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A moving wrist on MRI and odor detection in lungs

A moving wrist on MRI and odor detection in lungs

MedZine wishes you a happy, healthy, and successful 2014!
We start the year by highlighting a few interesting findings. We will tell you about how a moving wrist can now be captured with MRI. And while you smell with your nose, odor-detecting cells have now been found in the lungs!

MRI of a moving wrist

If you have a problem with your wrist, it is possible that you only experience pain during movement. Imaging a moving wrist can be done with dynamic computed tomography and fluoroscopy, but these techniques require radiation and do not capture soft tissues as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans do. However, making MRI scans takes time and requires the patient to stay motionless making it impossible to scan moving wrists. Boutin and colleagues now show in a publication in PLoS ONE that a series of brief MRI scans can be used to create a movie of the moving wrist. This active MRI was tested on healthy individuals and as a next step the researchers now want to validate the technique by imaging patients with wrist instability.

Volatile-sensing cells in the lungs

If you smell the roses, or maybe something less pleasant like cigarette smoke, you use your nose. However, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Iowa have now identified cells the detect odor in the lungs. In a publication in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Gu and colleagues describe a new type of cell with olfactory receptors, the pulmonary neuroendocrine cells (PNECs). Triggering of olfactory receptors in the nose sends nerve impulses to the brain, but triggering of these receptors in the PNECs does not. Instead, it induces these flask-shaped neuroendocrine cells to dump hormones that make your airways constrict. These cells might play a role in respiratory diseases with chemical hypersensitivity, like COPS and asthma. Therefore, the olfactory receptors on these cells could be a therapeutical target.  

Sources: Eurekalert, PLoS ONE, and American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

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