Needle-Free Injection: Star Trek Medicine Meets the Pharmacy

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By David Warmflash

David WarmflashWhen Star Trek first aired during the 1960s, most of the imaginary technologies seemed appropriate for a setting two to three centuries into the future—excluding those 20th century plastic spray bottles that you might use to mist the leaves of a house plant. But that part has changed quickly over the last 45 years, especially in the realm of medicine. Previously, I’ve discussed the fictional antiradiation drug hyronalin, making its way from science fiction to science fact, and I mentioned a real-life medical tricorder under development. Continue reading

Live Long and Prosper

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By Megan Cooley

Megan CooleyThis January, I attended the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (KINBRE) conference; the keynote speaker was Dr. Muneesh Tewari. His keynote mainly focused around the utilization of tumor-derived microRNAs as blood-based biomarkers for cancer, an idea that many fellow researchers thought was not realistic based on the stability of the biomarker. Continue reading

Inventing Hyronalin: Drugs Countering Radiation Effects

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By David Warmflash

David Warmflash

Star Trek medicine includes a fictional drug called hyronalin, administered to offset the effects of acute radiation exposure. First airing in the 1960s, the original Star Trek series imagined humanity with a positive social future, enhanced with scientific advances projected three centuries into the future. At the time, virtually all Star Trek technologies seemed to lie far ahead, but the next decades brought cell phones resembling Star Trek communicators, two-way video communication, and a plethora of other technologies. Today, there is a medical tricorder under development and physicists are attempting to measure mini–warp fields from certain technology with actual NASA funding. Continue reading

Resistance Is Futile: Trek Tech Is on the Way

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By Todd Reitzel

Todd ReitzelThe recent announcement that the next Star Trek movie will be released in 2016 reminds us that we are approaching the franchise’s 50th anniversary. The original Star Trek series premiered on September 8, 1966, and after being canceled three years later, the show thrived in American culture via reruns, fan conventions, books, movies, websites, documentaries, and four sequel series. Catchphrases such as “Beam me up, Scotty” and “He’s dead, Jim” have flourished for nearly half a century now, with more recent additions to the pantheon such as “Make it so” and “Resistance is futile”. Trekkies go to varying lengths to display and celebrate their devotion to the various themes, tropes, and memes portrayed by Star Trek. Recently, one Long Island father even converted his basement into a Star Trek ship interior. Continue reading

A Vaccine for Dust Mite Allergy-Induced Asthma Attacks

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By Aliasger K. Salem

Aliasger SalemIn the U.S., 84% of residences have detectable levels of house dust mite (HDM) allergens, and a quarter of these houses have higher levels of allergens than the proposed limit for asthma. High levels of these allergens can trigger asthma attacks in sensitized individuals. Long-term exposure to allergens triggers a T-helper 2 (Th2) immune response that is thought to be correlated with these asthma attacks. Vaccines could be used to prevent allergen-induced asthma attacks by lowering the level of Th2 orchestrated airway inflammation and stimulating protective immunity by Th1 cells that reduce the symptoms linked with allergy. Continue reading

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