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In the News, Pediatrics, Sleep, Stanford News, Videos

Stanford doc gives teens a crash course on the dangers of sleep deprivation

Stanford doc gives teens a crash course on the dangers of sleep deprivation

Numerous studies, including a big one published in Pediatrics earlier this year, have shown that adolescents are getting less sleep than ever before. But most teens are unlikley unaware of the dangers of sleep deprivation – and that’s something that a group of Stanford clinicians is trying to change. Rafael Pelayo, MD, with the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, and colleagues recently gave a “crash course” on sleep, and the importance of getting enough, to students at nearby Menlo-Atherton High School. ABC7 captured the story in the video above.

Previously: Talking about teens’ “great sleep recession”, With school bells ringing, parents should ensure their children are doing enough sleeping, Study shows poor sleep habits as a teenager can “stack the deck against you for obesity later in life”, What are the consequences of sleep deprivation? and Want teens to eat healthy? Make sure they get a good night’s sleep

Events, Parenting, Pediatrics, Stanford News, Videos

Pediatric health expert Alan Guttmacher outlines key issues facing children’s health today

Pediatric health expert Alan Guttmacher outlines key issues facing children's health today

The inaugural Childx conference was held here last month, and video interviews featuring keynote speakers, panelists and moderators are now on the Stanford YouTube channel. To continue the discussion of driving innovation in maternal and child health, we’ll be featuring a selection of the videos this month on Scope.

During his keynote speech at Stanford’s recent Childx conference, Alan Guttmacher, MD, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development, told attendees, “We need to be a society that values children.”

In the above video, Guttmacher emphasizes this point as he outlines key issues facing children’s health today. He explains that it’s the dawn of a new era in medical research with the potential to improve the lives of children throughout their life span. To make a lasting difference in children’s lives, he says, research needs to go beyond the medical approach and integrate social and environmental factors. He highlights the example of preterm birth, saying that while we’ve made strides in reducing the infant mortality rate of babies born too early, more needs to be done to understand the causes of preterm birth and prevent it.

Watch the full interview to learn more about why investing in pediatrics research can help the generations of tomorrow build a healthier future.

Previously: “It’s not just science fiction anymore”: Childx speakers talk stem cell and gene therapy, Global health and precision medicine: Highlights from day two of Stanford’s Childx conference, Innovating for kids’ health: More from first day of Stanford’s Childx, “What we’re really talking about is changing the arc of children’s lives:” Stanford’s Childx kicks off and Countdown to Childx: Q&A with pediatric health expert Alan Guttmacher

Biomed Bites, Imaging, Neuroscience, Research, Technology, Videos

Peering under the hood – of the brain

Peering under the hood - of the brain

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford’s most innovative researchers.

Fixing a broken brain is much like fixing a malfunctioning car, misbehaving computer or most anything else that isn’t working as it should.

“Whenever we’re trying to fix something that’s broken, it can be very helpful indeed to understand how that thing works,” says Stephen Smith, PhD, in the video above. “I believe the brain does not pose an exception to this rule.”

That’s why Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular biology, emeritus, has spent his career developing better ways to understand — and see — the brain.

Currently, he’s most excited about a technique called array tomography that allows researchers to observe the brain’s wiring, the linkages between neurons, and gain a better understanding of how it functions.

That technique, as well as others, offers real hope for fixing brains broken by autism, Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders. Here’s Smith:

I think the progress we’re making today in understanding basic brain mechanisms is likely to help us greatly as we develop new drugs that can help lessen or reverse the wide array of neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental or injury-related disorders of the brain.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Visualizing the brain as a Universe of synapses, Examining the potential of creating new synapses in old or damaged brains and Fantastic voyage: Stanford researcher offers a virtual flight through the brain

Big data, Imaging, Neuroscience, Research, Science, Stanford News, Technology, Videos

All data – big and small – informs large-scale neuroscience project

All data - big and small - informs large-scale neuroscience project

The thought of gaining access to data from thousands of brains would make most neuroscientists salivate. But now, a team of Stanford and Oxford researchers is able to do just that. Led by Jennifer McNab, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, the group compares magnetic resonance images from as many as 100,000 people with in-depth 3-D scans developed using CLARITY, a technique developed at Stanford that visualizes intact tissue.

“This is a tremendous resource in terms of scientists being able to look and see who develops a particular disease and who does not and why that may be,” McNab said in the video above.

Her team — which includes Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD; Michael Zeineh, MD, PhD and Michael Greicius, MD, MpH — is tapping the U.K. Biobank, which has about 500,000 participants. It also uses data from the NIH Human Connectome Project, which could include up to 1,200 MRI images. The project received a 2014 Big Data for Human Health Seed Grant and is part of Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Data Science Initiative (BDSI), which strives to make powerful transformations in human health and scientific discovery by fostering innovative collaborations among medical researchers, computer scientists, statisticians and physicians.

The project uses two distinct types of “big data.” The large databases with hundreds of entries clearly falls under this umbrella, but even one dataset from CLARITY, which produces extremely high-resolution images, produces big data, she said.

The project may make it possible to glean more diagnostic information from MRIs, McNab said. “Then we can hopefully develop early biomarkers of disease that will ultimately help to guide treatment plans and preventative measures,” she said.

This project offers just a glimpse at the potential of data science. For more on important work being done in this area, mark your calendars for Stanford’s Big Data in Biomedicine conference May 20-22. More information is available here.

Previously: Registration for the Big Data in Biomedicine Conference now open, How CLARITY offers an unprecedented 3-D view of the brain’s neural structure and Euan Ashley discusses harnessing big data to drive innovation for a healthier world

Events, Medicine X, Patient Care, Stanford News, Technology, Videos

Medicine X conference to focus on the theme of “Great eXpectations”

Medicine X conference to focus on the theme of "Great eXpectations"

Known for its powerful patient stories and candid on-stage conversations, the Medicine X conference returns to campus on Sept. 25-27. This year’s program will focus on the theme “Great eXpectations” and explore five key areas, including the challenges associated with accessing health care as you age, the misconceptions and misperceptions faced by patients and population health from the patient perspective.

In a press release about the upcoming conference, Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, noted, “The brightest minds and the most innovative thinking converge at Stanford Medicine X — the intersection of medicine and technology… This is one of the most thought-provoking and important events in health care today and will help pave the way for how technology enables patient-centered and patient-driven care in the years to come.”

During the three-day event, Peter Bach, MD, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will deliver a keynote address. Bach is a physician and health-policy expert whose research focuses on the cost and value of anti-cancer drugs. An accomplished writer, he has authored numerous op-eds on health care, but is perhaps most well-known for his New York Magazine essay “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth” about losing his wife to cancer. Other confirmed speakers include cellist and composer Zoë Keating; Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group; and 91-year-old IDEO designer Barbara Beskind.

Registration for Medicine X is now open. More details about the program can be found on the Medicine X website.

More news about the conference is available in the Medicine X category.

Previously: Registration now open for the inaugural Stanford Medicine X|ED conference, Stanford Medicine X: From an “annual meeting to a global movement” and A doctor recounts his wife’s battle with cancer: “My knowledge was too clear-eyed”

Stanford News, Videos

A “grand romp through medicine and metaphor” with Abraham Verghese

A "grand romp through medicine and metaphor” with Abraham Verghese

For Stanford physician and author Abraham Verghese, MD, the language of medicine is as equally important as the skills used in diagnosing and treating patients. Last September, Verghese spoke at the TEDMED conference in San Francisco, which was co-sponsored by Stanford Medicine, and took attendees on an exploration of the words, particularly the metaphors, we use in describing the body and its conditions.

TEDMED released a video of his presentation today and in the talk Verghese notes the strange lack of new medical metaphors. He encourages patients and health-care providers to invent their own in an effort to narrow the communication gap. “I want to invite you to name things after yourself,” he says in the video. “Go ahead! Why not?”

Ready to accept the challenge? Create your own medical metaphors and share them via Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels using the hashtag #MyMedicalMetaphor. Verghese will choose his three favorites next week, and if your metaphor is selected, TEDMED will send you a copy of his book Cutting for Stone.

TEDMED 2015 will be held in Palm Springs November 18-20.

Previously: “Abraham Verghese: A saintliness in so many of my patients,Abraham Verghese discusses stealing metaphors and the language of medicine at TEDMED and Abraham Verghese urges Stanford grads to always remember the heritage and rituals of medicine

Pediatrics, Research, Technology, Videos

Monitoring patients’ vital signs using a touch-free video system

Monitoring patients’ vital signs using a touch-free video system

When Rice University graduate student Mayank Kumar and colleagues visited Texas Children’s Hospital in 2013 they took note of the tangle of wires attached to premature infants to monitor their vitals. The wires frequently had to be removed or adjusted, which can potentially damage the preemies’ delicate skin, whenever mothers fed or cared for the babies.

So Kumar and Rice University professors Ashok Veeraraghavan, PhD, and Ashutosh Sabharwal, PhD, developed a video camera-based system that measures patients’ pulse and breathing by analyzing the changes in their skin color over time.

The system, called DistancePPG, corrects for challenges that have caused similar technology to be unreliable such as low-light conditions, dark skin tones and movement. According to a university release:

The Rice team solved these challenges by adding a method to average skin-color change signals from different areas of the face and an algorithm to track a subject’s nose, eyes, mouth and whole face.

“Our key finding was that the strength of the skin-color change signal is different in different regions of the face, so we developed a weighted-averaging algorithm,” Kumar said. “It improved the accuracy of derived vital signs, rapidly expanding the scope, viability, reach and utility of camera-based vital-sign monitoring.”

By incorporating tracking to compensate for movement — even a smile — DistancePPG perceived a pulse rate to within one beat per minute, even for diverse skin tones under varied lighting conditions.

Kumar said he expects the software to find its way to mobile phones, tablets and computers so people can reliably measure their own vital signs whenever and wherever they choose.

There’s more about how the system works in the above video.

Previously: Ultra-thin flexible device offers non-invasive method of monitoring heart health, blood pressure and Researchers develop mirror that reflects your vital signs

Biomed Bites, Neuroscience, Research, Stroke, Videos

Taking the “molecular brakes” off learning

Taking the "molecular brakes" off learning

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford’s most innovative researchers. 

When Carla Shatz, PhD, was a child, her grandmother suffered a stroke.

“At the time, people really couldn’t do anything for her and they didn’t understand how to give her rehab,” Shatz, a professor of biology and neurbiology, said in the video above. Shatz was sad and frustrated, but also curious: How does the brain change and recover, allowing for learning and growth?

“This research is something I’ve been working on for my entire career,” she said.

But now she and her team are starting to glean some insights into how the brain operates that could prove helpful for stroke treatments. Children learn effortlessly, but in adulthood, “molecular brakes” stymie the brain’s ability to create new connections, Shatz explained.

“If we could only take those brakes on learning off, we could restore learning to the amazing childlike state,” Shatz said. She and her collaborators have several ideas, ones that have shown promise in helping mice recover from stroke:

The last few years we’ve actually been able to come back to this question of stroke and address it with the knowledge of molecular mechanisms and the concept that enhancing brain plasticity and understanding how it works could actually allow for better recovery from stroke.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Science is like an ongoing mystery novel, says Stanford neurobiologist Carla Shatz, Examining the potential of creating new synapses in old or damaged brains  and Drug helps old brains learn new tricks 

Biomed Bites, Cancer, Genetics, Research, Science, Videos

From finches to cancer: A Stanford researcher explores the role of evolution in disease

From finches to cancer: A Stanford researcher explores the role of evolution in disease

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a feature that appears each Thursday and introduces readers to some of Stanford’s most innovative researchers.

My parents just returned from the trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos. I would have loved to go along — I really dig tortoises, which abound on the islands; my parents even saw a pair mating! And, ever since I took an introductory class on evolution as an undergrad, I’ve longed to visit the spot that was central in Darwin’s postulation of the theory of evolution and natural selection.

No famous finches for me though — I just toiled away behind my computer in northern California. But that doesn’t mean evolution is only happening in another hemisphere. Far from it: Just down the street in the lab of Gavin Sherlock, PhD, experiments are ongoing to elucidate evolution’s fundamental processes.

Sherlock shares his views role of evolution in disease in the video above:

The evolutionary process underlies many disease mechanisms. One such example is cancer, which recapitulates the evolutionary process as mutation occur and then get selected within the tumor. In addition, treatments with chemotherapy may select particular mutations within the tumor itself.

Resistance to antibiotics is also driven by evolution, Sherlock points out. With a deeper understanding, researchers will be better able to combat cancer and craft more effective antibiotics — no international travel required.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble — yeast dynasties give up their secrets, Get sloshed, have sex? Wine-making has promoted a frenzy of indiscriminate mating in baker’s yeast, according to Stanford researchers and Computing our evolution

Biomed Bites, Genetics, Research, Stanford News, Videos

Repairing DNA: A researcher strives to understand the root of DNA damage

Repairing DNA: A researcher strives to understand the root of DNA damage

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford’s most innovative researchers.

How’s your DNA? Is it in tip-top shape, a lovely helix of perfectly matched pairs? Or does it look like something the cat brought in, a chemical log-jam with gaps and mismatches? Granted, I’m taking a bit of liberty — no one is really going to inspect your genome, but someday, discoveries made by Karlene Cimprich, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology, might make it possible to spot those flaws — and fix them — years before they lead to cancer or neurodegeneration.

Cimprich didn’t intend to become a doctor of DNA. As a graduate student at Harvard, she discovered a molecule that helps cells detect and repair DNA damage, and she was hooked.

“What I’ve found in the last 10 to 15 years is that our understanding of that molecule has been translated into research in companies that are now targeting that molecule and other proteins with which it interacts for treatment for cancer,” Cimprich says in the video above.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Clues about kidney disease from an unexpected direction, Spotting broken DNA — in the DNA fix-it shop and Door dings and DNA — connecting behavior and the environment to your health

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