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Virtues of the Virtual Autopsy

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Once a common medical procedure, the standard autopsy is passing out of use. In the 1970s bodies underwent postmortem examination in nearly 20 percent of deaths in the U.S. By 2007 the rate had fallen to 8.5 percent of all deaths and to only 4.3 percent of deaths caused by disease.

The reasons for the decline are well documented. Autopsies reveal medical mistakes, making doctors and hospitals uncomfortable. Medicare and private insurance do not reimburse providers for the procedures, so families must pay in full. And in the increasingly diverse U.S., members of some religions, such as Orthodox Judaism or Islam, object to dissecting a body after death.

Yet autopsy is a time-honored and reliable tool for confirming, or questioning, the actions of both medicine and law enforcement, so pathologists have looked for a viable alternative.

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New York Citys real estate and construction industry leaders have come together to support National Jewish Health, the nations number one respiratory hospital. The fundraising drive will culminate at the 43rd annual A Winters Evening Dinner Dance to be held Dec. 8 in Manhattan. The event also will honor Robert J. Ivanhoe, global real estate practice chair of Greenberg Traurig LLP, which received the prestigious 2010 USA Award for Excellence in Real Estate from Chambers and Partners. Ivanhoe is a preeminent and renowned real estate attorney in New York City and has been practicing law for over 30 years.

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UFs Running Medicine Clinic will host an interactive educational experience this February.

The Feb. 15-16 conference, now in its sixth year, features presentations and breakout sessions with experts from various areas of running medicine. Sport medicine physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, athletic trainers and other healthcare team members are invited to network with colleagues and to have questions answered by experts.

Visit the conference webpage for more details ufrunningmedicine.cme.ufl.edu.

The means by which cells first come to differ from one another during animal development has interested humans for nearly 2,000 years, and it still constitutes one of the major unsolved problems of biology. Much of the experimental work designed to investigate the problem has been done with amphibians such as frogs and salamanders because their eggs and embryos are comparatively large and are remarkably resistant to microsurgery. As with most animal eggs, the early events of amphibian development are largely independent of the environment, and the processes leading to cell differentiation must involve a redistribution and interaction of constituents already present in the fertilized egg.

 

Several different kinds of experiment have revealed the dependence of cell differentiation on the activity of the genes in the cells nucleus.

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Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a novel target for the treatment of food allergies. Erwin Gelfand, MD, and his colleagues report in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that levels of the enzyme Pim 1 kinase rise in the small intestines of peanut-allergic mice. Inhibiting activity of Pim 1 markedly reduced the allergic response to peanuts.

Pim 1, and its associated transcription factor, Runx3, play a crucial role in allergic reactions to peanuts, said Dr. Gelfand, senior author and chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health.

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