Um das Altern zu verstehen, ist ein radikal neuer Denkansatz nötig – fächerübergreifend und multinational
“Der Mensch lebt heute länger als jemals zuvor. Doch warum lebt er so lange? Und was passiert in einem alternden und immer älter werdenden menschlichen Körper, seinen Organen, seinen Zellen?
„Einige Wissenschaftler glauben, die Antwort darauf in bestimmten Methusalemgenen zu finden – Verschwendete Zeit!“, sagte Prof. Dr. Olaf Wolkenhauer, Lehrstuhl für Systembiologie an der Universität Rostock, heute in Berlin auf der 3. Denkwerkstatt Demografie.
Denn der menschliche Körper ist mehr: Er ist eine sehr große und dabei sehr organisierte Population von interagierenden Zellen, die koordiniert ihre Funktion als Teil eines Ganzen realisieren. „Will der Mensch auf die Alterung und somit auf die Lebensspanne Einfluss nehmen, müssten unzählige, zum Teil noch unbekannte, molekulare und zellulare Prozesse beeinflusst werden“, so Wolkenhauer. Der Mensch versteht heute erst einen Bruchteil des komplexen Wesens einer differenzierten Zelle und weiß beispielsweise nicht, ob und wie eine Stammzelle, aus der alle differenzierten Zellen entstehen, altert. [...]
Ein erhöhter Lebensstandard sowie medizinisch-technologische Fortschritte haben maßgeblich zu diesen Verbesserungen beigetragen. Sterblichkeitsstudien zu Über-110-Jährigen (Supercentenarians) liefern zudem neue Einsichten: Das Sterberisiko der Supercentenarians liegt konstant bei jährlich 50 Prozent und steigt nicht, wie in jüngeren Lebensaltern, mit jedem Lebensjahr an. „Weitergehende Verzögerungen des Alterns und Sterbens werden zukünftig sicher möglich sein, weil immer mehr Menschen in besserer Gesundheit ein hohes Alter erreichen“, so Vaupel. [...]“
Source/article: Innovations Report
Filed under: 2011, Health Tagged: Aging/Longevity, Health, Medicine
A Disruptive Technology is an innovation that disrupts an existing market, economy or business model. Often these technologies emerge very quickly and are adopted by society in a short period of time. In recent years we have seen several examples of technological innovations that have impacted book publishing, the music industry and traditional media. In the coming years what will be the next game changing technology? This week Ebongeek takes a look at five technologies we think could have a tremendous impact on society.
- Quantum Computing
- Graphene Materials
- Artificial Intelligence
- Human Augmentation and Enhancement
Filed under: 2011 Tagged: AI, Futurology, HET, ICT, MaterialTech, S^, Transhumanism
“A single giant interneuron tracks in real time the activity of several tens of thousands of neurons in an olfactory center of a locust and feeds inhibition back to all of them to control their collective output, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt have discovered.
The researchers tested how neurons (Kenyon cells) in the insect brain’s mushroom bodies respond with great specificity and extremely rarely. These neurons generally respond with fewer than three electrical impulses when stimulated with the right odor.
This “sparse coding” strategy (where each item is encoded by the strong activation of a relatively small set of neurons) has the advantage that it simplifies the task of storing odor representations in memory. [...]“
Source/article: KurzweilAI Net
Filed under: 2011 Tagged: ICT, NeuroSciTech
The researchers tested the immune response of an inbred strain of mice to embryonic stem cells and several types of iPSCs derived from the same strain of inbred mice.
They found that the immune system of one mouse could not recognize the cells derived from embryonic stem cells of the same strain of mice.
Their experiments also showed that the immune system rejected cells derived from iPSCs reprogrammed from fibroblasts of the same strain of mice, mimicking what happens when a patient would be treated with cells derived from iPSCs reprogrammed from the patient’s own cells. They showed that abnormal gene expression during the differentiation of iPSCs causes the immune responses.
Ref: Tongbiao Zhao, Zhen-Ning Zhang, Zhili Rong, Yang Xu, Immunogenicity of induced pluripotent stem cells, Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10135″
Source/article: KurzweilAI Net
Filed under: 2011, Health Tagged: Health, Medicine, Stem Cell, Tissue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine
“Researchers at Hewlett Packard and the University of California, Santa Barbara, have analysed in unprecedented detail the physical and chemical properties of an electronic device that computer engineers hope will transform computing.
Memristors, short for memory resistors, are a newly understood circuit element for the development of electronics and have inspired experts to seek ways of mimicking the behaviour of our own brains’ activity inside a computer.
It is thought memristors, with the ability to ‘remember’ the total electronic charge that passes through them, will be of greatest benefit when they can act like synapses within electronic circuits, mimicking the complex network of neurons present in the brain, enabling our own ability to perceive, think and remember.
Mimicking biological synapses – the junctions between two neurons where information is transmitted in our brains – could lead to a wide range of novel applications, including semi-autonomous robots, if complex networks of neurons can be reproduced in an artificial system. [...]“
Filed under: 2011 Tagged: ICT, MaterialTech, Nanotech, NeuroSciTech, S^
“A new study has revealed the possibility of using a simple test for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, enabling the condition to be identified before significant and irreversible decline takes place.
The research, carried out by a team from the University of Cambridge led by Professor Barbara Sahakian, investigated brain activation in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) whilst they completed a memory task which assessed their visual perception of the spatial relationships of objects (visuospatial).
In the task, known as a paired associate learning task (PAL), the participants must remember the spatial location of up to eight different patterns hidden in boxes. For the study, the researchers conducted brain scans (or fMRIs) while the patients took the tests in order to monitor brain activity. [...]
Whilst the computerised test would be useful for screening elderly people to detect those with mild cognitive impairment, when combined with neuroimaging, the PAL test may also be useful for the development of novel treatments, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological. There are currently a number of symptomatic and neuroprotective drugs in development within the pharmaceutical industry for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. [...]“
Filed under: 2011, Health Tagged: Aging/Longevity, Medicine, NeuroSciTech
“POTENTIALLY fatal infections could be diagnosed in hours rather than days thanks to two techniques involving magnets, cutting waiting times and saving lives.
[...] It currently takes three days to determine which species is behind the infection as the pathogen has to be extracted and cultured to be identified, but a person can die within two.
To detect in just 2 hours which species, if any, is in a sample, Robert Langer’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a novel device that uses magnetic resonance, which causes magnetic nuclei to resonate in a magnetic field. “If you treat infection within 12 hours you can reduce the mortality rate to 11 per cent,” says John McDonough from T2 Biosystems in Lexington, Massachusetts, the company developing the technology. [...]“
Source/article: New Scientist
Filed under: 2011, Health Tagged: Health, Medicine
“TO SURVIVE in frigid polar regions, many cold-blooded creatures employ a natural antifreeze to protect themselves from the damage that large ice crystals would cause. These antifreeze molecules lock onto ice crystals, but not liquid water – though how they do this has been a mystery.
Now the mechanism has been revealed, opening the way to using similar molecules in cancer treatments, to protect healthy tissue while tumours are destroyed by freezing.
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) found in nature lock onto ice crystals and stop them growing large enough to damage tissue. If AFPs bound as easily to liquid water as they do to ice, this lifesaving action could turn killer, as animals would quickly dehydrate, says Matthew Blakeley at the Laue-Langevin Institute in Grenoble, France. [...]“
Source/article: New Scientist
Filed under: 2011 Tagged: Medicine, S^, Transhumanism
Funded by Google, the researchers have developed an algorithm that uses academic game theory to measure the distance between a desired outcome and an actual outcome. The algorithm can adapt to the situation at hand by analyzing the behavior of users as it is running. The results, a form of hindsight, may prove useful in more accurately predicting future outcomes — such as a bidding war on an online auction site, a sudden spike of traffic to a media website, or demand for an online product. [...]“
Source/article: KurzweilAI Net
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Economy, Futurology, ICT, Society, S^