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5-Shot Friday: Organ Chips, Obamacare, Blessed Snopes, Reps, And My Own Private Potato

Welcome to the 11/18/16, post-election edition of 5-Shot Friday.

1. Harvard Researchers Advance 3D Printing: Heart-On-A-Chip

I’d first heard about creating a little “test heart” at the annual FutureMed Conference (now known as Exponential Medicine). A visiting lecturer and pioneer in the genetic engineering world had utilized the recently developed stem cell creating technology to create his own heart cells in a vial, and to later implant them on a computer chip to test how certain cardiac medications would work for him. Puh-retty cool shizz, since customizing medications for the individual is one of the Holy Grails of modern medicine (“Don’t bother with that pill, you’ll get dizzy and nauseated and it won’t work; use this one instead, zero side effects and it’s 173% more effective…”).

Fast forward several years, and researchers at Harvard have advanced the science of organs-on-chips to the next level:

“Microphysiological systems, or organs-on-chips, are emerging as a way for scientists to study the effect that drugs, cosmetics and diseases may have on the human body, without needing to test on animals. The problem is, manufacturing and retrieving data from them can be a costly and time-consuming process. Now researchers at Harvard have developed new materials to enable them to 3D print the devices, including the integrated sensors to easily gather data from them over time.”

3D printing is a key component of the democratizing effect of advancing technology. If it can be 3D printed, it can be rapidly tested, improved, and replicated – which translates into decreasing costs per unit, and ultimately, more widespread availability of that particular biotech.

2. So…Whither Now, Obamacare?

Your guess is as good as mine.

As this NBC News post by Bertha Coombs points out, there are a number of ways the Affordable Care Act could go, and a number of reasons why it may be too costly to vanish any time soon.

3. Snopes Fact Checking: Bless You

Beware of Moose Women

I dearly needed this, from the web-based site that runs fact checks:

“A story that a hunter nearly died after a massive moose knocked him down and tried to have sex with him is, unsurprisingly, a hoax.”

From their FAQ page:

“Q: How do I know the information you’ve presented is accurate?

“A: We don’t expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic. Unlike the plethora of anonymous individuals who create and send the unsigned, unsourced e-mail messages that are forwarded all over the Internet, we show our work. The research materials we’ve used in the preparation of any particular page are listed in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of that page so that readers who wish to verify the validity of our information may check those sources for themselves.”

4. Tweet Of The Week by @editoremilye

Follow the entire tweet thread; it’s a fascinating, pithy how-to, if you’re interested in getting the attention of your elected representatives.

Or just curious about what kinds of things register on their radar (and especially the radar of their support staff).

5. Update On My Own Private Veganism

My most recent observations:

Will not be abandoning The Vegan Way any time soon

Much to the chagrin of my wife, I will continue assembling most meals from the Intact Grains, Whole Veggies/Some Fruits, Beans, and Nuts/Seeds columns. 4 weeks is sufficient to transition into veganism or any –ism, and enough to figure out whether to pursue or drop it – advantage: veganism.

Powerlifting kicks your appetite in the pants, quick

Like, the next day quick.

This is why I recommend that my patients focus on a reduced calorie, low-starch diet if their goal is weight reduction, or powerlifting-type strength training if their goal is to get buff and strong. But not both at the same time: practically speaking, the two are mutually exclusive.

If you splurge, the scale will lie

You can lift and stay vegan, but if you splurge on the usual salty and processed carb delicacies, those infidelities will make you retain 3-5 lbs of water overnight.

White rice, like most breads of any color, are processed carbs

And processed carbs are to be minimized, for a whole host of reasons. Am veering into brown rice for my grain base, along with steel cut oats and quinoa, as well as considering those intact grains as a meal enricher, rather than foundational base. Jury is still out on pasta, which Forks Over Knives quotes as being oddly low on the glycemic index, and “almost equivalent to a whole plant” if made from brown rice.

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Peter L Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle.

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