Sunday, November 15, 2015

Acupuncture Needles Help Reveal Origin of Life

A grant was recently given to Dr. Fernandez and his team from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Dr. Facundo Fernandez is a professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry at Georgia Tech University.  The purpose of this grant was to fund a study where a robot armed with an Acupuncture needle would probe particles on foreign objects.  Identifying these particles could help scientist find details to the primordial soup that first generated life.

The robot starts off by doing a 3D scan of the object that needs investigating (for example purposes lets say its a rock). A robotic arm holding an acupuncture needle extends to a very precise area of the rock which was identified from the 3D scan.  When the needle taps the desired area, material from the rock lands on the surface of the acupuncture needle which can then be inserted into a mass spectrometer onboard the robot

The mass spectrometer bombards the needle with ions causing the sample molecules to break into tiny charged particles that can be determined and identified. What is revolutionary about this method is that the newly identified particles are then digitally mapped on the example rock.  The robot would repeat this process until it has mapped the entire surface of the rock.

Acupuncture needles have several unique characteristics that make them surprisingly adaptable for both Traditional Chinese Medicine and chemical analysis of unknown particulates.  The medical grade stainless steel can withstand the charged ion bombardment from the mass spectrometer, acupuncture needles can be repeatedly tapped on surfaces without becoming dull and the weight and size of the needle allows it to be stored into small areas of the robot thereby limiting the cargo load.

Dr. Fernandez hopes to extend his research into utilizing this robot to help identify cancer cells on the surface of human skin, such as melanoma. To read more about Dr. Fernandez's work visit Georgia Tech College of Chemistry and Biochemistry webpage.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Portland is the New Hub for Chinese Medicine & Fertility Research

Dr. Lee Hullender Rubin

Acupuncture may be the only form of medicine whom science has tried to take completely out of the treatment room and focus on the biophysical reaction to just one point for one symptom for all patients.  You have heard this story before in the podcast with MD Anderson Oncology.  Today’s episode looks at what is becoming the hub of fertility and acupuncture research in Portland, Oregon.  Dr. Lee Hullender Rubin is heading up wide reaching research studies looking at how to optimize in-vitro-fertilization (IVF) outcomes with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Chiense Medicine and IVF
Dr. Hullender Rubin who graduated from Bastyr's Acupuncture Program in 2001 and then followed that up with her Doctors of Acupuncture in Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2009. She is investigating what may be a relatively new term for acupuncturists, whole systems TCM. It encompasses the understanding that when a patient visits an acupuncturists they are potential experiencing a multitude of health care strategies including the actual interaction between healthcare provider and patient, a TCM diagnosis, a TCM treatment plan, acupuncture, moxa, cupping, herbs, dietary recommendations, exercises, lifestyle changes, and meditation/relaxing techniques. It may seem like regular TCM to those who practice acupuncture but in the science community all those data points and variables are important and potentially quantifiable if looked at in the correct light.

Click here to see an abstract of her articled "Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes" in the Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine.

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