Clinical Research

Can you predict how sensitive your sense of taste is by sticking your tongue out and counting the bumps?

A long-standing hypothesis says this is so. But a little crowdsourcing of science - what used to be called doing a study - disproved that idea that "supertasters" owe their special sensitivity to bitter tastes to an usually high density of taste buds on their tongue, according to a paper in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience.


Defensive medicine, to prevent malpractice claims, are far higher costs than medical personnel, but the United States shift to government health care is going to add a third component. Tests will be free and people will demand them.

Dr. Alai Tan, a senior biostatistician in the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston   Sealy Center on Aging and lead author of a new study has concluded that providing better access to health care may lead to the overuse of mammograms for women who regularly see a primary care physician and who have a limited life expectancy.

Screening women in this category could subject them "to greater risks of physical, emotional and economic suffering" but it could happen anyway.  


Children with bronchiolitis (a common respiratory tract infection that can result in hospitalization) who were treated in the emergency department showed less clinical improvement after receiving nebulized 3 percent hypertonic saline (HS) than infants who received normal saline (NS).  

Nebulized HS has been shown to increase mucociliary clearance (the clearing of mucus) in healthy people and in those patients with conditions such as asthma and cystic fibrosis because it is believed to lower the viscosity of mucus secretions. Other studies have suggested HS may reduce the length of hospital stays and lessen severity in children with bronchiolitis.


You've really got to hand it to all those 15-minute oil change places that dot the American landscape: they know how to pull motorists in.

With their brightly colored signs and endless promotions, it’s no wonder they succeed in getting our business. Whether you’re driving a brand new sports car or sedan with 200,000 miles on it, you’re welcome to drive up, get fresh oil and drive away...no problem.

But when it comes to bone marrow transplants, the sobering fact is that the age of the vehicle —in this case, your body — does matter.
Synthetic Genomics announceda multi-year research and development agreement with Lung Biotechnology to develop humanized pig organs using synthetic genomic advances. The collaboration will focus upon developing organs for human patients in need of transplantation, with an initial focus on lung diseases. 

In the United States alone, about 400,000 people die annually from various forms of lung disease including cancer. 2,000 people are saved with a lung transplant and about the same number are added to the transplant wait list annually. 99% of deaths due to lung failure are unavoidable because of the shortage of transplantable human lungs.
The esophagus carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. There are two main types of esophageal cancer: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The most common form of the disease in the U.S. is adenocarcinoma and is most prevalent in Caucasian men between the ages of 50 and 70.

Adenocarcinoma, which is one of the fastest growing cancers in the country, has also been linked to obesity – perhaps related to chronic exposure to stomach acid. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 18,000 Americans were diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2013.

Brittle bone disease is a congenital disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily.  

A new study in Nature Medicine showed that excessive activity of an important signaling protein in the matrix of the bone called transforming growth factor beta is associated with the cause of the disease. It suggests that there may be common mechanisms that cause the decreased quality and quantity of bone in these different forms. 

"There are many genetic causes of brittle bone disease in children and adults," said Dr. Brendan Lee, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "We have discovered many of them but clinicians still cannot easily distinguish the different forms. 


New research looking at the success of clinical trials of stem cell therapy shows that, when trials appear to be more successful, more discrepancies in trial data are also evident.

Discrepancies were defined as two (or more) reported facts that could not both be accurate because they were logically or mathematically incompatible. For example, one trial reported that it involved 70 patients, who were divided into two groups of 35 and 80.

The researchers found eight trials that each contained over 20 discrepancies.

The meta-analysis of 49 randomized controlled trials of bone marrow stem cell therapy for heart disease in the British Medical Journal identified and listed over 600 discrepancies within the trial reports. 


Preliminary results of a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial on osteoarthritis of the knee using ActiPatch Therapy have been announced.

BioElectronics Corporation says the initial interim analysis showed statistically significant results for the primary and secondary outcomes measures. The study is being led by Doctor Gianluca Bagnato, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Gaetano Martino, Messina, Italy. The final analysis of the full study data set will be carried out soon and the results have been accepted in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and presented at the European League against Rheumatism 2014 conference.
XBiotech, a company involved in commercializing biological therapies, has published the results from its Phase I/II oncology study conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The study describes the outcome in 52 advanced cancer patients treated with their Xilonix™ non-cytotoxic, anti-tumor therapy. The so-called true human antibody therapy was reported to have an excellent safety profile and the report describes comprehensive measures of patient performance during therapy with Xilonix.