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Neurological Trauma - BrainFacts.org

Neurological Trauma - BrainFacts.org | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

 

Brain injury is all too common, but treatments are being improved constantly. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries can lead to significant disabilities and death. In the United States, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer traumatic head injuries each year, and roughly 52,000 will die. The leading causes of traumatic brain injury are falls and motor-vehicle related events.

  
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Sanjiv Agarwala: Several New Melanoma Therapies Are Ready for Prime Time

Sanjiv Agarwala: Several New Melanoma Therapies Are Ready for Prime Time | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Melanoma confronts patients and their physicians with unique barriers to treatment and successful outcomes. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report, Dr. Sanjiv Agarwala, chief of medical oncology and hematology at St. Luke's University Hospital, illuminates some of the new paradigms being developed in the treatment of this deadly skin cancer. Along the way, he spotlights interesting companies working in the field.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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CRISPR-CAS9 Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First Time

CRISPR-CAS9 Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First Time | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

MIT scientists report the use of a CRISPR methodology to cure mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation. They say their study (“Genome editing with Cas9 in adult mice corrects a disease mutation and phenotype”), published in Nature Biotechnology, offers the first evidence that this gene-editing technique can reverse disease symptoms in living animals. CRISPR, which provides a way to snip out mutated DNA and replace it with the correct sequence, holds potential for treating many genetic disorders, according to the research team.

 

“What's exciting about this approach is that we can actually correct a defective gene in a living adult animal,” says Daniel Anderson, Ph.D., the Samuel A. Goldblith associate professor of chemical engineering at MIT, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the senior author of the paper.

 

The recently developed CRISPR system relies on cellular machinery that bacteria use to defend themselves from viral infection. Researchers have copied this cellular system to create gene-editing complexes that include a DNA-cutting enzyme called Cas9 bound to a short RNA guide strand that is programmed to bind to a specific genome sequence, telling Cas9 where to make its cut.

 

At the same time, the researchers also deliver a DNA template strand. When the cell repairs the damage produced by Cas9, it copies from the template, introducing new genetic material into the genome. Scientists envision that this kind of genome editing could one day help treat diseases such as hemophilia, and others that are caused by single mutations.

 

For this study, the researchers designed three guide RNA strands that target different DNA sequences near the mutation that causes type I tyrosinemia, in a gene that codes for an enzyme called FAH. Patients with this disease, which affects about 1 in 100,000 people, cannot break down the amino acid tyrosine, which accumulates and can lead to liver failure. Current treatments include a low-protein diet and a drug called NTCB, which disrupts tyrosine production.

 

In experiments with adult mice carrying the mutated form of the FAH enzyme, the researchers delivered RNA guide strands along with the gene for Cas9 and a 199-nucleotide DNA template that includes the correct sequence of the mutated FAH gene.

 

“Delivery of components of the CRISPR-Cas9 system by hydrodynamic injection resulted in initial expression of the wild-type Fah protein in ~1/250 liver cells,” wrote the investigators. “Expansion of Fah-positive hepatocytes rescued the body weight loss phenotype.”

 

While the team used a high pressure injection to deliver the CRISPR components, Dr. Anderson envisions that better delivery approaches are possible. His lab is now working on methods that may be safer and more efficient, including targeted nanoparticles. 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Yes, It's True: Humans Have Become Software. Amazing Advances Lie Ahead.

Yes, It's True: Humans Have Become Software. Amazing Advances Lie Ahead. | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
“A Decade Later, Genetic Map Yields Few New Cures,” said a New York Times headline in June 2010. It declared the failure of the $3 billion Human Genome Project and claimed that medicine had seen none
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Biomedical Technology Stories in 2013 | MIT Technology Review

A push for new brain-mapping technology and a ban on some gene patents showcase ongoing advances in biomedical technology.
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Medical schools try to entice more students to become primary-care doctors.

Medical schools try to entice more students to become primary-care doctors. | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Amid a looming shortage of primary-care doctors in the U.S., medical schools and innovators try to entice more students to enter the field.
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"Over 90% of medical training in the United States takes place in academic medical centers," says G. Richard Olds, the founding dean at Riverside, "but if we want students to go into primary care, we have to push training out into the community with a public-health agenda."

 
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Cusp 2011 Dr. Richard Satava

As Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center and Senior Science Advisor at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Ft....
Sharrock's insight:

Robotic medicine and biotechnology advances are demonstrated in this video presentation dated 2011. Even back then, it is apparent that we can fix genetic mistakes, replace any organ (except the brain), perform surgery at almost any scale, and even clone ourselves. What SHOULDN"T we be able to do though? How should we limit these advances? How should students prepare for the biotech era and economy?

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Sharrock's curator insight, January 10, 2013 10:35 AM

This video from 2011 reveals successes in medicine already demonstrated. Every organ of the body can be transplanted and replaced except the brain, operations can be done by robots, operations can be done on specific cells. This surgeon can be found on the Internet. As the military implements some of the devices and systems seen here, civilians will eventually benefit from these advances as well. The video says a great deal about how far technology has come, but also explores, briefly, the ethical and moral implications. Considering the tech implications from another point of view, outside of medicine, I think of manufacturing. Right now, it seems that manufacturing and assembling by hand has not been automated yet. But imagine if one person assembled 10 devices at the same time as a  kind of sorcerer's apprentice. Imagine if the moves were "recorded" and performed by machine memory. The video is about 24 minutes long, but it is worth watching to realize the world is changing fast!

Sharrock's comment, January 10, 2013 12:11 PM
Robotic medicine and biotechnology advances are demonstrated in this video presentation dated 2011. Even back then, it is apparent that we can fix genetic mistakes, replace any organ (except the brain), perform surgery at almost any scale, and even clone ourselves. What SHOULDN"T we be able to do though? How should we limit these advances? How should students prepare for the biotech era and economy?
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A 3D Printed Cast That Can Heal Your Bones 40-80% Faster | TechCrunch

A 3D Printed Cast That Can Heal Your Bones 40-80% Faster | TechCrunch | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
It looks like something from the Borg (read, cool), but it's actually a cast for healing bones. The Osteoid, created by Turkish student Deniz Karasahin,..
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OUCH! Computer system spots fake expressions of pain better than people - News Center

OUCH! Computer system spots fake expressions of pain better than people - News Center | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

This ability has obvious uses for uncovering pain malingering — fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms of pain for a variety of motives — but the system also could be used to detect deceptive actions in the realms of security, psychopathology, job screening, medicine and law. 

 

- See more at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/04/008.html#sthash.QI4luUTH.dpuf

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Imaging how 85% might get supported with questioning--in the courtroom, at the job interview, in other situations. Or, imagine how the accuracy might get improved with personal data we willingly submit on social networks. Can an algorithm and other data become an expert witness? 

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Medical First: 3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman - NBC News

Medical First: 3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman - NBC News | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Another day, another advance in 3-D printing technology.Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a h...
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Second baby possibly 'cured' of HIV

Second baby possibly 'cured' of HIV | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Doctors in Boston say a child infected with the dangerous virus appears to be free of HIV nine months after birth.
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Machine-learning algorithms could make chemical reactions intelligent leading to "smart drugs"

Machine-learning algorithms could make chemical reactions intelligent leading to "smart drugs" | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Computer scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have joined forces to put powerful probabilistic reasoning algorithms in the hands of bioengineers.

 

In a new paper presented at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference on December 7, Ryan P. Adams and Nils Napp have shown that an important class of artificial intelligence algorithms could be implemented using chemical reactions.

 

These algorithms, which use a technique called “message passing inference on factor graphs,” are a mathematical coupling of ideas from graph theory and probability. They represent the state of the art in machine learning and are already critical components of everyday tools ranging from search engines and fraud detection to error correction in mobile phones.

 

Adams’ and Napp’s work demonstrates that some aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) could be implemented at microscopic scales using molecules. In the long term, the researchers say, such theoretical developments could open the door for “smart drugs” that can automatically detect, diagnose, and treat a variety of diseases using a cocktail of chemicals that can perform AI-type reasoning.

 

“We understand a lot about building AI systems that can learn and adapt at macroscopic scales; these algorithms live behind the scenes in many of the devices we interact with every day,” says Adams, an assistant professor of computer science at SEAS whose Intelligent Probabilistic Systems group focuses on machine learning and computational statistics. “This work shows that it is possible to also build intelligent machines at tiny scales, without needing anything that looks like a regular computer. This kind of chemical-based AI will be necessary for constructing therapies that sense and adapt to their environment. The hope is to eventually have drugs that can specialize themselves to your personal chemistry and can diagnose or treat a range of pathologies.”

 

Adams and Napp designed a tool that can take probabilistic representations of unknowns in the world (probabilistic graphical models, in the language of machine learning) and compile them into a set of chemical reactions that estimate quantities that cannot be observed directly. The key insight is that the dynamics of chemical reactions map directly onto the two types of computational steps that computer scientists would normally perform in silico to achieve the same end.

 

This insight opens up interesting new questions for computer scientists working on statistical machine learning, such as how to develop novel algorithms and models that are specifically tailored to tackling the uncertainty molecular engineers typically face. In addition to the long-term possibilities for smart therapeutics, it could also open the door for analyzing natural biological reaction pathways and regulatory networks as mechanisms that are performing statistical inference. Just like robots, biological cells must estimate external environmental states and act on them; designing artificial systems that perform these tasks could give scientists a better understanding of how such problems might be solved on a molecular level inside living systems.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Liangfang Zhang | Innovators Under 35 | MIT Technology Review

Liangfang Zhang | Innovators Under 35 | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A nanoengineering scheme to make drugs more effective by fooling the immune system.
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from the article: "Zhang derives red-blood-cell membranes from blood samples and uses them to coat polymer nanoparticles. Because these particles look like red blood cells on the surface, they can fool the immune system; loaded with drugs, they serve as robust and long-lived drug carriers. An unexpected bonus: they can also act like nanoscale sponges to suck up toxic proteins produced by infectious bacteria or introduced by snake or insect venom. If the particles flood the bloodstream, they will divert most of the toxin away from actual cells."

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