Ann Conkle
Mar 30, 2012

Medical Nova Weekly: Top five trends for 3/26-3/30

Here’s the weekly collection of hot medical news!

Protesters rally outside the Supreme Court Health on trial at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been busy with health topics. First, they ruled that a patent claiming administration of a therapeutic drug and observation of its metabolite levels is invalid for being based on laws of nature. Then, they spent three days hearing arguments debating the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.


Six insulin molecules in a hexamer, how they are stored in the bodyOne size doesn't fit all: A researcher watches his diabetes develop with a personal 'Omics' profile

Thanks to Michael Snyder, a researcher at Stanford University, and his willingness to bear his soul to the world, or at the least his genomic, proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic profile, we have taken a big step toward individualized healthcare. For over two years, Snyder had his lab studied everything from his DNA and RNA, to protein expression and metabolites levels in his blood.  Within that two years, they found that Snyder was predisposed to type 2 diabetes, and at the molecular level, they watched as the initial stages of the disease developed. 


The face transplant patient, before and after surgery.Most extensive full face transplant to date completed

The most extensive full face transplant completed to date, including jaws, teeth, and tongue, was recently performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The 36-hour operation occurred March 19-20, 2012, and involved a team of over 150 physicians, nurses and professional staff. The transplant also included all the facial soft tissue from the scalp to the neck, so that the patient can move, feel and have normal facial expression.


Stem cells can improve heart function.Patient’s own stem cells improve heart function

Stem cells derived from heart failure patients' own bone marrow improved the function of the left ventricle, the heart's pumping chamber. The research team also found that patients with certain types of the stem cells had the greatest improvement, another intriguing fact for further study.



Weight loss surgery can reverse diabetes

Overweight, diabetic patients who had bariatric surgery achieved significant improvement or remission of their diabetes, according to new research. Some weight loss surgery patients achieved normal blood sugar levels without use of any diabetes medications and the need for insulin to control blood sugar was eliminated in others. "Patients who underwent gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy lost more weight and were significantly more successful at controlling their diabetes, compared to those who simply took medications," said lead investigator Philip Schauer.