A little while ago, I posted How Long Until Photorealistic Virtual Environments?
But that was before I had seen this:
Friday, October 26, 2007
A little while ago, I posted How Long Until Photorealistic Virtual Environments?
Monday, October 22, 2007
With the latest advances in treatment, doctors have discovered that they can successfully neutralise the HIV virus. The so-called ‘combination therapy’ prevents the HIV virus from mutating and spreading, allowing patients to rebuild their immune system to the same levels as the rest of the population.
To date, it represents the most significant treatment for patients suffering from HIV.
Professor Jens Lundgren from the University of Copenhagen, together with other members of the research group EuroSIDA, have conducted a study, which demonstrates that the immune system of all HIV-infected patients can be restored and normalised. The only stipulation is that patients begin and continue to follow their course of treatment.
Combination therapy prevents the virus from forming and mutating in human beings. When the virus is halted in its progress, the number of healthy CD4+T cells begins to rise and patients, who would otherwise die from HIV, can now survive. The immune system is rejuvenated and is apparently able to normalise itself, providing that the combination therapy is maintained. The moment the immune system begins to improve, the HIV-infected patient can no longer be said to be suffering from an HIV infection or disease, already declining in strength.
micrograph depicted the ultrastructural
details of two "human immunodeficiency
virus" (HIV) virus particles, or virions.
It sounds to me like HIV is basically cured.
It wasn't too long ago that HIV meant your end.
I clearly remember watching the documentaries on TV when I was still a kid and HIV was still a hot topic.
I've seen the people who had HIV talk in front of the camera. They looked enormously time-ravaged. Some of them were just 1 tan-shade away from that of a corpse.
It's kind of strange to have seen HIV rise and fall within my own lifetime.
Once a death sentence. Now a manageable ailment.
We are now clearly seeing the very beginnings of the biotechnology revolution that will leave a big footprint on the next decade.
Cancer will be going the same way.
Future generations will never have to deal with this shit.
Only we, who are adults A.D. 2007, will remember the havoc that these diseases once wreaked upon our frail bodies...
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Why can't we regrow bodyparts?
Well, as it turns out...
We can, in fact, regrow bodyparts.
Also see my previous post that is more detailed about the regrowing fingertip story.
Here's a link to the original page.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Spievack had never seen a plane act this way. He got down on his knees for a closer look, and just as he said, "You've got to get rid of this thing," he pointed at the engine, inserting his middle finger directly into the propeller's path. "And that's how I cut my finger off," he says.
Over the years, Dr. Stephen Badylak has had problems explaining what he does for a living. He used to say, "I do biomedical engineering." But then he'd have to explain biomedical engineering. After a while, as a default response, Badylak would simply say, "Well, I'm in medical research." He hoped that would be enough, but it often prompted, "What are you researching?" Badylak says, "I got tired of struggling with it. So now I just tell them I make body parts." Badylak has regrown sizable portions of esophagi, tendons, ligaments, bladders, urethras, abdominal walls, blood vessels, and hearts within animals and humans.
But that life would be a lot better for a lot of people if their bodies could be manipulated into fixing and replacing lost or damaged body parts -- similar to what happens to fetuses the first few months in the womb. If a fetus loses an arm or a leg, it grows back. "Humans can grow an entire human being in nine months. That's pretty remarkable," says Badylak. "If you think about it that way, you can say we just want an arm, you know, or we want a leg. Just give us enough information that we can do that."
A few days after Lee Spievack canceled his appointment with the hand surgeon, he received a package from his older brother containing a vial of powder that looked like Kraft Parmesan cheese. His brother instructed him to sprinkle it on his finger every other day until the powder was gone.
Lee Spievack is not a man who asks a lot of questions. So in the case of the vial, Spievack didn't much care what it contained (ground-up pig bladder) or where it came from (a little farm in Albion, Indiana).
Spievack followed his brother's directions: Every other day for the next eight days, he sat down at his living-room coffee table and sprinkled the powder on his finger. Whatever powder fell onto the table he scooped up with a piece of paper, then dropped back into the vial. He covered his finger with a Band-Aid. A few days went by, and Spievack could see something was happening. There was skin growing, and tissue on the inside, too. He insists that what happened after four weeks did not surprise him in the least, though it should have. Because his fingertip grew back.
The fingerprint took a couple more months. The tip is a little hard on the end, but he can feel things just fine. Spievack says he was particularly happy this past winter; while all of his fingers chapped in the cold weather, the new fingertip didn't. The only side effect during treatment was that his finger began to smell like a pig's quarters at the state fair. "It was a pretty offensive odor," Spievack says. He doesn't much think about his finger anymore, except when he clips his nails. He usually cuts them once a week, but the new nail has to be clipped every two days. "That fingernail grows like a son of a bitch," he says.
This is just bizarre.
And to think that Badylak had problems convincing other people of his findings.
Only Spievack took him seriously end they teamed up.
If only people were a little more open-minded to possibilities... technologies like these would already be widely used.
And we wouldn't be having such a hard time convincing people of the very real possibility of immortality within our lifetimes.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
German researchers have developed an artificial cornea that promises easy integration with a patient's native cornea, and prevents cellular hyperplasia on its plastic surface
Researchers in Dr. Karin Kobuch's working group at Regensburg University Hospital have already tested these corneas in the laboratory and found that their cells graft very well at the edge and cease growing where the coating stops. The optical center of the implant thus remains clear. The first implants have already been tested in rabbits' eyes - with promising results. If further tests are successful, the technology will be tried on humans in 2008.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
In an airplane hanger on MIT's campus in Cambridge last week, a team of engineering students and researchers put the finishing touches on Talos, a Land Rover that drives itself. Talos is MIT's entry in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) robotic car race, which will take place on November 3, in Victorville, CA.
Known as the Urban Challenge, the race will test the ability of robotic cars from 35 different teams to obey traffic laws and drive safely in a city-like environment without human assistance. The vehicles will need to find their way to a preprogrammed destination while paying attention to lane markers, other cars, and unexpected obstacles, such as potholes in the road. (See video.)
The Urban Challenge is a follow-up to DARPA's Grand Challenge race, held in 2004 and 2005, in which cars navigated an empty desert road. The new, more complex racing environment reflects the rapid progress being made in robotic cars: while none of the teams finished the first Grand Challenge race, 5 out of 23 cars finished the second one. Stanford University's team, which won the latter race, will enter the Urban Challenge with Junior, an upgraded version of its winning car. (See "Stanford's New Driverless Car.")
In order to "see" its environment, MIT's Talos is equipped with numerous laser range finders, radar units, Global Positioning Systems, and video cameras, explains Emilio Frazzoli, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and one of the team leaders. The researchers developed novel software--which runs on 10 quad-core computers in the Land Rover's trunk--to make sense of the incoming data and to calculate the car's next move. The 40 processors produce so much heat that the team added an air-conditioning unit to the roof of the car. (See slide show.)
Monday, October 01, 2007
Your next laptop could have a continuous power battery that lasts for 30 years without a single recharge thanks to work being funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.
Although betavoltaic batteries sound Nuclear they’re not, they’re neither use fission/fusion or chemical processes to produce energy and so (do not produce any radioactive or hazardous waste). Betavoltaics generate power when an electron strikes a particular interface between two layers of material.
The reaction is non-thermal which means laptops and other small devices like mobile phones will run much cooler than with traditional lithium-ion power batteries.
The best part about these cells are when they eventually run out of power they are totally inert and non-toxic, so environmentalists need not fear these high tech scientific wonder batteries. If all goes well plans are for these cells to reach store shelves in about 2 to 3 years.