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The man who grew eyes

The man who grew eyes | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Growing nerve tissue and organs is a sci-fi dream. Moheb Costandi met the pioneering researcher who grew eyes and brain cells.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Interesting article on the work of Yoshiki Sasai  a Japanese biologist and Director of the Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis at the research institute RIKEN in Kobe, Japan. Sasai was best known for developing new methods to grow stem cells into organ-like structures

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Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea: Where Ecology Meets Economy

Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea: Where Ecology Meets Economy | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The precise factors that result in an Ebola virus outbreak remain unknown, but a broad examination of the complex and interwoven ecology and socioeconomics may help us better understand what has already happened and be on the lookout for what might happen next, including determining regions and populations at risk. Although the focus is often on the rapidity and efficacy of the short-term international response, attention to these admittedly challenging underlying factors will be required for long-term prevention and control.

 
ComplexInsight's insight:

As terrifying and tragic the current Ebola outbreak is - informed discussion on sources, vectors and the interplay of ecology and socioeconomics will be at the heart of finding long term solutions.

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Ebola Virus Antibodies in Fruit Bats, Bangladesh - Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Ebola Virus Antibodies in Fruit Bats, Bangladesh - Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
To determine geographic range for Ebola virus, we tested 276 bats in Bangladesh. Five (3.5%) bats were positive for antibodies against Ebola Zaire and Reston viruses; no virus was detected by PCR. These bats might be a reservoir for Ebola or Ebola-like viruses, and extend the range of filoviruses to mainland Asia.
ComplexInsight's insight:

As evidence builds that fruit bats may be a vector for the recent ebola outbreak in Western Africa - I was reminded of this paper in CDC's EID journal which found 5 out of 276 (3.5%) tested bats in Bangladesh had antibodies to Ebola. It would be interesting to map ebola outbreaks against natural migration and deforestation paths and see if there is any correlation and to see how other regional antibody presence tests indicate migration as well. The original paper and the EID journal in general are well worth reading. Click image or headling to read more.

 

 

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Why HIV Virions Have Low Numbers of Envelope Spikes: Implications for Vaccine Development

Why HIV Virions Have Low Numbers of Envelope Spikes: Implications for Vaccine Development | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
From molecules to physiology
ComplexInsight's insight:

Interesting paper on structural protien envelope spikes in HIV related viruses and their relation to autoimmune response and implications for vaccine development by John Schiller and Bryce Chackerian. 

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A World Cup Visitor: Polio from Africa in Brazil | Science Blogs | WIRED

A World Cup Visitor: Polio from Africa in Brazil | Science Blogs | WIRED | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The World Health Organization announced on Monday that a polio sample was collected in March at Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, which is about 60 miles outside Sao Paulo, and is where many of the World Cup teams have been landing. The agency said no cases of polio have been identified and there is no evidence the disease has been transmitted.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Another awesome article by Maryn Mckenna, highlighting the interconnectedness of our health ecossystem as polio virus from Afric is found in a Brazilian sewer. The possible vector - visitors for the world cup. Article very worth reading.

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Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future — Editor’s Picks — Medium

Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future — Editor’s Picks — Medium | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
A few years ago, I started looking online to fill in chapters of my family history that no one had ever spoken of.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Maryn McKenna has consistenly written about the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance for some time and her articles in Wired and other media are worth finding and reading. This is her long form essay on medium, it covers some of the same ground as her other articles it is still very much but its worth reading and reflecting on. 

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 30, 8:41 PM

It seems that we are about to get closer to death, as our antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and all other methods of cheating death, disease and crop failure fail.

 

This is before we get into conversations about the looming international and intranational conflicts that are simmering beneath the surface.  At least these can be dealt with with sensible policy changes and changes in attitude, perspective and disposition, if not out right content in our leadership cadres.

 

But alas, I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.

 

Time is ticking away.

 

And we too will go through an indiscriminate die off phase where friends and family will die off, along with enemies and pestilential people as well.

 

I'd like to think that we'd come off better than before.

 

But, that's the thing about these indiscriminate methods of killing large swaths of the population.  It very rarely yields anything other than what was already present.

 

At least wages should be better, due to the new shortage of laborers (assuming that robots haven't taken over our labor force in the meantime).

 

I'd like to think that our lot is constantly improving, even during these negative phases.

 

But, I know that it's not going to be easy, especially for most of our Western and American population who don't have experience handling these kinds of things.

 

Ah well.

 

Think about it.

 

 

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FANTOM

FANTOM | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
ComplexInsight's insight:

In our bodies every cell contains the same genetic code, however the active or expressed genes determine cell function.  Which genes are expressed is controlled by tiny bits of the genome called promoters and enhancers and different cell types are determined by different combinations of promoters and enhancers. Now an international consortium of researchers known as FANTOM, led by the RIKEN institute in Japan have created the  clearest map yet of how genes control cells to make our bodies function. The map is already challenging ideas about what our genes do and how they interact and may accelerate the development of gene-based therapies. The team examined more than 800 human tissue samples, covering nearly all cell types, and  found 44,000 enhancers and 180,000 promoters that control gene expression.

 

 

 

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The race to contain West Africa's Ebola outbreak (Wired UK)

The race to contain West Africa's Ebola outbreak (Wired UK) | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Digital volunteers are racing to map regions in West Africa where the Ebola virus, which has a 90 percent fatality rate, continues to spread
ComplexInsight's insight:

The use of OpenStreetMap (OSM) as an unifying geodata system is increasing in humanitarian aid. The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a challenge at multiple levels for teams trying to coordinate a response. Due to years of war there are few up to date maps in the region and multiple boundaries mean different groups are collecting data. Digital volunteers creating new OSM entries will be a key asset in enabling health officials to manage the outbreak and hopefully bring things under control.

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Researchers warn against the rise of “big data hubris”

Researchers warn against the rise of “big data hubris” | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Use Google Flu Trends as an example of how things go wrong.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Good article on risks of interpreting large scale data mining using google flu trends as an example. The conclusion that often data indications are a first point of a process that then requires scientific grunt work to identify if a given correlation is actually relevant or not and that reality is sometimes the grunt work wont be done because its hard, requires funding and takes time. Worth reading.

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'Golden age' of antibiotics 'set to end'

'Golden age' of antibiotics 'set to end' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

We cannot say we weren't warned. The growing threat of antibiotic resistant organisms is once again in the spotlight. Prof Jeremy Farrar, the new head of Britain's biggest medical research charity the Wellcome Trust said it was a "truly global issue". In his first major interview since taking up his post, Prof Farrar told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the golden age of antibiotics could come to an end unless action is taken

ComplexInsight's insight:

Prof. Farrar's comments echo those of England's Chief Medical Officer - Sally Davies and the US's Center for Disease Control. As the BBC report shows - warnings regarding the state of anti-biotic effectiveness and bacterial resistance and potential impact started occuring in government circles in the mid 1990's. The World Health Assembly of the WHO will discuss the issue in May 2014. 

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Cancer costing Europe 'billions'

Cancer costing Europe 'billions' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Cancer costs countries in the European Union 126bn euro (£107bn) a year, according to the first EU-wide analysis of the economic impact of the disease.

ComplexInsight's insight:

Researchers from the University of Oxford and King's College London analysed data from each of the 27 nations in the EU in 2009. The showed the total cost was 126bn euro and of that 51bn (£43bn) euro was down to healthcare costs including doctors' time and drug costs. Lost productivity, because of work missed through sickness or dying young, cost 52bn (£44bn) euro while the cost to families of providing care was put at 23bn (£19.5bn) euro. While the figures will probably attract the headlnes and hopefulyl motivate new research and solution creation, for those impacted by cancer's on individual and family life  the costs are often seemingly immeasurable. 

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IBM uses Big Data to predict outbreaks of Dengue fever and Malaria - VentureBeat

IBM uses Big Data to predict outbreaks of Dengue fever and Malaria - VentureBeat | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
IBM uses Big Data to predict outbreaks of Dengue fever and Malaria
VentureBeat
IBM has teamed up with university researchers to use big data and analytics to predict the outbreak of deadly diseases such as Dengue fever and Malaria.
ComplexInsight's insight:

IBM's one of a numer of companies pioneering advanced analytics for healthcare and health policy that will hopefully help inform and result in better decision and policy making  stratergies in how we deal with infectious disease.

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Breakthrough: Scientists have built a fully-functional mouse heart

Breakthrough: Scientists have built a fully-functional mouse heart | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
In a major scientific first, a team of developmental biologists has built a functional mouse heart from human tissues. The results herald a future where specific patches of heart muscle – or even the whole organ – could be grown for transplantation.
ComplexInsight's insight:

The next step is to see if this approach can be used to create a biomechanically viable tissue - but the implications and promise of this research are astounding. Article from IOS9 and the paper in Nature Communications are well worth reading.

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NIH Categorical Spending -NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

The annual estimates reflect amounts that change as a result of science, actual research projects funded, and the NIH budget. The research categories are not mutually exclusive. Individual research projects can be included in multiple categories so amounts depicted within each column of this table do not add up to 100 percent of NIH-funded research.  The table shows historical data for FY 2010 through FY 2013. The FY 2014-2015 estimates are based on RCDC actual data. 

ComplexInsight's insight:

Table of US research expenditure  estimates by NIH for various research, health conditions and disease categories.

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Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say | Al Jazeera America

Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say | Al Jazeera America | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
As humans transform ecosystems and come into closer contact with animals, scientists fear more viral epidemics
ComplexInsight's insight:

After publishing the link to the paper on ebola antibodies in fruitbats in Bangladesh - wespeculated and were asked regarding deforestation impact - this is a good overview article discussing some of the current discussion points.

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How CDC Uses Antibiotic Resistance Data - Food Safety News

How CDC Uses Antibiotic Resistance Data - Food Safety News | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Food Safety News How CDC Uses Antibiotic Resistance Data Food Safety News Over the past year, you may have noticed that antimicrobial resistance information has been incorporated in the outbreak reports put out by the Centers for Disease Control...
ComplexInsight's insight:

CDC are one fo the organisations leading information release on antimicrobial resistance. This article explaines where to find out more info from CDC on this area. Worth reading.

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Canada to give WHO Ebola vaccine

Canada to give WHO Ebola vaccine | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Following the WHO decision that it was ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients if it gave them a possibility of recovery, Canada says it will donate up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help battle the disease's outbreak in West Africa.

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The Gigaom interview: Why synthetic biology and the Netflix model are the future of medicine

The Gigaom interview: Why synthetic biology and the Netflix model are the future of medicine | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Life is a programming language, and molecular biologist Andrew Hessel thinks that it will be increasingly available to anyone interested in designing with the building blocks of life.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Good article on Autodesk's Project Cyborg and update from some of the research coming out of Autodesk's Bio/Nano research group.

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WHO | WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health

New WHO report provides the most comprehensive picture of antibiotic resistance to date, with data from 114 countries
ComplexInsight's insight:

Resistance to antibiotics poses a "major global threat" to public health, says a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO team analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now "in every region of the world". The report describes a "post-antibiotic era", where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades.

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The Surprising Gut Microbes of African Hunter-Gatherers | Science | WIRED

The Surprising Gut Microbes of African Hunter-Gatherers | Science | WIRED | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
In Western Tanzania tribes of wandering foragers called Hadza eat a diet of roots, berries, and game. According to a new study, their guts are home to a microbial community unlike anything that's been seen before in a modern human population -- providing, perhaps, a snapshot of what the human gut microbiome looked like before our ancestors figured out how to farm about 12,000 years ago.
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Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers

Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly
ComplexInsight's insight:

With the exhumation of 25 skeletons, originally buried in the  mid 14th Century scientists in London are discovering new clues which indicate the black death was an pulmonary airborne disease. Good article in the Guardian on the initial findings.

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Smallpox: Last refuge of an ultimate killer

Smallpox: Last refuge of an ultimate killer | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
If a virus killed millions, why keep it alive? Two places on Earth guard the last vials of smallpox, but Rachel Nuwer finds that they may not be there for long
ComplexInsight's insight:

Good article from the BBC on Smallpox before the World Health Assembly debate destroying the remaining stores at CDC and Vector.

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Debilitating Virus Infects Island Paradise

Debilitating Virus Infects Island Paradise | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A painful mosquito-borne disease is spotted in the Western Hemisphere for first time, boosting U.S. risk.

Given a choice between dengue fever or another mosquito-borne disease called chikungunya fever, choose dengue every time. Neither has an available vaccine or treatment, but chikungunya (pronounced chik-un-GUHN-ya) is far more severe – it literally means “that which bends up” because patients are often stooped over from debilitating joint pain.

If you’re a resident of the Caribbean island of St. Martin (or lucky enough to be traveling there for the holidays) you are now at risk of both. The island, roughly the size of Manhattan and located some 300 kilometers east of Puerto Rico, has the first confirmed outbreak of chikungunya in the Western Hemisphere. 


Via Ed Rybicki, Chris Upton + helpers
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Ed Rybicki's curator insight, December 28, 2013 1:15 PM

I hate to say it, but why is something only severe when it threatens the US?  As it is, global warming has now brought chikungunya (which comes from near where I grew up) to near the US - and it will almost certainly join West Nile as being endemic fairly soon.

Which means we may get a vaccine....

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Study: Some Americans Will Pay Just $34 Per Year Under Obamacare

Study: Some Americans Will Pay Just $34 Per Year Under Obamacare | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Obamacare will dramatically reduce the cost of health care for some of the poorest Americans, a new study finds.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Its not often that we get to model, assess and evaluate the outcome of major insurance system changes. With the advent of affordable care act - the United States is providing such an opportunity. Rand Corporaton released figures based on their cost modeling of the Affordable Care Act that indicate out-of-pocket health care costs will drop from $1,463 to just $34 per year in 2016 for the approximately11.5 million amercans who get insurance via the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. President Obama's health care reform law will also reduce the likelihood that this group will face catastrophic medical costs -- defined as 10 percent of income -- by 40 percent, according to the study. As the law comes into effect it will be interesting to assess the efficacy of these studies and contrast them with data provided by those who oppose the affordable care act and hopefully in doing so - step closer to better healthcare and economic policy informed by data.

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Ekso bionic suit - Schön Klinik Bad Aibling, Germany

Ekso™ is a bionic suit, or exoskeleton, which enables individuals with lower extremity paralysis to stand up and walk over ground with a weight bearing, four...
ComplexInsight's insight:

  Ekso featured in this post, is one of a number of lower extremity paralysis exoskeleton support systems now emerging - others include ReWalk (USA), MIndWalker (Italy)  -that take advantage of new motor and control systems to build a new generation of mobility products. Video is worth watching.

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