ARTIFICIAL OVARY HELP

As a woman who loves being a woman ( Yes i’m a feminist, but not to the extent of some), being able to have a child of your own, with the same DNA as you is everything a woman could wish for.
If lucky we are all born with the right functions to make a baby, but some are unfortunate not to be or may develop problems over the course of their lives which may not allow them to birth.

With the ever moving times we live in and the amazing advancements in medicine and technology ( One of the key reasons why I want to be part of the evolutionary changes of healthcare by becoming a doctor) we have hopefully found a solution to one of many issues still trying to be tackled and that is artificial ovaries. Scientists have taken early steps towards developing an artificial ovary that could lead ti improved fertility preservation treatments.

The technique is aimed at helping women at risk of becoming fertile for example those who receive chemotherapy.
Danish scientists removed parts of the ovary and altered them so they could potentially be transplanted later when women want to conceive.

Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can often damage the ovaries and leave a woman infertile. One way women can have a chance of conceiving is with an ovarian tissue transplant , where all or part of the ovary is removed and frozen before it is damages so that it can be used later.

However with these new developments there are risks. For example for women with cancer there is a risk that the ovarian tissue may contain cancerous cells, which may then lead to the illness returning when the transplant takes place.

Although the risk is seen as very low, it may mean that women with certain cancers such as: leukemia and cancers surrounding the womb area may not have the transplant offered to them. However to remove this risk, scientists from the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, took ovarian follicles and ovarian tissue from patients due to have cancer treatment.

They then removed the cancerous cells from the ovarian tissue, leaving behind a “scaffold” made up of proteins and collagen.
They were then able to grow the ovarian follicles on this engineered scaffold made up of proteins and collagen. This artificial ovary was then transplanted into mice, where it was able to support the survival and growth of the ovarian cells.

Doctors have said this technique can have advantages over other fertility techniques. Stuart Lavery a consultant gynecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, said the ovarian tissue transplants potentially contained thousands of eggs that would enable women to get pregnant naturally as opposed to IVF where an egg is fertilised in a lab before being injected into the womb.
However, with all new findings it will still take at least 3 to 4 years, plus needing it to be tested on humans.

Another inspiration to me that I can be part of the developing world of medicine and able to be part of things that wont just benefit my generation, but the generation to come.

NURSE ACCUSED OF KILLING 8 BABIES

Jaw to the floor

“Melissa could you close your mouth”

“Yes mum” with a single tear drop falling down my cheek

8 innocent children with a whole life ahead of them.
8 innocent children who subconsciously put their trust and lives in the hands of a so called professional only to have their lives taken away.

8 innocent children who are being mourned by their parents who also put their trust and childs lives in the hands of a so called professional only to have it taken away.
Although not a lot of information about this case has been published it definitely touched me as this nurse named Lucy Letby ( or more fitting “thou shalt not be named” -we thank J.K. Rowling for this one) has been accused of killing 8 babies under her care and attempting to kill another 6.

According to people around her this woman was “awkward, quite geeky but seemed like a kind hearted person”, with another calling her an “amazing person”. This woman also took part in a fundraising campaign to build a new neo-natural unit at the hospital she worked at. All these amazing comments makes me think how can a woman be responsible for so many deaths.
This case got me wondering about the trust in which people have in health care professionals and how some, like the one above, easily take it for granted.

Although this case is of a higher scale it has me thinking about all the responsibilities in which I will face when I begin practicing on a smaller level such as: patient- doctor confidentiality, making sure my patient is fully aware of the risks of a medication or procedure I may refer them to just to name a few . The main focus of this piece of writing is trust and it should be in the back of health care professionals minds and definitely my mind and those in university studying to become a doctor that trust is a key value in medicine and any other related profession.

It’s hard for some to come to the realization that something so tragic like this case can come about in a developed country with a well established health care service that has been running for more than 50 years, but we need to think of why this happened and the psychological motives. She should be fully accounted for her actions, but to move on from this we need to think of how we can make sure things like this can’t happen again and that’s one thing that I will try and do more research into and if you have any suggestions please leave them down below. As this isn’t just to combat this case but to improve everyone’s safety and welfare in the present and the future.

PSYCHEDELICS AND MENTAL HEALTH

One reading the title may think, yes I know a lot about mental health, it’s a common topic which is talked about yet hidden away in the minds of us human beings as some, may see mental health as a weakness or may feel that it is something that many look down upon when really according to the mental health foundation 4-10% of people living in the United kingdom will suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime the most common being depression and anxiety.

As a teenager who has experienced mental health issues through one situation or another whether it be anxiety or depression , it got me thinking with suicide being at 5,668 (2016 figures) if there is a way in which we can finally eradicate mental health once and for all ( being the optimist that I am).

With drugs such as anti-depressants, Benzodiazepines (which help to treat agitation, insomnia) and non-medical treatments such as help from a psychiatrist got me thinking about if these are sustainable. For example antidepressants may not help at all and may have the mind tricked that they do work and can therefore lead to things such as being addicted to the antidepressant as you may feel like they do work when in reality they don’t and also they can have negative side effects and ongoing costs for the patient and the NHS (this being one example of many).

So in a search to find any other alternatives I came across a news article about psychedelics. Psychedelic drugs are more likely to be associated with countercultures of the 1960s than those who work in the lab: but who says two worlds can’t mix especially when it’s about saving the human race from one more thing that can lead to death.

Increasingly, scientists are looking at whether these mind-altering drugs – which also include mescaline and DMT among others – might also have the potential to be mind-healing.
A number of small studies have found psychedelics to show promise in treating mental health disorders like depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, often where other treatments have failed.

Now UK researchers are about to take part in the first major trials into whether one of these hallucinogenic drugs could be more effective than a leading antidepressant in the treatment of depression.

Researchers at Imperial College London are to compare the magic mushroom compound psilocybin with a leading SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressant, escitalopram, in a large trial expected to take at least two years.
“[Psychedelics] have a revolutionary potential, and that’s not an exaggeration,” says Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, who will lead the study.

But it is not the first time scientists have been excited about these mind-altering substances.
More than 50 years ago the idea of psychedelics came to the forefront of the medicinal world but was halted.

However, with everything comes the good and the bad . Starting with the negatives some can argue that making psychedelics legal can blur the boundary between medicine and just plane taking it for granted (likened to how argue patients take antibiotics for granted). A further point is that UN convention on the drugs in 1971 effectively ended scientific research, because it led member states to make them illegal and classify them as Schedule 1 drugs – those deemed to have no medicinal benefit.
Counter arguing this is that there are some beliefs that they will have benefits. For example in 2009, Dr Carhart-Harris became the first UK scientist in more than 40 years to research psychedelics, beginning a series of studies using scanners to see how psilocybin affects the brain.

Among other findings, a study from his team last year found that psilocybin ( a type of psychedelic drug) can reset the brains of people with untreatable depression

The paper, published in the journal of scientific reports, showed psilocybin affected two areas of the brain: The amygdala, which is heavily involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety, and the default-mode network – a collaboration of different brain regions.

How psilocybin affects the brain is not yet fully understood, but Dr Carhart-Harris believes it effectively “heats up” the mind from its rigidity, enabling people to overcome ingrained, self-destructive patterns of thinking.

In conclusion the use of psychedelics with continuation of them being safely trialed and tested showing that they do work when it comes to treating mental health, can become a new evolution of drugs, although taking a long time for them to be implemented. In addition to this one needs to understand that they may not be everyone’s first choice and non-medical treatments and anti-depressant drugs may still be a fan fave, as Dr Carhart-Harris says “Some people won’t want to go to the depths of their soul or face demons or traumas they’ve experienced, or dark aspects of the human condition that are there in all of us,” but overall it’s about giving people options and the hope that they can live their lives and not feel constricted or controlled. As I said above I am quite an optimist and maybe “eradicate” wasn’t the best verb to use , but with time, advancements in technology and medicine, mental may not sooner but later be a thing of the past.

ASTHMA

Ugh , asthma my ever most present enemy.

A slight cough, turns into a gentle wheeze, manifesting into mere mm of my airways giving up.
I choose today to write a post about asthma because I want to make this blog as personal but as informative as possible and to give an insight to the many reasons and influences to why I want to study medicine.

For as long as I remember asthma has been my “best friend” to put it in nicer terms. I remember my first episode at my aunties house. Early in the day on a summers afternoon my aunt had taken my brother and I to the park and I was aware I had hay fever so I had already taken my cetrizine (antihistimine) but this day was different. I was feeling short of breath, felt like I was choking, coughing uncontrollably and hearing little noises in my throat. It wasn’t until I fell to the ground my aunt ran and asked me what the matter was to which I responded I couldn’t breath. One thing I love about my aunt is that she doesn’t hesitate to call emergency services when she knows something regarding health is out of her control.
“She’s having an asthma attack”
“An asthma attack?, but she’s not an asthmatic, she has hayfever though but she took her medication earlier today”
This conversation happening while I have an oxygen mask round my face.
“Please see your doctor tomorow”
“Yes, sir”
The next day being a Monday my mum took me to the doctors in which he confirmed I had asthma. I really wasn’t phased by the diagnosis as I didn’t really understand anything, but he prescribed me a lot of medication (well more medication than I’ve ever needed prior to this diagnosis). These medications being Symbicort, Bricanyl, Salbutamol and Singular tablets all having different functions.

I thought ok I have a responsibility to keep my health in check, and also be an advocate for asthma. It wasn’t till year 10 sports day a girl maybe 2 years below me was in the corner near the sports building crying. I had asked her what was the matter and she had said that she felt light headed and out of breath. I could hear her wheezing and from there recognized the syptoms and concluded she was an asthma sufferer. Of course I had to ask her, I wasn’t qualified (but in my mind I was). She said yes and had said she forgot her medication at home and she didn’t want to tell a teacher because she knew they would contact her parents and she would be in trouble ( that was a big deja vu moment).
Luckily I had my astma medication hidden in my PE socks. I had a volumatic in my locker so we walked to the locker where I helped her administer the drug. I encouraged her to go tell the first aid people which we did with me detailing everything.
That was the first day I felt like I had a big responsibility regarding someones life. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t walk round that corner.

Although I wasn’t set in stone around that time that it was medicine I wanted to go into , I knew that I wanted a role where I had a major responsibility and that it was the fact that peoples lives were in my hands was the motivating factor to why I wanted to work.

When I said this to my teacher in year 11 she said “medicine is the right pathway, go do some research”…… part 2 coming next.

Now i’m just going to tell you a bit about asthma it is a common disease but there’s no harm in reiterating some key points.
Asthma is a condition in where a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus which makes it difficult to breath. There are many symptoms which can help one to know whether they may have asthma these being : coughing, especially during the night and exercise, wheezing or losing your breath easily, tightness in the chest , trouble sleeping and fatigue and weakness especially during weakness. Of course it is better to see a health care professional as these symptoms can be likened to other diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema.

As medicine is evolving new medications are being developed and studies being carried out. I will be talking about some of them.
One being scientists have found a protein , HMGB1 that is related to asthma.The study showed that people who have moderate to severe asthma experience inflammation from the overproduction of mucus from this protein. The HMGB1 protein is released in the lung passages, and the bronchioles constrict making it hard to breathe. Now researchers have found this protein and how it functions within the respiratory systems, pharmaceutical companies can now work with scientists to develop new prescriptions for asthma sufferers .

A second development is that it has also come to light that the root  cause of asthma is environmental triggers, like allergens, cigarette smoke, or certain perfumes. This has already been known for many years, however, was not proven until a couple of years ago. In this study, researchers found that the calcium-sensing receptor (CasR) causes allergy induced asthma triggering airway inflammation, twitching in the breathing passages, as well as causing them to become narrow, thus making it hard to breathe. Scientists are still researching different medications to help with this reaction in the lungs, but think a drug known as calcilytics can help reverse this reaction in the respiratory system. This would help millions of sufferers live more comfortable lives.