Imagine you arrived at a hospital emergency room before the advent of modern medicine with intense abdominal pain. You could have had a stomach virus, kidney stones, appendicitis, or something worse. But because the doctors lacked the proper diagnostic tools and knowledge to identify your illness, the only thing they could do was treat your most prominent symptom—your pain. For many with mental-health problems this scenario is still close to reality.
For every great idea–for every great solution to a problem–there are a thousand ideas that fall by the wayside, discarded along the path that begins at the first flash of insight and ends in a working solution. Translational medicine often follows this twisty path, especially in the realm of developing new medical devices.
NIH alum Theodore Friedmann may be too modest to brag about his pioneering role in gene-therapy research, but the Japan Prize Foundation sure wasn’t when it bestowed its prestigious prize on him and two other scientists earlier this year.
Research highlights: advances in diagnosing coronary heart disease; high-resolution 3D images reveal the muscle mitochondrial power grid; trash-collecting cells go awry and accelerate damage in a blinding eye disease; placenta-on-a-chip lets researchers study the inner workings of the human placenta; body-weight planner is a new resource for achieving healthy weight; a protein plays a significant role in fertilization.
A study published in the January 2, 2015, issue of Science that suggests that cancer is mainly bad luck spurred National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences biostatisticians to take a closer look at how the data were interpreted.
While waiting for the shuttle bus inside the NIH gate, one Friday morning in August, Francisco Sy took this photo with his iPhone. Sy is the director of the Office of Community-Based Participatory Research and Collaboration, in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Two seventh-grade girls were intently watching three nightcrawlers (earthworms) positioned on a table between wet and dry paper towels. Which direction would they go, the girls wondered. Meanwhile, a previously sassy and nonchalant classmate peered over their shoulders and squealed, “O M G [oh my God], it moved!”