Posts Tagged medical science

A Fix For A Neurological Disease

Posted by on Thursday, 19 December, 2013


Cartoon relating to Tourette's Syndrome




The  headline was originally KIDS WITH TICKS.

I changed it. I didn’t want to sound like a jerk.

A jerk? That’s what we call an insensitive clod? Jerk?

We bad.

Kids with Tourette Syndrome get “tics”. They are are caused by nerves that are too sensitive – hyperexcitable. Tourette’s kids can’t keep hands, feet, arms, legs, head from twitching or jerking. Sometimes Tourette’s causes vocal tics which can result in embarrassing noises or even in saying things that piss people off. Sometimes strings of profanity pop up.

Shit, shit, shit! (Imagine the consequences!)

The exact science behind Tourette’s has been elusive.  But researchers at The University of Nottingham (Journal of Neuropsychology) are tracking it down. They find that a particular piece of the brain, the “striatum”, is in overdrive in these kids which causes the  brain’s cortex to be bombarded with too many signals and too much stimulation. Their work has lead to the idea of using an electromagnetic stimulation device (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation ) to suppress the excess excitation.


The good thing is that this basic approach to the science behind Tourette’s seems to be unearthing the mechanism behind it. And, if all goes well, kids with Tourrette’s might be able to get fixed up without drugs. Just by applying an electromagnetic device to their heads for a few minutes a day.

This is all very exciting.


What’s bad is that we’re not there yet. This work is ongoing. More to be done. Maybe a device has to get approved by regulatory agencies. And kids don’t stay kids forever. We need this thing. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad is hoping for fast progress.


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That drawing is mine.

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Brain Tumor Study Does Great.Optimism Rises.

Posted by on Saturday, 30 November, 2013


Cartoon about brain tumor news



Glioblastoma multiforme is crappy news.

To start with, it’s a brain tumor. I’ve never run into anyone who wanted brain cancer.

Also, glioblastoma multiforme is hard to kill off completely. Up until now, it’s been more devious than the doctors who have tried to tame it. The “It’s a miracle” thing is somewhat overdone but – you know what? – If you’ve beaten glioblatoma multiforme, I’m not arguing.  Long term survival is very, very poor. With the “standard” treatment –  surgery plus chemo –  one year and 3 months on average.

Now I’ve got a miracle.

Dr.  Surasak Phuphanich (Cochran Brain Tumor Center and  Cedars-Sinai) is the lead researcher on a study being reported to the Fourth Quadrennial Meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology. There were 16 patient, all with glioblastoma multiforme .  Eight of the patients made it past five years.

THAT”S a bloody miracle!

And, by the way, it’s a huge scientific triumph!

This was a “targeted” treatment, using a newly developed experimental vaccine where the study, itself, was only a “phase 1” human trial which, technically, is to see if the drug is safe to use and to find the best dosage.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad doesn’t want to raise false hopes but this sure sounds like a great result that would justify more extensive testing.

Added later:

And, in fact, a phase II trial has begun. MISTER ScienceAintSoBad has high hopes things continue to go well.

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The cartoon is mine.