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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

#1,580 – Tooth Enamel Gel

Like most people I hate going to the dentist.  So much so, that I’ve even debated an extreme approach: trying to avoid going at all until stem cell technology capable of regrowing teeth goes mainstream.  After all, why sit through a painful root canal now when I could just wait out a pain free approach that’s right around the corner.

Well, as it turns out I may not have to wait that long.  In fact, I may not even have to wait for stem cell technology at all.  Instead there may soon be a simple gel that could help regrow tooth enamel in a matter of days.  At least if early research on rats is to be believed.

According to Futurism, “A team of scientists says that it’s finally figured out how to regrow tooth enamel, a development that could totally upend dental care.

Normally, tooth enamel doesn’t grow back once it breaks or wears away — which is why dentists currently resort to plugging the gaps with artificial fillings. But researchers from China’s Zhejiang University and Jiujiang Research Institute developed a gel that they say can help mouse teeth regrow enamel within 48 hours, according to research published last week in the journal Science Advances.”

For your sake and mine let’s hope that this research continues to develop and works just as well in humans as it does in mice.

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Is a gel that regrows tooth enamel the Greatest Idea Ever?

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The manner and way in which we go food shopping has undergone several dramatic shifts over time thanks to the development of new technologies.  From coupons and bar codes to electronic scanners and self-checkout lines, getting groceries is a high-tech operation.  Even your shopping cart is full of tech, capable of shutting down if you try to take it home with you.  Soon, we may even get to the point where we don’t even have to wait in line at all to check out, our bill automatically added up while we shop.

Further Sci-Fi innovations are on the way as well.  Thanks to Synthetic Biology we may even have packages of meat that change color in line with their freshness.  But that’s just the start.  Thanks to a new wearable device we’ll even be able to align our food choices to our DNA.  That’s right.  We can now go food shopping armed with the knowledge of which specific foods are best for us.

World Economic Forum, “By analyzing the part of your genetic code determining susceptibility to nutrition-related health conditions like diabetes, DNANudge tells you which foods are best for you, and which you should avoid.

The wristband scans shop barcodes and shows a green light if a product is OK and red if it may be harmful in the long run. The wristband’s linked smartphone app suggests healthier alternatives when the red light comes on.”

This app could be bad news for Madison Avenue if it catches on and people blindly decide to follow its advice.  After all, what’s the point of paying huge sums to Olympic athletes to appear on a box of Wheaties if celebrity endorsements won’t move the needle anymore; if the only thing that will sway sentiment is DNANudge, not nostalgia, your emotions, impulses, cravings, or the fact that you are hangry at the moment.

But it’ll also be good news for foodies, the healthcare industry, the Quantified Self Movement, and anyone else at all interested in staying healthy, maximizing their full potential, and living longer.  Making it the latest in a long line of food shopping related innovations and begging the question: what is still to come?

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Is DNANudge the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,575 – MediSieve

They power MRI machines, make stereos, earphones, and televisions possible, and help us store data in computers.  They even help seal the doors to refrigerators and freezers.  Magnets as it turns out, are extremely useful, and are instrumental in the development and deployment of several key technologies.  And now we can add one more trick to their resume: curing diseases.  For it may soon be possible to remove diseases from our blood using the power of magnetism! A neat trick that shouldn’t be all that hard to pull off.

As Futurism reports:

“Thanks to existing research, biochemical scientist George Frodsham knew it was possible to force magnetic nanoparticles to bind to specific cells in the body. But while other researchers did so primarily to make those cells show up in images, he wondered whether the same technique might allow doctors to remove unwanted cells from the blood.

‘When someone has a tumor you cut it out,’ he told The Telegraph. ‘Blood cancer is a tumor in the blood, so why not just take it out in the same way?’

To that end, he created MediSieve, a treatment technology that works similarly to dialysis, by removing a patient’s blood and infusing it with magnetic nanoparticles designed to bind to a specific disease. It then uses magnets to draw out and trap those cells before pumping the filtered blood back into the patient.

The idea is that doctors could run a person’s blood through the machine several times until their levels of the disease are low enough to be wiped out by drugs or even the patient’s own immune system.”

Personally, I love this idea as it’s an ingenious solution that takes advantage of existing technologies and scientific knowledge.  A leveling up of skills that is the hallmark of scientific endeavor.  Hopefully, it winds up working as well in practice as in theory.

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Is MediSieve the Greatest Idea Ever?

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People living a hundred years ago never could have predicted the invention of the microwave and the rise of the TV dinner.  Nor could people living twenty years ago have predicted the Impossible Burger and other lab grown meats that are currently hitting supermarket shelves.  When it comes to predicting the future of food there’s only thing that we can be certain of: it’s going to be vastly different than it is now and we’re probably going to think it’s weird.

Which brings me to hyper-personalized food.  Meals that are specifically catered towards each individual person’s biochemistry and their corresponding nutritional needs.  An approach that is even weirder than growing food in a laboratory.

As Futurism puts it, “You’ll need more than a reservation to dine at Sushi Singularity — you’ll also need to be willing to share samples of your bodily fluids.

The futuristic restaurant, which is set to open in Tokyo in 2020, collects samples of reservation-holders’ saliva, feces, and urine two weeks prior to their visits. Then it analyzes the samples to determine each diner’s unique nutritional requirements, tailoring their meal to meet those needs.”

To make this an even more futuristic sounding idea the tailored meals are also going to be 3D printed.  Because of course they are.  Personally, I’m not sure that I would want to eat in an establishment that I know is also housing thousands of samples of saliva, feces, and urine.  That doesn’t exactly sound all that sanitary.  But then again eating raw fish in the first place doesn’t all that sanitary to me either.  So what do I know?

But for people who take their health seriously, who count calories and watch everything they eat, I can certainly understand the appeal in wanting to eat a highly personalized nutritional meal. Even if that meal is 3D printed sushi.

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Is personalized sushi the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,561 – Week In Review

A quick look at everything that tickled my fancy this past week:

Soft Tactile Logic

We assume that having a high level of intelligence is predicated by having a central nervous system but that may not necessarily be the case.

As Science Daily reports, “Inspired by octopuses, researchers have developed a structure that senses, computes and responds without any centralized processing — creating a device that is not quite a robot and not quite a computer, but has characteristics of both. The new technology holds promise for use in a variety of applications, from soft robotics to prosthetic devices.

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DNA Storage

As we continue to create terabytes of information on a daily basis we’re going to need to come up with new methods of being able to store and retrieve that information.  To that end Israeli researchers have reached an incredible breakthrough involving DNA.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “the group demonstrated storage of information in a density of more than 10 petabytes, or ten million gigabytes, in a single gram, while significantly improving the writing process. This, theoretically, allows for storing all the information stored on YouTube in a single teaspoon.

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Universal Blood

It soon may be possible to convert Type A blood into the universally accepted Type O thanks to a newly discovered microbe that resides in our gut.

According to Futurism:

“In a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology, researchers from the University of British Columbia detail their discovery of microbes in the human gut that produce two enzymes that efficiently strip type A blood of its antigens, transforming it into type O.

The team plans to conduct further studies to ensure the process removes all the blood antigens. If it does, all that converted type A blood would nearly double the amount of universal donor blood available — and we’d have the human gut to thank.”

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New Organ

Speaking of the human body it turns out that we have an additional organ lurking underneath our skin that we were unaware of.  An organ that may be responsible for why we feel pain.

National Geographic explains, “Dubbed the nociceptive glio-neural complex, this structure is not quite like the typical picture of a complex organ like the heart or the spleen. Instead, it’s a simple organ made up of a network of cells called glial cells, which are already known to surround and support the body’s nerve cells. In this case, the glial cells form a mesh-like structure between the skin’s outer and inner layers, with filament-like protrusions that extend into the skin’s outer layer.”

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Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,557 – Baldness Curing Hat

Millions of people who suffer from male pattern baldness hide their thinning hair and receding hairlines underneath a baseball cap.  For now that’s just a self defense mechanism.  Something done to hide their embarrassment.  But in the near future wearing a baseball cap will do more than just hide one’s hair.  It’ll actually serve to regenerate it.

According to Futurism, “A newly-invented baseball cap may be able to reverse balding by mildly shocking your scalp for hours on end.  The hat is really just a fashionable covering for a thin patch that generates electricity when it bends and twists, New Scientist reports. The patch may someday be able to reverse baldness without the pain, expense and inconvenience associated with hair restoration surgery or stem cell treatments.”

This is truly a remarkable invention as it is able to provide a cure for something that millions of people suffer from all while doing so in fashionably acceptably manner.  After all, nobody would want to walk around with electrodes hanging out of their head, calling attention to their ailment.  But wearing a baseball hat?  That’s something that is already a socially acceptable practice.  Something that a lot of people do anyway as a matter of course.  I for one would be more than willing to wear a hat that would regrow my hair.  Even if it means having to trade in my beloved Yankees hat.

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Is a baldness curing hat the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,556 – ClearUP

I’m hesitant to call them migraines but I do get bad headaches.  On a daily basis no less.  The likely culprit: sinus pressure. An often overlooked ailment that is responsible for ruining people’s lives with infections, colds, and allergies along with the aforementioned debilitating headaches.  Thankfully, there’s help on the way.  And best of all it’s a solution that contains zero side effects and doesn’t involve swallowing any pills.

According to CNET, “If you suffer from allergies, or often get colds, you know how miserable it can feel when your sinuses are inflamed and full of mucus. While medication, steaming your face and blowing your nose often might seem like the best solution to clear them out, they don’t always relieve the problem. ClearUP, a new product from Tivic that debuted at CES 2019, offers an alternative and it goes on sale today for $149 on Tivic’s website.

According to Tivic, the device uses a ‘proprietary microcurrent waveform that stimulates sinus nerve fibers under the skin.’ Stimulating those nerves can reduce swelling, which can help open your airways and relieve pain.  ClearUp is FDA approved and Tivic promises that it produces zero side effects.”

That’s right.  In the future, clearing up your sinuses may be as simple as rubbing a device over your face.  If it truly does work as well as advertised this could be a real game changer for the millions of people around the world who have suffered from sinus related ailments.

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Is ClearUP the Greatest Idea Ever?

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