Basic Sciences

The 6th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Got Drugs? ThatÔÇÖs the question the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative is asking. The program promotes an opportunity to properly dispose of expired and unneeded prescription drugs. In recent years, over 2 million pounds of prescription drugs were taken out of circulation and disposed of properly. ?áAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, there has been no evidence of human health effects from prescription drug remnants on the environment thus far, however precautionary measures are still in affect to prevent cases from developing. So while you embark on this year’s spring cleaning, keep prescription drugs in mind.

Save the Date:

Saturday, April 27, 2013
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

 

For more info, visit:

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/

To find a drop off location near you, visit:

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/NTBI/NTBI-PUB.pub;jsessionid=F97E8C13E24A4F4158917E505D922D9A?_flowExecutionKey=_c3781D16F-8320-60D6-9549-1E08043E201E_k2BCC5296-9265-E6B3-A22D-C9656693160A

 

 

 

LSUHSC Doctor Gives Hope for PTSD Prevention

In exciting research news, a recent study by a group of doctors including Dr. Ya-Ping Tang, Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy at LSUHSC, has linked the transgene CCKR-2 to adult-onset post-traumatic stress disorder.

This discovery provides a link between genetics and environment and opens the possibility for prevention of the disorder through ÔÇ£manipulation of a certain neurotransmitter system in the brain during the stage of traumatic exposureÔÇØ according to articles in EurekAlert! and WWL. View the full text of the research piece, ÔÇ£Temporal association of the elevated cholecystokininergic tone and adolescent trauma is critical for posttraumatic stress disorder-like behavior in adult mice,ÔÇØ?á here in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America.

Link to the pdf of the article is available to LSUHSC faculty, staff & students. It can be accessed off-campus with a valid LSUHSC library barcode & PIN. You can find more information at our remote access webpage.

This Month in History: The Alligator Men

As a Louisiana native or even an adventurous visitor, youÔÇÖve probably fed an alligator a marshmallow or two. WhatÔÇÖs the allure of marshmallows to a wild swamp creature? We may never truly know, but for an animal that will scarf down turtle shells, rocks, lures, beer cans, and shoes, marshmallows are probably the least of its worries.

Profiled in the Times-Picayune for their project in 1951, the self-proclaimed LSU “alligator men” studied the production of acid gastric juice and self-induced hibernation in alligators, as compared to iguanas and chameleons. The stars of this ÔÇ£zooÔÇØ were Dr. Roland Coulson, LSUMC faculty (1944-2004), Dr. Thomas Hernandez, LSUMC faculty (1960-1977) and Chair of Pharmacology, Dr. Fred G. Brazda, LSUMC faculty (1939-1977) and Chair of Biochemistry, and their graduate student, Dr. Herbert C. Dessauer. In the preface of a later work, Alligator Metabolism, Coulson and Hernandez speak to the origin of their honorary titles”: “It is not possible to have done research on alligators for many years without having gained a reputation for eccentricity as a consequence of the choice of experimental animal. One accepts this and learns to live with it. […] By some, an alligator man is tolerated (as a harmless eccentric should be), and by others he is admired for the fearless manner in which he confronts such a ‘terrifying’ beast.”

Though certainly fearless, these doctors chose smaller gators to reduce the risk of injury, and by the time the animals reached a rowdy 20 pounds, they were returned to the swamp. Because alligators produce a large amount of hydrochloric acid during digestion, they perform a more dramatic and more readily observable process of digestion. Alligators are also tougher physically and less prone to blood poisoning, making them easier to study. In addition to their excellent acid production, the test gators self-induced a sort of hibernation in winter despite the fact that researchers kept them in windowless rooms with automatic lights; by abstaining from food and decreasing sugar in the bloodstream, the test subjects did not grow.

The practical application of the research of the “alligator men” may not seem readily apparent, but as Dr. Coulson explains in the newspaper article, ÔÇ£The scientist doesnÔÇÖt have to be working toward the cure of any specific malady [ÔǪ] but often he stumbles upon it by accident, through just a study as ours.ÔÇØ They developed enough material to write numerous journal articles (PubMed author search results hyperlinked above) and monographs. Two books co-authored by Dr. Coulson and Dr. Hernandez are available in the Library: Alligator Metabolism: Studies on Chemical Reactions in Vivo and Biochemistry of the Alligator: A Study of Metabolism in Slow Motion.

Dr. Herbert Dessauer, who began as a humble graduate student and would go on to become Professor Emeritus of molecular biology at LSU Medical Center, passed away earlier this month after a brief illness. We would like to recognize his contributions to not only the scientific community, but also to LSU.?á For more information on the contributions of each of the renowned doctors mentioned in this post, please consult A History of LSU School of Medicine New Orleans, which is available in the Library. When you stop by, be sure to check out our display cases, which are home to various medical artifacts including an analytical balance used by Coulson, Hernandez, and Dessauer.

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

The Poetry of Dr. George William Cooper

Dr. Cooper, a one-time anatomy Professor at the LSU Medical School, was also well-renowned for his poetry.?á Recognized for his ÔÇ£consistently good work in poetryÔÇØ by a forum of the National Writers Club in 1951 and awarded the position of Louisiana Poet Laureate from 1973-1976, Dr. Cooper is a?ácommon subject of our Newspaper Clippings Digital Collection. Though the Isch?® Library does not own any of his poetry collections, they are available through InterLibrary Loan.

Excerpted below?á is a poem from one of?áhis collections dedicated to a previous ÔÇ£Glimpse of the PastÔÇØ honoree, Dr. Frank N. Low. I would like to?áshare this poem with our new and returning students, who will surely feel the ÔÇ£grindÔÇØ immediately upon returning to classes:

2,000-year-old Medicine Discovered in a Shipwreck

Would you trust a medicine that’s been under water for a couple of millennia??áAn early edition article (and a link straight to the PDF) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzes tablets found in a sealed container that was part of the material recovered from the a wreck in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Tuscany in Italy. The abstract for the article states, “The composition and the form of the Pozzino tablets seem to indicate that they were used for ophthalmic purposes.”

The article is certainly generating a lot of press, from Wired to the Smithsonian to the BBC?áto the Washington Post.

Link to the pdf of the article is available to LSUHSC faculty, staff & students. It can be accessed off-campus with a valid LSUHSC library barcode & PIN. You can find more information at our remote access webpage.

This Month in History: Pay No Attention to the Doctor Behind the Iron Curtain

A young, bespectacled version of the Wizard of Oz, Dr. Frank N. Low, lived up to the great and powerful legacy as a member of LSUMCÔÇÖs anatomy faculty, venturing behind the Iron Curtain in 1958. His travels came at a time of international tension, but in the name of science, Dr. LowÔÇÖs survey of electron microscope usage in laboratories across Europe proved invaluable in transcending the iron divide and promoting cross-cultural cooperation.

Cover Art for “Klop” the Bedbug; http://tinyurl.com/8h3hycr

Remarking on the ÔÇ£exoticÔÇØ subway of Moscow, the ÔÇ£finely developedÔÇØ Russian sense of humor, and the popularity of the play, ÔÇ£Klop” the Bedbug, in his interview with the Times-Picayune, Dr. Low appears to have enjoyed his surroundings overseas. He even brought home an object known as the ÔÇ£Tartar MenaceÔÇØ that would turn out not only to be lucky for Low, but also for his research assistant, a previous ÔÇ£Glimpse of the PastÔÇØ honoree, Dr. Marilyn Zimny, who upon receipt of the figurine received news that she had been awarded a research grant for $28,000. The ÔÇ£Tartar MenaceÔÇØ appears to refer either to a group of indigenous Mongol peoples called the Tatars or Tartars, or the Greek myth of Tartarus, a section of the underworld. Despite its violent etymology, the figurine kept Dr. Low safe from even a stubbed toe on his journey.

And lucky we are that it did, for Dr. Frank N. LowÔÇÖs contributions to the scientific world were momentous. As of a 1953 article, ÔÇ£Dr. LowÔÇÖs study provide[d] proof of the existence of a complete covering of the tiny blood vessels in the lung. The presence of this covering, medically known as a pulmonary epithelium has long been in doubt. The significance of [his] discovery is that it is an explanation of how air is excluded from the lung tissue, a destructive process. This is why lung surgery is so cautiously practiced.ÔÇØ

His triumphs also include authoring a renowned text, Electron Microscope: Atlas of Normal and Leukemic Human Blood, acquiring an electron microscope for LSUMC, and pioneering scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and freeze-etch/freeze-fracture technology. His impressive career culminated in his later life with the establishment of the Annual Dr. Frank N. Low Research Day at the University of North Dakota. He returned to LSU at the end of his career to work under Dr. Zimny in the anatomy department until his death in 1998. This memorial article shows how truly respected and loved he was. Now, if only we could find his ÔÇ£Tartar Menace!ÔÇØ

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

This Month in History: Dr. Hamlett & Zoological Treasure Hunting

Ever wondered how to catch a lizard? You might think to consult wikiHow or you might look up an instructional video on YouTube. Consulting our Digital Collection of newspaper clippings, however, would reveal quite an interesting portrait of a rugged, LSU Indiana Jones in pursuit of a rare treasure: the live-birthing lizard.

In 1953, the Times-Picayune ran an article on one Dr. George W. D. Hamlett, faculty of the LSU Medical School Department of Anatomy, whose research practices involved catching his subjects in the American Southwest rather than in a lab. Nets are all well and good for the casual lizard hunter, but Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs methods included an elaborate system of hammer, chisel, stick noose, and rifle. In order to capture the illusive live-birthing female lizard, he donned the traditional gear: khakis, hiking boots, and traded a fedora for a sun hat; armoring himself thus, he chiseled lizards out of rock formations and sought the mammal-like desert lizard among the trees. His interest in these lizards lay in their ability to produce young not through external development in an egg, but within the female of the species, an oddity for the reptile. Though Dr. Hamlett lacked the Indiana Jones bullwhip and the characteristic fear of snakes, his adventures were nevertheless harrowing.

The character of Dr. Jones is perhaps based on Sir Arthur Conan DoyleÔÇÖs character, Professor Challenger (a figure in turn based on his own Professor Sir William Rutherford) who is famous for having combined several areas of study such as archaeology, anthropology, and zoology in the pursuit of a totalizing knowledgeÔÇöÔÇ£Science seeks knowledge. Let knowledge lead us where it will, we still must seek it. To know once for all what we are, why we are, where we are, is that not in itself the greatest of all human aspirations?ÔÇ£(When the World Screamed). In the same way, Dr. HamlettÔÇÖs study of embryology continued on many divergent paths as he explored the complexities of the long-tongued bat, the badger, the armadillo, the cat, the coyote, and the American monkey, finally culminating in his study of humans.?á Some of his published works, ÔÇ£Embryology of the Molossoid Bat,ÔÇØ ÔÇ£Some Notes on Embryological Technique,ÔÇØ and ÔÇ£Human Twinning in the United StatesÔÇØ can be accessed through PubMed.

Though the similarities between Dr. Hamlett and Dr. Jones may not be many, there is an air of adventure to every quest for knowledge. Why can the scientist not leap across cliff faces and come to the rescue every now and then? But please be aware that there are no catacombs beneath this libraryÔÇÖs floorÔÇöyouÔÇÖll have to go to Venice for that.

 

Glimpse of the Past is an ongoing project to promote the Louisiana Digital Library effort. This Month in History will present for your reading pleasure a closer look into a newspaper clipping of note from our Digital Collections and articles relating to the LSU Medical School.

14 Android Apps for Scientists

BiteSizeBio blog has a new post on Android apps for scientists. From timers to tables to Twitter, if you use and Android device and spend time in the lab, you might find these useful.

http://bitesizebio.com/articles/14-android-apps-for-scientists/

 

Hidden Treasures: NLM

Book Cover

 

It was always exciting to go digging around in your grandparent’s attic as a kid. You never know what you might find; old photos, love letters and toys, maybe a treasure map to lost pirate gold.

Imagine if you got to dig around in all the old stuff the National Library of Medicine has laying around. Now you can catch a glimpse of their weird, wacky and wonderful collection.

Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine is a beautiful and fascinating new book. Check out a New York Times review or have a look yourself. The book is available in the Isch?® Library stacks and as an EBook online from NLM.


 

Friday fun: Pimp my Pubmed

An article from Bite Size Bio delves into some techniques for monitoring PubMed using Google Reader. PubMed has offered the ability to create RSS feeds from searches since 2005, which is highly useful in customizing your online consumption of journal literature.

Here, I will describe the way IÔÇÖm combining RSS feeds for PubMed search results with Google Reader and a GreaseMonkey add-on to obtain a nicely readable list of articles pertinent to my own interests

http://bitesizebio.com/articles/how-not-to-miss-almost-any-article-on-pubmed/
The article is written by a third year PhD student from Montpellier, France.

Historical Anatomies from NLM

: Suharaya Heisuke kanko, Kyoho gan [1716]). p.14r”]

Interested in the history of anatomy? Or just want to see some cool old anatomical illustrations? Take a look at the National Library of Medicine‘s Historical Anatomies on the Web collection digitized for your enjoyment.

The collection covers the 15th through 20th centuries and currently includes over 40 titles.

Hazardous Substances Data Bank Survey

HSDB provides toxicology info on over 5000 substances

HSDB provides toxicology info on over 5000 substances

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is conducting a needs assessment for the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). HSDB is part of TOXNET, a free resource providing valuable toxicology and environmental health information.?áYour feedback will help NLM determine future enhancements and/or changes that may be necessary. (READ: if you don’t take the survey, HSDB might not be around to use later.)

The survey is available at HSDB Needs Assessment Survey. Respond by April 3, 2012.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=6dwQV3gn9efOhrwMaBwylg_3d_3d

 

HSDB Database:?áhttp://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB

MicroMedex available for Android

androidsMicromedex Drug Information is now available for Android phones.

We’ve previously mentioned the Drug Information app for Blackberry and iPhone way back in January 2010, it’s nice to see this drug information app for that *other* mobile operating system.

Embryo app has NOLA connection

Embryo is new app for iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad from the NLM. This app provides a collection of digital serial sections of early stage human embryos for mobile devices. Features include human fertilization videos, photo micrographs of early-stage embryo development, 2D and 3D digital images using visual stack dissections, and a pregnancy calculator.

Embryo is especially cool because LSUHSC-NO scientists were involved in it’s creation. The app is a collaborative project between the NLM, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), the Virtual Human Embryo Project at LSUHSC-NO and the National Museum of Health & MedicineÔÇÖs Human Developmental Anatomy Center.

The Virtual Human Embryo Project was developed in the early 2000’s as a collaboration between embryologist Dr. Raymond Gasser at LSUHSC and the Human Developmental Anatomy Center in Washington DC. Dr. John Cork at LSUHSC joined the project at its inception as the software developer with a special interest in 3D-reconstruction. The images generated from the earlier project provide the basis for Embryo.

More information and screenshots from iTunes.

Old Dissection Room Photos

The American Medical Association‘s news section (amednews.com) has released a slide show of historic (and contemporary) photos which illustrate the changing attitude to cadaver study in anatomy labs.

I must admit, I would have been creeped out to receive the Christmas card (slide 4) from the cadaver lab.