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Medical Rounds

More Than Cosmetic

Each year, thousands of cosmetic surgery patients across the country receive lip augmentation injections with products containing hyaluronic acid. Recent research led by Johns Hopkins facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Kofi Boahene suggests that these injections could serve a purpose far beyond enhancing form—they can also significantly enhance function for people with facial paralysis.

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Lighting Up Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer, the second most common lethal cancer in American men, is also among the hardest to see. Buried deep behind the bladder, the prostate appears on X-rays and PET scans as a ghostly, oblong shadow. Even metastases due to the disease are elusive with conventional imaging methods.

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A Bloodless Infant Surgery

More than half of cardiac surgeries require blood transfusion—a lifesaving measure, but one that nevertheless could fuel short- and long-term complications ranging from temporary immune suppression to graft-versus-host disease.

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Heart CT Scans: The Jury Is In

Results of a head-to-head comparison study led by Johns Hopkins researchers show that noninvasive CT scans of the heart’s vessels are far better at spotting clogged arteries that can trigger a heart attack than the commonly prescribed exercise stress tests that most patients with chest pain undergo.

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Close the Door!

A secret shopper-style study by researchers at Johns Hopkins analyzing foot traffic in and out of operating rooms suggests that for the sake of patient safety, operating room teams may want to stay put more often.

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The number of new HIV infections that could be averted in the United States over the next 20 years by strengthening a handful of efforts to keep people with HIV in lifetime care, along with more rigorous testing.

“While continued HIV screening in high-risk groups is extremely important, our model suggests that you get the most bang for your buck targeting retention in care,” says Maunank Shah, assistant professor of medicine. Spending more resources to encourage people with HIV to follow up regularly with their provider and maintain long-term drug therapy, he says, “could transform our HIV epidemic, potentially reducing our future cases by more than 50 percent and saving thousands of lives every year.”

The researchers reported on their HIV epidemic-economic model in the online Clinical Infectious Diseases in October 2015.

At the Bench

“Our work could lead not only to a better understanding of the biology of the optic nerve but also to a cell-based human model that could be used to discover drugs that stop or treat blinding conditions. Eventually, it could lead to the development of cell transplant therapies that restore vision in patients with glaucoma and MS.”

Wilmer ophthalmologist Donald Zack, whose team has developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. The laboratory process, described in Scientific Reports, entails genetically modifying a line of human embryonic stem cells to become fluorescent upon their differentiation to retinal ganglion cells, and then using that cell line for development of new differentiation methods and characterization of the resulting cells.