Dr. Keen's Blog

Can 3D printing change the way drugs are made?

This week the FDA approved the first drug to be printed with a 3D printer. The drug, Spritam, is an epilepsy drug that is created by printing layers of powder. This printing technique is thought to improve how quickly the drug dissolves when ingested. It provides an alternative to the large, hard to swallow pills that are currently manufactured. While the drug will not be available to patients until 2016,... Read More

Being human and the ethics of animal research

What does it mean to be human? How does new animal research make us reevaluate our definitions? Dorothy Yuan talks about this in a new post – #SciFly

Just like to say I’m sorry, if that is ok?

There have been several good articles lately about words or phrases women use that should be removed from their everyday vocabulary. First was the article by Ellen Petry Leanse,“Google and Apple alum says using this one word can damage your credibility” published on LinkedIn. This is an interesting article about how the use (or overuse) of the word “just” reduces the credibility of women. We ‘just’ want to say, or... Read More

One (potential) way to reduce obesity as we age

An new study was published recently in Nature Communications that looks at the connection between (or correlation of) low dose, early-life antibiotic exposure and obesity later in life. This work was done in mice, however it seems that exposure to two different types of antibiotics can change the bacteria (microbiotics) found in the gut. Click here for commentary. For several years, scientist have been looking at the connection between the... Read More

Scientific data reproducibility – Bad data leads to false hopes and delays finding cures

So much has and should be said about the reproducibility – or lack thereof – of scientific data. Fundamentally, the inability to reproduce published data means – at best – that time and money are wasted. At worst, it leads to years of pointless investigation, a huge amount of money lost, diminished respect in science, delays in new treatments or cures, and increased skepticism about biomedical research. Patients and their... Read More

Normal “healthy” variation in our genome

The human genome contains approximately 30,000 genes. Changes or mutations in the sequence of these genes can produce a different eye color, hair color, or even result in disease.These small differences are what make us who we are. Not all variations or mutations are harmful. Not all lead to the development of disease. But, how much variation in our genes exists in a healthy population? This important question has remained... Read More

Beware of fad treatments

When you are sick, you might try anything to feel better. This recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the importance of evidence based treatment rather then putting misplaced trust in unproven treatments. Misplaced Hopes for Curing Alzheimer’s http://www.wsj.com/articles/misplaced-hopes-for-curing-alzheimers-1433804970. While clearly this piece is focused on Alzheimer’s, the same holds true for any disease.    

Continued Push of Public Funding for Research

In the 1950s, Vannevar Bush proposed the public funding of research. He argued, and many agreed, that basic scientific research was essential for the good of the country, but it wasn’t feasible for private companies to support the effort. Basic science, or the understanding of the fundamental biology of a system that is not directly related or linked to a specific disease state, is essential. It provides the fundamentals on which disease or system... Read More

Why Study Science

Many people leave high school never wanting to think about biology or science again. It’s boring, hard, gross — just name the reason. This means that, for many, age 14 or 15 ends their exposure. Some continue into a career in science by teaching, researching, inventing, or communicating about science. While others are thrust back into science because they or a loved one gets sick. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or any number of diseases... Read More

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