Welcome to Thrivous!

Nanotechnology to Heal People and the Planet

24 July 2017
Giulio Prisco


First, recent scientific findings confirm what your mother and your grandmother used to tell you: sleep is very important. "We tend to focus on positive things more than anything else, but now we’re seeing that sleep deprivation may reverse that bias," say Penn Medicine scientists. "[If] you don’t get enough sleep, it reduces your ability to attend to positive things, which over time may confer risk for depression."

So, please sleep. Don’t make the mistake of losing sleep to gain time to do other things - what will happen is that sleep deprivation will severely reduce your ability to do those other things well, and enjoy them.

Those who are into nootropics and health supplements will be pleased to know that, according to recent research findings, protein supplements can rejuvenate senior citizen’s muscles and boost their strength.

But the main focus of this Pulse issue is material science and nanotechnology - the ability to manipulate matter with very high precision at very small scales. Advanced materials and manufacturing methods could heal the planet and, therefore, give better health to all, and especially to those who live in remote under-developed areas.

For example, scientists at the University of British Columbia have recently developed tiny devices that can be 3D-printed anywhere and monitor drinking water quality in real time to protect against waterborne illness.

Many world-class futurists discussed the potential of nanotechnology to heal the planet at a recent virtual event titled “Using Geoethical Nanotechnology to Combat Climate Change,” produced by Terasem. At a previous Terasem virtual event, futurist Melanie Swan gave a talk on BioNano technology, current status and prospects, and philosophical aspects, titled "Philosophy of Biological Cell Repair informs Geoethical Nanotechnology."

Using electric fields to guide neural stem cells to the right locations for brain therapy. Scientists at UC Davis have used electric fields to guide neural stem cells transplanted into the brain toward a specific location. Experiments on laboratory mice show that the transplanted stem cells were still in their new locations weeks or months after treatment. Neural stem cells are known to be able to treat brain injury, but have to reach right location first. Therefore, the new technique described in Stem Cell Reports could be used in therapies for brain injuries and strokes.

Using CRISPR to boost cancer immunotherapy. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center have developed a new CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screening approach that enables discovery of new drug targets to aid cancer immunotherapy. In a research paper published in Nature, the scientists identify which genes, when deleted with CRISPR-Cas9, make the cancer cells more susceptible to PD-1 blockade, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy.

Personalized dual networks in the brain. Harvard scientists have gained new insights into how the brain networks that are important for thought and remembering are organized in individual people, bringing the notion of using brain scans to help personalize medical treatments one step closer to reality. The study, published in Neuron, shows that separate intertwined networks, specialized for different tasks, co-process data in numerous areas of the brain and play key roles in planning, remembering and imagination, in ways that depend on the architecture of the brains of individuals.

How does the brain form long-term memories? In a research paper published in Neuron, neuroscientists at New York University have made advances in understanding how short-term memories become long-term memories. The scientists conclude that the consolidation of long-term memories is best explained by a “temporal hierarchy” of “time windows” that collectively alter the state of the brain, in ways related to how we process sound.

Nanosensors for diagnostic breath analysis. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed diagnostic nanosensors using protein-encapsulated nanocatalysts, which can diagnose certain diseases by analyzing human exhaled breath. The study, selected as the cover-featured article in the July issue of Accounts of Chemical Research, shows that the new technique sets performance records and describes a disease diagnosis platform that recognizes individual breathing patterns by using a multiple sensor array system, which permits easily identifying health abnormalities.

Inserting ‘nano antibodies’ in living cells. Scientists at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) have managed to introduce tiny antibodies into living cells. Published in Nature Chemistry, the research paper describes how the researchers successfully permeated living mouse and human cells with small antibodies found in other animal species, also called nanobodies, and observe them microscopically. According to the scientists, medicine has extremely high hopes for these tiny antibodies.

More Articles

Don't miss a beat! In our Pulse Newsletter, Thrivous curates the most important news on health science and human enhancement, so you can stay informed without wasting time on hype and trivia. It's part of the free Thrivous newsletter. Subscribe now to receive email about human enhancement, nootropics, and geroprotectors, as well as company news and deals.

Read more articles at Thrivous, the human enhancement company. You can browse recent articles in Thrivous Views. See other Pulse Newsletter articles. Or check out an article below.