Twins in Space: The Effects of Space Travel on Humans

8232Researchers love identical twins. Because they have the same genetic code, they provide a unique opportunity to determine how environment may lead to developmental differences – i.e. nature vs. nurture.

In this new program from the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Brinda K. Rana, PhD, shares the results of NASA’s remarkable Twins Study. In March 2015, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly embarked on a one year mission onboard the international space station. Meanwhile, his identical twin brother, Mark, remained on Earth giving scientists an opportunity to study the long-term effects of space travel on the human body versus normal development.

Ultimately, NASA wants to know what will happen to astronauts as they inch closer to their Mission to Mars. Space is a harsh environment, both physiologically and psychologically. Astronauts must contend with microgravity, disruptions in sleep cycles, radiation, and dietary limitations, as well as confined spaces and isolation from friends and family. What will happen to astronauts after 3 years – the time it will take to get them to Mars and back again?

But these studies not only have implications for the lives of astronauts. Physiologically, space travel mimics the effects of aging on the human body, changes such as cardiovascular decline, vision problems, muscle and bone atrophy, and cognitive impairment. Any discovery that improves the lives of astronauts in space could also be used to help us right here on Earth.

Learn more about what it took to plan and execute the Twins Study, as well as some of what they’re just beginning to discover. Watch Twins in Space: The Effects of Space Travel on Humans.

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Studying the Brain in Real Time

8232“Basic mechanisms in the brain have universal applications and are the road to medical discovery,” says Ralph Greenspan, PhD. He has spent his career studying how genes affect the brain and behavior of the fruit fly. This research has lead to a deeper understanding of mechanisms in the human brain. Hear about his current efforts to develop a full brain scale activity map and the technological and medical breakthroughs emerging from this work.

Studying the Brain in Real Time with Ralph Greenspan – On Our Mind

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Move Better, Feel Better

8232If you’re in pain, surgery may not be your only option. Many conditions, such as low back pain, dizziness, and osteoarthritis have been shown to respond as well or better to physical therapy than medications or surgery. Physical therapy often complements these interventions and offers far fewer side effects.

Learn how physical therapists develop treatment plans and implement techniques that improve movement, reduce pain, restore function, and help prevent future injury in individuals of all ages and in many settings. Taught by experts from the UCSF Faculty Practice in Physical Therapy, this new series highlights the wide variety of medical conditions that physical therapists can effectively treat using the latest research and proven approaches.

Train the Brain: Exploring the Brain-Body Connection in Neurological Rehabilitation: UCSF Physical Therapists Catherine Printz and Monika Patel explore neurological physical therapy.

When Your World Spins Out of Control: How Your Inner Ear and Brain Work Together for Perception, Balance, and Movement: UCSF Physical Therapists explore the how the inner ear works with the brain in an effort to help patients with perception, balance and movement.

Getting Under Your Skin: The Role of Fascia in Movement and Function: Fascia, or connective tissue, helps muscles communicate. See how to keep this important part of your body supple to improve your mobility and decrease pain.

Back to Basics: Guidelines For a Healthy Spine: Lower back pain (LBP) remains the most common cause of disability and lost work time among working-age adults in industrialized countries. Find out what you can do to reduce your LBP.

Rebooting Pelvic Health: Staying Continent and Pain-Free: Pelvic floor dysfunction physical therapists provide tips for maintaining pelvic health to stay continent and pain-free.

“Too Fit to Fracture”: Guidelines for Skeletal Health and Aging: Orthopedic clinical specialist Wendy Katzman looks at avoiding fractures in older age with a focus on skeletal health.

Explore more programs in Move Better, Feel Better: What Can Physical Therapy Do For You?

Neurotransmitter Switching

8232If a neuron has sustained activity over a long period of time (visual stimulus, stress, etc.) it can change the type of neurotransmitter that it makes. This gives our neurons many languages to communicate with and makes our brain more adaptable. Nick Spitzer explains this neurotransmitter switching and how that process impacts our physical abilities, disease processes, and more.

Watch Neuroplasticity: Our Adaptable Brain with Nick Spitzer.

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Healthy Bones & Joints

8232Bone and joint problems are among the most common medical maladies, affecting more than 1.7 billion people worldwide. Whether it’s due to an accident or fall, a workplace, sports, and war-related injury, or caused by disease, one out of every two Americans head to the physician’s office seeking help for musculoskeletal problems.

In this new Mini Medical School series from UC San Francisco, Bones and Joints: Injury, Repair and Keeping Them Healthy, you’ll learn more about common issues in bone and joint injuries, and get an in-depth glimpse at what’s being done to improve patient care and outcomes.

Pain Management: Explore pain management options for the common orthopaedic conditions of low back pain and knee osteoarthritis.

The Skeleton: The skeleton is remarkably engineered to provide structural support, protect vital parts and facilitate movement. Discover bone biomechanics and how we can leverage the properties of bone to better engineer skeletal repair.

Trauma: Learn about trauma and bone injuries in North America and internationally. See what research is being done to improve care of patients with bone injuries.

Diabetes: Diabetes complications include limb disorders. Find out about preventative measures for diabetic foot care, and diabetic amputation.

Spine, Neck and Lower Back Injuries: Doctors from UCSF department of Orthopaedic Surgery look at injuries to the spine, neck and lower back.

A Look Inside the Orthopaedic Trauma Institute: Meet some of the of UCSF Orthopaedic Department surgeons, as they review the educational programs, basic research, clinical research and outreach programs at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

Explore all episodes of Bones and Joints: Injury, Repair and Keeping Them Healthy.