Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Why would you want this? (Score 3, Informative) 178

by quantumghost (#48885939) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

You'd still be an addict, just one who could never satisfy his cravings. This sounds more like some sort of torture that an aid to quitting.

You will always be an addict. I quit smoking over 3 years ago, and I'm still addicted. After trying various ways of quitting, I ended up talking to a doctor and got Champix prescribed to be, which ended up helping a lot and making it possible for me to quit. When I did quit, the days I suffered the most were when my body was flushing the nicotine out. For this part, a vaccine like this would have been wonderful. Instead of having cramps and throwing up for 2 days (yes, this kind of abstinence syndrome can happen even with nicotine), and still suffering for several days afterwards, it would have made it much easier.

So yeah, I do wish this vaccine existed when I quit, 3 years ago, after smoking 2 packs/day for 20 years.

Some of what you say is very true, but you are wrong the withdraw will be bad, and I mean BAD with all capitals. I also foresee some more subtleties to this treatment....The idea is to uncouple the reward mechanism from the stimulus (nicotine hits receptors and triggers a dopamine surge which is perceived as a reward) - no reward, you stop associating smoking with pleasure. Straightforward. The immune system should be capable of removing most of the nicotine and preventing any large response. So what can go wrong....well you're dealing with humans. So....

1. The withdraw will be swift and the worse possible cold-turkey (which, short of using medication is the best way to quit). You will not get relief with patch, gum, smoking, snuff, hanging out with other smokers to get a second hand hit, or chewing on a raw tobacco plant, etc. You might get some relief with buproprione (considered a mild dopamine re-uptake inhibitor, but some controversy there) and probably more relief with varenicline(Chantix(tm)) (which is a weak nicotine agonist). This withdraw may feed into #2. It is also conceivable that some people could hurt themselves by trying to smoke so much to get even a little relief, that they could wind up in the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning or acute exacerbation of underlying pulmonary disease. The vaccine will reduce the reward, but will do nothing for the craving.

2. The effects of the vaccine may require boosters. So you would be required to go back to get them, otherwise you would likely loose the immune response and would again get a "reward" for smoking. This could lead to avoidance of the vaccine and relapse.

3. The tobacco industry will probably fight this tooth and nail. It won't be overt....no, they'll buy a few select individuals who will tank it via the FDA.

Comment: Re:There is no vaccine for the worst diseases (Score 1) 1051

by quantumghost (#48585581) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

The pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine nearly killed me when I was a child.

Sorry to hear that. I know someone allergic to tylenol, should we ban that too?

The evidence is that the greater good is served by extensive vaccinations. The risk of getting pertussis 9/100,000 (varies by age with less than 1 yr old having an incidence of 160/100,000) this resulted in about 28,000 cases in 2013, with about 50% of infants requiring hospitalization, and further, there were 13 deaths from pertussis, he risks of reaction to DTaP (the pertussis vaccine) is "so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine". Here's the data, you make the call. Your "evidence" where n=1, or the CDC who collects the data over the whole of the US or surveillance of about 300,000,000 people (n=3x10^6).

Take a look at vaccine adjuvants[sic].

Ok, I've looked at them. So?

To start off with, I am a physician. No secrete about that... I've posted many times in regard to medical issue on slashdot. I do not know your background or motives, but I will now look at your argument.

Doctors are not scientists, they are business people, and use a lot of hocus-pocus for financial and other reasons. For a large part doctors and biologists have no clue what they are really doing.

So let me examine this argument...biologists are scientists. Right? So are scientist to be trusted or not?

So are doctors (physicians are what I assume you mean) not scientists? From the first paragraph of wikipedia:

A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist may refer to an individual who uses the scientific method.[1] The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science.[2] This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word. Scientists perform research toward a more comprehensive understanding of nature, including physical, mathematical and social realms.

Hmmm. So by your logic I am not a scientist. But I have just proven to you that I have a dedication to acquire knowledge, and in fact have gone further to educate the group here at large. Did I use the scientific method? Fromwikipedia:

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.

Well, I am not a bench scientists (even though I do have a BS in biochemistry and and BS in engineering), but I do write peer reviewed article in the medical literature . I use a standard and a control, I examine the independent variable in regards to the dependent variables. Can I control all of the variable as in a lab? Nope. So I use statistical methodology to arrive at the most probable conclusion. Is this always right? Nope. That's why we have conflicting studies out there. Do I present a hypothesis and try to arrive at a conclusion about said hypothesis? Yep. Do I have to get approval to even collect data from an insitutiaonl review board? Yep - Oh! Wait! - most scientists don't have to do that do they?

Hmmm, do I meet that definition? You tell me.

As for not knowing much about the human body: I spent 6 1/2 years earning two bachelors, 4 years in medical school where the first two years I spent 40 hours in lecture and lab being taught by PhDs and MDs who were considered experts in their fields. I studied independently over 60 hours a week during that time as well. The second two years were spent on the wards (about 120 hours a week) interviewing and examining patients under direct supervision of residents (MDs in training) and attending MDs (those who are finished their training) is the specialties of internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, cardiology, anesthesia, neurology, preventative and rehab medicine, radiology, trauma surgery. The next 5 years were spent refining my knowledge of surgery by rotating with vascular surgeons, transplant surgeons, plastic surgeons, cardiac and thoracic surgeons, surgical intensivists, trauma surgeons, pediatric surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, surgical oncologsists, urologists, neurosurgeons, and good old general surgeons. I even spent two years in a lab. I then spent 2 years perfecting my skills rotating with surgical intensivists, trauma surgeons. And by "rotating" I mean i was directly responsible for patient care and operating on those patients with progressively more responsibility. So your call? Am I an expert in my field? Have I spent time and effort learning all that we know about the human body? Of course, your right....I did this all to make a quick buck. I'm in it for the business and I don't give a rat's tail end about helping people. (OBTW I am an academic surgeon who is salaried. I operate on you if it is indicated....I don't get a dime more than if I don't operate on you.)

No holistic/philosopical objections here, just pure science.

I'm sorry, but your argument is exact the same one used by anti-vaccination crowd. I do not see a single shred of evidence presented by you, just a lot of name calling and hand-wringing and "the sky is falling" clap-trap that is just not supported by the facts.

Comment: Re:4-8 LITERS?! (Score 3, Insightful) 90

by quantumghost (#48020815) Attached to: Blood For Extra Credit Points Offer Raises Eyebrows In Test-Mad China

... 16.5 liters, or a bit over 4 gallons.

I got you beat. Last year I made my 80th donation, and was admitted into the ten gallon club. the Red Cross gave me a FREE T-SHIRT to prove it. Anyway, China has a big problem recruiting blood donors. There is a strong cultural taboo about losing blood. Even in America, where hospitals try to match patients with donors by ethnicity, there is a big shortage of Asian blood. My wife is Chinese, and she objected to me donating blood, insisting it would shorten my life, until I showed her that there was plenty of evidence that donating blood is good for you and may lengthen your life.

Ummm.... I work in a hospital and order blood fairly regularly for my patient population. There is no way to specify the "ethnicity" of blood. Blood is "typed" for major antigen (A,B,O) and "crossed" for minor antigen or factors (Rh, Duffy, Lewis, Kell, MNS, P, Hh, XK, Etc). Now, different "ethnicities" have different distributions of antigens which may make it more likely that someone of the same ethnicity matches, but no-one transfuses "ethnic-specific" blood.

And for the record the typical human has about 80 cc/kg of blood (e.g. the "mythical" 70 kg (154 lb) adult has about 5600mL (5.9qts ~1.5 gal) of blood).

Comment: Re:Wellcome to the common sense... (Score 1) 294

by quantumghost (#47937053) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Ever heard of emergent behavior? After "magical thinking" got debunked, it was failure to recognize that complex systems are not intuitively obvious in their behavior that needed to be overcome for medicine to progress to where it is now. This is also why data-mining is not sufficient evidence for medical journals....research should (almost has to be) double blinded, randomized clinical trials to sort through the noise and empirically test the complex system under study. Otherwise we would have developed a computer model long ago. This is also why we still have medical mysteries in this day and age.

I suspect, although can not prove it, that the artificial sweeteners trigger the pancreas to release insulin which will drop blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and increase the desire for sugar. I am drawing an analogy to the cephalic phase of gastric acid secretion

Comment: Re:Nerve control (Score 1) 26

by quantumghost (#47855205) Attached to: Scientists Regenerate Rat Muscle Tissue

That seems to be less than 1/2 of a solution. Nerve ending working in sync to create useful motion would be needed, no?

Partially correct. I was going to post saying that this was only half the solution for another reason.

A nerve needs to contact the muscle body which would allow control of the muscle, as a denervated muscle is mostly useless as it will atrophy away.

The other shoe that needs to drop is the fascial layer of the muscle. Without it the muscle is also useless. (Fascia is the tough fiberous out layer of the muscle that provides structural integrity and allows the muscle to function - think tendons. Without fascia a muscle is like a car without a frame - the muscle can contract, but has nothing to pull against). In traumtic injury, muscles can be damaged, but they have a pretty good regenerative ability, the fascia, which is much less cellular, is much tougher to fix....this, in a sense, why hernias are such a problem, its not a defect in the muscle, it's the fascia.

This may however be great for some musculodegenerative diseases like muscular dystrophy, but using the pt's own stem cells would not work...they're inherently defective. If you have a suitable donor, that was disease free, that might be a cure.

Regardless, this is a great accomplishment, hope they can build upon and improve this!

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 448

The story is a little deeper (at least some unofficial accounts):

The US sold Iran the F-14 (which in and of itself is supposed to be an interesting story), and after the fall of the Shah, the departing techs "bricked" the F-14 by disabling some of the physical avionics for fire control under the guise of a "software upgrade". The current F-14s are apparently resurrected by grafting some form of Soviet/Middle Eastern brand of missile that they had to reverse engineer. This did not happen overnight, and I'll bet the missiles they use today are still inferior to/barely equivalent the 1970/80s US tech they lost access to.

All I can find is this:


Was looking for a little more verbose description of the events that I read a few years ago. Still makes me crack up thinking about that story.

Comment: But is it even usable? (Score 5, Interesting) 208

So at 185TB per tape with the write speed of LTO6 "at speeds up to 400MB/s (1.4TB/hr)" [optimal]....~132 hrs per tape. But in reality 300 MB/s or 1 TB/hr so about 176 hr/tape. 168 hours in a week.....Next weekly back up starts before the first one finished.....

Yeah, I know, they're not all level 0 backups.....you get the idea....sometimes it might be better to have 2 smaller tapes, than 1 large.

Comment: Re:Sucky Surgeon (Score 1) 56

by quantumghost (#46819255) Attached to: Closing Surgical Incisions With a Paintbrush and Nanoparticles

FWIW, silica nanoparticles have a GRAS certificate from the FDA and can be used in food products. Also, silica is chemically pretty stable at our body temperature and the only thing it can do is adsorb water.

Enteral (oral/GI administration) ingestion of a chemical is radically different then parenteral administration (through the skin or means other than through the GI tract). There are drugs that are safe one way, and deadly the other, and vice-versa. The human body is very fickle in that regards. Silica is very dangerous if inhaled.

In fact, I'm surprised that it even had the effect of binding the tissue together (maybe provided a porous network for the blood to come in through by capillary forces and coagulate? Your guess is probably better than mine).

It may initiate a wild, but localize inflammatory reaction. A concern then would be is it really _limited_? Widespread inflammation can be deadly.

That being said, the toxicity needs to be evaluated, but we can be optimistic.


The particles used in the experiment were super fine (only 50 nm in diameter) and synthesized using wet chemistry. Sigma Aldrich sells the LUDOX TM-50 that was used in the experiment readily in dispersion form at 28.30 EUR/L. This looks pretty scalable. If somewhat larger silica particles also exhibit the desired effects (i.e. if the glue effect is due to the high specific surface area, rather than the small particle size), then fumed silica can also be used which can be produced by the ton. The high temperatures of silica synthesis will also guarantee that the environment is pretty sterile (at least in the reactor, the engineers will "only" have to make sure that it stays that way until packaging, but it should be viable).

My problem is not with sterility. My problem is that most industrial chemical processes use heavy metals and other toxic substances as catalysts or intermediates....or that the intermediate steps that are difficult to eliminate may be toxic. This is why a pharmaceutical plant is vastly different from an industrial plant. The tolerance level is _much_ lower for pharmaceuticals. I tried looking up their analysis of LUDOX, but couldn't find it, the MSDS sheet did not list any minor components, but did list the silica as "chemically produced". I think you get my point.

Comment: Re:Sucky Surgeon (Score 5, Interesting) 56

by quantumghost (#46799211) Attached to: Closing Surgical Incisions With a Paintbrush and Nanoparticles

Is it just me, or does that guy really suck at suturing? I'm not a physician (never even played one), but I've watched instructional videos, and that didn't look like how the pros do it. The pros can suture and tie a knot way faster. If you suture like that then obviously glue would be better!

I felt really bad for whatever mammal that was (dog? rabbit?), especially because of the suturing job..

FWIW, the animal did appear to be adequately anesthetized as it did not flinch with the incision or suturing, and, no, he was not good, he barely knew what he was doing:
- wrong scalpel. That was a 10 blade used for long linear incision (e.g. > 10-40 mm). He should have used an 11 or 15 blade which are smaller and better suited to precision cuts, which these were not - he hacked at the skin instead if cleanly incising (so the technique was bad, the blade was dull, and he used the wrong blade).
- he did not use a pair of forceps to grasp the skin putting him self at risk of a needle-stick injury.
- needle entry was not perpendicular to the skin
- he used PDS suture (it looked purple) , which is _never_ used on skin (especially externalized). Prolene is used for an external knot, or vicryl or monocryl for a subcuticular suture
- the suture looks to be a 3-0 or 4-0....that's what I would use to close an adult human (5-0,which is smaller, for the face). Should probably be using 5-0 or 6-0 here. Then again, this guy would probably break that suture since he doesn't have the manual dexterity or technique. - he should have used a horizontal or 2 vertical mattress sutures to close the defect, not a single simple suture
- he didn't tie square knots and his tying was worse than a medical student's (who don't know how to suture either)
So I may just be nitpicking but, then again, that's what I do as an academic surgeon who trains upcoming surgeons.

But to actually address the article: It looks promising. I have questions about:
A) potential toxicity (nanoparticles can behave in less predictable way in-vivo) [large volumes of iron can be toxic to the body hemosiderin leading to iron overload], also silica is sometimes not well tolerated by the body
B) I would like to see this applied in a larger model (porcine would be good), with a large volume hemorrhage (analogous to a human GSW or stabbing wound) to see if the tensile strength of this seal scales up and to see if a large volume of blood will wash it away rendering it useless.
C) Does it withstand the detergent like properties of bile?
D) What percentage of normal tensile strength does this technique afford? Sutures physically hold tissue together to prevent separation under shear stress - how much strength does this stuff afford?
E) Does the substance affect normal wound healing (scar tissue is a normal, appropriate response, in an adult, to tissue injury; less scar may mean abnormal or poorer wound healing)
F) Will it be scalable (yes you can produce it in a lab easily enough, but can you make medical grade easily?)
G) Can it cause injury to adjoining tissue? The edge of the wound is hypoxic (low oxygen concentration), will this be toxic to these at risk tissues?

It is a long way from the lab to clinical use, but this appears promising. Look forward to seeing how the technology plays out. And no....it won't put me out of a job, but if it works out it may make my job easier and give better outcomes.

Comment: Re:Scary (Score 1) 30

by quantumghost (#46446743) Attached to: LABONFOIL: A Portable Bond-Style Lab

If you'd ever had a colonoscopy, you'd really appreciate the non-invasive method of detecting colon cancer. It was mentioned in TFA, BTW.

Sorry, but this device ain't gonna fix that. As per their webpage they use a test for CEA as a marker for recurrence of cancer. This is not even an effective screening test, and nothing that isn't already available. Better get your prep ready, you're gonna get probed again!

Comment: Re:'Radiation Free' (Score 5, Interesting) 35

With tumors surely more traditional X-rays could only help matters (radiotherapy-lite)

Lol....nice try. External beam radiation therapy (XRT) ....varies depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated. For curative cases, the typical dose for a solid epithelial tumor ranges from 60 to 80 Gy, while lymphomas are treated with 20 to 40 Gy. Whereas a CT scan (the cardiac one being the highest dosing) tops out at 40-100 mGy or 2-3 orders of magnitude less.

In reference to the article, it is an interesting concept. Will need some work to improve its general applicability. By this the SFRP2 is only specific for colorectal and myelomas, so the technique is very limited. Also, please note that ultrasound is horrible to use around bowel, especially colon...the gas in the colon very effectively blocks the sound waves and you get very poor/incomplete images. Besides, colonoscopy is the gold standard for screening and has the advantage of being therapeutic or allowing tissue biopsies which can seal the diagnosis. Granted most need at least some sedation, but at 10 year intervals for most, this is a pretty acceptable tradeoff.

The only other question I have is the applicability....again, even if they can increase the scope of the detection, a full scan of the body for mets would be very unsatisfactory using ultrasound....now if we start talking about sarcomas, renal cell, breast cancer, yeah, I could see this working out. Lung, brain, ENT cancers, not so much.

Comment: Re:not useless at all... (Score 1) 351

by quantumghost (#46037709) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You

so since you have spread the infection for one day, before you were showing symptoms, you might as well go ahead and spread it for several more days afterwards?

horsehockey. one day worth of germs 3 days worth of germs.

stay at home when you are sick.

Didn't say that, reread it....

therefore you will not be able to ever stop the flu, at least not without a better vaccine (no, don't go pulling that Jenny McCarthy shit [sciencebasedmedicine.org] or I'll have to slap you); we can just mitigate some of the spread

I'm saying that you have already started passing the flu on, before you feel it. You can still mitigate it, but you won't ever get rid of it. The original poster does not know/understand the concepts of latency and incubation:

When you're sick enough to (feel you) need medication, stay at home.

My point was, it is already too late. Your best defense in not getting sick is to practice good hygiene, not relying on other people to stay home.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 351

by quantumghost (#46036355) Attached to: Fighting the Flu May Hurt Those Around You
I'll say that the outcome is hardly surprising. Nice to see some numbers attached, though.

When you're sick enough to (feel you) need medication, stay at home. Don't spread germs all over the workplace / auditorium / public mass transport.

Nice idea, but almost useless....

What this basically means is that you are infectious the day before you show symptoms.....therefore you will not be able to ever stop the flu, at least not without a better vaccine (no, don't go pulling that Jenny McCarthy shit or I'll have to slap you); we can just mitigate some of the spread. It is incumbent upon the uninfected to keep from getting infected, as those who are will not know they are until its too late.

The science is that fever is an adaptive response to an infection. Yes, fever is what makes you feel like crap, but it changes the kinetics of viral (and bacterial replication). Ever notice that microbiological (especially bacterial) incubators are set to 37 deg C? That's the sweet spot for replication....change it and you put the invader at a disadvantage. Modern medicine unfortunately has taken on the dogma that: "If it ain't right, it needs to be fixed", a few (and growing) are starting to learn that not all that is wrong is bad....I continually rally against treating fevers less than 40 deg C (above that is concern for brain injury), but I have an uphill fight against an entrenched culture.

My personal strategy? I take the anti-pyretics so i can sleep or function, but reintroduce the elevated temperature by bundling up and keeping my core above 37 deg C. This is not scientific, just what works for me, YMMV and I won't be held responsible if you up and die from the flu as this is not my official advice.

Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. -- Ted Turner