Clinical Research

Should researchers be obligated to publish null results?  Should they have to publish all trial data? Missing data distorts the scientific record, so that clinical decisions cannot be based on the best evidence, and that can harm patients and lead to futile costs to health systems, accoding to an editorial at BMJ.

It's no secret that a large proportion of evidence from human trials is unreported, and much of what is reported is done so inadequately but there is no real accounting for the
consequences of unpublished evidence.
Forget starving yourself or kooky ideas like a lettuce diet for increased longevity - the answer to living longer may be found in a bottle of alcohol. 

Minuscule amounts of ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, has been shown to more than double the life span of Caenorhabditis elegans - though just why is still unclear, so don't get out the Jim Beam just yet.  Plus, high concentrations have been linked to numerous detrimental neurological effects too many times for that to be overthrown any time soon.

In March 2011, a surgical team at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) performed the first full face transplantation (FFT) in the United States and went on to complete a total of three FFTs this year.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers evaluate FFT in the US and describe details of patient preparation, design and execution of the operation as well as unique immunosuppression protocol allowing for lowest long-term maintenance drug regimen. They also share details of the early functional outcomes and demonstrate FFT as a viable option in the treatment of severe facial deformities and injuries. 

BMC Neurology has published the results of the HYPNOS I clinical trial demonstrating the sedative action of the Cefaly medical device (

The results show, in a statistically highly significant manner using four clinical measurement methods, a pronounced reduction in vigilance induced by the action of the Cefaly(R) Hypnos medical device, by comparison to a placebo.

This sedative action on the central nervous system is observed after application for 12 minutes in 83% of individuals whose mean increase in tiredness was of 73%.

Premature infants suffer a life-threatening destruction of intestinal tissue called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) have gotten a new data point for researchers to examine: Preemies with the AB blood type who develop NEC are nearly three times as likely to die from it as preemies with other blood types. 

Varices, commonly called varicose veins, are a cosmetic problem if they occur as spider veins but in their advanced stage they pose a real health threat. In those patients, the blood is no longer transported to the heart unhindered but instead pools in the veins of the leg because the vessel walls or venous valves no longer function adequately.

On Nov. 8th, Mississippi will vote on a proposed 'personhood' constitutional amendment that will outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories. The amendment has been endorsed by both gubernatorial candidates and appears likely to pass.

Pity the poor lab technician who forgets to re-stock the liquid nitrogen. The embryos in the tank will thaw and die. Then that poor soul will be convicted of mass murder and sent to death row.

Haley 'Mills' Barbour (or your successor), will you have a heart, or will you throw the switch?

Does yoga help with chronic back pain?  Yes it does, but so does stretching.  Either is better than handing people a book, according to the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date. 

In the trial, 228 adults in six cities in western Washington state were randomly assigned to 12 weekly 75-minute classes of either yoga or stretching exercises or a comprehensive self-care book called "The Back Pain Helpbook". Nine in 10 of them were primary-care patients at Group Health Cooperative and participants in the trial typically had moderate, but not severe, back pain and relatively good mental health. Most had been at least somewhat active before the trial started. 

A big puzzle has been solved with regard to fertile XY female Akodon. There are 3 types of X chromosomes noted amongst these XY fertile female Akodon. One type of altered X chromosome results in XY Akodon becoming female. There are several species (including humans) where an X chromosomal gene or an autosomal gene results in an XY individual being female. Typically these individuals are not fertile. Therefore the finding of an altered X in fertile Akodon does not explain fertility in these heterogametic XY fertile females.

In gene therapy, one or more desired genes are introduced into an adenovirus, a virus that causes the common cold, which is then administered to the patient. Once in the body, the virus enters targeted cells and delivers the desired genes. In heart disease patients, for example, the virus delivers genes that trigger the growth of new blood vessels in damaged heart muscle.