New human body part discovered

An assortment of news from the world of medicine…

New human body part discovered

Most people think that anatomy is a dead, dried-up, unchanging subject. Not true.

Two surgeons in Europe have just discovered a new ligament in the human knee.

An anatomist, over 100 years ago, hypothesized that this ligament existed, but it was only discovered recently during some gross dissections of the knee.

The surgeons were trying to understand more about repairing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and found this new structure. They’ve named it the Anterolateral Ligament (ALL).

Human knee, via NIH.

Human knee, via NIH.

White fat (bad) vs. brown fat (better)

White fat is the fat that makes up beer bellies and love handles. It’s one of the ways that the body stores excess calories.

Some white fat is good, too much, not so. Excess white fat in the abdomen can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, among other things.

Brown fat, on the other hand, is metabolically active and acts to burn calories and help with weight loss. Adults don’t have a lot of brown fat.

Under certain circumstances, however, white fat can be converted to “beige fat” which is more metabolically active and can help with weight loss. Researchers have found that exposure to cold temperatures, and eating hot chili peppers, may cause increases in brown fat, or production of beige fat, with concomitant loss of weight.

Pharmaceutical companies are also looking at targeting this phenomenon to make a different kind of diet pill.

For organic chemistry geeks, name this compound:

chemistry

Loud-mouthed attention-seeking nymphomaniac

Female bonobos have sex with dominant males to gain status in their groups.

While having sex, the female is especially loud to call attention to herself.

New Hepatitis C drugs

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes liver disease, can lead to cirrhosis and predisposes to liver cancer.

The treatment now consists of peg-interferon and ribavirin. The treatment can have some severe side effects that may cause some patients to stop therapy. Side effects include: severe depression, anemia, chest pain, baldness and others.

Some new medications may get FDA approval in 2014. These medications seem to have fewer side effects, don’t need to be given for as long as the peginterferon-ribavirin combination, and can be taken orally just once per day.

Depending on the medication, 80-100% of patients treated seem to have cleared the virus completely, a possible “cure.”


Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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  • amanda

    Actually it’s Mercedes Toluene.

  • goulo

    I was wondering if was supposed to be some Mercedes Benz joke, but the hood ornament / logo is upside down in the drawing. :/

  • SkippyFlipjack

    The anterolateral ligament is brand new, but Gerdy’s Tub — they’ve known about that thing for years.

  • docsterx

    Here’s the abstract from the paper published in the Journal of Anatomy: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joa.12087/abstract The ALL was found in 40 out of 41 dissected knee joints. Perhaps in the remaining one it was just to smALL to be found.

  • docsterx

    You guys are GOOD. Here are a few other interesting ones:

    Fukugetin
    This chemical with a most amusing name is also called Morellofavone, and is a constituent of the bark of the Garcenia species of tree. Its glucoside goes by the equally wonderful name of Fukugiside.

    Erotic Acid
    No, this isn’t the world’s best aphrodisiac. Its correct name is orotic acid, but it has been misspelled so often in the chemical literature that it is also known as erotic acid! Another name for it is vitamin B13. Apparently, if you add another carbon to it, it becomes HOMO-erotic acid…

    Fucol
    This sugar sounds like it doesn’t do very much! Actually the L-Fucol form is obtained from the eggs of sea urchins, frog spawn and milk.

    Fucitol

    Although this sounds like what an undergraduate chemist might exclaim
    when their synthesis goes wrong, it’s actually an alcohol, whose other
    names are:
    L-fuc-ol or 1-deoxy-D-galactitol. It gets its wonderful trivial name
    from the fact that it is derived from the sugar fucose, which comes from
    a seaweed found in the North Atlantic called Bladderwrack whose latin
    name is Fucus vesiculosis.

    Arsole

    Yes, believe it or not, there is actually a molecule called Arsole…
    and it’s a ring! It is the arsenic equivalent of pyrrole, and although
    it is rarely found in its pure form, it is occasionally seen as a
    sidegroup in the form of organic arsolyls. For more information, see the paper with probably the best title of any scientific paper I’ve ever come across: “Studies on the Chemistry of the Arsoles”, G. Markl and H. Hauptmann, J. Organomet. Chem., 248 (1983) 269.

    Plus others like: dickite, uranate, vaginatin, clitoriacetyl, clitorin and others.

    More at: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/sillymolecules/sillymols.htm

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    Dubious about the new body part story. For reference: http://io9.com/no-science-has-not-discovered-a-new-body-part-1460080409

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    There ya go. lol. I nearly said, “Benzenes for Peace.”

  • Monoceros Forth

    The molecule is the little-known phenylmercedes.

    Seriously, I’ve never seen anything drawn like that. If the curved lines are supposed to be carbon-carbon single bonds then the molecule is phenyltetrahedrane. “Tetrahedrane” is an informal name however; I don’t remember the systematic rules for naming complex fused ring systems.

  • Phred

    I believe it’s a Mercedes Benzine.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Re: The diagram — it’s a benzene ring, but I don’t remember what a circle hanging off it means. Unless it’s a satellite dish or something. ;-)

  • cole3244

    don’t let the deniers hear this they will claim its a socialist plot to take over the universe and destroy all that’s good for the ignorant.

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