Video: Diagnosing and Treating Autonomic Disorders

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Marc LaDerriere inspecting wine at Vina Robles Winery & Vineyards in Paso Robles.

Stanford Hospital has posted a fascinating video highlighting the complexities of diagnosing autonomic disorder.

Marc LaDerriere, a director of wine sales for the Vina Robles Winery & Vineyards in Paso Robles began noticing strange symptoms – including fatigue, inability to perspirate and fluctuating blood pressure.

“Hot weather sapped his strength and made him dizzy, yet he was sweating less and in cool weather no goose bumps ever appeared when he grew chilled.”

He was eventually referred to Stanford Hospital & Clinics where Neurologist Safwan Jaradeh, M.D. diagnosed Marc with having an autonomic nervous system disorder, brought on by a lyme disease infection that he had carried for years without ever knowing it.

“The autonomic nervous system,” according to Dr. Jaradeh “is the part of the nervous system that controls all the vital functions and organs that are independent of our own will.” This system controls your heartbeat, digestion, respiration, perspiration and all the other things we do without consciously thinking about it.

Safwan Jaradeh, MD is the director of Stanford’s autonomic disorders program — he is board certified in neurology, clinical neurophysiology, electrodiagnostic medicine and autonomic disorders.

Read more about autonomic nervous system disorders at Stanford Hospital’s site.

Cureus People: Matthew LaVelle, Wayne State University School of Medicine

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Matthew LaVelle

Team Cur&#275us talked with Matthew LaVelle, Wayne State University School of Medicine. His entry in the Healthcare Technology category won the Grand Prize in our Cur&#275us Fall 2012 International Poster Competition.

Matthew worked at Columbia University as both a research assistant in the field of cardiothoracic surgery and as a perfusionist with the heart and lung transplant team. He hopes to leverage his ongoing passion for the development and institution of medical technology into a career as a surgeon.

 

Stanford Scientists Create HIV-resistant Cells

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a technique to genetically engineer key immune system cells and make them resistant to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a new study.

HIV patients could ultimately be offered an alternative to taking a lifetime of multiple medications if the new approach, described by researchers as “genome editing” proves successful in human subjects.

“We inactivated one of the receptors that HIV uses to gain entry and added new genes to protect against HIV, so we have multiple layers of protection — what we call stacking,” said Matthew Porteus, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and the study’s principal investigator. “We can use this strategy to make cells that are resistant to both major types of HIV.”

Research is still in the early stages and will need to be tested more thoroughly in T-cells taken directly from AIDS patients, then in animals. Stanford scientists hope to begin clinical trials within three to five years — trials which are needed to determine whether the technique would work as a therapy.

Dr. Porteus is convinced that this new approach is an important step forward in developing a gene therapy for HIV and could ultimately replace drug cocktail treatments which are known to have adverse side-effects.

“To develop novel therapies you have to be an optimist,” said Dr. Porteus. “The findings in this study are a proof of concept; we’ve proven this could work. I’m very excited about what’s happened already.”

The study published in the Jan. 22 issue of the journal Molecular Therapy, was funded by the Foundation for AIDS Research.

via Stanford School of Medicine

Cureus People: Jay Gantz, University of Washington

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Jay Gantz

Our video team caught up with Jay Gantz on campus at the University of Washington where he is a graduate student and medical student in a combined degree program completing his fourth year PHD.

Jay Gantz won 2nd place with his Cardiology poster submission entered in the Cur&#275us Fall 2012 Poster Competition. In addition to his passion for medicine, Jay Gantz is also an accomplished cellist who loves the challenge of skiing in the great Northwest.

Yale Scientist Discovers New Tick-Borne Disease

Yale scientists have linked an unexplained febrile disease – first thought of as lymes disease – to a bacteria, Borrelia miyamotoi carried by the common deer tick.

I carry the Borrelia miyamotoi virus.

Even though the symptoms are similar to lymes disease, the Borrelia miyamotoi bacteria will not show up on tests for lymes disease.

In addition to usual lymes disease symptoms such as; fatigue, stiff neck, and joint pain “patients also may experience other symptoms, such as relapsing fever,” said lead author Dr. Peter Krause, senior research scientist at the School of Public Health and primary author of the study.

Although this new, yet to be named disease, is different from lymes disease, the same antibiotic treatment works for both — according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 17th 2013.

“Researchers found positive results for the new infection in 21 percent of 14 patients with unexplained summertime febrile illness, 3 percent of 273 patients with Lyme disease or suspected Lyme disease, and 1 percent of 584 healthy people living in areas where Lyme disease is endemic.” Source: Yale News

This Borellia miyatomoi bacteria resides in 2% of ticks who carry lymes disease. What makes this study unique, according to Dr. Durland Fish, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, is that “This is the first time we have found an infectious organism carried by ticks before we have recognized the disease in humans.”

via Yale News

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Cureus Editorial Board Feature: Robert M. Quencer, MD

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Robert M. Quencer, MD

Cur&#275us met with Robert M. Quencer, MD, Robert Shapiro Professor of Radiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Radiology, a position he has held since 1992.

The former Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Neuroradiology from 1998-2005, Dr. Quencer brings his vast knowledge and neuroradiology expertise to the Cur&#275us Editorial Board.

In addition to his clinical, academic and leadership roles, Dr. Quencer has published over 150 articles and book chapters in many areas of neuroimaging and has authored two books in neuroradiology.

Blueberries, Strawberries May Decrease Risk of Heart Attack for Women

Younger woman who consumed blueberries and strawberries at least three times a week decreased their risk of suffering a heart attack by as much as one-third according to a new study published in the American Heart Association’s Journal Circulation.

A sub-group of heart-friendly dietary flavenoids called anthocyanins, which give fruits their rich and deep red, purple and blue color—namely strawberries and blueberries—may be responsible for the cardiovascular health benefits revealed in an 18-year study.

According to the study, anthocyanins, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits like helping to dilate arteries.

The prospective study conducted by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, included 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who were registered with the Nurses’ Health Study II and completed detailed surveys about their diet every four years for 18 years.

“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” said Eric Rimm D.Sc., senior author and Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”

While the authors focused specifically on strawberries and blueberries as some of the most-eaten berries in the United States—researchers said that other berries, including raspberries, cranberries and blackberries, may have similar anti-inflammatory effects.

“We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce risk of a heart attack later in life,” said Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., lead author and head of the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.

via American Heart Association