Research

For sickle cell patients, opiods are often the only pain relief. But growing rates of addiction among the general public mean emergency room doctors are more cautious than ever in prescribing those powerful medications, causing challenges for sickle cell
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It took too long for blood supplies to get to Baghdad, so Dr. Philip Spinella and his Army colleagues gave their own blood. To their surprise, it worked better.

“We started to use whole blood, out of our arms into the casualties,” said Spinella, who served as an Army doctor between 1995 and 2007. “Their shock would resolve, their bleeding would resolve a lot quicker than just using plasma and red cells that we had shipped from home.”

Wikimedia Commons

The classic lab mouse is black or white, eats a precisely measured diet to keep him lean, and is relatively young — probably a teenager or young adult in rodent years. His genes are nearly identical to the others around him, the result of generation upon generation of inbreeding for research purposes.

Those specs might help a scientist standardize her experiments, but they may also be holding some research back for one type of cancer drug, two St. Louis researchers argued in a recent review. Instead, they say that pre-clinical trials should include older mice, obese mice, and mice with different types of gut microbiota.

A high-definition X-ray processes a sample at Saint Louis University.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

It took three years for Dr. Enrico Di Cera and his team to map prothrombin, the protein that causes human blood to form clots. They ran countless samples through a machine, trying to find the conditions that would form a crystal large enough to be seen by a specialized X-ray.

“That’s the part that’s like cooking, not an exact science,” Di Cera said, at his laboratory at Saint Louis University on Thursday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

A St. Louis neurosurgeon is helping to pioneer a new treatment for severe obsessive compulsive disorder that involves implanting a device sometimes called a “brain pacemaker.”  

At first, deep brain stimulation sounds like something out of an Isaac Asimov novel. Through a hole in the skull the size of a dime, surgeons place electrodes in a patient’s brain. Wires under the skin connect the electrodes to a device similar to a cardiac pacemaker, which is implanted under the patient’s clavicle.

Researchers Laura Jean Bierut, MD (left), and Li-Shiun Chen, MD, examine X-rays of a patient with lung cancer.
Robert Boston|Washington University in St. Louis

Can’t stop smoking? Your genes might be part of the problem.

After a case review of 24 studies involving 29,000 participants, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis determined that smokers who carried a relatively common genetic marker tend quit smoking four years later on average than those without. The genetic variation was also linked to earlier diagnoses for lung cancer. 

Missouri History Museum employees dig through ash and scrap metal for artifacts on Jan. 29, 2015, at the burned-out Fashions R Boutique in Ferguson.
Emanuele Berry / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri History Museum and Washington University are making sure artifacts from Ferguson are preserved.

Louise Flick, DrPH, principal investigator for the National Children’s Study Gateway Study Center and professor at SLU School of Public Health, Edwin Trevathan, M.D., MPH, dean of SLU’s School of Public Health (center), & Craig Schmid, St. Louis Alderman
Chad Williams | Saint Louis University Medical Center

Its magnitude was ambitious and unprecedented: The National Children’s Study promised to follow 100,000 American children from before birth to the age of 21. Researchers sought a better understanding of autism, obesity and cancer by tracking links between children’s environments and their health outcomes. Since 2007, Congress has appropriated about $1.3 billion to fund planning and research; millions went to four research centers in the St. Louis region alone.  

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

Boeing has been on the minds of the Show-Me State's political figures lately, thanks to the effort to lure the manufacturing of the 777X airplane to Missouri.  Now, the company is planning to bring several hundred research and development jobs to the St. Louis region. 

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

With the effort to lure Boeing’s 777X on the minds of the Show Me State’s political figures, the company is planning to bring several hundred research and development jobs to the St. Louis region. 

    

National Cancer Institute | Wikimedia Commons

First Brief: For the Sake of All

A disproportionate number of African Americans in St. Louis live in poverty and lack a high school education. African-American St. Louisans also have a higher death rate than white St. Louisans. According to a multi-disciplinary study currently under way in St. Louis, there is a connection between the two trends.

(via Flikr/Ed Uthman)

Just as with most things in life, when it comes to researching diseases, there is strength in numbers. Most funding goes to researching well-known and wide-spread diseases such as cancer and heart disease. 

National Cancer Institute/Sriram Subramaniam

The American Cancer Society is launching a nationwide study to try to better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to causing cancer.

Washington University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine has received a $50 million federal grant aimed at turning research findings into improvements in human health.

The grant is the renewal of an award from the National Institutes of Health. It will support Wash U's Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), one of 60 such centers in the U.S.

Washington University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine has received a $20 million donation to establish a new center for psychiatric research.

The Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research will focus on developing new and more effective therapies for psychiatric disorders. Researchers will start by studying neurosteroids, chemicals in the brain that help regulate thinking and emotion. Changes in levels of neurosteroids can be linked to mood disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy, or Alzheimer’s disease.

(via Flickr/Josep Ma. Rosell)

New research from the National Coalition for Safer Roads, a group advocating for the use of red light cameras, shows that 71 percent of Missouri's registered voters support the use of the cameras at dangerous intersections.

The study, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies also shows that 47 percent of Missouri's registered voters "strongly support" the cameras.