Saturday, November 21, 2009

More random science

'Fly Paper' Created to Capture Circulating Cancer Cells

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2009) — Just as fly paper captures insects, an innovative new device with nano-sized features developed by researchers at UCLA is able to grab cancer cells in the blood that have broken off from a tumor.

These cells, known as circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, can provide critical information for examining and diagnosing cancer metastasis, determining patient prognosis, and monitoring the effectiveness of therapies.

Metastasis -- the most common cause of cancer-related death in patients with solid tumors -- is caused by marauding tumor cells that leave the primary tumor site and ride in the bloodstream to set up colonies in other parts of the body.

The current gold standard for examining the disease status of tumors is an analysis of metastatic solid biopsy samples, but in the early stages of metastasis, it is often difficult to identify a biopsy site. By capturing CTCs, doctors can essentially perform a "liquid" biopsy, allowing for early detection and diagnosis, as well as improved treatment monitoring.

To date, several methods have been developed to track these cells, but the UCLA team's novel "fly paper" approach may be faster and cheaper than others -- and it appears to capture far more CTCs.

Surprising stats about kids and injury and death

Some of the facts about sports and recreational injury may surprise you. For example, when we hear about sports injury, many of us immediately think of contact sports like football. While these sports are associated with higher injury rates, injuries from recreational activities and individual sports are more likely to be severe when they occur. Incidence of injury also varies by age group: young children (ages 5 to 9) are more likely to sustain playground- and bicycle-related injuries, while older children are more likely to suffer from bicycle- and sports-related injuries and overexertion. 

Injury risks by activity:

·        Baseball has the highest fatality rate among all sports for children ages 5 to 14. Each year, three to four children die from baseball-related injuries.

·    Gymnastics-related injuries caused more than 21,200 children ages 5 to 14 to be treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2002.  

·        In 2001, 134 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes. 

·        Since 1992, at least 87 children ages 14 and under have died from inline skating injuries.  The majority of these deaths were from collisions with motor vehicles. 

·       Each year, nearly 20 children ages 14 and under die from playground-related injuries. 

·        In 2001, more than 74,500 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for trampoline-related injuries.

·      More than 51,300 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for unpowered scooter-related injuries in 2002. Since 2001, at least 10 children ages 14 and under have died as a result of this type of injury.

·     In 2002, at least 44 children ages 14 and under died and nearly 20,300 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries.

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