Apple wants to be the hub for your health data, just the way it became the hub for your music, movies, and photos. But like the world before iTunes, it’s hard to imagine what our lives could be like with centralized health app data. To find out, we dug into Apple’s HealthKit framework and spoke to some top iOS developers. What we found could change the health care ecosystem even more than we expected.
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.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. It typically becomes noticeable in mid-adult life. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea, which is why the disease used to be called Huntington’s chorea. The disease is caused by an autosomal dominant mutation in either of an individual’s two copies of a gene called Huntingtin, which means any child of an affected person typically has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. Physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease can begin at any age from infancy to old age, but usually begin between 35 and 44 years of age.
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.
Nine days before the World Health Organization announced the African Ebola outbreak now making headlines, an algorithm had already spotted it.
Mossy fibers, which are one major type of axon in the cerebellum, relay information from outside the cerebrellum. Here multicolored mossy fibers fan within the inner granular layer of one fold or “gyrus” of the cerebellum. The enlarged “splotches” of color represent presynaptic terminals, called mossy fiber rosettes. Around the edge of the gyrus, the parallel fibers course through the molecular layer where they synapse onto Purkinje cell dendrites (not visible).
Surely there is something absurd when a nation pays a primary care physician poorly relative to other specialists and then wrings its hands over a shortage of primary care physicians.
The cause of polycythemia varies and is often associated with certain activities or other medical conditions, in which case it is typically described as secondary polycythemia. For instance, the body frequently compensates for decreased oxygen related to prolonged habitation of high altitudes, smoking, certain types of cancer, pulmonary disease, heart disorders, and other conditions by increasing the production of red blood cells. In such cases, the polycythemia is usually treated by addressing the underlying condition. Similarly, relative polycythemia, which is a form of the condition in which the appearance of a raised erythrocyte level is the result of a reduction of blood plasma, is treated by correcting the problem that caused the plasma decrease, such as excessively low consumption of fluids, high blood pressure, or stress. Sometimes patients will take measures to relieve symptoms of polycythemia, such as using antihistamines to combat itchy skin, while they are attempting to remedy the cause.