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.
About 460,000 U.S. patients have end-stage kidney diseases that require help from dialysis clinicians, typically three times a week. With Tablo, testers age 29-79 were able to prep the dialysis machine for use in 10 to 12 minutes with minimal training.
Michael Phelps and other athletes have been showing off round welts at the Rio Olympics. Does “cupping” work? Vox explores
It could be that cupping brings more blood to an area and this promotes healing. But that’s just a guess. Some say it helps relieve stress in the muscles by pulling them upward. Overall, "larger well-designed trials are needed to validate the therapeutic efficacy of cupping therapy," the 2015 review reads.
This is the space where a lot of fad health trends thrive: There’s no good data to prove cupping helps, but, likewise, there isn’t data to disprove it either. And meanwhile, you have celebrity endorsements to propel the fad forward.
Pitsiladis considered these forecasts to be overly conservative. He started his Sub2 Project in late 2014 with i website, fund-raising and the recruitment of scientists. He believed his goal could be achieved by the end of 2019 — years earlier than commonly thought possible
.His consortium of scientists would use the latest knowledge — and develop culling-edge approaches — in nutrition, biomechanics, genetics, running efficiency, training, race strategy and sports medicine to deliver a sub-two-hour marathon. Incremental gains here and there, the scientists believed, could add up to a startling accomplishment. And perhaps new technology and knowledge would emerge for broader benefits, as when man raced toward the moon.
The Sub2 experts would use data to confront habit, tradition, consensus. They would tailor training programs to individuals, employing science to help runners from Ethiopia and Kenya and elsewhere who had had fantastic performances using little science.
Austin Burt, a professor of evolutionary genetics at Imperial College and the developer of the technology, didn’t set out to commit mosquito genocide. “Our target is malaria, not mosquitoes,” he says. “Mosquitoes are a means to an end.” But once unleashed, Burt’s mosquitoes have no kill switch. They will carry out their mission until there are no females left. To some experts, it’s a small sacrifice. But others worry about the implications of leaving a biological niche empty.
That concern is part of what drove Anthony James, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Irvine, to take a different tack. He’s working to make mosquitoes incapable of carrying malaria and, eventually, other pathogens like Zika. This technique leaves the mosquitoes in place while disarming them. “Nobody likes mosquitoes, but you can live with them if they are not giving you disease,” he says. “Better to fix the ones you have than deal with whoever comes along next.”
Genetically engineered drugs known as biologics typically have to be injected rather than swallowed because their complex proteins break down in the stomach. Rani Therapeutics is developing a pill that will protect those proteins.
The patient swallows the pill, currently about the size of a large vitamin. The coating starts to dissolve when the pill reaches the high-alkaline level of the digestive tract, mixing its Alka-Seltzer-like components, which create carbon dioxide.
The CO2 inflates a small plastic-film balloon underneath one or two injector darts made of molded sugar, propelling them into the intestinal wall. The darts dissolve and the medicine they contain is absorbed into the bloodstream.