Viconic Sporting developed an underlayer for synthetic turf systems that will make fields safer for those who play on them. Viconic’s technology is widely used for impact management in the automotive and sporting industries and in the U.S. Military. Viconic will further explore the relationship between optimized head impact protection and the frequency of lower limb injuries in an effort to provide the synthetic turf industry a tool to specify systems that maximize player safety and minimize safety costs.
Stahl’s report tells the story of how a young doctor and nurse in Colombia unraveled the mystery of a rash of patients who were coming down with Alzheimer’s disease in their mid-40s -- figuring out that they were part of one large, extended family, connected generations back. All of them lived in Antioquia, a Colombian region whose capital is Medellin. The doctor reached out to Dr. Ken Kosik, then a Harvard professor lecturing in Bogota, who realized the significance of the discovery. “When we looked at the family trees, about 50 percent of the offspring were getting the disease. That’s a clear signature of a gene,” says Kosik.
A simple genetic test could reveal which members of the family had the gene mutation that would guarantee they would get early-onset Alzheimer’s. This gave researchers a unique opportunity to test therapies on persons who were certain to develop the disease, years before they showed any symptoms -- a rare window to see whether a treatment might be able to prevent Alzheimer’s. The nonprofit Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix teamed up with the National Institutes of Health, philanthropists, and the drug company Genentech to start a multimillion dollar clinical trial to test an immunotherapy drug to remove amyloid plaque, a substance that builds up in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients years before they start getting sick.
Tarnopolsky now thinks he knows why. In studies where blood is drawn immediately after people exercised, researchers have found that many positive changes occur throughout the body during and right after a workout. “Going for a run is going to improve your skin health, your eye health, your gonadal health,” he says. “It’s unbelievable.” If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed.
James Hoevelmann of Sullivan, Missouri, used to work in hospital construction. But these days, even though he suffers from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the retired carpenter, 74, doesn’t want to go anywhere near a medical facility. And he doesn’t need to, even though his COPD has been bad enough in the past to regularly land him in the emergency room and the intensive care unit. The reason: Hoevelmann now gets his care from Mercy Virtual Care Center some 50 miles away in Chesterfield.
Equipped with an iPad and devices such as a blood pressure monitor and scale that stream his vital signs and other data from his home to the Mercy Virtual “command center,” he and his providers have been able to detect subtle health shifts in time to avert the cascade of deterioration that put him in the ICU. “We can trend the data on a daily basis and intervene in many cases even before patients experience symptoms,” says Gavin Helton, Mercy’s medical director. Says Hoevelmann: “I feel safer knowing I have those people behind me.”
Basis and the other pills that will likely follow it in the next five to ten years are the fruits of a scientific backwater that has been working toward this moment for a quarter-century. These drugs and supplements are aimed to be a hack of the heretofore most intractable condition of human existence, the invisible countdown clock with which evolution has equipped our bodies. They just might postpone the onset of the most common afflictions of our dotage, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s. We won’t necessarily enjoy longer maximum life spans (though that’s a possibility), but we very well might enjoy longer health spans, meaning the vital, productive chunk of our lives before degeneration kicks in.
Others who’d taken Basis before me had described effects including fingernail growth, hair growth, skin smoothness, crazy dreams, increased stamina, better sleep, and more energy. Once I began taking it, I did feel an almost jittery uptick in mojo for a few days, and I slept more soundly as well. Then those effects seemed to recede, and there were also mornings where I felt a little out of it. If these were placebo effects, they were weird ones, because they didn’t make me feel better, only different.
Rather than wait to check in, they'll wear a radio frequency badge to track their movements, allowing staffers to come to them as they wander to a sitting area or snack bar. During surgery, family members can check status boards to see when a procedure is underway and when the patient moves to a private recovery room. Often, patients meet with their surgeon via videoconferencing before discharge. "The whole place is focused on not being sick, but on getting better," says Brett Simon, an anesthesiologist and the center's director.
Josie Robertson is one of a slew of state-of-the-art ambulatory centers being opened by health systems to reduce costs and hospitalizations while also drumming up business. The aim is "a high-end patient experience," says Rudolph P. Valentini, chief medical officer at Children's Hospital of Michigan, of the striking new pediatric center in Troy that opened in February. These centers are all equipped to handle an emergency, and patients can quickly be moved to the inpatient hospital if necessary.
As VR technology gets better, cheaper and more accessible–thanks in part to consumer-friendly headsets like the Oculus Rift, which debuted in March–a small but growing number of scientists and entrepreneurs are using it to treat medical conditions, including PTSD and chronic pain. The financial stakes are high: Goldman Sachs expects total revenue from the VR industry to hit $95 billion in 2025, of which over $5 billion could come from medical applications. Virtual reality could also reshape the nature of medicine itself, enabling doctors to abandon what Rose calls “a one-pill-fits-all approach” to treatment.
Breakthrough attempts at surgeries aimed at improving quality of life–such as a penis transplant, a uterus transplant and a bilateral hand transplant–have had mixed results so far in the U.S. Experts say that in some cases, that’s the price of being first.
Efforts to smooth the research process are hampered by the large number of companies that make lab equipment. They all have their own software, and for complex experiments each machine may need separate instructions. Allotrope is developing standards intended to be device-agnostic, allowing scientists using different equipment to collaborate seamlessly. Equipment manufacturers are working on proprietary systems optimized for devices they sell. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a web platform for uploading data and analyzing it using a suite of apps, with the ability to monitor experiments remotely from a smartphone. The goal is “driving the inefficiencies of the currently cobbled-together data analysis out of the system,” says Joe Beery, Thermo Fisher’s chief information officer. “The researchers just want the answer.”
Each of these families is different in thousands of ways, from their ethnicities to their incomes to their sleepover policies. But we set out to find the ways they are the same.
In selecting candidates to study, we ignored siblings who do the same work in the same industry (like Venus and Serena Williams) and families that come from a great fortune or legacy (like the Trumps or the Kennedys). We looked for families in which all the siblings did well. And we defined success by leadership, service or achievement, not just fame or money alone. Of course, genetics plays a role for every family, but we focused on upbringing and sibling dynamics instead.