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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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Wellness Resources - Mind Blog: The Keys to a Better Brain

Wellness Resources - Mind Blog: The Keys to a Better Brain | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Growing older is not the same as aging. Everyone grows older all the time, but we aren’t necessarily aging as we do so since, by definition, the aging process is one of deterioration.

But we can actually grow new brain connections and even create new neurons from stem cells as a result of our thoughts. If you want to keep your brain and body healthy, you can start by adapting our suggestions into your personal plan.

The Summer 2017 issue of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine features Ray & Terry’s recommendations for building a better brain. As a Ray & Terry’s subscriber, we are happy to share the full article with you (pdf).

Conscious Lifestyle Magazine offers powerful, practical tools, techniques, wisdom and inspiration for creating radiant happiness, health and healing.

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Telomere Length and Childhood Stress Don’t Always Correlate

Telomere Length and Childhood Stress Don’t Always Correlate | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Stresses in adulthood can take their toll on the length of telomeres, those stretches of DNA protecting the ends of chromosomes that are widely regarded as markers for cellular aging. Studies of children living in tough environments, such as with abusive parents, also hint at telomere shortening. But the relationship between telomeres and childhood stresses has not been entirely clear.

In a new study, researchers examined the effect of a health intervention entailing improved sanitation, water quality, and nutrition on the telomere length of children in their first two years of life. The results—published in eLife earlier this month (October 5)—were unexpected: the intervention appeared to have accelerated the shortening of telomeres compared to control groups.

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How to open the blood-brain-barrier with precision for safer drug delivery | KurzweilAI

How to open the blood-brain-barrier with precision for safer drug delivery | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a safer way to use focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier* to allow for delivering vital drugs for treating glioma brain tumors — an alternative to invasive incision or radiation.

Focused ultrasound drug delivery to the brain uses “cavitation” — creating microbubbles — to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier. The problem with this method has been that if these bubbles destabilize and collapse, they could damage the critical vasculature in the brain.

To create a finer degree of control over the microbubbles and improve safety, the researchers placed a sensor outside of the rat brain to listen to ultrasound echoes bouncing off the microbubbles, as an indication of how stable the bubbles were.** That data was used to modify the ultrasound intensity, stabilizing the microbubbles to maintain safe ultrasound exposure.
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Genetic kill switches keep engineered microbes from going AWOL

Genetic kill switches keep engineered microbes from going AWOL | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Bacteria can be great little workhorses, engineered to make better batteries, clean up waste plastics, combat cancer and even produce oxygen for the first human settlers on Mars. The problem is, we don't really know what the crafty critters could do if they were to ever escape from their intended environments – and let's face it, they probably will. To keep the bugs in check, scientists from Harvard's Wyss Institute have developed two types of "kill switches" that can be embedded in their genomes.
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Immune Checkpoint Found Lacking in Type 1 Diabetes

Immune Checkpoint Found Lacking in Type 1 Diabetes | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of insulin-producing ß cells of the pancreas by the body’s own T cells. But why do these cells wreak such havoc in the first place and how might they be stopped?

A report in Science Translational Medicine today (November 15) suggests the immune systems of both diabetic mice and humans lack a suppressor protein called programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), which normally keeps T cell activity in check. Raising levels of PD-L1 in immune stem cells restored these cells’ ability to tame T cells in culture and to prevent hyperglycemia when transferred into diabetic mice.
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Promising autism drug shows early success in animal tests

Promising autism drug shows early success in animal tests | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There is currently no single drug treatment for autism. Many doctors treat autistic patients with a variety of psychotropic drugs geared at managing their perceived antisocial symptoms, but this is reasonably controversial, especially in children. A new drug targeted at restoring an electrical signaling imbalance in the brain is showing exciting success in mice and researchers hope to move into human clinical trials soon.
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Why the Best Healthcare Hacks Are the Most Low-Tech

Why the Best Healthcare Hacks Are the Most Low-Tech | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Technology has the potential to solve some of our most intractable healthcare problems. In fact, it’s already doing so, with inventions getting us closer to a medical Tricorder, and progress toward 3D printed organs, and AIs that can do point-of-care diagnosis.

No doubt these applications of cutting-edge tech will continue to push the needle on progress in medicine, diagnosis, and treatment. But what if some of the healthcare hacks we need most aren’t high-tech at all?

According to Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, this is exactly the case. In a talk at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine last week, Sanghavi told the audience, “We often think in extremely complex ways, but I think a lot of the improvements in health at scale can be done in an analog way.”
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Scientists discover gene that could be making you fat

Scientists discover gene that could be making you fat | Longevity science | Scoop.it
new research has uncovered evidence suggesting a new potential genetic cause behind some cases of obesity.

"There is this common belief in the field that much of obesity can be traced back to appetite and the appetite control centers that reside in the brain," says Vann Bennett, senior author on this new study and George Barth Geller Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University School of Medicine. "But what if it isn't all in our head?"
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Is there a doctor in my pocket?

Is there a doctor in my pocket? | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Humans have always dreamed of better, fitter, longer-lasting bodies. But while many science-fiction fantasies, from videophones to self-driving cars, have been realised, health technology has lagged behind our hopes. Artificial organs and smart pills have been a long time coming.

There are a number of reasons for this. Biology is an order of magnitude more complicated than other forms of engineering. And it is hard to innovate in health, as there are many rules to protect us from products that might otherwise kill us.
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Everything You Need To Know About Sophia, The World's First Robot Citizen

Everything You Need To Know About Sophia, The World's First Robot Citizen | Longevity science | Scoop.it
On October 25, Sophia, a delicate looking woman with doe-brown eyes and long fluttery eyelashes made international headlines. She'd just become a full citizen of Saudi Arabia -- the first robot in the world to achieve such a status.

"I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship," Sophia said, announcing her new status during the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Standing behind a podium as she spoke, to all effects, she presented a humanoid form -- excepting the shimmery metal cap of her head, where hair would be on a human head.
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New stem cell treatment could reverse hearing loss, but not without risk

A new study led by scientists at Rutgers University – New Brunswick has demonstrated an exciting new gene therapy treatment that stimulates inner ear stem cells into becoming auditory neurons. The technique could potentially reverse hearing loss in many people, but the researchers urge caution as the stimulation of these stem cells could also have major side effects, such as increased cancer risk.
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Catalog of the Small Intestine Reveals New Cell Subtypes

Researchers have developed a taxonomy of the cell types in the mouse small intestine from more than 53,000 single-cell RNA profiles. The endeavor reveals previously unknown cellular subtypes, suggests reclassifying others, and details the changes in the lining of the small intestine during bacterial and parasite infections, according to results published today (November 8) in Nature.

“We see this atlas providing a foundation for investigating many different questions about the pathology in the gut, effects of drug-induced gut toxicities and for identifying and examining important cells, interactions, and biomarkers,” coauthor Ramnik Xavier, a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, says in a press release.
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Child Receives Transgenic Skin Over Most of His Body

Child Receives Transgenic Skin Over Most of His Body | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Thanks to an international team of scientists and doctors, a seven-year-old Syrian refugee who lost most of his outer skin to a life-threatening genetic disease now has a transgenic replacement, derived from his own cells, over approximately 80 percent of his body. And, as the team documents in Nature, he’s doing well.
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“[It] establishes a landmark in the field of stem cell therapy,” Elaine Fuchs, a skin scientist at the Rockefeller University who also did not participate in the research, writes in an email to The Scientist. “In addition, it makes considerable headway in resolving a brewing controversy in the epidermal stem cell field,” she adds. Specifically, the study has clarified the way skin cells regenerate, which has been a subject of intense discussion among skin biologists.

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Drug Discovery AI to Scour a Universe of Molecules for Wonder Drugs

Drug Discovery AI to Scour a Universe of Molecules for Wonder Drugs | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The number of possible organic compounds with “drug-like” properties dwarfs the number of stars in the universe by over 30 orders of magnitude.

Next to this multiverse of possibility, the chemical configurations scientists have made into actual medicines are like the smattering of stars you’d glimpse downtown.

But for good reason.

Exploring all that potential drug-space is as humanly impossible as exploring all of physical space, and even if we could, most of what we’d find wouldn’t fit our purposes. Still, the idea that wonder drugs must surely lurk amid the multitudes is too tantalizing to ignore.
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Infographic: Breaking into the Brain

Infographic: Breaking into the Brain | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The blood vessel endothelial cells of the BBB are cemented together by protein structures called tight junctions (1), preventing diffusion of most molecules between cells. BBB endothelial cells display transporters (2), receptors (3), and channels (4) that facilitate selective transport of vital nutrients into the CNS. They also possess efflux pumps, such as P-glycoprotein, that expel most small, amphiphilic molecules that are soluble in the blood and in cell lipid membranes (5). Pericytes and astrocyte pseudopods serve as an additional physical barrier between the blood vessel and brain tissue, and support the expression of endothelial cell genes required to maintain the BBB.
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Optogenetic Therapies Move Closer to Clinical Use

With a clinical trial underway to restore vision optogenetically, researchers also see promise in using the technique to treat deafness, pain, and other conditions.

Early in 2016, a woman went to a clinic in Dallas to have a genetically modified adeno-associated virus injected into her eye. The woman was blind due to the degenerative disease retinitis pigmentosa, and the virus carried the gene for a light-responsive algae protein called channelrhodopsin.

The goal was to induce her retinal ganglion cells—normally only downstream of cells that detect visual input—to make channelrhodopsin and become light-sensitive, giving her a rudimentary visual sense.


That patient is thought to be the first in the world to have received a therapy based on optogenetics, the principle of using genetic modifications and light stimuli to precisely manipulate cells’ behavior. The technique enables researchers to turn the activity of certain genes in specific cells on or off at the flick of a switch, and has been a boon to biology research. Its fine-tunability also makes it an attractive tool for those searching for more-effective treatments for blindness and other conditions.

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How being born in January can increase your risk for diabetes

One of the wonderful aspects of living in the age of Big Data is the way scientists are able to discover new, previously undiscovered patterns in gigantic datasets. A team at Columbia University has studied the health records of over ten million people across three different countries and discovered some compelling links between a person's lifetime disease risk and the month they were born in.

Numerous researchers have tackled the strangely interesting correlations between birth month and disease risk over the years...

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Genetic mutation helps Amish families fight aging, diabetes and even baldness

Scientists at Northwestern University have discovered a genetic mutation in an isolated Amish population that helps them live longer and healthier lives, and protects them from diabetes and other age-related illnesses. A drug that mimics those effects is currently being trialled in humans, and shows promise in slowing aging, preventing diabetes and may even counteract baldness.

The mutation was discovered in an Amish extended family (or "kindred") living in Berne, Indiana, part of a community that has largely remained genetically isolated for over a century. Carriers were found to live on average 10 percent longer (about 14 years) than those without, be significantly less likely to develop diabetes and have much healthier vascular systems into old age. Their telomeres – protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten with age – were 10 percent longer than average, and they had much lower fasting insulin levels.

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Man Receives First In Vivo Gene-Editing Therapy

In a first, a man has received a therapy aimed at editing the genes inside his body. The Associated Press reports that 44-year-old Brian Madeux, who has a genetic condition called Hunter syndrome, was treated with zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) targeting a deficient gene in his liver on Monday (November 13) at a hospital in Oakland, California.

 

“This is the first time someone could have a new gene put into their liver,” Sangamo President and CEO Sandy Macrae told The Scientist in May. “It’s a privilege and a responsibility to do” these trials.

“It’s kind of humbling,” Madeux tells the Associated Press about being the first to receive such an in vivo gene-editing treatment. “I’m willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people.”

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Creating a Life-Saving Industry – Regenerative Manufacturing

Creating a Life-Saving Industry – Regenerative Manufacturing | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Dean Kamen creates the vision and gathers the players and resources to bring 3D manufacturing of human organs to full- scale production...


It almost takes a force of nature to move an idea from the lab to the factory. Luckily for regenerative medicine that force of nature, in the person of Dean Kamen, is on the job. Kamen, who might be best known as the creator of the Segway or the FIRST Robotics competition, actually has a very long history of creating medical devices.


Via Sprocket Express
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Researchers Build a Cancer Immunotherapy Without Immune Cells

Engineering an immune cell to recognize and kill a cancer cell is the key to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, but modified immune cells also have the potential to cause problems for patients. One such complication, cytokine release syndrome, is an overreaction of the immune system that can cause symptoms as mild as a fever and as serious as organ dysfunction and death. In a study published today (November 13) in Nature Chemical Biology, researchers have generated nonimmune cells with the ability to kill cancer cells on contact.
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Fructan, not gluten, may be the real culprit for many an upset stomach

Although only one percent of the population are affected by celiac disease, gluten-free diets have become a major food trend in recent years. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a controversial topic amongst many researchers, with up to 13 percent of people claiming to suffer from the condition. A new study is now suggesting that fructans, and not gluten, could be the source of many people's gastrointestinal upset.
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The Age Wave Is Transforming Longevity—and It's Just the Beginning

The Age Wave Is Transforming Longevity—and It's Just the Beginning | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Do you want to live to be 100?

If your immediate answer was yes, here’s a follow-up question: if you could live to 100, what conditions would you want to accompany your longevity?

You would probably want your healthspan to match your lifespan—that is, you’d want your body to be fit, your mind to be sound, and your friends and loved ones to remain close to you.

According to award-winning author and entrepreneur Ken Dychtwald, more people than ever before are now contemplating these questions—and the number is only going to grow, because we’re in the middle of a longevity revolution.
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Is vitamin B12 really a problem in a vegetarian diet?

Is vitamin B12 really a problem in a vegetarian diet? | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Yes, intake of vitamin B12 can often be a problem in a vegetarian diet. For example, in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003-2010, only 55% of vegetarians were determined to meet their daily B12 requirements, in comparison to 82% of non-vegetarians.

The issue of vitamin B12 from plant foods versus animal foods is confusing, since no plants or animals are capable of making vitamin B12. Microorganisms—and especially bacteria and fungi—are the only organisms definitively known to produce vitamin B12. However, even though land animals and fish cannot make vitamin B12 in their cells, they are often able to save up B12 produced by bacteria and concentrate it in their cells. By storing B12 in their cells, many land animal foods and seafoods become rich in B12, even though they cannot make this vitamin on their own. All but one of our WHFoods ranked sources of B12 come from animal foods or fish. (The single exception here is crimini mushrooms, which fall into the fungus category as discussed further below.)
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Inexpensive skin cancer detector takes out 2017 James Dyson Award

A new device called the sKan has won the 2017 international James Dyson Award. The sKan makes heat maps of the skin to identify anomalies associated with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, to enable earlier detection.
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Getting Drugs Past the Blood-Brain Barrier

Getting Drugs Past the Blood-Brain Barrier | Longevity science | Scoop.it

On a fall day in 2015 at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, a dozen people huddled in a small room peering at a computer screen. They were watching brain scans of a woman named Bonny Hall, who lay inside an MRI machine just a few feet away. Earlier that day, Hall, who had been battling a brain tumor for eight years, had received a dose of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. She was then fitted with an oversized, bowl-shape helmet housing more than 1,000 transducers that delivered ultrasound pulses focused on nine precise points inside her brain.


Just before each pulse, her doctors injected microscopic air bubbles into a vein in her hand. Their hope was that the microbubbles would travel to the capillaries of the brain and, when struck by the sound waves, oscillate. This would cause the blood vessels near Hall’s tumor to expand and contract, creating gaps that would allow the chemotherapy drug to escape from the bloodstream and seep into the neural tissue. Finally, she received an injection of a contrast medium, a rare-earth metal called gadolinium that lights up on MRI scans. Now, doctors, technicians, and reporters crowded around to glimpse a series of bright spots where the gadolinium had leaked into the targeted areas, confirming the first noninvasive opening of a human’s blood-brain barrier (BBB).

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