Dancing in pointe shoes raises the risk of injury for female ballerinas. Complex balletic movements require elevated muscular efforts and can put excessive stress loads on the ankle bones. Not many biomechanical studies focus on ballet, even as findings could contribute to decreased injury risk for dancers. A number of factors, such as ground reaction forces, ankle sway, and shoe flexibility can affect a dancer’s injury risk. But which factors contribute most?Continue reading “You’re En Pointe! Biomechanics and Ankle Injury Risk in Ballet Dancers￼”
How are pedicle screws being used to strengthen the vertebrae in spinal fusion surgeries?
In the US alone, over 300,000 spinal fusion surgeries are performed every year to correct for fractures, deformations, or spinal instabilities. These surgeries are often performed by inserting a pedicle screw into the damaged vertebrae to increase the strength of the fusion. These screws are most often used in cases where the bone in the surrounding area is already weak, which decreases the likelihood of success in the surgery. Essentially, pedicle screws are used in damaged bones to increase their strength, in turn increasing the likelihood of success in a high-risk patient.Continue reading “Strengthening the Spine with Pedicle Screws￼”
Despite unstinting interventions such as chemotherapy and surgical tumor removal, approximately 40% of patients with stage I-III triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) will experience tumor recurrence. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. The advent of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) immunotherapy—a type of therapy that uses one’s own immune cells to kill the cancer—has shown great promise for the treatment of TNBC. However, as Dr. Azra Raza says in her book, The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last, these “immune approaches are not universally curative and, at present, help very few patients.”Continue reading
According to Azra Raza, a Professor of Medicine at Columbia University in New York, high-grade brain cancer called glioblastoma is “one of the most aggressive, ruthless killers known to mankind”. Indeed, despite recent advances in cancer therapies, glioblastoma remains incurable with a median survival of 15 months which has not improved substantially in the last 20 years. This poor prognosis is, in part, due to the highly immunosuppressive microenvironment that allows tumors to evade anti-tumor immune response and promotes resistance to immunotherapy – a kind of therapy that uses your body’s own immune system to find and eliminate tumor cells.Continue reading “Sensing tension in the brain tumor microenvironment”