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J Med. 1995;26(5-6):323-31.

Advances in computer technology: impact on the practice of medicine.

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Department of Ophthalmology, New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103-2714, USA.


Advances in computer technology provide a wide range of applications which are revolutionizing the practice of medicine. The development of new software for the office creates a web of communication among physicians, staff members, health care facilities and associated agencies. This provides the physician with the prospect of a paperless office. At the other end of the spectrum, the development of 3D work stations and software based on computational chemistry permits visualization of protein molecules involved in disease. Computer assisted molecular modeling has been used to construct working 3D models of lens alpha-crystallin. The 3D structure of alpha-crystallin is basic to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in lens fiber cell maturation, stabilization of the inner nuclear region, the maintenance of lens transparency and cataractogenesis. The major component of the high molecular weight aggregates that occur during cataractogenesis is alpha-crystallin subunits. Subunits of alpha-crystallin occur in other tissues of the body. In the central nervous system accumulation of these subunits in the form of dense inclusion bodies occurs in pathological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and toxoplasmosis (Iwaki, Wisniewski et al., 1992), as well as neoplasms of astrocyte origin (Iwaki, Iwaki, et al., 1991). Also cardiac ischemia is associated with an increased alpha B synthesis (Chiesi, Longoni et al., 1990). On a more global level, the molecular structure of alpha-crystallin may provide information pertaining to the function of small heat shock proteins, hsp, in maintaining cell stability under the stress of disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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