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Paging Dr. Watson: IBM and Cleveland Clinic Collaborate to Train Watson in Medicine

Paging Dr. Watson: IBM and Cleveland Clinic Collaborate to Train Watson in Medicine | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Can you imagine telling someone a century ago that a hundred years hence a stack of electrified silicon would be studying for its medical exam?

 

IBM announced its question answering machine Watson will begin to study medicine.

 

The students and staff at the Cleveland Clinic will do for Watson what the rest of us do for Google—hone its answering accumen by using it. 

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Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health

Caloric restriction increases monkey lifespan, benefits health | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Can the lifespan of an animal be increased by restricting their intake of calories? The question has been the subject of study for decades, primarily through two concurrent long-term experiments using rhesus monkeys. Interestingly, these two studies came to conflicting conclusions, but by comparing their results and accounting for other variables, scientists have now determined that the answer is yes – caloric restriction does help monkeys stay healthier and live longer.
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Cancer researchers stumble onto drugs' fat-blasting powers

Cancer researchers stumble onto drugs' fat-blasting powers | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"We were surprised to observe that when morbidly obese mice were treated with certain cancer-fighting drugs, the drugs not only targeted their cancers, but also tended to spontaneously resolve their obesity – even with undiminished gorging on a high-fat diet," said Mayo Clinic cancer immunotherapist Peter Cohen who co-led the study.

Perhaps most impressively, the drugs seemed to do all the hard work on their own, without affecting the appetites or caloric intake of the mice at all, or causing any toxic effects. The researchers believe that the drugs worked by depleting fat cell precursors in the mice, which means that the rodents simply couldn't store fat.

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The Finest Examples of Brilliant Healthcare Design - The Medical Futurist

The Finest Examples of Brilliant Healthcare Design - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
How is it possible that healthcare design lags behind all other areas of industrial design and architecture? We are still utilizing 19th century design elements in 20th century buildings (if we are living on the lucky part of the planet), while technology is already in the 21st century!
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Synthetic stem cells offer benefits of natural stem cells without the risks | KurzweilAI

Synthetic stem cells offer benefits of natural stem cells without the risks | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Scientists have created the first synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell, offering therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells — but without the risks and limitations, according to researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University in China.

The newly created synthetic stem cells cannot replicate. That means they could reduce some of the risks associated with natural stem-cell therapies — including tumor growth and immune rejection. The synthetic stem calls would also avoid the fragility of natural stem cells, which require careful storage and a multi-step process of typing and characterization before they can be used.

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High-tech support device casts aside the cast

High-tech support device casts aside the cast | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Traditional plaster casts are a hassle. They don't allow the injured limb to breathe, they can't be gotten wet, they can't be temporarily removed, they're heavy, plus skin ulcers and infections sometimes occur beneath them. A team of Colorado-based entrepreneurs, however, has developed a 21st century alternative – the ActivArmor support device.



The process starts with the patient getting a 3D scan done on the body part in question. This no-contact procedure is conducted at a participating clinic/hospital, and takes less than a minute to perform. It results in a digital point cloud model of the limb, which is uploaded to the ActivArmor website.
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Pesticide alternative helps plants protect themselves from disease

Pesticide alternative helps plants protect themselves from disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Though it's not as widely publicized as the effects of climate change, crop diseases are one of the biggest threats to food security. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, roughly 20-40 percent of the world's crops are lost to pests and diseases each year. Scientists have been experimenting with alternatives to conventional pesticides and thanks to a newly developed gene-silencing technique, farmers might be able to strengthen their crops' defense systems without any potential gene-altering fallout.
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Tooth-boosting Alzheimer's drug might mean no more fillings

Tooth-boosting Alzheimer's drug might mean no more fillings | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There's not a whole lot to like about fillings, what with the prodding, scraping and jabbing and all. And that's before the drill even comes out (followed by the bill at the end). Tending to our cavities might one day be a much more comfortable experience, with scientists discovering that a type of Alzheimer's drug can actually stimulate stem cells within the tooth pulp to promote natural repair instead.



The drug in question is a small molecule called a glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) inhibitor. GSK-3 is an enzyme that has been linked with a number of diseases including cancer, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer's, so molecules currently under development that inhibit its activity could one day play an important part in treatment of such conditions.
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Scar-free wound healing could be on its way

Scar-free wound healing could be on its way | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There are a couple of reasons that scar tissue looks different than regular skin – it lacks hair follicles, and it has no fat cells. Recently, though, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine succeeded in addressing both factors. They're now able to get wounds to heal with regenerated skin, instead of with scar tissue.
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Repurposing Existing Drugs for New Indications | The Scientist Magazine®

Repurposing Existing Drugs for New Indications | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In 2010, Bruce Bloom, CEO of Illinois-based Cures Within Reach, reviewed the organization’s decade-long track record of bringing new treatments to patients. He found that the nonprofit had funded 190 novel drug projects, but “couldn’t find any instance where it was directly helping patients,” says Bloom. Cures Within Reach had also funded 10 different drug repurposing projects, seeking to test existing drugs for novel indications. Of the 10 projects, four generated enough evidence to give physicians confidence to treat patients off-label, which doctors can do at their discretion, particularly when there is no approved therapy for a condition or when a patient has exhausted all available treatment options.
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Solar cells implanted under the skin can power pacemakers

Solar cells implanted under the skin can power pacemakers | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The potential advantages of powering medical implants using solar energy to avoid the problems of replacing or recharging batteries has seen various research groups develop small solar cell prototypes that could be implanted under the skin and harness the energy of the light that penetrates the skin's surface to keep medical implants powered up.



To examine the feasibility of such technology, a team led by Lukas Bereuter of Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern in Switzerland developed 10 solar measurement devices that could be worn on the arm. The devices featured solar cells measuring 3.6 cm2 (0.5 in2) in size, which is small enough for implantation, and were able to measure the output power the cells generated. Optical filters also covered the cells to simulate the properties of the skin and its effect on the incoming light.
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Scientists Identify New Potential Use Of Curcumin in Bone Health

Scientists Identify New Potential Use Of Curcumin in Bone Health | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The most popular osteoporosis drugs slow bone loss by blocking the osteoclasts. Their mechanism of action is to prevent breakdown of bone. The problem is- this keeps the weaker bone material in the body longer than normal.

But a study in 2013 found a use for curcumin in bone health, concluding it has therapeutic advantages for an antiresorptive effect on bone remodeling and improving bone mechanical strength. In other words, not only does curcumin stimulate new strong bone growth, but it prevents breakdown at the same time! Higher doses had a greater effect than low doses.

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High-Profile Diabetes Study Retracted | The Scientist Magazine®

High-Profile Diabetes Study Retracted | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In 2013, Harvard University stem cell researcher Douglas Melton and colleagues described an innovative diabetes treatment that “could augment or replace insulin injections,” they wrote in a study published in Cell. The authors demonstrated that a hormone called betatrophin, or Angiopoietin-like protein 8 (Angptl8), could ramp up pancreatic β cell proliferation in mice, combatting insulin resistance.



But after multiple failed attempts to replicate the findings—and one study by Melton himself, published in PLOS ONE—Cell has retracted the paper. “I wanted to make sure anyone doing a PubMed search would see this is our present view,” Melton told Retraction Watch. “It would be most unfortunate if a lab missed the PLOS ONE paper, then wasted time and effort trying to replicate our results.”
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Gravity waves, lab-grown bones and bullet-shredding foam: The year in science

Gravity waves, lab-grown bones and bullet-shredding foam: The year in science | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Growing organs in the lab sounds more like a task for Dr. Frankenstein than modern researchers, yet 2016 saw some impressive gains in this field. True, all are currently more significant as research tools than actual replacement parts, but as a sign of just how much a part of life lab-made tissue is becoming, this was the year NASA announced a US$500,000 competition to develop functional lab-grown human tissue which, it says, can help them study the effects of extended time in deep space without having to use actual human beings.

 

This year also saw...

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A natural product inhibits the initiation of α-synuclein aggregation and suppresses its toxicity

A natural product inhibits the initiation of α-synuclein aggregation and suppresses its toxicity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The dogfish shark has a very strong immune system. Researchers found that squalamine, a potent antiviral and antibiotic compound found in the shark, may protect liver and blood tissues from viral infections. 

 

A new study suggests that squalamine may also be useful to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

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Sci-fi medical clinic opens in San Francisco

Sci-fi medical clinic opens in San Francisco | Longevity science | Scoop.it

San Francisco health startup Forward recently opened its first medical clinic promising a look at the gadget-filled, AI-driven, doctor's office of the future.

Resembling something that looks more like an Apple store than a traditional doctor's office, Forward proposes an entirely different approach to healthcare, with unlimited access to the clinic's medical resources through a single monthly membership fee.

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Aging and Death Are the Evolutionary Price of Complexity

Aging and Death Are the Evolutionary Price of Complexity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Life’s ever-repeating cycles of birth and death are among the most fundamental principles of nature. An organism starts out as a single cell that grows and divides, develops into an embryo, matures and reaches adulthood, but then ages, deteriorates, and eventually succumbs to death.

But why does life have to be cyclic, and why does it have to end in senescence and death?

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Cellular Reprogramming Rejuvenates Old Mice and Boosts Lifespans 30%

Cellular Reprogramming Rejuvenates Old Mice and Boosts Lifespans 30% | Longevity science | Scoop.it

The quest for the fountain of youth is as ancient as humanity itself. Now, it appears scientists may have found the source.

Using a process designed to “reprogram” normal adult cells into pluripotent stem cells—cells that can transform into many different kinds of cells—researchers have managed to boost the life spans of mice by up to 30% and rejuvenate some of their tissues.

The treatment did not change the cell’s genetic code, but rather chemical attachments on their DNA called epigenetic marks, responsible for regulating the genome and determining how active certain genes are.

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Scale-up of nature’s tissue weaving algorithms to engineer advanced functional materials

Scale-up of nature’s tissue weaving algorithms to engineer advanced functional materials | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Here, a novel approach is established to scale up the multidimensional fiber patterns of natural soft tissue weaves for rapid prototyping of advanced functional materials. First second harmonic generation and two-photon excitation microscopy is used to map the microscopic three-dimensional (3D) alignment, composition and distribution of the collagen and elastin fibers of periosteum, the soft tissue sheath bounding all nonarticular bone surfaces in our bodies. Then, using engineering rendering software to scale up this natural tissue fabric, as well as multidimensional weaving algorithms, macroscopic tissue prototypes are created using a computer-controlled jacquard loom. The capacity to prototype scaled up architectures of natural fabrics provides a new avenue to create advanced functional materials.
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Vocal Biomarkers: New Opportunities in Prevention - The Medical Futurist

Vocal Biomarkers: New Opportunities in Prevention - The Medical Futurist | Longevity science | Scoop.it
According to the latest scientific studies, it is definitely not negative, if your voice betrays you. On the contrary! The characteristics of your voice – or as medicine labels them, vocal biomarkers – reveals a lot about your health; and help in detecting serious diseases and health risks.



The term “biomarker”, the shortened version of “biological marker” refers to medical signs, which indicate the medical state observed from outside the patient. So while patients sense symptoms, medical professionals measure biomarkers. Currently, they take into account all kinds of objective, quantifiable biomarkers ranging from biochemical, radiology markers to various health parameters. And as you could have guessed already, vocal biomarkers are medical signs deducted from the features of your voice.
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Liquid Biopsy for Lung Cancer Provides Rapid Results at Low Cost and No Trauma |

Liquid Biopsy for Lung Cancer Provides Rapid Results at Low Cost and No Trauma | | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Lung cancers tend to develop rapidly, changing how they respond to medication in unexpected ways. This makes it hard to decide which treatments are most effective without trying them first, resulting in lost time and missed opportunities. Biopsies and CT scans are the most commonly used methods of evaluating whether a treatment is working. Biopsies are invasive and can only be done infrequently, while CT scans offer limited information and expose the patient to X-ray radiation.



A team headed by researchers from Stanford University have now developed a technique for capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and performing molecular analysis on them to figure out how they are mutating in response to treatment.
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X-ray vision, hidden meanings and disease trackers: IBM's 5 in 5 for 2017

X-ray vision, hidden meanings and disease trackers: IBM's 5 in 5 for 2017 | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Despite the fact that mental illness affects more than 450 million people in the world, a large number of cases go undiagnosed and unaddressed. What if machine analytics could help doctors predict and monitor conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia, mania and depression? Our speech and writing patterns reveal a lot about our state of mind, and IBM believes that doctors could make use of AI to catch tell-tale signs that they might otherwise miss.
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Imaging individual neurons in the retinal ganglion cell layer of the living eye

Retinal ganglion cells are the primary output neurons of the retina that process visual information and transmit it to the brain. We developed a method to reveal these cells in the living eye that does not require the fluorescent labels or high light levels that characterize more invasive methods. The death of these cells causes vision loss in glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. The ability to image these cells in the living eye could accelerate our understanding of their role in normal vision and provide a diagnostic tool for evaluating new therapies for retinal disease.
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Omega-3's could stop the wheeze

Omega-3's could stop the wheeze | Longevity science | Scoop.it
According to the Mayo Clinic, childhood asthma is the leading cause for children's emergency room visits, hospital stays, and missed school days. There's no cure for the disease, and it can last into adulthood. Fortunately, however, new research indicates that by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy, mothers may be able to keep their kids from developing it in the first place.
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Nanodiscs target tumors in potential cancer vaccine

Nanodiscs target tumors in potential cancer vaccine | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Colon and melanoma cancers could soon be treated with a vaccine, if research from U-M lives up to its early promise. Using synthetic nanodiscs, scientists trained the immune systems of mice to better target cancerous cells, killing tumors within 10 days and preventing recurrence months later.
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This Playful Lab-in-a-Box Will Teach You How to Reprogram Life

This Playful Lab-in-a-Box Will Teach You How to Reprogram Life | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Amino Labs is a lab-in-a-box that allows anyone (read: non-biologists) to learn how DNA can be used to program living systems to create things. Amino Labs is the best tool I’ve seen yet for allowing someone who doesn’t have any background in biology to create something (like a glowing bacteria night light) that teaches basic bioengineering techniques while also sparking the imagination of what’s possible.
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