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Seminars on Medicine

A collection of interesting seminars, presentations and lectures from various institutions relevant to medicine.

1. Vision of the Future (Part 1) - Dec 2005
This seminar features three Nobel Prize winners. Susumu Tonegawa - 1987 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Sydney Brenner - Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004 and Richard Axel - Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004.

Susumu Tonegawa provides not only a history and overview of the Picower Institute (Picower Institute for Learning and Memory), but a rundown of the latest insights about memory and cognition emerging from his and colleagues’ labs. As for the future, Tonegawa calls for "new technology, based on totally new principles, which can analyze what’s going on in the brain at the level of a single synapse," as well as new diagnostic and therapeutic methods for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT World)

2. Vision of the Future (Part 2) - Dec 2005
The speakers are Eric R. Kandel who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000 and James Watson who is a joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

If the century just passed was "the province of the gene," then the next hundred years shall be "the province of the mind," believes Eric Kandel. Brain science is poised to reveal the biology of conscious and unconscious mental processes involved in perception, emotion, thought and action. There will also be "a revolution in understanding mental illness," with animal models revealing the "mechanism of pathogenesis." We shall gain an understanding of the biological underpinnings of personal wellbeing, using imaging to reveal the pathways in the brain involved in joy. Scientists have singled out one gene that in such animals as voles determines whether they will socialize, or act as loners, suggesting the possibility of molecular insight into social and aggressive behaviors. What’s more, says Kandel, neuroscience will suffuse all the disciplines: sociology will have to consider a "biology of free will;" economics must take up the biology of decision and choice; art appreciation will have to account for how sensory information gets processed, such that when "two people look at the same object, one finds it beautiful and the other finds it boring." And psychology will become indistinguishable from neuroscience, leading to a common base of training for neurologists and psychiatrists.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT World)

3. Change Your Mind: Memory and Disease - Dec 2005
The speakers are Thomas Insel who is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Li-Huei Tsai who is Professor of Pathology in Harvard Medical School and Kerry Ressler who is Assistant Professor in Emory University School of Medicine.

How do we distinguish our friends from foes? How does dementia destroy memory? And how can past experience invade the present with destructive force? Scientists are closing in on the biochemical roots of these neurological puzzles. Thomas Insel describes the profound impact of a small group of neuropeptides on social behavior in animals, from worms to humans. Oxytocin, the hormone which turns on maternal behavior and cognition, turns out to play a large role in determining social memories.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT World)

4. Expand Your Mind: Getting a Grasp on Consciousness - Dec 2005
The three speakers are Alexander Shulgin who is a Pharmacologist and Chemist, Christof Koch who is Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology in CalTech and Patricia Churchland who is Professor of Philosophy in University of California, San Diego.

At some point, these panelists suggest, the issue of defining consciousness may just disappear. Suggests Christof Koch: "Let’s treat consciousness as an empirical problem to be tackled by the biological sciences." Koch makes distinctions between different kinds of consciousness: sleep and its varied stages; awareness of sounds, sights and smells; levels of arousal. All these different states are properties "of complex adaptive networks with massive feedback shaped by natural selection." And there are many behaviors that occur without consciousness.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT World)

5. Fighting Cancer with Nanoparticle Medicines - May 2008
In a Watson lecture on May 14, Mark Davis, Caltech's Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering and a member of the experimental therapeutics program at the City of Hope's Comprehensive Cancer Center, explained how nanoparticle medicines, or nanomedicines, have the potential to change the way cancer is treated. To demonstrate some of the distinguishing features of nanomedicine therapeutics for cancer, Davis presented results from early human clinical trials.
(California Institute of Technology: Caltech Today)

6. Protein Recycling: Its Role in Human Biology and Disease - Dec 2008
Raymond Deshaies, professor of biology at Caltech and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, presented a Watson Lecture in which he explained how drugs that target protein recycling can extend lifespan in some cancer patients and may have applications in treating diseases of the immune system. Protein recycling is used to eliminate damaged proteins as well as those that have carried out their chemical task and are no longer needed.
(California Institute of Technology: Caltech Today)

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