The Good Doctor from the creator of House with a Korean connection

Tuesday, 6 June, 2017

The Good Doctor - U.S. remake and South Korean original

I’m looking forward to watch The Good Doctor, an upcoming American medicaldrama television series, developed by David Shore (creator of House and U of Toronto law grad) and Daniel Dae Kim, starring Freddie Highmore, based on the 2013 South Korean series of the same name. See below for trailers of both series.

I’ve watched the first few episodes of the South Korean series and found it fascinating but also recognize there needs to be lots of changes in this remake to turn it something more to the taste of North American audiences. There are a lot of screen time spent on hospital politics in the South Korean series that it endanger patients so much that will be rather unbelievable. Shore created a great in House and I expect and hope he and his team would be able to create something interesting to watch with his own creativity and sensibility.

News report: Deadline, May 11, 2017, “‘The Good Doctor’ Drama Starring Freddie Highmore Picked Up To Series By ABC

The Good Doctor centers on Shaun Murphy (Highmore), a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital’s surgical unit. Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism of his colleagues.

The series also stars Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Brown, Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neal Melendez, Chuku Modu as Dr. Jared Kalu, Irene Keng as Dr. Sarah Chen, Beau Garrett as Jessica Preston, Hill Harper as Dr. Marcus Andrews and Richard Schiff as Dr. Aaron Glassman.

Deadline, Jan 23, 2017, “ABC Orders Drama Pilots ‘The Good Doctor’ & ‘Doomsday’ From David Shore, Daniel Dae Kim & Carol Mendesohn

Written by Shore based on a South Korean format, The Good Doctor centers on a young surgeon with Savant syndrome who is recruited into the pediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital. The question will arise: Can a person who doesn’t have the ability to relate to people actually save their lives?

Shore executive produces via his Sony TV-based Shore Z alongside Kim, Sebastian Lee & David Kim. Shore Z’s Erin Gunn co-executive produces, along with Lindsay Goffman of Daniel Dae Kim’s 3 AD.

The original series, written by Park Jae-bum, aired on Korean Broadcasting System’s KBS2 in 2013. The Shore-created House, starring Hugh Laurie as the brilliant but flawed Dr. Gregory House, was one of the biggest medical dramas of the past two decades. It ran on Fox for eight seasons.

Deadline, Oct 6, 2016, “ABC Lands ‘The Good Doctor’ Medical Drama From David Shore & Daniel Dae Kim

Here is a trailer of the South Korean series

Here is a trailer of the ABC series.


The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Tuesday, 30 May, 2017

I’m watching this great talk thanks to Yann LeCun’s FB post. I’m also planning to read “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” by Abraham Flexner (PDF via IAS). Fascinating stuff.

Robbert Dijkgraaf: “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” | Talks at Google


Alzheimer’s patients treated with focused ultrasound

Thursday, 4 May, 2017

Have a watch of the three video clips and read of the CTV News report, “Alzheimer’s patients treated with ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier

Canadian researchers have taken a key first step that could potentially lead to a whole new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University of Toronto are using focused ultrasound to safely open the blood-brain barrier in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, with the hopes this will help clear the brain of toxic plaque.

It’s an “out of the box” approach using patients like Karen Hellerman. The 62-year-old from Chatham, Ont. was diagnosed with early stage dementia.

Hellerman is losing her short-term memory and her ability to process complex tasks.
“Sometimes I can get it out, and sometimes I can’t and that disturbs me. “ Hellerman told CTV News. Her husband Neil knows there are no drug treatments to effectively slow or stop the disease.

“As her dementia gets worse, her physical state will get worse…it’s not a good thing. And she’s young, she’s gonna miss part of her life,” said Neil.

She is patient No. 3 in a group of six people with early Alzheimer’s disease, participating in the first study of its kind.

One of the biggest challenges in treating brain disease is getting drug therapies past the blood-brain barrier, which is like a protective “wrap” that surrounds even the tiniest blood vessels in the brain and acts as a “gate” to protect the brain from toxins and proteins that could enter through the bloodstream.

CTV News, “A group of Toronto doctors are trying to break new ground in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Avis Favaro has exclusive video.


Recreating the Womb: New Hope for Premature Babies (Lambs for now)

Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

Recreating the Womb

Wonderful news from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), “A Unique Womb-Like Device Could Reduce Mortality and Disability for Extremely Premature Babies

A unique womb-like environment designed by pediatric researchers could transform care for extremely premature babies, by mimicking the prenatal fluid-filled environment to give the tiniest newborns a precious few weeks to develop their lungs and other organs.

“Our system could prevent the severe morbidity suffered by extremely premature infants by potentially offering a medical technology that does not currently exist,” said study leader Alan W. Flake, MD, a Fetal Surgeon and Director of the Center for Fetal Research in the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Flake and colleagues report on preclinical studies of their extra-uterine support device today in Nature Communications. They tested and monitored effects on fetal lambs, in which prenatal lung development is very similar to that occurring in humans.

The innovative system uses a unique fluid-filled container attached to custom-designed machines that provide physiologic support. The fetal lambs grow in a temperature-controlled, near-sterile environment, breathing amniotic fluid as they normally do in the womb, their hearts pumping blood through their umbilical cord into a gas exchange machine outside the bag. Electronic monitors measure vital signs, blood flow and other crucial functions. […]

The initial impetus for the program came from CHOP Research Fellow Emily Partridge, MD, PhD, who experienced the challenges of caring for critically premature infants. “Those infants really struck a chord with me,” she said. She researched existing scientific literature, and five years ago proposed to Flake the pilot project that became the current device.

CTV News (with videos), “Hope for preemies as artificial womb helps tiny lambs grow

CBC News (with video), “Scientists successfully grow lambs in artificial womb, offering hope for preemies – The idea of treating preemies in fluid-filled incubators may sound strange, but physiologically it makes sense

Technical paper by //Emily A. Partridge, Marcus G. Davey, Matthew A. Hornick, Patrick E. McGovern, Ali Y. Mejaddam, Jesse D. Vrecenak, Carmen Mesas-Burgos, Aliza Olive, Robert C. Caskey, Theodore R. Weiland III, Jiancheng Han, James T. Connelly, Kevin C. Dysart, Alexander J. Schupper, Jack Rychik, Holly L. Hedrick, William H. Peranteau, and Alan W. Flake. “An extra-uterine physiologic support system for the extreme premature lamb.” Nature Communications. Published online April 25, 2017.//

Recreating the Womb: New Hope for Premature Babies

Recreating the Womb: Q&A with the Researchers


Ed Young – I Contain Multitudes

Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

Watching YouTube videos of Ed Young @edyong209, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, over lunch. [HT Bill Gates]

Some of the many ideas/keywords: Dysbiosis

 


Neuroplasticity

Thursday, 27 October, 2016

CBC radio – How ‘plastic’ brain can heal from traumatic injuries

CBC “The Brain’s Way of Healing” – The Nature of Things (1 hour documentary)

//Seven years ago Dr. Norman Doidge introduced neuroplasticity to the world – the idea that our brains aren’t rigidly hardwired as was once believed, but that they can change, and can be rewired.  Indeed, what is unique about the brain is that its circuits can, through mental experience and activity, form, unform, and reform in new ways.

Now he’s back with a new film, The Brain’s Way of Healing, that will show that not only can the brain change, but that we can use our knowledge of how the brain forms new connections to help it heal in ways we never dreamed possible.

The Brain’s Way of Healing is about neuroplasticity’s next step — healing the brain using totally non-invasive methods, including patterns of energy to resynchronize the brain’s neurons when illness or injury causes them to fire improperly. It’s revolutionary and in some instances shocking — we’ll see people’s lifelong afflictions improved, or, in some cases cured almost miraculously. But these are not miracles, and Dr. Doidge explains the science behind these improvements. […]//

Ref: 1) Moshé Feldenkrais

2) Feldenkrais Method


Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy will ‘revolutionize’ treatment of brain diseases

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

CBC News had a great Facebook LIVE Q&A session with neurosurgeons Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. And a great news report (with video)  “No scalpel, no drill: Medical procedure to treat uncontrollable hand tremor a ‘game changer’“. Here is an excerpt,

“The technology “will open up a new era that will revolutionize the way brain diseases will be treated, eventually benefitting millions of patients,” says Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of physical sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He also helped develop the technology. […]

Doctors hope to apply the technology in the treatment of other diseases like Parkinson’s and epilepsy.”

(Note: In the LIVE Q&A you can hear neurosurgeon Dr. Nir Lipsman talk about Parkinson’s disease and this new procedure at timecode 3:03.)

Here is a video “Neurosurgery – with sub-titles, ending with MR image” with subtitle text.

Reference: New England Journal of Medicine, August 25, 2016 “A Randomized Trial of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor” (PDF file)

P.S. On a personal note, it may be way too early to speculate but I do wonder how far can the procedure go (its first pilot study published in 2013 as reported in NEJM), I do wonder openly/hopefully if one day it could be used to help patients with glioblastoma like my friend Maria’s husband Sean had unfortunately suffered. Well, after a quick search, I managed to find this 2014 study reported in NIH, “First noninvasive thermal ablation of a brain tumor with MR-guided focused ultrasound


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