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 […]

A New Skin. Will You Wear It?

The army deployed Susan thousands of miles from home. Her three-year-old son misses her. On their once-a-week video call, he cries when he hears her voice. She rubs his back and calms him. How did she do that? Biotechnology. A new skin. Will you wear it? The First Attempts For years, scientists, technology experts, and DIYers have tried to create wearable haptic devices. Haptic means relating to or based on the sense of touch. Early devices required huge batteries for power sources. That made them too heavy to wear or limited by wires to and from the batteries. Many were so bulky so they hung loose and so failed to convey the touch. You are probably familiar with one device that uses haptics. Your cell phone. It vibrates or doesn’t vibrate. But that vibration tells you by touch that you have a call or a message.  Haptic Skin The new skin is a flexible artificial skin developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) . Their very thin haptic skin, made of silicone and electrodes, will stretch and shape to any limb or body part. It transmits vibrations or pressure to the user. In other words, it creates a […]

In the Year 2525, Will These Treatments Keep You Alive?

Modern technological innovations have made dramatic differences in the work and daily lives of people. And these innovations are influencing medicine. In the year 2525, will these treatments keep you alive? Maybe. The genetic studies may take longer. Some, like 3-D printing, may save lives a lot sooner. Pharmacogenomics Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. Scientists will study the genetic makeup of a patient. With this genetic information, doctors will personalize medications. They will know which medicines an individual will respond to. They’ll be able to avoid medication related illness like Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Side effects may become a thing of the past. The field of study is still in its infancy. But pharmacogenomics has a lot of potential. One hope is that we can avoid addiction. And personalized medications will provide a better quality of life for many people. 3-D Printing One day organ transplants will be obsolete. If you need an organ, your doctor will print one on a 3-D printer. It will be made with your own tissue. Your body will recognize and accept it. “The most significant developments in 3-D printing have come in external prosthetics, cranial or orthopedic implants, and […]