Want to live forever? Join the club!
Join the growing number of people who are committed to living forever. Now that healthcare has merged with IT the exponential growth in medical technology means immortality may be closer than you think. From drug research and diagnostics to exoskeletons and nanobots – rapid advances are increasing our life expectancy every day.
Radical life extension is a growing industry – and more and more people are putting (a lot!) of money where their mouths are:
- 5 billionaires who want to live forever – Fortune Magazine
- Understanding Calico: Larry Page, Google Ventures, and the quest for immortality – The Verge
- Oracle founder Larry Ellison has proclaimed his wish to live forever and donated more than $430 million to anti-aging research. – Washington Post
Antibiotic resistance could spell end of modern medicine – The Guardian – 13-Oct-2017
England’s chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies says action is needed around the world to tackle ‘hidden’ problem that is already claiming lives.
She warned of a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” and urged world leaders to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Each year about 700,000 people around the world die due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.
If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.
Skin-tight exoskeleton lets users change direction – New Scientist – 12-Oct-2017
Robotic exoskeletons are often used for rehabilitation: they do your walking for you.
A body-hugging robotic suit lets the wearer turn as they walk – a first for this technology.
It’s an important step toward finally letting people take home supportive exosuits after injuries, rather than having to stay in hospital.
The next step is to make this suit easier for the user to control.
House-sized asteroid narrowly misses Earth – Sky News – 12-Oct-2017
NASA has estimated that “2012 TC4” is 15m to 30m long (45ft to 100ft) – and in space terms, the asteroid narrowly missed our planet.
Its closest point of contact with earth was predicted to be over Antarctica at 7.40am UK time.
TC4, will return to Earth in 2050 and 2079, is one of thousands of asteroids with a known location.
Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014 – New Scientist – 12-Oct-217
According to European Environment Agency filthy air killed half a million people in Europe prematurely in 2014.
Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.
The two worst hotspots for PM2.5 pollution were Poland and northern Italy, where dozens of cities exceeded the EU’s annual mean limit of 25 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air.
New Type of Stem Cells Could Lead to New Treatments – Futurism – 12-Oct-2017
Researchers create Expanded Potential Stem Cells (EPSCs) in mice.
ES and iPS aren’t capable of growing into every type of cell.
EPSCs are able to produce all three types of blastocyst stem cells
The research has great implications for human regenerative medicine.
Body-on-a-chip includes heart, liver and lung organoids – Kurzweil AI – 9-Oct-2017
Heart and liver toxicity is a major reason for drug candidate failures and drug recalls.
Liver and cardiac modules are created by bioprinting 3D hydrogel constructs.
Nutrient-filled liquid keeps the organoids alive and introduces potential drug therapies.
Drug’s effect on one organ may circulate and effect a different organ.
Aims to reduce cost of failures earlier in pharmaceutical development.
Will better technology solve our sleep sorrows? – Tech Radar – 8-Oct-2017
The lack of sleep can contribute to a range of mental and physical illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity and poor mental health.
Tech brands are bolstering their efforts to try and solve our sleep problems for good.
But will more knowledge about our sleep patterns really give us more power to change them? Or will we run the risk of doing the opposite and actually losing sleep over our need to track it?
Mars crews could be at risk from onboard microbes – The Guardian – 4-Oct-2017
Mars500 project simulated a 17 month mission to Mars in a 180sq metre capsule.
Parts of the capsule were rife with microbial life.
Microbial diversity fell over time – could become a problem if only pathogens left.
Space environment could leave humans more susceptible to infection.
Rejuvenating the Thymus to Prevent Age-related Diseases – LEAF science – 4-Oct-2017
Thymus gland produces the majority of body’s T cells.
Thymus shrink with age making us increasingly vulnerable to infectious diseases.
T-cell-based immunity begins to collapse in the 60s.
Superficial tests of immune system aging showed improvements in 8 out of 9 men.
Full details being prepared for publication.
Interview with Dr. Greg Fahy – Chief Scientific Officer at 21st Century Medicine
Harder dieting may backfire and lead to bingeing – Diabetes – 4-Oct-2017
Researchers from the University of Vermont, in the US, have conducted an experiment on rats to try and understand why dieters might ‘relapse’ to eating, or overeating when satiated.
Findings provide new clues as to why extreme diets may be susceptible to fail as well as insights to inform better diet strategies for unsuccessful obese dieters looking to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.
Charlatans threaten stem cell research with unproven cures – The Guardian – 4-Oct-2017
Stem cell research, or regenerative medicine, has great potential and has already delivered some breakthroughs, but its future is threatened by poor science, unrealistic hopes, unclear funding models and unscrupulous private clinics, they say in the Lancet medical journal.
Charlatans and dodgy clinics peddling unproven cures for diseases, according to a group of eminent scientists in the field.
Wandercraft’s exoskeleton uses dynamically controlled fall – ZDnet – 3-Oct-2017
Algorithmic frameworks are highly robust to perturbations.
Dynamic robotics handle motion as a dynamically controlled fall rather than succession of static balance states.
Energy efficient as long phases of the gait cycle are not or little actuated.
Batteries will provide four hours of continuous usage (about one day of urban usage).
Owning the diagnostic journey – Irish Examiner – 2-Oct-2017
Diaceutics CEO Peter Keeling is working to bridge the gap between pharmaceutical companies, diagnostics, and laboratories.
Hundreds of thousands of patients could be missing out on life-saving drugs.
Most medicines have been little tested and used to treat everyone broadly the same.
15 years ago a breast cancer patient would have been treated with the same type of cocktail of drugs, regardless.
But breast cancer is a whole series of different types of diseases.
Better identification of disease enables greater impact with the treatment.
Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease Earlier Than Ever – Singularity Hub – 2-Oct-2017
Alzheimer’s is one of the top 10 deadliest diseases in the United States.
It cannot be cured but new treatments can slow its progression if found early.
University of Central Lancashire used sensor-based technology with a diamond core to identify specific chemical bonds.
McGill University predict onset using artificial intelligence analysis using a single amyloid PET scan.
Darmiyan claims its software can pick up signals up to 15 years before the onset.
Mini-kidneys grown in lab reveal renal disease secrets – Medical Xpress – 2-Oct-2017
PKD mini-kidneys grown in free-floating conditions formed hollow cysts that were very large.
The organoids are grown from human stem cells.
Polycystic kidney disease affects 12 million people.
VIDEO: Watch kidney organoids grow from human cells and form cysts.
Genetic test for early detection of pancreatic cancers – Medical Xpress – 2-Oct-2017
Pancreatic cysts are increasingly detected on medical scans.
Most are benign but some progress to pancreatic cancer.
Can’t risk unneeded surgery to remove all the cysts.
Small amount of fluid from cyst can be tested for 10 different tumor genes.
First use of next-generation sequencing in a certified clinical laboratory.
Interview with PCR Workflow Automation Company CEO – Labiotech – 2-Oct-2017
Wouter Uten recognized a need in the diagnostic industry for more automated laboratory workflows.
Automated labs had extraction robots and liquid handlers to feed PCR instruments.
But lacked software that could interpret PCR results automatically.
Need to replace users copy-and-pasting results from spreadsheets into the LIMS.
UgenTec performs machine learning on the raw data from partners’ assays.
Death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital – The Guardian – 2-Oct-2017
1 in 5 of the extra deaths in 2014-15 may be attributable being stuck in hospital.
Older patients more vulnerabile to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA.
Increased frailty and serious muscle wastage due to lack of physical activity can undermine health.
Also, over 500,000 patients affected by exit block each year in the UK.
Biosensors as a Tattooed Interface – Digital Journal – 1-Oct-2017
Dermal Abyss research involves a novel approach in which the surface of the body is rendered as an interactive display.
Instead of using regular tattoo inks biosensors are used whose colour changes in response to variations in the interstitial fluid.
The biosensors would not only reflect the glucose level in the blood but its pH level as well. PH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the blood.
Personalised medicine and the ‘batch of you’ – Silicon Republic – 30-Sep-2017
FDA approved in 2017, Kymriah is entirely customised to the individual patient.
Eight of the top 10 blockbuster drugs are now biologics.
Precision medicines manufacturing must increase the range of products at an increased speed.
Large-scale production of a small number of chemical drugs is being replaced.
Industry X.0 businesses embrace constant technological change.
London Mayor calls for ban on wood-burning stoves – The Guardian – 29-Sep-2017
According to research domestic wood burning contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of London in January.
It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all of London’s fine-particle pollution comes from domestic wood burning.
Sadiq Khan has asked the environment department to amend the Clean Air Act to allow for the creation of zero-emission zones where the burning of solid fuel is not allowed from 2025 onwards.
Funding to build biological nanorobots – Silicon Republic – 28-Sep-2017
Founded in 2014, France-based Eligo Bioscience has received $20m Series A funding.
Aims is to treat a number of diseases using the human microbiome.
Eligo’s biological nanobots (aka eligobots) are made from DNA and protein.
Able to deliver a customised therapeutic payload to specific types of bacteria.
Nanobots can either kill the bacteria or transiently turn them into drug producers.
The Future Of Pharmaceuticals Is Custom-Printing Drugs – Gizmodo – 28-Sep-2017
New drug custom-printing method would allow pharmacists to customise for dosage, for your own personal biology, or even to combine many pills into one dose.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a technique that they say can print precise doses of multiple drugs onto a variety of surfaces.
A major advantage,of this method will be the ability to control dosing.
Human Pancreas Reveals Signatures of Aging – Cell – 28-Sep-2017
Accumulated genetic and epigenetic errors eventually lead to impaired organ function.
2,544 human pancreas single-cell transcriptions analysied from eight donors over six decades of life.
Cells from older donors display increased levels of transcriptional noise.
Gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy no longer closing – Telegraph – 27-Sep-2017
The gap has narrowed every year for the past decade.
Between 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016, the rate of increase in life expectancy at birth more than halved to 6.0 weeks per year for males and 3.6 weeks per year for females.
Both men’s and women’s life expectancy is still growing but growth has slowed in recent years.
COMMENT: when the gap is only reducing by 0.1 years per year, some years the change going to round down
BBC app to investigate how flu pandemic spreads – BBC News – 27-Sep-2017
The free app will anonymously collect vital data on how far users travel over a 24 hour period.
Users will be asked for information about the number of people they have come into contact with during this time.
This data will be used to simulate the spread of a highly infectious disease to see what might happen when – not if – a real pandemic hits the UK.
The results of the experiment will be revealed in a 90 minute landmark documentary, BBC Pandemic which will air in spring 2018 on BBC.
Centenarians are fastest growing age group in UK – The Guardian – 27-Sep-2017
Centenarians are the fastest growing age group in the UK, with the number of 100-year-olds almost doubling over a 14-year period.
Although they make up a very small proportion of the total UK population (0.02% in 2016), their numbers have grown rapidly from 7,750 in 2002 to 14,910 last year.
There were 571,245 people aged 90 and over living in the UK last year – the highest number ever.
Giving oxygen to stroke patients makes no difference – Nursing Times – 27-Sep-2017
UK nine-year Stoke Oxygen Study involved more than 8,000 patients.
Patients randomised for continuous, nocturnal only or no routine oxygen.
Routine oxygen did not improve functional outcome in any patients.
Low oxygen levels were caused by underlying airway, lung and heart problems
Genetic testing helps set safe dose of common blood thinner – Washington University School of Medicine‘s – 26-Sep-2017
Warfarin is commonly prescribed to patients to prevent life-threatening blood clots.
Person’s genetic makeup influences how the drug is processed in the body.
Too much warfarin can cause internal bleeding; too little fails to prevent clots.
It causes more major adverse events than any other oral drug.
Genetic testing reduced adverse events by 27 percent.
Clinical trial took into account genetic variants in three genes.
New prostate cancer treatment for previously incurable men – Telegraph – 26-Sep-2017
Highly targeted form of radiotherapy shapes radiation beams to tumours.
When prostate cancer has spread to the pelvis conventional radiotherapy becomes too risky.
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) able to give a high dose of radiation with fewer side-effects.
71 % of patients disease free five years after treatment.
Could help around 3,000 men a year who otherwise had little hope.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in UK men with 47,000 diagnoses a year.
Scientists Urge Funding For Armageddon-style Asteroid Mission – Universe Today – 22-Sep-2017
Space agencies from around the world are dedicated to develop techniques for protecting Earth from asteroids that pose a collision hazard.
In order to test possible asteroid deflection techniques, scientists intend to send a spacecraft to crash into the tiny moon of the distant asteroid named Didymos (nicknamed “Didymoon”) by 2022 to alter its trajectory.
This mission would be a first for scientists, and would test the capabilities of space agencies to divert rocks away from Earth’s orbit.
Asteroid mining could support space colonies – CBC – 22-Sep-2017
A team of researchers are planning to send robotic spacecraft into outer space, land near asteroids hurtling through the abyss and mine them for water, metals and other elements that will make colonizing space that much easier.
New treatment for rare triple negative breast cancers – The Institute of Cancer Research – 22-Sep-2017
Triple negative breast cancer is (TNBC) tend to exhibit aggressive behaviour and are more likely to spread to another part of the body, becoming incurable.
It is estimated that around 1,000 women each year in the UK are diagnosed with LAR TNBC – which accounts for around 2% of all breast cancers.
Researchers from Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have identified a potential new treatment approach for some TNBCs after discovering them to be highly sensitive to new drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors.
Doing housework can extend your life – New Scientist – 21-Sep-2017
One in 12 deaths could be prevented with 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.
That’s the conclusion from the world’s largest study of physical activity, which analysed data from more than 130,000 people across 17 countries.
People who spent more than 750 minutes walking briskly each week reduced their risk of premature death by 36 per cent.
Interview with regenerative medicine RepliCel’s CEO – Digital Journal – 21-Sep-2017
Regenerative medicine is a game-changing area of medicine. It has the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs.
RepliCel’s CEO, Lee Buckler is telling about challenges and wins in this field.
Robot dentist fits implants without any human involvement – South China Morning Post – 21-Sep-17
Medical staff present but did not play an active role.
Implants fitted to within a margin of error of 0.2-0.3mm.
China has a shortage of qualified dentists reulting in frequent surgical errors.
Before operation patient was fitted with position orientation equipment.
Robot was able to compensate for the patient’s own movements.
The artificial teeth it implanted were 3D printed.
Autolus starts living medicine cancer trials – Financial Times – 09-2017
London start-up launches Car-T clinical trials.
Carrying out three Car-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) studies.
Autologous treatments engineer the patients’ own immune cells to recognise and kill cancer cells.
40 companies are working on similar living drug treatments.
Dual targeting approach may give Autolus a competitive edge.
Company was spun out of University College London in 2014.
Immune System Critical to Tissue Regeneration – LEAF Science – 21-Sep-2017
Study in salamanders finds heart tissue regeneration depends on presence of macrophages. Research could help promote scar-free healing in humans following a heart attack. Cardiomyocyte proliferation is not the only determinant in heart regeneration. Humans have the same genetic machinery of salamanders.
3D-printed synthetic soft muscle can lift 1000x its weight – Kurzweil AI – 20-Sep-2017
Artificial muscle is three times stronger than natural muscle.
The new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways.
Usea a silicone rubber matrix with ethanol micro-bubbles.
Smart glove gives your hand bionic powers – Apple Magazine – 20-Sep-2017
The Portuguese company Nuada created smart gloves which helps you to improve our hand strength and coordination.
This piece of hardware augments the movements of your palm and digits, acting as an electromechanical support system that lets you perform (almost) superhuman feats.
If your hand strength is reduced due to illness or injury, the smart glove can help you out.
In case you’re doing heavy manual work with your hands it allows you to hold things with less muscle fatigue, making you work faster.
Owls hold secret to ageless ears – BBC News – 20-Sep-2017
Birds are protected from age-related hearing loss. These are able to naturally repair damage to the inner ear.
Humans lost these regenerative abilities at some point in evolution.
Understanding more about the “ageless ears” of barn owls could help develop new treatments for human hearing problems.
What’s the Japanese secret for living longer? – Telegraph – 20-Sep-2017
The Japanese top the global table for life expectancy: on average, they can expect to live for 83.7 years.
The secret could be in their diet as it is lean and balanced, consisting mainly of fish, seafood, whole grains, vegetables and tofu.
The other factor is The Japanese healthcare system, which is considered one of the world’s best.
Some studies suggest their longevity may simply be down to having good genes.
Three asteroids give Earth a close shave in a single week – CNET – 20-Sep-2017
Last week three never-before-seen asteroids were discovered whizzing by Earth significantly closer than the vast majority of passing space rocks.
The closest and smallest piece of space Asteroid 2017 SR2 which is about the size of a bus whipped by about 55,000 miles (88,500 kilometers) from us.
Researchers find way to convert bad body fat into good fat – Medical Xpress – 19-Sep-2017
New study identified a way to convert bad, white fat into good, brown fat, at least in mice.
White fat stores calories and pads our bellies, hips and thighs. In contrast, brown fat, found near our necks and shoulders, burns calories through a process that generates heat.
The researchers found that blocking the activity of a specific protein in white fat triggered the fat to begin to brown into beige fat.
Aim of the research is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity.
Alcor Cryopreservation Charges Unchanged – Alcor – 19-Sep-2017
Annual Meeting agreed to leave minimums 2011 levels.
Whole Body: $200,000
How death has changed over 100 years in Britain – The Guardian – 18-Sep-2017
Some interesting graphs on distribution of deaths by age.
In 1915 one in ten deaths occurred among children under the age of five.
Now most people in the UK can expect to live into their 80s.
In 2015 Alzheimer’s disease and dementia made it into the top 10 causes of death.
Blind Patients to Test Bionic Eye Brain Implants – Technology Review – 18-Sep-2017
The company, Second Sight, is launching a clinical trial for a brain implant designed to restore vision.
The device, called the Orion, is a modified version of the company’s current Argus II bionic eye, which involves a pair of glasses outfitted with a camera and an external processor.
Anyone who had vision but has lost it from almost any cause could potentially be helped by the Orion technology.
Due to this device patients can distinguish light from dark and recognize the outlines of objects in their view, but they can’t see color.
Why Quantum Computers Will Be Exponentially Faster – Singularity Hub – 18-Sep-2017
VIDEO explains how quantum computers work.
Qubits can be both 1 and 0 simultaneously
30 qubits can perform 1 billion simultaneous calculations.
Software required is very different than what’s used by traditional computers.
Bill Gates thinks a pandemic could kill 30 million people – Business Insider – 17-Sep-2017
Bill and Melinda Gates in their recently released “Goalkeepers” report state that they see a pandemic as the greatest immediate threat to humanity on the planet.
They are sure that in upcoming decades fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year.
It’s possible that a major outbreak could be intentionally created as the result of a biological weapon or it can occur by a quirk of nature.
Age At First Period Could Determine Life Expectancy – Marie Claire – 17-Sep-2017
The Women’s Health Initiative collected data from 16,000 post-menopausal women.
And researchers from University of California, San Diego found that women who got their first period at age 12 or older indicated a likelihood of longer life; menopause after the age of 50 was also an indicator of good health.
Lab-Grown Blood Stem Cells Produced at Last – Scientific American – 18-May-2017
One team reprogrammed skin cell derived iPS cells with seven transcription factors.
Progenitor cells are tantalizingly close to natural haemopoetic blood stem cells.
Another team used four transcription factors to directly convert cells from the lining of blood vessels.
Aimed at patients who need bone-marrow transplants, but could also prevent depletion as we age.