The Evolution of Public Health: Virchow, DOTS-plus, and the Economics of Tuberculosis (Part 1)

In all of human history, tuberculosis has killed more people than any other disease. Discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, the M. tuberculosis bacterium was responsible for the Great White Plague that began in the 1600s and has not yet truly ended. It was the primary cause of death in Europe in the mid-1600s, and even in the 1800s, the high mortality from TB among young adults earned it the nickname of “the romantic disease,” which glosses over the symptoms that earned TB other nicknames such as “consumption", “phthisis" (bless you), and "scrofula".

Topic: Public Health Research, The Evolution of Pu..........

The Microbiome of the Skin and Beyond: The MoBE

Our skin is not only our largest organ, and the surface through which we experience the world, it is also a complex ecosystem in its own right. Grice et al (2008)1 estimated that more than a million micro-organisms of more than a hundred distinct species reside on a square centimeter of skin. The recent research into the microbiome of the skin shows that we have not only a great diversity of microorganisms in our skin microbiome, but also a high degree of variation from individual to individual. And although research into the interactions between the skin microbiome and dermal and other disorders is fairly new, it has become clear that the more diverse the microbiome, the healthier the skin.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Labora..........

Pooling Biospecimen Collections into “Synthetic” Cohorts to Promote Personalized Medicine

Large longitudinal studies have become impractical on many levels. At well over $100 per patient enrolled, the traditional large cohort study has become cost-prohibitive. Nor is cost the only factor: another is time. By their very nature, cohort studies can take decades to yield benefits, both at the individual as well as the population level.1 However, these studies are still needed both for public health research and to support the implementation of personalized medicine.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Public..........

Personalized Medicine and Validation of Next-Generation Sequencing

Personalized medicine and next-generation sequencing (NGS) are two trends producing major swings in the healthcare industry. As previously discussed on Doe & Ingalls blog, here are some points you should be familiar with if your strategy touches upon either of these.

Topic: Qualification / Validation, Topic: Laborato..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Sir Austin Bradford Hill and the Cigarette-Rolling Machine

In 1923, a general practitioner in rural Virginia received a phone call from a friend, a surgeon at a hospital in Richmond. A middle-aged man with an uncommon form of cancer had been admitted to the hospital - would he like to come and see the patient, the friend asked. It was a rare opportunity to examine and diagnose an unusual illness first-hand. The country doctor was happy to visit the hospital and further his education, especially since he'd doubted seeing more than one or two similar patients over the rest of his career.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Labora..........

Harvesting Cell-Free DNA Represents a New Frontier in Public Health

The traditional wisdom passed down in biology textbooks is that DNA is neatly packaged in chromosomes within the cell nucleus, serving as a template for protein synthesis or cell replication. However, scientists have known for nearly half a century that DNA is also present outside of cells. Researchers have developed several public health applications for cell-free DNA. Unfortunately, these have previously been limited by cumbersome laboratory methods. In this blog, we’ll explore cell-free DNA and the impact that harvesting can have on public health research.

Topic: Laboratory Processing, Topic: Public Health..........

The Growing Public Health Concern Surrounding Zika

Over the past several weeks, the Zika virus has morphed from an obscure disease into an international public health emergency, gaining global attention. This has left the public health research community with many questions; Where did the disease originate? How is it transmitted? How do we work together to develop and distribute a vaccine?

In this blog we'll explore the existing information surrounding the Zika virus and some of the challenges associated with vaccine development.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cold-C..........

The Evolution of Public Health Research: Snow’s Dilemma

Since the dawn of humanity, we have observed nature and hypothesized reasons behind how and why things happen. With the development of civilization, we standardized the methods with which we test, observe, and analyze nature, and this gave birth to the field of science. As far as the defined field of study now known as Epidemiology and Public Health, it can be argued that it began in 1854, with a cholera outbreak in the Soho district of London and a physician named John Snow (who knew more than nothing).

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Public..........