BY MATT WENHAM (NIDDK), KATHERINE BRICCENO (NINDS), JASON STAGNO (NCI), MICHELLE BOND (NIDDK), AND RACHEL MURPHY (NIA)
Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States that affects approximately one-third of adults and nearly 17 percent of children and teens. People who are obese are at increased risk for developing many serious health problems including diabetes, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and a reduced life expectancy. And obesity disproportionately affects racial- and ethnic-minority populations as well as those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. The high prevalence of obesity is thought to result from the interaction of genetic susceptibility with behaviors and environmental factors that promote increased calorie intake and sedentary lifestyles. NIH funds and does research on all aspects of obesity. Here, we share highlights of a few of the NIH intramural researchers who are tackling the epidemic.
Imagine a handheld scanner that could be used in the battlefield to detect whether an injured soldier has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). NICHD’s senior investigator Amir Gandjbakhche and research fellow Jason Riley led a team of NIH scientists to perfect an imaging technology that would make such a device possible. The idea was straightforward: Create a device that could detect a TBI and make it simple enough for any soldier to grab out of a truck and use it in the heat of battle. The device needed to be portable, able to withstand the chaos of the battlefield, and use an imaging technology that could measure bleeding in the brain, an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
The NIH intramural research program hosted its first Science/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Webinar on February 29, titled “Applying New Imaging Techniques to Your Research: Advice from the Experts.” This featured Hari Shroff (NIBIB), Sriram Subramaniam (NCI), and Clare Waterman (NHLBI). The pre-event buzz was promising—nearly 2,400 researchers worldwide registered to participate, the largest number for any Science/AAAS Webinar—and, indeed, close to that many did watch, while hundreds more may view the archive.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) uses radiation to image very small particles, that radiation can kill viruses destroying the very structures scientists want to see. But NIAMS researchers developed a method they call “bubblegram imaging” that turns the problem into a solution.
NIH’s National Library of Medicine has compiled a remarkably illustrated book edited by Michael Sappol, Hidden Treasure, which features rare, beautiful, idiosyncratic, and surprising works in the collection of the world’s largest medical library.