Compiled by the Insite Staff
Saving Lives with Low-Cost TB Test
A new test for tuberculosis (TB) could dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis for one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
Jeffrey Cirillo, Ph.D., professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in collaboration with GBDbio, a Texas A&M spinoff company, and investigators at Stanford University, have identified a new chemical compound to spot the bacteria that cause TB with a level of sensitivity that currently takes months to produce.
Although preventable, TB claims three lives every minute, making it the second leading cause of mortality from an infectious disease in the world.
Of the new test, Cirillo says, “It’s simple. Take a sputum sample, treat it with the solution and put it inside the reader. A camera inside looks for a reaction between the sample and solution that produces light. No light, no infection.”
Currently, there is no diagnostic tool comparable to this one-step test that will require little technical expertise, take less than 30 minutes, and is easily transportable making it ideal for field diagnosis in developing countries.
Source: Texas A&M Health Science Center, Office of Public Affairs
Men’s Hot Flashes & Hypnotic Relaxation
Men who experience hot flashes are unlikely to talk much about it, but they may find relief from their silent suffering if willing to try an unusual treatment, according to findings from a Baylor University case study.
After seven weeks of hypnotic relaxation therapy, a 69-year-old man who had uncontrolled hot flashes following prostate cancer surgery showed a drastic decrease not only in hot flashes but also an impressive improvement in sleep quality, according to the study.
Men’s hot flashes are not related to estrogen, but occur in men with a history of prostate cancer or another disorder causing a testosterone deficiency.
Gary Elkins, Ph.D., director of Baylor’s Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory and a professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, has done extensive research showing that hypnotic relaxation therapy greatly benefits postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors who suffer from hot flashes.
Current treatments for men are varied, ranging from hormone therapy to acupuncture, but outcomes have been mixed and safety of some treatments remains in question, Elkins says.
“There’s no ‘One size fits all,’ ‘’ Elkins says, “but hypnotic relaxation therapy has been shown to be the most effective drug-free option – as well as having few or no side effects.”
Source: Baylor University Media Communications
No Easy Street in an Emergency
You may not know it, but where you live – your actual street address – could affect how quickly medical care could come in a life-or-death situation, according to research by a Texas A&M University geographer.
Daniel Goldberg, assistant professor of geography, says that 21st century technology such as GPS locators and geocoding can play a critical role in people’s lives. Geocoding means converting a postal address into a precise geographic location resulting in latitude and longitude coordinates, information that can have a direct effect on access to emergency medical care, police and firefighter response time and other critical situations.
“Geocoding has become very precise in recent years,” Goldberg says. “In the past, just 15 or 20 years ago, there was not the level of confidence you have in it compared to today. Today, the technology has improved so much that many times, a location using geocoding is precise down to just a few feet.
“Geocoding can play a key role in the health science pipeline, from data collection to interpreting the conclusions reached and affecting policy decisions that come as a result,” Goldberg adds. “It provides the precise data needed to make crucial decisions.”
Source: Texas A&M University Newswire
De-stress With Dogs at Work
Studies have confirmed that having a pet in the workplace not only lowers stress levels and encourages a productive work environment, but also helps to boost morale.
“There is a huge body of evidence that shows having pets around is a natural relaxant,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “There is definitely a benefit to having a less stressful work environment.”
However, the increased productivity and decreased stress levels are entirely dependent on the obedience and behavior of your dog. “First of all, make sure you know what your office policy is on bringing your pet to work,” said Stickney. If you do have an obedient, well-behaved dog that won’t disrupt your workday, there are still some basic guidelines to follow. Prior to bringing Fido with you to work, it is vital that you doggy proof your office, make sure pet vaccinations are up-to-date, and properly notify coworkers of his visit.
“If you have a puppy or avid chewer, you will also need to make sure that all computer wires and other various cords are someplace where your dog can’t get to them,” said Stickney. “You wouldn’t want your pet to be the reason for a system-wide shut down.”
Source: College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University