The Autodoc’s Forerunner December 21, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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Human health is usually described in general terms, based on averages of humans. After a hundred years of recordkeeping we have a fair idea of what an average man or woman should have in terms of height, weight, red and white cell counts, glucose levels, cholesterols good and bad, liver enzyme levels, potassium and sodium…you probably haven’t had this blood work done lately, but I have and believe me, this information is stored somewhere, and more is being collected all the time. It won’t be long before some data-harvesting medical company gets laws written to allow them to aggregate this information to provide them with diagnostic information…and then they will want more.
You think this is some kind of weird digression, but it isn’t. The graphic above is a 50-point assay (see the little red bars?) existing today which can examine most of the diagnostic panel I mentioned above using tiny little bits of antibodies, catalase, red dye and some H2O2. A drop is introduced, the antibodies cling to matching antigens (RNA or DNA chunks, lipids, whatever) and the catalase is activated. The H2O2 reacts forming O2 which pushes the red dye up the capillaries proportionally to the antigen (or whatever). Run a few calibrations and you have a good health snapshot of a human at some point in time.
Run two a year for life on thousands of people (and lots more moieties), match it to health outcomes for each person and have neural networking algorithms find correlations and you can now diagnose years in advance of some cancers, rare conditions, psychiatric disorders—all pretty inexpensively (when the patents on these antibodies expire)
Right, that’s sorted. Now I need some funding.
Multiplexed volumetric bar-chart chip for point-of-care diagnostics, Yujun Song, Yuanqing Zhang, Paul E. Bernard, James M. Reuben, Naoto T. Ueno, Ralph B. Arlinghaus, Youli Zu& and Lidong Qin, Nature Communications 3, Article number: 1283 doi:10.1038/ncomms2292
Devil’s Postpile of Graphene and Nanotubes December 4, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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That, dear reader, is a cluster of carbon nanotubes attached to a graphene sheet. A candidate for the best supercapacitor substrate ever created, it’s the product of a Rice University lab that wasn’t even trying to make supercapacitor substrates. Electrical testing showed no resistance to the flow of current at the junction, and they weren’t even trying.
"The performance we see in this study is as good as the best carbon-based supercapacitors that have ever been made," Tour said. "We’re not really a supercapacitor lab, and still we were able to match the performance because of the quality of the electrode. It’s really remarkable, and it all harkens back to that unique interface."
Nanoparticulate Treatment of Autoimmunities November 18, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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Scientists at Northwestern Medical have successfully reversed a mouse model of MS using 500nm particle of “antigen-decorated” polystyrene and poly[ed; some polymer of](lactide-co-glycolide) to induce toleration of the antigen, thus modulating the T-cell response to apoptosis. Big news, and even potentially bigger, since this antigen decoration business can be modified to include antigens indicated in other conditions such as diabetes or asthma.
This treatment does not suppress the entire immune system as do current therapies for MS, making patients more susceptible to everyday infections and higher rates of cancer. Instead, when the “antigen-decorated” polystyrene particles are attached to myelin antigens and injected into the mice, the immune system is reset to normal. The immune system stops recognizing myelin as an alien invader and halts its attack on it. This happened when the particles entered the spleen, which filters the blood and helps the body dispose of aging and dying blood cells. There, the particles were engulfed by macrophages, a type of immune cell, which then displayed the antigens on their cell surface. The immune system viewed the particles as ordinary dying blood cells and nothing to be concerned about. This created immune tolerance to the antigen by directly inhibiting the activity of myelin responsive T cells and by increasing the numbers of regulatory T cells which further calmed the autoimmune response.
Microparticles bearing encephalitogenic peptides induce T-cell tolerance and ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Nature Biotechnology (2012) doi:10.1038/nbt.2434
Indistinguishable From Magic November 18, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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Really, four hundred years ago this would have had you burned at the stake.
A Smooth Landing August 7, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Photography, Science, Star Trek Technology, Uncategorizable, Video.
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from heat shield separation to touchdown at 4 frames a second. Just like being there, except warmer, moister, less poisonous and closer.
Hepatitis C Cure in the Works July 19, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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Researchers at the University of Florida have created a(n admittedly small, two-step) nanomachine which can find and cleave the RNA from Hepatitis C. It is non-toxic to the mice it was tried in and to human cultured cells as well. This is a delightful bit of building: make “an artificial nanoparticle complex [that] can effectively mimic the function of the cellular RISC machinery for inducing target RNA cleavage” and tie it to a gold nanoparticle, the other end of which seems to be tied to the cleaving enzyme.
Obviously, this approach is expandable to other viruses than just Hep C; many of the sequences of virulent diseases are already well-characterized enough for this process. I won’t say Star Trek thought of it first, just because I saw most of that stuff fifty years ago and my memory isn’t that good…but I’m sure it happened.
Second Sight is 576 Pixels July 19, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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For people with macular degenerations, there are a pair of neural transplant technologies making themselves visible (heh) lately. The first of these implants, Argus II developed by Second Sight, is already available in Europe. It’s a chip with sixty tiny electrodes wired to the optic nerve, giving the user a sixty-pixel image of whatever is in front of the camera sending the signal (mounted to glasses the user wears. it’s enough to give the user motion detection and to let the read large letters slowly. A second type of chip, the Bio-Retina by Nano Retina, is planted inside the eye itself on the retina and is powered by a near-infrared laser in the glasses the user wears. The chip does the imaging, but this one produces a 576-pixel image stimulation to the into the optic
nerve. An embedded image processor converts the data from each of the pixels into electrical pulses that are coded in such a way that the brain can perceive different levels of grayscale. This one is not yet through clinical trials yet.
Once again, this seems a little familiar.
Again July 13, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Science, Star Trek Technology.
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This lightning bolt was sent down the channel of ionized air created by a short laser burst. “If a laser beam is intense enough, its electro-magnetic field is strong enough to rip electrons off of air molecules, creating plasma. This plasma is located along the path of the laser beam, so we can direct it wherever we want by moving a mirror. Air is composed of neutral molecules and is an insulator… [But] the plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so if we set up the laser so that the filament comes near a high voltage source, the electrical energy will travel down the filament.” –George Fischer, lead scientist at the US Army’s Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) project. Repeating a theme:
Not that I’m on a roll with the Star Trek theme here or anything like that. No, sir. Not me.
Imaging Technology Advancements July 8, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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“The future is here; it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
There seems to be advancement of medical instrumentation and imaging on several fronts recently. Medical monitor developer LifeWatch has launched LifeWatch V, which is the world’s first medical smartphone, for Android-powered devices (that’s right, your phone; extra high-end processing not required). The Android smartphone has inbuilt sensors to help diagnose common disorders and illnesses. It allows users to monitor ECG, blood glucose, blood oxygen, body temperature, galvanic skin response, heart rate and stress level on their own. The company hopes to obtain EU CE Mark certification by the end of this year and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval the following year.
The tech from LifeWatch is largely image processing from a more-or-less stock phone camera, with contrasting pumped up to watch for venous coloration changes and such, and keeps records on your health and monitors changes. It can report to your doctor as well. Sound familiar?
Yeah, Star Trek imagined it first. But wait, there’s more! A patient bed is under development by doctors at the University of Leicester that might seem even more useful:
The bed has a set of instruments which analyze a patient’s breath and skin, monitoring blood flow and oxygenation in real time.
They think the bed can be used to diagnose dozens of diseases, like some infections such as c. difficile and certain cancers. These are all standard techniques, but it’s the first time all these technologies have been brought together in an integrated way – and developing it involved scientists working in space research, emergency medicine, engineering and IT. "We are replacing doctors’ eyes with state-of-the-art imaging systems, replacing the nose with breath analysis, and the ‘feel of the pulse’ with monitoring of blood flow using ultra sound technology and measurement of blood oxygen levels," says professor Mark Sims, a University of Leicester space scientist. Assuming they can properly design the computer interface they could have the correct product:
Now, I admit I got the images from Google, but the really shameful part is I got the article and idea from the Daily Mail.
I Have Seen the Light—it’s an LED July 4, 2012Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Star Trek Technology.
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A journal article1 (in one of the less-reputable but still non-phrenology or homeopathy- level journal) from 2010 describes two patients with severe head trauma who were treated to some modest success with just red LEDs strapped to their heads. Patient One reported she could keep focused on her computer tasks (she was some kind of geek, apparently) for twenty minutes without, but three hours with.
Patient Two had a history of closed-head trauma (sports/military, and recent fall), and magnetic resonance imaging showed frontoparietal atrophy. Pre-LED, she was on medical disability for 5 months. After 4 months of nightly LED treatments at home, medical disability discontinued; she returned to working full-time as an executive consultant with an international technology consulting firm.
Experimentalists at home might want to try this. It seems harmless enough to play around with. Of course, Star Trek had it first:
I cannot tell you how long it has taken me to find this photo on Google images; suffice it to say my time for this blog is pretty limited (you happy few readers must be so gratified).
1 Improved Cognitive Function After Transcranial, Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Traumatic Brain Injury: Two Case Reports Margaret A. Naeser, Ph.D., L.Ac., Anita Saltmarche, R.N., M.H.Sc., Maxine H. Krengel, Ph.D., Michael R. Hamblin, Ph.D., and Jeffrey A. Knight, Ph.D., Photomedicine and Laser Surgery Volume 00, Number 00, 2010 [never heard of it]