Though the general consensus seems to be that the Northeast weathered deadly storm Sandy relatively well thanks to warnings and emergency plans put into action, there were unexpected casualties beyond the loss of over 80 human lives. Massive flooding in the lower New York Metro Area was not on the radar to the extent that it actually transpired, and basements that were thought to be flood-safe turned out not to be. That was the case at New York University's Smilow Research Center, where animal labs underground were inundated and approximately 10,000 research mice and rats drowned and lab equipment was ruined. On the upper floors, precious biological samples and reagents were lost as freezers and refrigerators shut down. Other research institutions in the area fared better.
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Construction began four years ago on Mt. Sinai New York's new 550,000sf Hess Center for Science and Medicine on E. 102nd St., between Madison and Fifth Avenues in East Harlem. Originally due for completion this fall, the new opening date has been pushed into spring of 2013. The 13-storey building is a major advance in the medical institute's larger plan of integrating its clinical and research areas through a strong translational medicine program. Basic research facilities will include wet and dry bench labs, animal facilities, and computer-supported research spaces. There will be lounges, meeting and education rooms, and other open, interactive spaces to encourage collaboration through daily contact. The half million square feet will add to, not replace, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's overall facility space. They have already begun recruiting and hiring new faculty researchers.
Debates over the legitimacy of medical marijuana as a pain medication or appetite enhancer have tended to point to a lack of scientific studies proving the key substance is safe and effective. Patients and doctors have not always waited for that hard evidence, instead working from an empirical position that saw positive results from the ingestion of cannabinoids, the active ingredients, that lead them to make their own treatment decisions. But serious bioscience research, especially in the fields of pharmacology, infectious disease, and neuroscience, is showing surprising results in laboratory studies on cannabinoids, and those findings go far beyond the pain and appetite benefits to actually short-circuiting disease in late-stage AIDS patients.
The Radiological Society of North America recently announced in a press release that patients at three major medical institutions now have the option of sending their medical images via the Internet through a secure network so doctors and medical providers can access them with patients’ permission. The benefits of this new advance in technology are that patients gain more control over their medical images, and doctors from different hospitals can access important patient charts immediately in a medical emergency.
As early as February of 2012, project organizers plan on opening the New York Genome Center, a new center for genomics and medicine, in Manhattan. NYGC’s collaborating members include a number of public and private contributors, among them 11 academic institutions, private philanthropists, technology collaborators, the New York City Economic Corporation and the New York City Investment Fund. In total, contributing members have donated $120 million to the project so far.
The NIH has just announced that the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) consortium of seven US medical research institutions has received an additional $25M in funding for Phase II of a series of projects to study how genetic information in patients' medical records can be used to improve their care. As genome sequencing becomes increasingly affordable and more widely done, translational research is needed to show physicians how they might respond to indicators of genetic predisposition to disease in their treatment programs. The eMERGE network was formed in 2007 "to develop, disseminate, and apply approaches to research that combine DNA biorepositories with electronic medical record (EMR) systems for large-scale, high-throughput genetic research," according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) branch of the NIH.
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.8 million Americans suffer from heart failure, with over half a million new cases diagnosed each year. Fatality of this disease is one in five within the first year of diagnosis. Often treated with aggressive medical and device therapy, heart disease has no cure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, exhaustion, and extremity swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, and occasionally the abdomen.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine is taking steps to establish itself among the best medical schools in the nation. The university is developing the second phase of a strategic plan authored by the Dean, Denis S. Charney. Currently the school is ranked 18th by US News and World Report, and is making an active attempt to become a global leader in medical research.