What If Your Child Falls in Love with a Cyborg?

Imagine it’s 2050, the pandemic is long over. Cyborgs (beings with both organic and biomechatronic body parts) walk the streets of your town. What if your child falls in love with a cyborg? The beau has a brain-computer-interface (BCI). Maybe he or she has an artificial limb or two. Cyborgs common enough your child or grandchild could befriend or fall in love with one? Seriously? That’s what some forward-looking companies think might happen. But before we consider the future, let’s look at the development of BCI. Discovery of Brain Waves Brain-computer-interfaces, also known as brain-machine-interfaces (BMI), begins their story in 1875. Richard Canton discovered electrical signals in animal brains. His discovery inspired Hans Berger to discover the human electroencephalogram (EEG) on July 6, 1924. The EEG measures brainwaves. Today it is invaluable. Its used to diagnose and treat neurological diseases (seizures, brain tumors, etc.) Computers and Imagination Konrad Zuse, a German, created the first programmable computer between 1936-1938. It was also in the 1930s when science fiction authors such as John C. Campbell (John Scott Campbell) and Edmond Hamilton wrote and published stories about transferring memories and personalities into computers. Tommy Flowers developed and demonstrated the first electric programmable computer, […]

Type 1 Diabetes Research-What You Need to Know

Recently researchers at LJI reported they prevented beta cell deaths in mice by blocking nerve signals to the pancreas. Why is this important? They may be one step closer to understanding what causes diabetes. The hope is that understanding will lead to a cure. This is what you need to know. What is the Pancreas? Your pancreas is about six inches long. It lies in the back of the abdomen, on your right side behind your liver. The pancreas creates a cocktail of juices called enzymes.  These enzymes travel from the pancreas through a duct to the upper part of your intestine. There they break down the food you eat into fats, proteins, and starches. Your pancreas also produces hormones that carry messages to other parts of your body. (Read more about the pancreas.) One hormone the healthy pancreas makes is insulin. It makes insulin in specialized cells called beta cells. What is Type I Diabetes Nearly 1.6 million Americans have a life-threatening, but treatable condition. Their beta cells die. When their beta cells die, their bodies do not produce insulin. It happens in every race, gender, and body size and shape. Even mammals can have type I diabetes. Without […]

How Long Do You Want to Live?

If you could choose, how long do you want to live? To 100, 200, 500 years of age? Perhaps your answer is, it depends—will I be healthy? By the end of this decade, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. Three out of 4 will have two or more serious health conditions. At least 1 in 4 can expect memory lapses and fuzzy thinking, while 1 in 10 will develop dementia. You’re not part of the generation known as the Boomers? Don’t worry. You’ll age, too.  Aging-Factors that Cause Disease The research is extensive. And unfortunately, there isn’t just one thing that leads to age-related diseases. There are many: inflammation; a metabolism system that doesn’t work right; inactive stem cells; stress-related damage, environmental toxins, and more. These problems of aging cells lead to diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer. Fortunately, there’s been a “perfect storm” in anti-aging research. All kinds of treatments for age-related illnesses are moving into or already in clinical trials. They aim to make us grow old in better health. If you could grow old in good health, how long do you want to live? Anti-Aging Research A new class […]