Tag: medicine

  1. Electrical relief of migraines, advances in bioprinting, and prosthetic exoskeletons.

    16 March 2014

    If you've never had one before migraine headaches are no picnic. Between the feeling like somebody's testing a sawmill with part of your skull, profound nausea brought about by something as innocuous as sunlight or the sound of a diesel engine, and vertigo that makes walking to the bathroom to retch a challenge, they're something that many of us would probably not wish on our worst enemies (I know I don't). There are few things that can arrest or lessen the severity of migraines once they start. Mostly, all you can do is get someplace dark and quiet and ride …

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  2. Practical matter compilation one step closer: Custom pharmaceuticals.

    09 December 2012

    For many years, the development of pharmaceutical drugs has been kind of hit or miss. New and interesting bioactive compounds are discovered and tested in different laboratory animals until someone figures out what a particular compound might be good for. It isn't terribly common that a pharmaceutical company comes up with an idea for an effect and then works backward until they find a compound that will do what they hope to accomplish.

    That shows signs of changing.

    A company called Parabon Nanolabs in Reston, Virginia has announced the development of a new drug which is effective in treating one …

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  3. Outbreaks of the future: 3d printing.

    15 March 2012

    More and more in the year 2012 of the common era, I find myself noticing what Warren Ellis once called 'outbreaks of the future'. Advances and developments in technology that were once the thoughts of the dreamers of science and are now the fruits of the labor of shapers and makers of novel things. Perhaps it's due to my lack of 3d modeling ability that I tend to focus on the field of 3D printing, which has fascinated me since I helped build a 3d printer several years ago. So it goes.

    The first thing that I noticed was that …

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  4. Programmable nanoprocessors and neural prosthetics?

    17 February 2011

    A dream many of us over the years had involve having head computers of one kind or another implanted. Augmentations of our existing capabilities, replacements for damaged sectors, direct neural interface with other computers, encrypted partitions for carrying data, brand new functionality - you name it, chances are there's a geek out there who'd love to beta test it. One of the problems at the moment, however, is a distinct lack of space inside the cranium. When you get right down to it there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room inside your skull. Layering circuitry on the surface of the …

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  5. President Obama extends visitation rights to same-sex couples.

    18 April 2010

    On Friday, US President Barack Obama transmitted instructions to his secretary of Health and Human Services to draft rules requiring that all hospitals which receive Medicaid or Medicare payments allow patients to designate who may make healthcare-related decisions regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. For many years, same-sex couples have been at a distinct disadvantage here - it was not uncommon for the partner of a patient who had been designated someone's caretaker to be completely disregarded in favor of the patient's family. It is sadly not unheard of for the orders given by the patient's family to be completely …

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  6. Some mods good, some mods bad.

    18 March 2010

    It almost seems as if we're indoctrinated by North American culture to not enhance ourselves (the blizzards of spam to the contrary) in some way, shape, or form but still be told to do whatever we can to make sure that we get ahead. It's safe to say that we've grown up in a time when we can't remember hearing about at least one star athlete being suspended from a league because they tested positive for anabolic steroid use (be careful searching on that term, there are a couple of dodgy SEO sites in the top twenty) to build up …

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  7. Blind, but still with eyes to see.

    15 February 2010

    The first time I read through this article it threw me for a loop: a patient at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland referred to by the initials 'TN' suffered two strokes a couple of weeks apart. Each CVA damaged one half of his visual cortex, thus rendering him completely blind for all intents and purposes. While he was recovering, physicians discovered that TN still had the ability to read the facial expressions of people around him and correctly interpret their emotional states. Some tests showed that his amygdala was still operational, which lead neurologists to wonder what else he was …

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  8. Drug resistant tuberculosis hits the United States.

    29 December 2009

    One might wonder if medical science is starting to feel the fear, as Hunter S. Thompson once put it. Disease has long been an adversary of human life; everything from the common cold to exotic diseases that could have given H.P. Lovecraft a rough night's sleep have been worthy opponents. In recent years, however, the no-holds-barred battle royale has turned into a game of four-handed chess due to the appearance of strains of common diseases which have developed immunities to commonly used antibiotics. In a nutshell, if you are instructed by your physician to take all of your prescribed …

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  9. Genetic origins of skin and lung cancer pinpointed.

    24 December 2009

    It is common knowledge that many forms of cancer have environmental as well as genetic components: for skin cancer, overexposure to sunlight can trigger its development. Lung cancer, of course, is blamed on smoking for lengthy periods of time. However, sometimes the genetic component can express itself without external assistance. Thus, it is worth noting that the genetic mutations which cause these two afflictions have been pinpointed by geneticists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute of the United Kingdom. The errors are very specific and should be readily detectable with a genetic workup. Something which I find surprising is the …

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  10. On transhumanism.

    13 November 2009

    I've been wrestling with this post for weeks now because, at its heart, transhumanism isn't a simple set of beliefs, actions, or ideas. It encompasses many disciplines, from cybernetics to engineering to computer science to biology and many things in between. I say that not as a cop-out but because practically every discipline is covered in some way and informs the body of knowledge somehow. It is also a deeply personal philosophy, often attracting adherents who attempt to lead by example as well as participating in the research, development, and deployment of the technologies which originally inspired it (such as …

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