|The Moody Tree
Ok, so I may have taken a longer break than I should have. Where was I you ask? I was enjoying some R&R with my family. My kids are at great ages – 15, 11, and 6. Then, of course, when I got back to my desk – whammo! The deluge of work. This morning, as I sat on the GoTrain on the way into Toronto, I thought of you and happily sat down to write my first post of 2015.
First, a thank you for your readership. We are soon approaching our first anniversary (next month) and my programs (MiVIP and MiB) and this blog are chugging along famously… all because of you!
Next, a funny story to explain the picture above. When I attended the RSNA last December (see my post here on this event) I brought along my old film camera for fun as I enjoy photography and decided to reminisce a little. To your right is a picture of the Chicago skyline reflected on the “Bean“. See me?
I hadn’t developed film in so long that I almost ruined it – in my laundry room between all of my family’s clothes, the ironing board, buckets, detergents… Anyway, I also had with me my trusted digital for snaps and one evening I was invited to a function at my boss’ hotel and he said to me:”Let me know what you think of the Christmas lights on the trees in front the hotel on your way in”. Alan Moody is an uber-radiologist, the chair of our department, and loves imaging the carotid arteries. As our minds often operate on the same wave lengths, I took the picture and voila – the Moody Tree was born!
There is no end to the fun we have here in the Department of Medical Imaging…
Even though this is not a “MiWORD” post how about you wish a belated Happy New Year to someone you have not been in touch with yet? Send them a quick text or better yet, send them the link to this post and tell them to visit the Moody Tree next time they are in Chicago during the holidays…
See you in the blogosphere,
Just got back from the RSNA! Wow what a big conference – 56,000 people this year. McCormick place in Chicago, Illinois (where the conference is held) feels like an airport it is so big.
Love Chicago. Great city.
Of course, I had the pleasure of attending a bunch of great presentations and today I will introduce you to one of them. Tina Binesh Marvasti (say that 7 times fast!) presented on the topic of Haptoglobin. No, not Hobgoblin (not sure who that is? See here) or his infamous green predecessor (see here).
So, what is Haptoglobin you ask? It is a serum protein that binds free hemoglobin – resulting from the breakdown of red blood cells – and functions to prevent loss of iron (contained in the heme group) through the kidneys and to protect tissues from the highly reactive heme groups. Essentially a housekeeping protein that helps to recycle hemoglobin as part of the red blood cell life cycle. Now what if your ability to clean-up free hemoglobin was impaired? Well, quite simply you would be putting at risk those sensitive tissues that come into contact with free hemoglobin.
One important example of this is vessel walls affected by atheroma (AKA plaque). Sometimes these atheroma can bleed (called intraplaque hemorrhage or IPH) which worsens the whole situation. Typically, your body responds by sending the clean-up crew including the Hobgoblin (or haptoglobin, I always get these two confused).
When people have the recessive genotype (Hp 2-2) of the Hp gene they produce less haptoglobin and therefore are at increased risk of damage from free hemoglobin (or more specifically the heme groups).
Tina and friends hypothesized the following:
And she found that having the recessive Hp2-2 genotype was associated with a higher prevalence of IPH in a group of 80 patients (average age of 73 yrs). She also found that the IPH volume of Hp2-2 patients worsened over time.
So what is the take home? The Haptoglobin genotype is associated with IPH which is a biomarker of high risk vascular disease and could identify populations at higher risk of developing cardiovascular events.
Now for the fun part (see the rules here), using Haptoglobin in a sentence by the end of the day:
Serious: Hey Bob, did you know that a recessive haptoglobin genetype may contribute to an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease?
Less serious: My GP suggested that based on my recessive hobgoblin genotype I should consider a healthier lifestyle. Funny, I always figured Doc Ock to be the one to watch for…
OK, watch the Spider-man 2 trailer to decompress and I’ll see you in the blogosphere…