication designed to treat it. But many people do not fully understand what distinguishes RA from normal arthritis, and why that distinction makes RA arguably much worse than that of the more common and often age-related Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the variation that most often affects the elderly, though it is not confined to this role, and it is the damage resulting from cartilage in between bones wearing out and being ground away leaving bone-on-bone contact uninhibited by any form of cushioning. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease, one that can affect anyone but typically affects women and is not as confined by age.

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PIK3CA: Explaining the Oncogene

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Jan 31, 2017 3:20:00 PM

    

 

Introduction

Cancer is a disease that comes from normal cells dividing and mutating abnormally. Often with cancer there is a specific genetic defect that causes the disease, and one, in particular, has been connected to colon cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and gliomas.

This defect is a mutation of the PIK3CA gene. This gene is responsible for a plethora of administrative tasks in each cell. These tasks range from the ability to intake nutrients, survival, cell differentiation, cell reproduction, and cell growth. Naturally, such an important gene’s failure is a serious problem that often results in a cell simply dying. In the case of some mutations, however, the cell can carry on and become cancerous. It’s this type of outcome scientists hope to learn more about in the near future.

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Multiple Sclerosis, Closer to Finding a Cure?

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Jan 24, 2017 3:05:00 PM

    

Introduction

Imagine that basic abilities such as stable vision, clear thinking, and controlled muscles were suddenly whisked away, leaving you trapped in a chaos of cloudy thought, blurry vision, and muscle tremors. For some people, this existence is not one of terrible imagination- it is a brutal reality. This reality is multiple sclerosis, and it affects 2.5 million people worldwide and 400,000 in the US alone.

Modern medicine has made huge strides against it, but there are a number of unknowns still surrounding MS. Chief among these unknowns is the cure for the disease. Like many of the worst chronic illnesses, MS is an autoimmune disease meaning that there is no cure, only rigorous treatment and periods of remission.

However, unlike many autoimmune diseases, MS has received quite a bit of focus relatively speaking receiving $870 million in funding for new research which nearly doubles the $480 million the National Institute of Health spends on Alzheimer’s research.

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How cfDNA is Changing Cancer Treatment

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Jan 17, 2017 4:00:00 PM

    

Introduction

Cell free DNA is revolutionizing the way cancer is detected, diagnosed, and treated.In the many decades of cancer treatment, one of the largest challenges in the treatment of cancer is finding it. Cancer is particularly good among diseases at “hiding”. It mimics different biomolecules and signals to keep the immune system in the dark and doesn’t give any indication of its existence until it is in its deadly later stages.

For years, doctors and researchers have searched for a biomarker, a chemical released by the body that can act as indicators for different conditions, that could be easily found in patients that would give away the presence of early stage tumors. Now those efforts are coming to fruition with the development of liquid biopsies using cell free circulating tumor DNA.

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The Fight to End Hepatitis C

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Jan 10, 2017 12:30:00 PM

    

Introduction

Hepatitis C is one of the most prominent and life altering diseases that plagues the US. Affecting roughly 3.2 million people in the US alone, and in 2007 it passed HIV/AIDS for number of fatalities. It is a growing issue that on the grand scale has only recently been noted, prior to 1992 screening for Hepatitis C was virtually nonexistent resulting in many cases of transfusion infections, in which infected blood was administered to an injured patient without the medical staff being aware of the infection.

Hepatitis C is a serious issue, but it is not an invincible monster of a disease that is has been in years past. Tremendous efforts at treatment and cure have lead to equally tremendous breakthroughs, and some treatments can even rid a person of the virus in its entirety.

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Fibromyalgia: The Facts

Posted by Quinton Stevens on Jan 5, 2017 8:00:00 AM

    

Introduction

Fibromyalgia is a disease characterized by an increase in pressure related pain sensitivity. It is not typically life threatening but can be quite debilitating for those who have it and can reduce quality of life notably. 2% of adults in the United States live with this disease, with 80%-90% of those diagnosed being women.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease, meaning it does not quickly or always go away, and having knowledge about it can help with understanding what treatment and life look like with the disease. 

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