Syringomyelia is a generic term referring to a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate over time, destroying the spinal cord. The damage may result in pain, paralysis, weakness, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities. Syringomyelia may also cause a loss of the ability to feel extremes of hot or cold, especially in the hands. The disorder generally leads to a cape-like loss of pain and temperature sensation along the back and arms. Each patient experiences a different combination of symptoms. These symptoms typically vary depending on the extent and, often more critically, to the location of the syrinx within the spinal cord.
Image: An idiopathic syrinx. See the thin light grey shape inside the spinal cord, placed at centre in the bottom half of the above image.
I welcomed my slavish existence as a surgical resident, the never-ending work, the cries that kept me in the present, the immersion in blood, pus, and tears — the fluids in which one dissolved all traces of self. In working myself ragged, I felt integrated…
When cells apoptose, they appear to collapse, forming small blebs and vesicles called apoptotic bodies. Here, an apoptotic HeLa cell (center) sits among its healthy and dividing counterparts, revealing a striking collection of blebs on its surface. Although HeLa cells are the workhorse of many in vitro cell biological experiments, they are far from normal. They are propagated from a cervical tumor and contain an aberrant genome with multiple copies of several human chromosomes, some of which also carry papilloma viral genes.
Representation of a complex between DNA and the protein p53
Tumor protein p53 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TP53 gene. The p53 protein is crucial in multicellular organisms, where it regulates the cell cycle and, thus, functions as a tumor suppressor, preventing cancer. As such, p53 has been described as “the guardian of the genome” because of its role in conserving stability by preventing genome mutation. Hence TP53 is classified as a tumor suppressor gene. The name p53 is in reference to its apparent molecular mass.
Cancer invasion and metastasis transform a locally growing tumor into a systemic and live-threatening disease. But how tumor cells (green) migrate between organs is still largely a black box. Friedl and colleagues have developed a tool to watch cancer cells as they move through the skin of live mice. From these experiments, they’ve found that tumor migration is remarkably “plastic;” cells adapt their transportation styles for various tissue conditions and even remodel the tissue itself to facilitate mobility.
Image: An overview of invading melanoma cells in the mouse dermis, with tumor cells (green) using both single-cell and collective invasion along and into tissue structures. Tumor cells expressing E2-Crimson are (false-colored) green, and muscle fibers expressing GFP are orange. Nerve fibers and collagen are blue (third harmonic) and grey (second harmonic), respectively. AlexaFluor660-dextran is red.
A macrophage (pale brown) interacts with Borrelia cells (blue), the spirochete bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Although the outer membrane of Borrelia contains a strong antigen, the OspC protein, the bacterium successfully evades the human immune system by hiding out in places less accessible to immune cells, such as the central nervous system.
Bad medical science is always drifting around social media: from a Facebook friend talking about how to lose weight using body wraps, to deadly nutrition advice on thinspo Tumblrs, to anti-vaxxers sowing doubt on Twitter. And false cures and panic-inducing conspiracy theories have historically followed sudden outbreaks of diseases like HIV. The conversations about Ebola combine these two trends.
An echocardiogram is a sonogram of the heart. Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart. Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An Echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function such as a calculation of the cardiac output, ejection fraction, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes).
Echocardiography can help detect cardiomyopathies, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and many others. The use of Stress Echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive (doesn’t involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.
(Image: Echocardiogram in the parasternal long-axis view, showing a measurement of the heart’s left ventricle)
Balloon dilatation of the stenosed internal jugular vein (photo from an X-ray angiograph monitor). While pressure in the balloon is relatively low, stenosis prevents the balloon from inflating in the middle. Further increase in pressure will dilate the narrowing and restore the full blood flow.
Angioplasty was initially described by the US interventional radiologist Charles Dotter in 1964. Dr. Dotter pioneered modern medicine with the invention of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used to treat peripheral arterial disease. On January 16, 1964, Dotter percutaneously dilated a tight, localized stenosis of the superficial femoral artery (SFA) in an 82-year-old woman with painful leg ischemia and gangrene who refused leg amputation. After successful dilation of the stenosis with a guide wire and coaxial Teflon catheters, the circulation returned to her leg. The dilated artery stayed open until her death from pneumonia two and a half years later. Charles Dotter is commonly known as the “Father of Interventional Radiology" and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1978.
The first coronary angioplasty on a waking patient was performed by the German cardiologist Andreas Gruentzig in September 1977.
Ingemar Henry Lundquist invented the over the wire balloon catheter that is used in the majority of angioplasty procedures in the world.
(Diagram of a balloon catheter.)
MRI is the investigative tool of choice for neurological cancers as it is more sensitive than CT for small tumors and offers better visualization of the posterior fossa. The contrast provided between grey and white matter make it the optimal choice for many conditions of the central nervous system including demyelinating diseases, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, infectious diseases and epilepsy.
Image: MRI image of white matter tracts.