Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are a major cause of illness and death in the U.S., with the incidence increasing dramatically over the age of 55. These aneurysms are a widening and bulging of the large artery that runs through the body from the heart into the abdomen. They often go undetected until they suddenly rupture, often resulting in death within minutes.
A team of physicians and engineers from Emory and Georgia Tech is studying the biology and biomechanics of vascular inflammation and disturbed blood flow in AAAs to understand how they develop and could be prevented or detected earlier.
Taylor points out that predicting the likelihood of aneurysm rupture is extremely difficult and patients often donâ€™t notice them until they already are leaking or ruptured. Even small aneurysms often expand rapidly and rupture. He and his team will try to pin down specific risk factors for AAAs, which they think differ from traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
When our bodies encounter a bacteria or a virus, the immune system sends some cells out to fight the invader and keeps others in reserve, in order to respond faster and stronger the next time around. Vaccination depends on this phenomenon, called immunological memory.
Several recent papers â€” from Emory and elsewhere â€“ provide insight into this process, and highlight this area of research as especially active lately.
In addition, Wnt signaling, which plays critical roles in embryonic development and cancer, influences memory T cell formation as well, according to a July paper in Nature Medicine.
To summarize â€” pushing on several different â€œbuttonsâ€ produces the same thing: more memory T cells. How are the wires behind the buttons connected? Work by Ahmed and others may eventually help enhance vaccine efficacy or fight cancer with the immune system.
Rapamycin, the focus of the Ahmed/Larsen paper, was also recentlyfound to slow aging in mice. However, with previous anti-aging research findings, translating results into the human realm has been a considerable challenge.
Emory University Hospital ranked among the nation’s best hospitals in 11 specialties. Overall, Emory is one of only 170 hospitals, out of more than 5,400 medical centers in the country to be named in even one of the magazine’s top 50 specialty rankings.
Emory is recognized in this year’s comprehensive report for excellence in:
Specialty and Rank
Ophthalmology – 9
Psychiatry – 10
Geriatrics – 13
Heart and Heart Surgery – 13
Neurology and Neurosurgery – 14
Ear, Nose and Throat – 22
Kidney Disease – 25
Diabetes/Endocrinology – 31
Gynecology – 44
Urology – 44
Cancer – 46
U.S. News says it looks at, “how well these institutions do in complex and demanding situationsâ€”replacing an 85-year-old’s heart valve, diagnosing and treating a spinal tumor, and dealing with inflammatory bowel disease, to name three examples. High-stakes medicine calls for more than the usual brand of doctoring.”
Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric physician Dr. Mark Wulkan is among the first surgeons in Georgia to perform single-site incision surgery on pediatric patients for routine surgeries.
Dr. Mark Wulkan
Dr. Wulkan is using this method for multiple procedures, including appendectomy, removal of the spleen, and stomach surgery.
Traditional laparoscopic surgical incisions are made in different locations on the abdominal wall, resulting in several small scars. The single-site method, however, is considered scarless because only one incision is made in the belly button and is typically difficult to see. Pediatric patients who undergo single-site procedures enjoy all the benefits of laparoscopic surgery, such as rapid recovery and less pain than that associated with traditional open surgery.
Berns says, “We all live in groups. Sometimes groups make good decisions, but groups often behave worse than any of its members would. Weâ€™re approaching the problem of collective decision-making from a new perspective by studying how the human brain functions in groups.â€
Center members advise decision-makers of all kinds by conducting experiments focused on biologically based pressures that influence collective decision-making. Through their discoveries, researchers will better understand how culture, intelligence and environment influence the way decisions are made and how basic human tendencies drive judgment in certain situations.
As Berns points out, people also need to understand how religious and political ideologies become transformed in the brain and can subvert basic self-survival value judgments, a phenomenon that occurs in war and terrorism.
â€œCollective decision-making is political, but politics are biological,â€ says Berns. â€œThe human brain evolved to function in social groups. By discovering how our brains are wired to behave in groups, we can find solutions to problems of global impact.â€Berns is the author of Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment and Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently.
Over the past twenty years, the research partnership between Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed into one of the leading bioengineering and biomedical research and educational programs in the nation. In recent years this partnership has resulted in the development of several pieces of diagnostic and medical-assistant technology, with medical experts on the Emory side working with engineers on the Georgia Tech side.
An example of this collaboration is the El-E robot, designed to perform simple tasks such as opening drawers and retrieving objects. Clinicians at Emoryâ€™s School of Medicine and engineers at Georgia Tech created the 5Â½-foot-tall machine, which glides across the floor on wheels and takes direction from a laser pointer that users can control in a variety of ways, depending on their preferences and capabilities. El-E is no mere toy, however: The machine could help patients with significant motor impairments, such as sufferers of ALS, maintain their independence and help relieve physical and financial burdens faced by caregivers.
Another result of the Emory-Georgia Tech collaboration is DETECT, a portable device capable of detecting the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, in any environment. DETECT has a helmet device that includes an LCD display in a visor, along with a computer and noise-reduction headphones. DETECT gives the patient a battery of words and pictures to assess cognitive abilitiesâ€”reaction time and memory capabilities. The low-cost test takes approximately 10 minutes. The device was co-developed by emergency medicine physician David Wright, and Michelle LaPlaca, a scientist in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory.
Millions of TV viewers know Dr. Sanjay Gupta as CNN’s chief medical correspondent. But did you know that off the air, Dr. Gupta is a practicing trauma neurosurgeon at nearby Grady Memorial Hospital? Gupta, like most of the doctors at the hospital, is an Emory physician. CNN medical producer Danielle Dellorto put together this video showing what his life as a surgeon is like.
China is likewise reaching out to Emory. According to the international business news site Global Atlanta, delegates from Chinaâ€™s Shandong province recently came to Atlanta to meet with health care professionals, public health officials, educational institutions and legislators.The group visited the the Emory Spine Center, where they met with acupuncturists using traditional Chinese techniques alongside new therapies.