Cartoon: Bridging the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases

Demystifying Medicine 2016

Tuesdays: January 5 through May 17
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Building 50 Conference Room
(unless otherwise noted)

Main Page
Course Materials
Speaker Profiles
Final Examination - Deadline May 25, 2016

Topic Introductions

January 5 - The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present

January 12 - Ebola, MERS and Likelihood of More Epidemics & Evolutionary Dynamics and Zoonotic and Cross-Species Transmission of Emerging Viruses

U.S. Becomes More Vulnerable to Tropical Diseases Like Zika by Donald G. McNeil, Jr.

January 19 - The Future of Medicine: Personalized, Precision and Other

Two unrelated middle aged women are found to have carcinoma of the lung with regional spread. Pathology of each tumor looks virtually identical. Both receive the same chemotherapeutic regimen. The first patient's tumor regresses over 90%; the second patient's tumor rapidly progresses and spreads. What accounts for this dramatic difference in response to treatment? Sections of the two cancers look alike using conventional stains. Is there a place for genomic, proteomic and metabolic analysis in explaining the clinical events? If so, can such differences be harnessed to develop specific therapeutics? Do all of the cancer cells manifest the same genomic profile? Can "all" cancers be classified by -omic analysis and thereby provide "precision" medicines? The same considerations hold true for patients with immune-mediasteed, infectious, drug reaction and other diseases? How can the huge amount of data acquired from such analyses be stored, made available and proven to be of value? These and other questions are at the forefront of consideration regarding the much-discussed "Medicine of the Future".

January 26 - Canceled Due to Weather - Rescheduled to May 17

February 2 - Where Do Viruses Come From and How Do They Do What They Do? & From A to E: 2000 Years of Hepatitis Virus History

February 9 - The Intestinal Microbiome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

QUIZ: Who wrote this and when?
Old age is an infectious chronic disease manifested by degeneration and excessive macrophage activity...which disturb cell equilibrium setting up struggle with toxins ("reactive oxygen") ending in aging and death. Transforming the "wild population of the intestine into a cultured population" can increase life "quality" and duration?

QUIZ: Who did these experiments...when and where?
~ Baby rabbits fed only mother's milk were cholera-resistant but became susceptible when fed a "meat-containing" diet...similar rabbits fed "vegetable diet" were resistant!
~ Intestinal flora can produce opportunistic infections...and toxins which contribute to "autointoxication".
~ Dog feces protected rabbits from "toxin-induced" colitis as did "yoghurt" enemas.

ANSWER: Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) Nobel Prize 1908 with Roux
~ Fantastic reading...when you have the time and understand french: Etudes sur la Nature Humaine: Essai de Philosophie Optimistic. Metchnikoff (1903)
~ For english reading: Elie Metchnikoff's Bacillus of Long Life. Debra Jan Bibel ASM News/ Microbe 51:12, 661-5 (1988)

February 16 - Atopy: The Common and The Rare Allergies in the Genomic Era

Allergy - Wikipedia Description

February 23 - "Shingles" (Herpes Zoster) Revisited

March 1 - Cell Polarity: Mechanisms and Disease in the Nervous System and Liver

March 8 - Depression: Neuromodulation Meets Super-Resolution Cell Biology

Depression is a serious, widespread and increasing problem in the population at all ages and is the focus of intensive studies. Current research in depression spans structural, functional, cognitive, genomic and pharmacologic studies in humans and other species.Bridging these advances with comparable advances in super-rewsolution imaging of neural and other cells holds great promise for advancing diagnosis, understanding of mechanisms and development of therapies.

March 15 - Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Steato-Hepatitis (NAFLD/ NASH): An "Epidemic" Liver Disease Requiring New Drugs

March 22 - Progress in Understanding Congenital Heart Disease (The #1 Killer in Birth Defects): Mechanisms and New Technologies

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, affect 8 out of every 1,000 newborns and more than 35,000 babies annually in the United States. Congenital heart defects involve the heart's interior walls, valves and blood vessels and range from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms. Remarkable advances are being made regarding understanding etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment.

March 29 - The Oral Microbiome Meets Cell Biology and Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis is one of the most common human inflammatory diseases affecting approximately 50% of the US adult population over the age of 30. Triggered by an altered oral microbiome, periodontal disease causes destructive inflammation that damages local tissues and can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. If untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis a candidate contributing factor to multiple inflammatory disease.

Periodontitis will be reviewed with focus on the oral microbiome, a key trigger of the disease. The oral cavity harbors one of the most rich and diverse microbiomes in the human body. Linkage between advanced cell biology techniques and the pathogenesis of periodontics will be presented as well as current understanding of how health-associated microbial communities participate in regulation of homeostatic oral immunity and how dysbiosis triggers periodontitis.

April 5 - Multiple Sclerosis: Mechanisms and Imaging the Process

April 12 - Global Warming: Effect on Vector Distribution, Disease and Natural Product Research

Jonathan Sleeman, MA, VetMB Director, United States Geodetic Survey, National Wildlife Health Center who will focus on environmental change and emerging diseases of wildlife and will use three examples (blue tongue virus, avian influenzas, and emerging diseases of bats) to illustrate the drivers of disease (climate change, global travel, farming practices, etc), the value of biodiversity to human health, and One Health solutions to these diseases. The USGS is responsible for tracking changes in vector and disease distribution and doing basic and epidemiological studies on mechanisms.

David Newman, PhD (NCI) is an international expert in natural product discovery, chemistry and development of therapeutics based on natural products who will discuss how changes in the environment world wide are affecting plants and other sources of medically-useful natural products, the increasingly devastating effects and challenges for saving, creating repositories and detecting unexpected mutations affecting natural product synthesis in biologic specimens.

April 19 - Trauma in the Modern Age: Injury and Stem Cells

Huge increase in civilian and military trauma
Physical: weapons more destructive; vehicles, falls
Emotional stress: PTSDs
Strain on medical/surgical/psychiatric care
Other Trauma: terrorism, bacterial, toxin
How is such trauma treated today? Acute, rehabilitation, prosthesis, etc
Challenges and Treatments
Role of stem cell transplants in treatment of trauma?

April 26 - Hepatocellular Cancer: Problems and Progress in an Epidemic Disease

Primary cancer of the liver (HCC) used to be rare in North America but was the most common life-threatening cancer in the Orient. However, the pendulum has shifted. HCC is decreasing in the Orient (primarily due to vaccination against HBV and treatment of HCV) but is dramatically increasing in the USA. This epidemiological change has focused on the difficult problems of early diagnosis and treatment. Although improvements have taken place in both parameters, diagnosis is often "too late" and treatment, other than surgical, has made marginal inroads despite large expenditures in drug development and biomarkers.

The genomic era introduced new concepts and research which reveals much about the molecular mechanisms related to HCC as well as HCC metastasis and local spread, development of biological markers of HCC and steady improvement in targeted drugs and immunotherapy. These developments are at the forefront of cancer biology.

Snorri Thorgeirsson and Tim Greten (NCI) are leaders in these exciting developments which will be presented in the April 26th session.

May 3 - Cholesterol: Too Much and Too Little are Bad for Your Health

May 10 - Robotic Planetary Exploration and Thoughts about Human Spaceflight

Beam up for a special lecture on human space flight and biology. Dr. Stamatios "Tom" Krimigis of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory will speak at the next NIH Demystifying Medicine lecture, on Tuesday, May 10, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the first-floor conference room (1227) in Bldg. 50 on the NIH campus in Bethesda. The title of his lecture is "Robotic Planetary Exploration and Thoughts about Human Spaceflight."

A physicist and space scientist, Krimigis has participated in NASA missions to every planet in the solar system and was the principal investigator on several NASA spacecraft, including Voyagers 1 and 2. Krimigis is widely credited with resurrecting NASA planned but then canceled exploration to Pluto in 2000 with his concept of the relatively low-cost New Horizons mission, which launched in 2006 and met with spectacular success in 2015.

With an eye to what he considers to be inevitable --- human spaceflight beyond the moon --- Krimigis has been concerned with the challenges to human physiology and the necessary adaptation. His special presentation at NIH will be of great interest to basic and clinical scientists at NIH and will illustrate exciting careers for PhDs and MDs who are well-trained in biological, mathematical, and physical sciences. And let's face it: any fan of Star Trek will enjoy the lecture, as well.

Interview with Dr. Stamatios Krimigis

NASA's lunar projects helped to launch an era of miniaturization which has profoundly influenced all forms of communication and science...including biomedical. Contemplation of human spaceflight presents even greater challenges and will require major advances in technology and human biology which will profoundly change biomedical and other sciences.

Professor Krimigis has been a major participant in consideration of human vs robotic spaceflight which he will also discuss.

May 17 - How Long Can and Should We Live? & What Centenurians Teach Us about Aging


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This web page was last modified on 27 May 2016.