Called Baseline Study, the project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people—and later thousands more—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be.
The project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people. Getty Images
The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.
Dr. Conrad joined Google X—the company's research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.
It's not the type of plane either Kent Brantly or Nancy Writebol likely planned to take home.
But when health officials evacuate the two American aid workers infected with Ebola in west Africa, it will be the plane they take.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outfitted a Gulfstream jet with an isolation pod designed and built by the U.S. Defense Department, the CDC and a private company. The pod, officially called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, is a portable, tent like device that ensures the flight crew and others on the flight remain safe from an infectious disease.
The hand-held device, called Evzio, delivers a single dose of naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose, and will be used on those who have stopped breathing or lost consciousness from an opioid drug overdose. Naloxone is the standard treatment in such circumstances, but until now, has been available mostly in hospitals and other medical settings, when it is often used too late to save the patient.
The decision to quickly approve the new treatment, which is expected to be available this summer, comes as deaths from opioids continue to mount, including an increase in those from heroin, which contributed to the death of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in February. Federal health officials, facing criticism for failing to slow the rising death toll, are under pressure to act, experts say.
Jintronix sells the Kinect for the standard $250 and charges $50 a month for its software, which lets physical therapists program routines for patients and adjust the difficulty as mobility improves.
In one game, the player controls a fish and must motion up and down or draw a figure eight to make it eat. A whack-a-mole-style game designed to strengthen leg muscles asks the patient to walk to various parts of the screen when a bunny pops up. As the patient moves, Jintronix tracks whether he’s performing the exercises correctly so therapists can make tweaks. The software monitors each patient’s progress and compares it with that of people with similar injuries and ages. Yannick Belanger, 44, says it has helped him recover some mobility in his left arm since his stroke in September.
Policy Horizons Canada’s latest foresight study examines how four emerging technologies (digital technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and neuroscience technologies) could drive disruptive social and economic change over the next 10 to 15 years.
“These technologies will impact almost every sector of the economy. One of the most disruptive features of several of the technologies is they increase productivity with fewer workers. Artificial intelligence (like Apple's Siri) combined with data analytics could dramatically change the service sector with fewer workers. In a growing number of sectors, 3D printing could change the economics and location of manufacturing. Synthetic biology could change the economics and flow of raw materials in agriculture, forestry, energy and mining. Governments, business and society will have to work together to ensure there are innovative policies and institutions in place to ride the next wave of technological change. The next 10 to 15 years will be an era of transition. Almost every major piece of infrastructure will likely be under pressure to keep up in areas like skills development, health care, transportation and security. Ignoring or underestimating the rate of change could very well undermine our competitiveness, preparedness and resilience.”
As many as 1 in 10 patients respond well in clinical trials of experimental medicines that U.S. regulators end up rejecting, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). To understand why these patients had such a response, researchers are beginning to use DNA sequencing technology to determine if the patients they call “exceptional responders” carry gene variations that can lead to better targeted therapies, including new treatments and the reconsideration of others.
Traditional treatments such as chemotherapy kill healthy cells along with malignant ones, but targeted therapies are designed to leave healthy cells unscathed and home in on cancer cells that make tumors grow and spread. The catch is that they don’t work for everyone, and even patients who find them helpful tend to develop resistance over time. The NCI and academic medical centers including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., are creating a national database of exceptional responders to aid research. “What was yesterday’s miracle event is today becoming a subject of scientific inquiry,” says Leonard Lichtenfeld, an oncologist and the deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
“Imagine a digital tattoo that transmits skin temperature; a transparent sensor on a contact lens that tests for glaucoma; a pliable pacemaker wrapped around a beating heart; and an implant that controls pain after surgery, then dissolves harmlessly when it is no longer needed.
Each one is an experiment under way today in the biophysics of personal medicine.
At laboratories in the U.S., Switzerland, and Korea, bioengineers are developing unusually flexible ultrathin electronics that promise to free medical diagnostics from the clinical tethers of cables and power cords, to make measuring vital signs more intimate and effective.”
Cyberdyne’s robotic exoskeletal suits are designed for use at rehab centers by patients building strength. The company is also pitching them to hospitals and nursing homes in Japan, where people older than 65 already make up a quarter of the populace.