Silk ‘micrococoons’ could be used in biotechnology and medicine – Phys.Org

July 19, 2017 The silkworm spins a silk cocoon around itself for protection during metamorphosis. Researchers have found that silk can protect other precious cargos. Credit: 2017 Natural Materials Group

Microscopic versions of the cocoons spun by silkworms have been manufactured by a team of researchers. The tiny capsules, which are invisible to the naked eye, can protect sensitive molecular materials, and could prove a significant technology in areas including food science, biotechnology and medicine.

The capsules were made at the University of Cambridge using a specially-developed microengineering process. The process mimics on the microscale the way in which Bombyx mori silkworms spin the cocoons from which natural silk is harvested. The resulting micron-scale capsules comprise a solid and tough shell of silk nano-fibrils that surround and protect a centre of liquid cargo, and are more than a thousand times smaller than those created by silkworms.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the team suggest that these “micrococoons” are a potential solution to a common technological problem: How to protect sensitive molecules that have potential health or nutritional benefits, but can easily degrade and lose these favourable qualities during storage or processing.

The study argues that sealing such molecules in a protective layer of silk could be the answer, and that silk micrococoons that are far too small to see (or taste) could be used to house tiny particles of beneficial molecular “cargo” in various products, such as cosmetics and food.

The same technology could also be used in pharmaceuticals to treat a wide range of severe and debilitating illnesses. In the study, the researchers successfully showed that silk micrococoons can increase the stability and lifetime of an antibody that acts on a protein implicated in neurodegenerative diseases.

The work was carried out by an international team of academics from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Sheffield in the UK; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland; and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The study was led by Professor Tuomas Knowles, a Fellow of St John’s College at the University of Cambridge and co-director of the Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases.

“It is a common problem in a range of areas of great practical importance to have active molecules that possess beneficial properties but are challenging to stabilise for storage” Knowles said. “A conceptually simple, but powerful, solution is to put these inside tiny capsules. Such capsules are typically made from synthetic polymers, which can have a number of drawbacks, and we have recently been exploring the use of fully natural materials for this purpose. There is potential to replace plastics with sustainable biological materials, such as silk, for this purpose.”

Dr. Ulyana Shimanovich, who performed a major part of the experimental work as a St John’s College Post-Doctoral research associate, said: “Silk is a fantastic example of a natural structural material. But we had to overcome the challenge of controlling the silk to the extent that we could mould it to our designs, which are much smaller than the natural silk cocoons.”

Dr. Chris Holland, co-worker and head of the Natural Materials Group in Sheffield added: “Silk is amazing because whilst it is stored as a liquid, spinning transforms it into a solid. This is achieved by stretching the silk proteins as they flow down a microscopic tube inside the silkworm.”

To imitate this, the researchers created a tiny, artificial spinning duct, which copies the natural spinning process to cause the unspun silk to form into a solid. They then worked out how to control the geometry of this self-assembly in order to create microscopic shells.

Making conventional synthetic capsules can be challenging to achieve in an environmentally friendly manner and from biodegradable and biocompatible materials. Silk is not only easier to produce; it is also biodegradable and requires less energy to manufacture.

“Natural silk is already being used in products like surgical materials, so we know that it is safe for human use,” Professor Fritz Vollrath head of the Oxford Silk Group said. “Importantly, the approach does not change the material, just its shape.”

Silk micrococoons could also expand the range and shelf-life of proteins and molecules available for pharmaceutical use. Because the technology can preserve antibodies, which would otherwise degrade, in cocoons with walls that can be designed to dissolve over time, it could enable the development of new treatments against cancer, or neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.

To explore the viability of silk microcapsules in this regard, the researchers successfully tested the micrococoons with an antibody that has been developed to act on alpha-synuclein, the protein that is thought to malfunction at the start of the molecular process leading to Parkinson’s Disease. This study was carried out with the support of the Cambridge Centre for Misfolding Diseases, whose research programme is focused on the search for ways of preventing and treating neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

“Some of the most efficacious and largest selling therapeutics are antibodies,” Michele Vendruscolo, co-director of the Cambridge Centre of Misfolding diseases, said. “However, antibodies tend to be prone to aggregation at the high concentrations needed for delivery, which means that they are often written off for use in treatments, or have to be engineered to promote stability.”

“By containing such antibodies in micrococoons, as we did here, we could significantly extend not just their longevity, but also the range of antibodies at our disposal,” Knowles said. “We are very excited by the possibilities of using the power of microfluidics to generate entirely new types of artificial materials from fully natural proteins.”

The study, Silk microcooons for protein stabilisation and molecular encapsulation, is published in Nature Communications.

Explore further: Learning from nature’s silky skills

More information: Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS15902

Why have we never been able to manufacture fibers as strong and tough as the silks spun by silkworms and spiders?

(Phys.org)A team of researchers at Tsinghua University in China has found that adding graphene or carbon nanotubes to the food eaten by silkworms causes them to produce silk that is stronger than normal. In their paper …

If you want to spin silk like a spider then you need to rethink your starting material, Oxford University scientists have discovered.

Possibly the strongest hybrid silk fibers to date have been created by scientists in Sweden using all-renewable resources. Combining spider silk proteins with nanocellulose from wood, the process offers a low-cost and scalable …

Supple, light and biodegradable but stronger than steel: researchers said Monday they have succeeded in producing synthetic spider silk, one of nature’s strongest materials.

(PhysOrg.com) — The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore has developed a way to replace the traditional dying process necessary to make colored silk. A simple dietary change for the silkworm …

(Phys.org)When most people hear the term “CO2 emissions,” they probably think of several negative things: greenhouse gas, pollutant, climate change, political discord, economic burden. But a team of researchers led by …

A boosting skin vaccination with a biodegradable microneedle patch and protein constructed from sequences of influenza virus subtypes could improve the effectiveness of conventional influenza vaccines, according to a study …

Using the principles of light, University of Leeds scientists have discovered a new way to measure the strength of modern forms of concrete – giving industry a better way to understand when it could fracture.

Catheters, intravenous lines, and other types of surgical tubing are a medical necessity for managing a wide range of diseases. But a patient’s experience with such devices is rarely a comfortable one.

Nitrogen is abundantly available in nature and forms the basis for many valuable products, both natural and artificial. This requires a reaction known as “nitrogen fixation”, whereby molecular nitrogen is split into two atoms …

Microscopic versions of the cocoons spun by silkworms have been manufactured by a team of researchers. The tiny capsules, which are invisible to the naked eye, can protect sensitive molecular materials, and could prove a …

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Silk ‘micrococoons’ could be used in biotechnology and medicine – Phys.Org

Startup touts neuro-stimulation as ‘medicine for the brain’ – Medical Xpress

July 19, 2017 Daniel Chao, co-founder of Halo Neuroscience, displays his company’s device to improve brain performance

They look like a set of fancy headphones. But a set of spikes inside the band act as electrodes to stimulate the brain.

According to California startup Halo Neuroscience, the device can help improve the performance of athletes, pilots and surgeons, and potentially help rehabilitation for stroke victims.

“The brain is an electrical organ,” said Daniel Chao, a physician and co-founder of Halo, in discussing the product at this week’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference.

By stimulating the motor cortex, Chao says the Halo device can “extract latent potential” in the brain to improve performance for people who rely on making quick decisions on movements such as athletes.

“We think of athleticism athletes, pilots as athletes.”

Halo, which has raised some $10 million in funding, began selling the Halo Sport device last year for $749.

The San Francisco startup has also concluded deals with the San Francisco Giants baseball team and the US Olympic ski team to integrate Halo in training programs.

Chao said the US military is the company’s largest customer, aiming to help improve the performance of special operations team

Users are advised to wear the headset for 20 minutes a day, to get electrical stimulation “to build stronger, more optimized connections between your brain and muscles,” according to the company website.

Chao, who trained as a doctor and studied neuroscience at Stanford, previously worked at a startup called Neuro Pace which uses electrical stimulation to treat epilepsy.

He said his research found little help from drugs for the disease and decided to study “electricity as medicine for the brain.”

Chao said he hopes to obtain US government approval to use the technology for medical applications.

“As a doctor I want to see this achieve an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval,” he told the conference. “The first application could be for stroke rehab.”

Explore further: Smooth jumps from athletes integrating headphones with training

2017 AFP

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Startup touts neuro-stimulation as ‘medicine for the brain’ – Medical Xpress

Intermountain, Stanford University see promise for precision medicine in cancer cases – Healthcare IT News

Recent research from Intermountain Healthcare’s clinicians shows the successful application of genomic-based approaches to studying individual cancer cases.

Oncologists Lincoln Nadauld, MD, and Derrick Haslem, MD, work at the Southwest Cancer Center in St. George, Utah. In addition to treating patients, they conduct research aimed at improving cancer care and precision medicine.

Their recent research has been published in two national peer-reviewed journals in collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare doctors and researchers from Stanford School of Medicine.

[Also:Precision medicine: Hype today but the promise is even bigger than we think]

One study outlines what the doctors call an “impressive” clinical course and positive outcome of a patient with metastatic colon cancer treated with a precision oncology approach. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology-Precision Oncology, a research publication outlet from the American Society of Clinical Oncologists.

The second publication, co-authored by Nadauld and published in Genome Medicine, shows that linked read sequencing is useful in characterizing oncogenic rearrangements in cancer metastasis.

Both studies were done in collaboration with Hanlee P. Ji, MD, senior associate director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center and Associate Professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine.

Linked read sequencing, the researchers note, is a process that allows scientists and doctors to look at the molecular structure of tumor DNA in longer reads of 50,000 base pairs, as opposed to the typical 200-300, and thus “revealing the genomic complexity of patient tumors.”

In reference to the Genome Medicine study, Nadauld points out: “In this patient, we were able to identify an amplification of a gene called FGFR2, which is critical because there are drugs that target that mutation.

“This case indicates there are broader applications for linked read technology, including diagnostic purposes and defining additional treatment options for patients along with new genes to target,” he added. “With further study, pharmaceutical and biotech technologies can start to develop new drugs that target different molecular phenomena.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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UR Medicine partners receive $21.8M in state grants – Rochester Business Journal

Four partners of UR Medicineincluding Strong Memorial Hospitalwill receive a total of $21.8 million in state grants, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

The grants are part of the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program that aims to create financially stable health care systems.

Now, more than ever, we need to protect health care in New York and ensure the system in place is meeting the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers, Cuomo said in a statement. While others seek to decimate our hospitals and reduce access to quality health care, we are investing to help ensure a stronger, healthier New York for all.

The four hospitals are:

Strong Memorial Hospital: The hospital will receive $1.88 million to expand crisis stabilization and addiction services in Monroe County, including a 24/7 phone triage available to all community providers, further development of mobile crisis services and additional crisis beds for patients who require short-term transitional care, officials said.

Jones Memorial Hospital, Wellsville, Allegany County: The hospital will receive$5.7 million to implement a new electronic medical record system that will integrate Jones into the UR Medicine EMR system.

Noyes Memorial Hospital, Dansville, Livingston County: The hospital will receive $6.3 million to implement an EMR system integrated with the UR Medicine system.

St. James Mercy Hospital, Hornell, Steuben County: The hospital will receive $7.9 million to support development of a new hospital campus, officials said.

These grants help to close the gap between whats needed by those we serve and whats affordable based on our operations, said Mark Taubman M.D., CEO of UR Medicine, in a statement. This funding will help us build an infrastructure that works better for patients and providers, and furthers our efforts to address daunting behavioral health challenges. Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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UR Medicine partners receive $21.8M in state grants – Rochester Business Journal

Explosion and fire damages homes in Medicine Hat – CTV News

Three homes in Medicine Hat were damaged in a fire on Wednesday morning and investigators are working to determine a cause for the blaze.

Crews were called to a residence in the Crescent Heights area at about 10:00 a.m. for reports of a fire.

An investigator has been on scene since then, police are involved as well and so until we find out all the details it will be treated as a crime scene, said Deputy Fire Chief, Lance Purcell.

One home was completely gutted by fire and a residence on either side of it was scorched.

Officials say the structure has been compromised and crews have not yet been able to enter to search the building.

It took us about an hour to get control of everything. At present we dont have an all clear on all the buildings. The structural damage on the centre one is, significant structural damage in the centre unit so we haven’t been able to search that to ensure everybody is out, said Purcell.

Police and fire will remain at the scene to investigate and monitor for hot spots.

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Explosion and fire damages homes in Medicine Hat – CTV News

Blood test IDs key Alzheimer’s marker – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Visit the News Hub

Study findings are significant step in predicting disease risk

A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid beta in their brains or cerebrospinal fluid. Ideally, a blood-based screening test would identify people who have started down the path toward Alzheimers years before they could be diagnosed based on symptoms.

Decades before people with Alzheimers disease develop memory loss and confusion, their brains become dotted with plaques made of a sticky protein called amyloid beta that is thought to contribute to the disease and its progression.

Currently, the only way to detect amyloid beta in the brain is via PET scanning, which is expensive and not widely available, or a spinal tap, which is invasive and requires a specialized medical procedure. But now, a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their brains or cerebrospinal fluid.

Ideally, a blood-based screening test would identify people who have started down the path toward Alzheimers years before they could be diagnosed based on symptoms.

Our results demonstrate that this amyloid beta blood test can detect if amyloid has begun accumulating in the brain, said Randall J. Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology and the studys senior author. This is exciting because it could be the basis for a rapid and inexpensive blood screening test to identify people at high risk of developing Alzheimers disease.

The findings will be announced July 19 at the Alzheimers Association International Conference in London and published online in the journal Alzheimers and Dementia.

As the brain engages in daily tasks, it continually produces and clears away amyloid beta. Some is washed into the blood, and some floats in the cerebrospinal fluid, for example. If amyloid starts building up, though, it can collect into plaques that stick to neurons, triggering neurological damage.

A blood test would be cheaper and less invasive than PET scans or spinal taps, but previous studies have found that measures of total levels of amyloid beta in the blood dont correlate with levels in the brain.

So Bateman and colleagues measured blood levels of three amyloid subtypes amyloid beta 38, amyloid beta 40 and amyloid beta 42 using highly precise measurement by mass spectrometry to see if any correlated with levels of amyloid in the brain.

The researchers studied 41 people ages 60 and older. Twenty-three were amyloid-positive, meaning they had signs of cognitive impairment. PET scans or spinal taps in these patients also had detected the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain or amyloid alterations in the cerebrospinal fluid. The researchers also measured amyloid subtypes in 18 people who had no buildup of amyloid in the brain.

To measure amyloid levels, production and clearance over time, the researchers drew 20 blood samples from each person over a 24-hour period. They found that levels of amyloid beta 42 relative to amyloid beta 40 were consistently 10 to 15 percent lower in the people with amyloid plaques.

Amyloid plaques are composed primarily of amyloid beta 42, so this probably means that it is being deposited in the brain before moving into the bloodstream, Bateman said.

The differences are not big, but they are highly consistent, he explained. Our method is very sensitive, and particularly when you have many repeated samples as in this study more than 500 samples overall we can be highly confident that the difference is real. Even a single sample can distinguish who has amyloid plaques.

By averaging the ratio of amyloid beta 42 to amyloid beta 40 over each individuals 20 samples, the researchers could classify people accurately as amyloid-positive or -negative 89 percent of the time. On average, any single time point was also about 86 percent accurate.

Amyloid plaques are one of the two characteristic signs of Alzheimers disease; the other sign is the presence of tangles of a brain protein known as tau. David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology at the School of Medicine, is developing a blood-based test for tau that could complement the amyloid test.

If we had a blood test for tau as well, we could combine them to get an even better idea of who is most at risk of developing Alzheimers disease, Bateman said. That would be a huge step forward in our ability to predict, and maybe even prevent, Alzheimers disease.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant number R01NS065667, and the Alzheimers Association Zenith Award Grant, number 385680569.

Ovod V, Bollinger JG, Mawuenyega KG, Hicks TJ, Schneider T, Kasten T, Sigurdson W, Sullivan M, Donahue TA, Ramsey K, Paumier K, Holtzman DM, Morris JC, Benzinger TLS, Fagan AM, Patterson BW, and Bateman RJ. Concentrations and Stable Isotope Label Kinetics of Human Plasma Amyloid Beta. Alzheimers Association International Conference. Oral presentation. July 19, 2017.

Ovod V, Ramsey K, Mawuenyega KG, Bollinger JG, Hicks T, Schneider T, Sullivan M, Paumier K, Holtzman DM, Morris JC, Benzinger T, Fagan AM, Patterson B, and Bateman RJ. Amyloid beta concentrations and stable isotope labeling kinetics of human plasma specific to CNS amyloidosis. Alzheimers and Dementia. July 19, 2017.

Washington University School of Medicines 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Childrens hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked seventh in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Childrens hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

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Blood test IDs key Alzheimer’s marker – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Mercyhealth donates $250K to Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford – Rockford Register Star

Kayli Plotner Staff writer

ROCKFORD Mercyhealth gave $250,000 today to support the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford’s expansion to a four-year medical school.

The expansion will bring 55 first-year medical students to Rockford in August. Historically, medical students spend their first year at the Urbana campus and then complete the remaining three in Rockford.

“We are so appreciative of Mercyhealth’s generous gift to support our transformation to a four-year school,” said Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green, regional dean of the college. “This expansion includes physical improvements to our campus and also involves hiring of eight new faculty members, almost all of whom are relocating to Rockford from outside the region.”

The college hopes the expansion will add to the continuity of education, strengthen relationships among students and enhance their exposure to the Rockford region. Mercyhealth’s donation will help support a new anatomy laboratory with state-of-the-art virtual bodies and traditional cadavers, as well as a technology-based classroom designed for team-based learning.

“Medical education is critically important to the training of tomorrow’s physicians,” said Javon Bea, president and CEO of Mercyhealth. “We are proud to have partnered with the University of Illinois College of Medicine in their mission since the college’s inception in 1971.”

“This collaboration provides us the opportunity to have a lasting impact on medical education, securing quality and compassionate care for the Rockford region.”

Kayli Plotner: 815-987-1391; kplotner@rrstar.com; @kayplot

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Mercyhealth donates $250K to Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford – Rockford Register Star

Forbes named Penn Medicine the 7th best employer in the country. Staffers explain why. – The Daily Pennsylvanian

You come to work not just to survive’ your job. Its to survive and grow, because Penn has this culture of excellence,” says Maria Molina, an award-winningnurse practitioner.

Penns sprawling medical system, home to major scientific innovations and the largest capital expenditure in the Universitys history, just added another distinction: a nomination as one of the best employers in the United States, fromto Forbes magazine.

Penn Medicine placed 7th in the country on the list.

Several of Penn Medicines over 35,000 employees spoke to The Daily Pennsylvanian this week about the honor and why their workplace is one of the nations best.

Michael Ashburn, the director of Penn medicines pain management center and an anesthesiology professor, noted the historical significance of working at the home of Americas first hospital and first medical school.

That sense of history gives people a foundation on which to try to make their own history, he said.

Maria Molina, who has been a nurse practitioner with the heart transplant team for the past seven years, said, You come to work not just to survive your job. Its to survive and grow, because Penn has this culture of excellence.

She added that this high-level climate is not a double-edged sword that forces people to work too hard. Instead, she said employees are like-minded, committed to what they do and ready to collaborate.

Medical oncologist Kim Reiss Binder specializes in gastrointestinal malignancies. In an interview with the DP, she emphasized Penn Medicines focus on teamwork and praised the dedication of her administrative assistant, nurses and physicians assistants.

This way, she said, no employees get too overwhelmed and the patients assigned to her team receive the best care possible. She added that Penn Medicine has a strong emotional support department as well for patients and families going through rough times.

As in any good workplace, Penn Medicine employees also know how to have fun.

Reiss Binder described annual, very raucous, very entertaining brunches at her division chiefs house with the women in the oncology department.

You feel like youre just hanging out with a bunch of really cool ladies who happen to be absolutely, unbelievably brilliant and extraordinary scientists, she said. I think that was the moment for me when I went to that brunch. I was like, I am part of an unbelievable group of women.

Molina lauded her mentor as well, a former president of the American Heart Association who has written textbooks about heart failure.

When I first met her, I was starstruck, she said. Thats probably why I have this culture of, I have to strive harder, because I am with the best.

Molina, who earned an International Nursing Excellence Award in 2015, was also inspired by a collaborating physician to get started in the research field.

Theres a number of opportunities, she said. Its difficult not to excel in anything because the opportunities are just there.

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Forbes named Penn Medicine the 7th best employer in the country. Staffers explain why. – The Daily Pennsylvanian

Jennifer Bard to join Penn State Law, College of Medicine as visiting professor – Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Jennifer S. Bard, an internationally recognized expert in the fields of law, public health and bioethics, will join the faculties of Penn State Law and the Penn State College of Medicine this summer for a one-year appointment as a visiting professor of law and medicine.

Bard is a professor of law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she also holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She served as dean of Cincinnati Law from 2015 to 2017.

At Penn State, Bard will work with the faculties of Penn State Law and the College of Medicine to build new synergies between the two professional schools. In the spring 2018 semester, Bard will teach a course or seminar at the law school in the field of health law. She will also deliver guest lectures, workshops and seminars at the College of Medicine.

I am very excited that Jennifer Bard will be joining us at Penn State this coming year, said Penn State Law Dean Hari Osofsky. Her impressive expertise in both interdisciplinary health law issues and program development will help us enormously as we build in this area. The University has made a strategic commitment to enhancing health, and Penn State Law looks forward to collaborating in that effort.

Bard will serve as a visiting professor on the faculty at Penn State for the 2017-18 academic year, beginning in August.

A well-founded medical education goes far beyond the science of healing to also include important and interconnected topics such as the impact of health policies, social determinants of health, the changing health care landscape and patient perspectives, said Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, CEO of Penn State Health and Penn States senior vice president for health affairs. Im confident that Dr. Bards contributions will be yet another way to ensure our students become solid, systems-ready physicians, while also bringing new knowledge and perspectives to our faculty and staff.

Im honored to accept the invitation to spend a year at Penn State Law and the College of Medicine as they assess how best to bring together the amazing resources of this exceptional university to build a program that will integrate research and learning about some of the most important issues we face as a society, said Bard. This is an exciting year for health law and its a pleasure to be part of the national conversation while at a law school and medical school whose students and faculties are in the forefront of policy change and innovation. I look forward to being part of the energy, intellect and vision that Deans Osofsky and Hillemeier are creating through their creative leadership.

Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati, Bard was associate vice provost for academic engagement at Texas Tech University and was the Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law and director of the Health Law and J.D./M.D. program at Texas Tech University School of Law. From 2012 to 2013, she served as associate dean for faculty research and development at Texas Tech Law.

Bard also held appointments in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as a member of the founding faculty of the public health program and as adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech University Health Science Centers School of Medicine. She has been a visiting professor at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, and in the LL.M. program at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

Bard has been recognized for her teaching, including being named Outstanding First Year Teacher at Texas Tech Law. She has taught Torts, Public Health Law, Human Subject Research Law, and Constitutional Issues in Health Law. She began her academic career as a faculty member at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Bard is a prolific and highly successful scholar in the disciplines of law, public health and bioethics. She has published 30 articles and book chapters, including articles in the University of Utah Law Journal, The American Journal of Bioethics, and the University of Houston International Law Journal on topics ranging from the regulation of e-cigarettes, international human subject research, whistleblowing in higher education, the use of dangerousness as a factor in death penalty sentencing, corporate wellness programs, and posthumous reproduction. Her work is widely cited by publications in a variety of disciplines.

Bard has been asked to present scholarly papers at conferences all over the world in law, bioethics and public health, most recently including the Athens Institute for Education and Research’s 11th annual International Conference on Law in Athens, Greece, and the European Law Faculties (ELFA) Annual Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. She is frequently sought out by the media on issues of law and public health and has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and Money Magazine. She often publishes opinion pieces in print and is a contributing editor to the Health Law Professors Blog, PrawfsBlawg, and The Harvard Bill of Health.

She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has served as book review editor of the Journal of Legal Medicine, a publication of the American Academy of Legal Medicine. She also was a past-chair of two American Association of Law School’s sections: Law, Medicine, and Health Care and Mental Disability.

Bard holds a doctorate from Texas Tech University, a juris doctor from Yale Law School, a master of public health from the University of Connecticut, and a bachelor of arts from Wellesley College.

Following law school, Bard clerked for the late Honorable Frank H. Freedman, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She was then a litigation associate at Shearman & Sterling in New York City where she worked on complex commercial litigation and international mergers and acquisitions. Before entering academe, she was an assistant attorney general in Connecticut in the Medicaid Fraud/Whistleblower Unit.

She is a member of the bars of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia and admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Military Court of Appeals, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, and the District of Connecticut.

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Jennifer Bard to join Penn State Law, College of Medicine as visiting professor – Penn State News

Medicine’s shameful silence on silencers – Washington Examiner

What if a cheap, simple, and safe method existed for preventing permanent hearing loss in tens of millions of Americans?

America’s doctors should be singing its praises and recommending it to their patients. American doctor organizations should be doing the same, as well as vigorously supporting the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367 and its companion bill S. 59) or the newly introduced Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act, or SHUSH (S. 1505 in the Senate and H.R. 3139 in the House). But they are doing neither. Why not?

The Hearing Protection Act would remove Al Capone-era federal restrictions on firearm silencers or suppressors. The Act’s repeal of the $200 transfer tax, the months-long wait, and the mountain of red tape would afford American hunters and sport shooters wider access to a safety device known to preserve hearing. SHUSH would go even further, defining suppressors as just another firearm safety accessory, which they are.

But the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics not only refuse to support doing away with the outdated restrictions. They won’t even promote the use of suppressors as a valuable public health solution.

Even the group representing ear doctors, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has decided officially to refuse their support of both this hearing-saving tool and the legislation that would make it widely available to their patients.

As an ear specialist, I was consulted by innumerable people for noise-induced hearing loss the kind caused by loud music, industrial machinery, and firearms. But I could offer no surgery or medicine. My best solution for them, to their frustration and mine, was to recommend hearing aids.

Although the American public is beginning to learn the science-based truth (disclosure I am one of the authors of this white paper) about suppressors, much ignorance remains. Major media outlets have allowed their hostility to anything and everything about firearms to override any recognition of the public health benefit. That they have condemned the use of suppressors on the flimsiest of pretexts is bad enough. But the refusal of the medical establishment to heartily endorse suppressors and supportive legislation is nothing short of a moral failing.

One obstacle to reform is the stubbornly persistent myth that suppressors actually do silence the ear-splitting impact noise of a gun being fired. The Hollywood image of a hit man or spy squeezing off shots with no more than a punchy hissing sound is what informs much of the public. And it is a complete fiction.

In reality, suppressors are much like auto mufflers. They reduce the ear-pounding impact noise of a gunshot by about 30 decibels. So, a shot from a rifle with a muzzle sound pressure level of 170 dB would still deliver a 140 dB sonic punch to your ears, about the level of noise from a jackhammer. It is still loud enough to require supplementary hearing protection on the target range in the form of ear plugs and muffs.

The scientific principles are not difficult to understand. The truth about how suppressors really work is readily available. It’s understandable that the lay public would still be in the dark about them, considering the fantasy images they’ve seen for decades in movies and on television.

But the scientists who lead the national organization of ear doctors have no excuse for ignorance of how suppressors prevent hearing loss. The ignoble reason that they and other leaders of organized medicine have shirked their moral obligation to prevent human infirmity is prejudice, fueled by a willful ignorance.

Suppressors are not going away. Over the last decade, the states have led the way in laws making this public health benefit more available. Americans are now better informed about their value. But instead of taking a leadership role, our medical organizations have indulged their prejudices and remained silent to the detriment of their patients. Let us hope their better angels will prevail, and they will become leaders in the movement to save their patients’ hearing.

Timothy Wheeler is a retired ear surgeon and the past director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a Project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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Medicine’s shameful silence on silencers – Washington Examiner

Schumer: ‘Bipartisan Medicine’ Is Needed To Fix Health Care – TPM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted his Republican colleagues plan to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, saying the move would be a disaster and calling the current GOP Senate health bill unworkable.

Its time to move one. Its time to start over. Rather than repeating the same failed partisan process, yet again, Republicans should work together with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets and improves our health-care system, Schumer said Tuesday from the Senate floor, slamming majority leader Mitch McConnell for assuming Democrats did not want to work with GOP leaders on a health care compromise. The majority leader admitted he decided the matter for us when he locked Democrats out of the process at the outset. Now that their one-party effort largely failed, we hope they will change their tune.

Schumers comments came after the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare unravelled Monday night when two Republican Senators came out as opposed to the plan.

Make no mistake about it, passing repeal without a replacement would be a disaster. Our health care system would implode, millions would lose coverage, he said, adding that repealing now and having it go into effect two years later would be worse for American people than the passage of the Republican health care bill that was just rejected.

Its like, if our health caresystem was a patient who came inand needed some medicine.Republicans propose surgery, theoperation was a failure.Now Republicans are proposing asecond surgery that will surelykill the patient.Medicine is needed, bipartisanmedicine, not a second surgery, he said.

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Schumer: ‘Bipartisan Medicine’ Is Needed To Fix Health Care – TPM

Health Notes: UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville honored – Florida Times-Union

Three pediatricians with the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville have been honored by the Northeast Florida Pediatric Society. Laura Beverly was named the societys Pediatrician of the Year. Asad Tolaymat was named Educator of the Year. Daniel Indelicato was named Pioneer of Innovation.

Beverly is medical director of the UF Health Pediatrics-Beaches practice. She has practiced pediatrics in Jacksonville Beach since 1991 and has been a UF faculty member since 2004. Tolaymat is a professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric nephrology and rheumatology. Indelicatos focus is pediatric radiation oncology and he is a key member of the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.


GuideWell Innovation, a subsidiary of Florida Blues parent company, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, has launched a new pitch competition to fast track entrepreneurial ventures focused on aging well. Health+Accel is a one-week intense workshop for advanced entrepreneurs with innovations that allow individuals to age with dignity on their own terms.

Selected entrepreneurs will participate in Health+Accel Oct. 30 through Nov. 3 at the GuideWell Innovation CoRE located in Lake Nona Medical City, a 650-acre health and life sciences park in Orlando. They will obtain insight into the dynamic needs and relationships between insurers and providers and will receive coaching on how to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Health+Accel will conclude on Friday, Nov. 3, with a pitch competition. The entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to pitch their aging well solutions to executives, investors, business leaders. A panel of judges will award a $20,000 cash prize for the winning pitch.

Applications currently are being accepted from advanced entrepreneurs at GuideWellInnovation.com/Health-Accel. The deadline to apply is July 31. Those selected will receive a travel stipend to cover the cost of attending.

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Health Notes: UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville honored – Florida Times-Union

A pioneer in medicine gets his day – Standard Speaker

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Dr Stanley Dudrick, 82, stands near his former home at 414 W Union St., Nanticoke. The legendary Nanticoke doctor is being honored as being one of the top 50 doctors in world history.Mark Morancv16dudrickp4

Dr Stanley Dudrick, 82, stands on the front porch of his former home at 414 W Union St., Nanticoke. The legendary Nanticoke doctor is being honored as being one of the top 50 doctors in world history. Mark Moran cv16dudrickp1

NANTICOKE As a rookie physician in the early 1960s, Dr. Stanley Dudrick was so frustrated with his patients dying he nearly switched specialties. Instead, the Nanticoke native revolutionized the medical world.

The descendant of Nanticoke coal miners, Dudrick invented the intravenous feeding method known as total parenteral nutrition, or TPN, which is considered one of the most important breakthroughs in modern surgery.

Known as the father of intravenous feeding, Dudrick is constantly ranked among the most influential doctors in world history for his pioneering work, which he unveiled in July 1967 at age 32. His work is credited with saving millions of lives.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Dudricks invention and his hometown is planning a big honor for him this week.

It seems very simple and obvious now, but at the time it terrified the medical profession, Dudrick said. A lot of people said it wouldnt work and youre going to kill people. I had to convince doctors not only that it would work, but it would be safe. Soon, it took the world by storm. And the rest is history.

Nanticoke City will recognize Wednesday as Dr. Dudrick Day. A historical marker will be unveiled at the monthly city council meeting that night at Luzerne County Community College. The plaque will eventually be erected outside Dudricks childhood home on West Union Street, which his grandfather built during evenings after long days working underground in the mines.

Dudrick invented TPN while a surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He always intended to return to the Wyoming Valley, but after his invention, his skill level was too far advanced for what was being practiced in local hospitals.

He became a professor of surgery at Penn. He helped launch the surgery department of the University of Texas Medical School and became chief of surgery at the universitys hospital. He was named chairman of the surgery department at Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest in the nation. Later, he was tapped as surgery department chairman at the Yale University School of Medicine.

But Dudrick always longed to come back home. And in 2011, he did.

Dudrick, 82, is now the director of the physician assistant program at Misericordia University and is a professor of surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

All these years later, I still wanted to come back home to kind of pay back the people who helped me grow up and support me and allowed me to go off and get a great education, Dudrick said. I had this emotional draw to come back to the area.

Dr. Steven J. Scheinman, president and dean of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, called Dudrick a mythical character whose contribution to medicine ranks in importance with the development of open heart surgery and organ transplantation.

I think its fitting that Stans monumental contribution has been to nourish people. Thats what true philanthropists do they find ways to sustain and uplift people and never forget that all the technological wizardry in the world cannot replace simple caring, nurturing and compassion, Scheinman said.

Scheinman noted Dudrick developed hundreds of scientific and technological advances to invent TPN, but never sought to patent any of his work.

Had he done so, and licensed and profited from them, he would today be a billionaire, Scheinman said. But he felt that to do so would limit access to these advances by patients and their doctors, and limit their benefit, so he intentionally did not do that. So Stan is not just humble and brilliant, he is absolutely selfless.

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570-821-2055, @cvbobkal


A pioneer in medicine gets his day – Standard Speaker

UNLV School of Medicine opens with stethoscope ceremony – Las … – Las Vegas Sun

Mikayla Whitmore

UNLV School of Medicine Vice Dean Ellen Cosgrove greets students during a stethoscope ceremony by UNLV School of Medicine for its inaugural class of medical students at the Student Union on July 17, 2017. 60 students were honored and presented with stethoscopes donated by Constantine George,MD.

By Mick Akers (contact)

Published Monday, July 17, 2017 | 5:54 p.m.

Updated Monday, July 17, 2017 | 9:46 p.m.

The long-awaited UNLV School of Medicine kicked off Monday with members of the inaugural class honored with stethoscopes at a ceremony.

The 60 students began orientation and will get into their first course Tuesday with emergency response and population studies.

So many people have worked so hard over the years to get to this day for the start of the first medical school class, UNLV President Len Jessup told the crowd at the one-hour event. Its unbelievable.

Barbara Atkinson, the schools dean, was noticeably absent. She is hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.

She really wanted to be here. No one has worked harder than her or was more excited about today, so it was tough for her, Jessup said. It would have been nice for her to see everything physically today, but I spoke with her this morning and she is very excited about how far weve come.

Many of the students already have a strong connection with Atkinson.

Im very sorry that Atkinson couldnt have been with us today, because she is the heart and soul of the program, student Alex Ma said. You could really feel her presence was missed today.

Although missed at the ceremony, Jessup assured that Atkinsons absence would not be a long-term event.

Shes making really good progress and now shes up and moving around, so its only a matter of time for her physical therapy for however long that takes, he said.

The 60 students for the first class were chosen from more than 900 applicants. There are 31 women and 29 men, all Nevada residents. Each has a scholarship worth $25,000 per year for four years.

That was intentional because we wanted to increase the chances of them staying after to be doctors and serve the community, Jessup said. We knew having students from Nevada, or with strong Nevada ties would help us to do that.

Seventeen of those students are the first to attend college in their families. Two of the students are veterans, and two students went to high school in rural Nevada. The class is made up of 20 percent from groups deemed underrepresented in the medical field.

Well be going out into the community, into some of the medically underinsured areas and really getting to know the neighborhoods, Ma said. Well see what their medical needs are and will report it back to the school to see if theres any chance of us making an impact to the community.

Ma, who previously studied media and filmmaking, said he was both excited and nervous to be part of the first School of Medicine class.

I want to do the best that I can and put my best foot forward because were establishing the culture for the program, he said. They told us, none of you are here by mistake and that really struck me. I always thought that I came here by accident, but the fact there was some much consideration involved and so much thought in the process, it really means a lot.

The main building of UNLV School of Medicine, planned for West Charleston Boulevard across from UMC, is still a few years off. Jessup said the school is in the early design phase, with about $50 million raised so far.

The goal is $100-$125 million in place for the first phase, he said. It all depends on the donors (to how fast UNLV reaches their goal).

Jessup believes the school could reach its fundraising goal as quickly as the end of the year.

The medical school addition will serve as a critical step to UNLVs goal of achieving Tier 1 university status, Jessup said.

You almost cant get to the Tier 1 status without having a medical school, he said. Its very important to the university.

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UNLV School of Medicine opens with stethoscope ceremony – Las … – Las Vegas Sun

Dr. Adam Kendall Renewed His Passion for Medicine with Music – NBCNews.com

Dr. Adam Kendall playing the violin in front of a piano. In addition to his medical practice, Kendall performs music in public to help people heal. Lyd amd Mo Photography

Inspired by his trip, Kendall obtained a performers license and began regularly performing at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. His first performance was New Year’s Day 2012, a little over a month after his wife died.

Today, the physician-musician performs every Friday night outside of his apartment complex at the Monrovia Street Fair in Monrovia, California dressed in a full tuxedo and performing everything from Scott Joplin to film scores to classical concertos. Before each performance, Kendall also introduces his friend’s dog, Barney, who sits next to him on the piano bench as he plays.

I found that he listened to me just as attentively as some of my well-seasoned classical listeners, Kendall said. The beauty of his locked-in gaze on my instruments as I played music for him was I think more powerful than the music itself.

Kendall has met people from all walks of life through his street performances. Many have come up to him after his performances and have shared their most intimate stories.

Ive had a gentleman recently imprisoned share that he had just gotten out of prison that week and being able to walk as a free man in his free country and listen to free music was just a beautiful experience I thought that was brave of him to share that, Kendall said.

Any of the money Kendall receives while playing, he gives back to charity. Along with his street performances, Kendall plays at charity concerts to benefit local organizations, including

Kendall says theres a tremendous amount of healing that is occurring through the act of performing or listening to music and that, to him, is worth playing another note.

To be able to play the violin or piano for individuals that lack the capacity to speak openly and to have that life with you is an area of healing that we are just beginning to appreciate how to provide non-verbal healing, Kendall said. I feel like in that regards, there is some neurologic feeling that is occurring that we just cant put a number on or put a measurement on.

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Dr. Adam Kendall Renewed His Passion for Medicine with Music – NBCNews.com

Being told I was a disappointment to medicine haunted me for years – The Guardian

Constructive feedback means saying, You could do this better and here is how. Photograph: sturti/Getty Images

Many years ago, when I was a trainee physician, a formal feedback to track my progress never materialised. Instead, late one evening, with no prior notice, I was marched into a room and told by a clearly enraged consultant that he wished I had never been selected into the training program. I was stunned when the monologue ended in this dire pronouncement, Actually, Id say you are a disappointment to medicine.

Looking back, this ambit claim should have alerted me to muster my internal defences right there. It was only the beginning of my training; in the handful of years I had been a doctor, I had not presided over a string of unaccountable deaths nor had I bullied interns or abused patients. I was like every other trainee unexceptional but committed, aware of the difficult trek ahead but grateful for the opportunity. And while it may have been apparent to an experienced eye that I wasnt destined for high glory, it seemed a bit rich to foretell a doctors lifelong contribution to medicine by the first few unremarkable years.

But of course, none of this occurred to me at the time other than the sinking realisation that I wasnt just a disappointment to medicine but a certified failure. It didnt matter that the consultant had not got to know me; it didnt matter that his intemperance was common knowledge; all that mattered was that he had seen further into me than anyone else and proclaimed me an early failure. I wish I could say that the claim was so entirely unfounded and so wildly exaggerated that I banished it from my head but in fact, his words sank into my marrow and stayed there for years and years to come.

The ensuing years turned out to be far more interesting than I could have imagined. I became an oncologist and won a Fulbright award that transformed my life from a physician to a physician-writer and public speaker. Patients and colleagues complimented me but to me, those other skills felt like a feeble corrective to the unachievable goal, greatness in medicine. I felt like an imposter because someone in a position of knowledge and power had told me so.

Still, the experience didnt result in a crisis because I was shored up by good people for that one abusive encounter there were other constructive ones. I also came to recognise how the hospital is a hotbed of competition and politics and how one rotten relationship has a domino effect on other, utterly innocent, people.

Later, I learnt about the special irritation and impatience with others that comes from being the parent of children who wont sleep, fall ill, or cause more serious grief. And then there were my dying patients, who reminded me that life is short and that we should forgive people, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because we deserve it.

In other words, I came to intellectualise why a senior faculty might have behaved poorly. But what really puzzled me is how little this helped to erase the long shadow the diatribe cast over my career and why those ill-chosen words continued to play tricks with my self-esteem.

Eventually, I became a supervisor, borne out of an aspiration that no trainee should have to undergo a ritual of humiliation to somehow emerge the secure and well-adjusted doctor that society deserves. If doctors were to be genuine healers, they couldnt commence their career by licking their own wounds inflicted by their own colleagues. From the stories I still hear, we are not there yet.

Its a myth long perpetuated in medicine that trainees will only learn through tough love, but this tough love ignores constructive criticism, finding space to listen, providing room to grow, resting instead on public (or if youre lucky, private) shaming. I have seen plenty of doctors destroyed by it but have yet to meet someone who blossomed through such cruelty.

On the other hand, a veteran physician recently fretted that he had abandoned saying anything remotely critical for fear of being accused of harassment. In this heightened era of awareness of bullying and harassment in medicine, this is an observation worth pondering because a doctor who is given neither reason nor room to improve is being done a disservice. Most doctors strive to be better versions of themselves and are eager to find good role models. Being too quick to take offence will result in feedback crammed with platitudes and a piece of paper as meaningless as the encounter.

One solution might be to have an independent observer present at feedback but the real mentoring happens not at formal sessions but through countless corridor conversations, timely compliments, tactful rescues, and after-hour phone calls. Every doctor knows that these incidental things form the scaffolding of a career.

Many formal supervisors now undergo training which provides them a structure for giving feedback. This is one step towards being nuanced and sensitive to the changing face of medicine which boasts doctors who are pregnant women, young parents, former refugees, victims of war, as well as those tackling their own chronic illness or mental wellbeing.

But I think the key to feedback (and to trainee welfare in general) lies in every senior doctor taking the responsibility more seriously. Medicine is a lifelong apprenticeship where a young doctor learns from a cast of hundreds. We promote continuity of care for patients but it should apply equally to the care of doctors.

For far too long, feedback has been an automatic checklist and if you have not committed a grievous error, there is nothing to discuss. But constructive feedback means saying, You could do this better and here is how. It means showing vulnerability, I have made the same mistake, heres what I learnt. Above all, I have found it means reassuring a struggling trainee concerned for her future, I am here to support, not sink you.

But feedback isnt only about castigation but also commendation. Praise is largely a forgotten concept in medicine; we are quicker to laud an alcoholic for showing civility than applaud a doctor for resolving a crisis. The control of medicine by bureaucrats has resulted in the eye being on the bottom line more often than the workforce. I have seen doctors wearied by a lack of recognition, or worse, broken by criticism, but I cant immediately think of someone who went rogue after winning deserving praise.

Changing these ingrained habits is a responsibility that should not be shouldered by supervisors alone. Its a duty upon of all us to influence change. The doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct but no less important is the doctor-trainee relationship. If there is nothing good about a trainee, its the senior staff who must look harder. Because when doctors genuinely care about doctors, its good medicine for society.

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Being told I was a disappointment to medicine haunted me for years – The Guardian

Plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells – Phys.Org

July 17, 2017 A Rice University professor has introduced a new method that takes advantage of plasmonic metals production of hot carriers to boost light to a higher frequency. An electron microscope image at bottom shows gold-capped quantum wells, each about 100 nanometers wide. Credit: Gururaj Naik/Rice University

A Rice University professor’s method to “upconvert” light could make solar cells more efficient and disease-targeting nanoparticles more effective.

Experiments led by Gururaj Naik, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, combined plasmonic metals and semiconducting quantum wells to boost the frequency of light, changing its color.

In a nanoscale prototype Naik developed as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, custom-designed pylons that were struck by green light produced a higher-energy blue glow. “I’m taking low-energy photons and converting them to high-energy photons,” he said.

Efficient upconversion of light could let solar cells turn otherwise-wasted infrared sunlight into electricity or help light-activated nanoparticles treat diseased cells, Naik said.

The work appears in the American Chemical Society’s Nano Letters.

The magic happens inside tiny pylons that measure about 100 nanometers across. When excited by a specific wavelength of light, specks of gold on the tips of the pylons convert the light energy into plasmons, waves of energy that slosh rhythmically across the gold surface like ripples on a pond. Plasmons are short-lived, and when they decay, they give up their energy in one of two ways; they either emit a photon of light or produce heat by transferring their energy to a single electrona “hot” electron.

Naik’s work at Stanford was inspired by the groundbreaking work of professors Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander at Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics, who had shown that exciting plasmonic materials also excited “hot carriers” electrons and holes within. (Electron holes are the vacancies created when an electron is excited into a higher state, giving its atom a positive charge.)

“Plasmonics is really great at squeezing light on the nanoscale,” said Naik, who joined Rice’s faculty a year ago. “But that always comes at the cost of something. Halas and Nordlander showed you can extract the optical losses in the form of electricity. My idea was to put them back to optical form.”

He designed pylons using alternate layers of gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride that were topped with a thin layer of gold and surrounded by silver. Instead of letting the hot carriers slip away, Naik’s strategy was to direct both hot electrons and hot holes toward the gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride bases that serve as electron-trapping quantum wells. These wells have an inherent bandgap that sequesters electrons and holes until they recombine at sufficient energy to leap the gap and release photons at a higher frequency.

Present-day upconverters used in on-chip communications, photodynamic therapy, security and data storage have efficiencies in the range of 5 to 10 percent, Naik said. Quantum theory offers a maximum 50 percent efficiency (“because we’re absorbing two photons to emit one”) but, he said, 25 percent is a practical goal for his method.

Naik noted his devices can be tuned by changing the size and shape of the particles and thickness of the layers. “Upconverters based on lanthanides and organic molecules emit and absorb light at set frequencies because they’re fixed by atomic or molecular energy levels,” he said. “We can design quantum wells and tune their bandgaps to emit photons in the frequency range we want and similarly design metal nanostructures to absorb at different frequencies. That means we can design absorption and emission almost independently, which was not possible before.”

Naik built and tested a proof-of-concept prototype of the pylon array while working in the Stanford lab of Jennifer Dionne after co-authoring a theoretical paper with her that set the stage for the experiments.

“That’s a solid-state device,” Naik said of the prototype. “The next step is to make standalone particles by coating quantum dots with metal at just the right size and shape.”

These show promise as medical contrast agents or drug-delivery vehicles, he said. “Infrared light penetrates deeper into tissues, and blue light can cause the reactions necessary for the delivery of medicine,” Naik said. “People use upconverters with drugs, deliver them to the desired part of the body, and shine infrared light from the outside to deliver and activate the drug.”

The particles would also make a mean invisible ink, he said. “You can write with an upconverter and nobody would know until you shine high-intensity infrared on it and it upconverts to visible light.”

Explore further: Measurement of ‘hot’ electrons could have solar energy payoff

More information: Gururaj V. Naik et al. Hot-Carrier-Mediated Photon Upconversion in Metal-Decorated Quantum Wells, Nano Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00900

Photon Upconversion with Hot Carriers in Plasmonic Systems. ArXiv. arxiv.org/pdf/1501.04159.pdf

Journal reference: Nano Letters arXiv

Provided by: Rice University

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Plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells – Phys.Org

It’s time to break down the wall between dentistry and medicine – STAT


ver since the first dental school was founded in the United States in 1840, dentistry and medicine have been taught as and viewed as two separate professions. That artificial division is bad for the publics health. Its time to bring the mouth back into the body.

In 1840, dentistry focused on extracting decayed teeth and plugging cavities. Today, dentists use sophisticated methods for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. We implant teeth, pinpoint oral cancers, use 3-D imaging to reshape a jaw, and can treat some dental decay medically, without a drill. Weve also discovered much more about the intimate connection between oral health and overall health. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, has been linked to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Pregnant women with periodontitis are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious complication of pregnancy, and deliver low-birth-weight babies.

As taught in most schools today, dental education produces good clinicians who have a solid understanding of oral health, but often a more limited perspective on overall health. Few dental students are equipped to take a holistic view that may include taking a patients vital signs, evaluating their risk of heart disease or stroke, spotting early warning signs of disease, or even assessing their mental health or looking for signs of drug abuse.


Theres a better way to educate dentists so they can play larger roles in the management of their patients chronic diseases.

My school, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was founded 150 years ago on July 17, 1867. It was the first American dental school affiliated with a university and its medical school, and the first to grant the doctor of dental medicine (D.M.D.) degree. The schools mission is to develop and foster a community of global leaders dedicated to improving human health by integrating dentistry and medicine at the forefront of education, research, and patient care. At commencement, dental graduates are welcomed into a demanding branch of medicine.

Harvard dental students have always spent more than a year of their education attending the same classes as their medical school peers. They learn just as much about whats going on in the chest cavity as the oral cavity. Under a new curriculum, in their second year they work in a primary care clinic in the dental school, side by side with fourth-year dental students, nurse practitioners, and primary care physicians to learn how to assess a patients overall health. In a collaboration with Northeastern Universitys Bouv School of Nursing, nurse practitioners and nursing students work with dental students and faculty members to manage chronic diseases and provide oral care.

Poor oral health is more than a tooth problem. We use our mouth to eat, to breathe, and to speak. Oral pain results in lost time from school and work and lowered self-esteem. Inflammation in the gums and mouth may help set the stage for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions. Dental infection can lead to the potentially serious blood infection known as sepsis. In the case of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, an infected tooth led to a fatal brain infection.

Writing in the Millbank Quarterly, John McDonough, professor of public health practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health asked, Might oral health be the next big thing? I believe that it needs to be and should be.

Just as dental and medical education are currently separate, so too are the ways care is delivered and how care is or isnt covered by insurance. That poses problems for access to care.

Today, 130 million Americans, most of them adults, have no dental coverage. Medicare has no dental benefits, and Medicaid has few benefits for adults. The high cost of dental care affects even those with coverage.

Its no wonder that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that the U.S. loses $6 billion in productivity each year due to oral health issues. Emergency department visits for oral pain cost nearly $2 billion a year and contribute to the epidemic of opioid addiction. And mounting evidence shows that poor oral health results in increased general medical costs.

To help break down barriers between medicine and dentistry, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine has created the Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine. In an effort to improve general health and lower medical costs, it brings together leaders in academia, health care, and industry to find innovative ways to integrate the two disciplines. Through the initiative, we seek to transform how dentistry is taught, practiced, financed, and evaluated so it becomes seamlessly integrated with the comprehensive health and social services required to keep individuals and communities healthy.

The school has also established the Oral Physician Program, a general practice dental residency program at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which integrates oral health, primary care, and family medicine training. We also plan to establish a new combined DMD/MD program with a hospital-based residency to train a new type of physician focused equally on oral health and primary care.

Other institutions are also expanding the concept of dental care and chipping away at the barriers between dental care and primary care. Kaiser Permanente Northwest, for example, has opened a truly integrated medical-dental practice in Eugene, Ore. The Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin is advancing the concept with integrated medical-dental electronic health records.

Heres what an integrated dental health/primary care visit might look like to a patient: When you go for a routine teeth cleaning, you would be cared for by a team of physicians, dentists, nurses, and physician and dental assistants. One or more of them would take your blood pressure, check your weight, update your medications, see if you are due for any preventive screenings or treatments, and clean your teeth. If you have an artificial heart valve or have previously had a heart infection, or you are taking a blood thinner, your clinicians will manage these conditions without multiple calls to referring doctors.

Finding the political will to integrate dentistry and primary care is a challenge. Various organizations including the DentaQuest Foundation, the Santa Fe Group, and Oral Health America have taken up the task. The majority of this work is designed to raise awareness of oral health, educate non-dental health care providers, and create political interest in promoting oral health. However, while interprofessional education has met with some success, interprofessional practice remains elusive.

The culture of the dental profession must change to promote closer connections between dentistry and primary care. The move from solo practice to small- and large-group practices may provide the impetus for such change. Recent editorials in the dental literature, including the Journal of the American Dental Association, talk about the need for integration, including the use of diagnostic codes, integrated medical and dental electronic records, and the potential for melding medical and dental practices.

Unfortunately, incentives for creating this practice of the future are minimal at this time. Dentistrys reliance on procedures for payment and separate insurance coverage presents a problem. The slow movement toward bundled payments for health care to create value based upon outcomes, rather than volume, could help.

In 2000, the surgeon generals report Oral Health in America drew attention to the gap in oral health in the U.S. In a 2016 update, then-Surgeon General Vivek Murthy strongly recommended integrating oral health and primary care. Closer collaboration between dentistry and primary care could change the culture of health care, close the access gap, and improve general health by providing primary care services during dental visits. It could also improve population health and chronic disease care.

We cannot drill, fill, and extract our way to better oral and overall health. We need a fundamentally different approach, one that accentuates disease prevention and health management using a multidisciplinary, integrated, and patient-centric approach to overall health. And that means breaking down the wall between dentistry and medicine.

Bruce Donoff, D.M.D. and M.D., is professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

R. Bruce Donoff can be reached at hsdm_dean@hsdm.harvard.edu Add Bruce on Facebook


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It’s time to break down the wall between dentistry and medicine – STAT

Community Internal Medicine of Athens expands – Online Athens

Community Internal Medicine of Athens is growing.

CIMA offers comprehensive outpatient care for adults from resident physicians and faculty.

CIMA has expanded into the entire lower floor of Building 200 in the Resource Medical Office Park at 1500 Oglethorpe Ave., just off the Athens Perimeter. The practices new suite number is 200-C.

In a corresponding move, Johnson & Murthy Family Medicine has relocated upstairs in the same building to Suite 200-A. Both practices are part of St. Marys Medical Group.

CIMA is expanding to accommodate new services and 12 new resident physicians, who began practicing with the Internal Medicine Residency Program on July 1.

The program is a collaborative effort between St. Marys and the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership to address the shortage of physicians in Georgia.

Resident physicians are doctors who have graduated from medical school and are completing the final stage of their medical training. Fully capable physicians, they are working with physician faculty in an intensive three-year program to prepare them to become board-certified internal medicine physicians.

With the addition of the Class of 2020, the IMRP has now reached 33 resident physicians. Residents with the previous two classes already practice at CIMA on a rotating basis, coupling outpatient care at the practice with inpatient care at St. Marys Hospital.

The expansion of CIMA accommodates the additional residents by adding six patient exam rooms and a larger waiting area for patients. The expansion also allows CIMA to add a social worker to the staff and provide same-day appointments on most days.

Because care is provided by resident physicians under the direct supervision of physician faculty, patients typically receive more one-on-one time with their physician than is possible in a traditional primary care setting. For first-year residents, physician faculty not only review and approve clinical decisions but are often directly involved in evaluating patients side-by-side with the resident. As residents gain experience over the course of their residency, they assume greater responsibility and independence, though always with physician faculty supervision.

CIMA provides full internal medicine care for adults, including routine wellness visits, treatment of minor acute illnesses and injuries, and management of certain chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. CIMA physicians can prescribe medications and order tests, including lab work and imaging.

While CIMA accepts some walk-in patients, most visits are by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call (706) 389-3875.

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Community Internal Medicine of Athens expands – Online Athens

How Ellis Medicine’s new vice president will focus on patient care – Albany Business Review

Albany Business Review
How Ellis Medicine's new vice president will focus on patient care
Albany Business Review
… is the new vice president and chief nursing officer at Ellis Medicine more. Photo courtesy of Ellis Medicine. Leslyn Williamson will use her more than 25 years experience in nursing and management to enhance quality patient care at Ellis Medicine.

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How Ellis Medicine’s new vice president will focus on patient care – Albany Business Review