As regenerative medicine expands, our ability to engineer organs is growing with it. Researchers can now grow a number of so called ‘organoids’ — mini-organs which can teach us more about developmental biology and enable vastly improved testing. In the latest addition to the bunch, a team from Ohio State University has successfully engineered the most complete model yet of a human brain, with a similar maturity to a 5 week old fetus.
Containing 99% of the genes present in the human fetal brain, and about the size of an eraser, the organoid was developed from transformed adult human skin. This method could allow more ethical and precise clinical trials, both speeding up and enabling more rigorous, personalized testing. As animal testing frequently fails to predict varied human responses, these organoid models offer an alternative approach which could revolutionize clinical trial methodology.
“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain. We’ve struggled for a long time trying to solve complex brain disease problems that cause tremendous pain and suffering. The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents.”
Checkout the latest Longevity Reporter Newsletter (22nd August, 2015), covering this week’s top news in health, aging, longevity.
This week: An Entire Nervous System Captured On Film; 10 Enduring Health Myths, Debunked By Science; Peto’s Paradox: Why Don’t Larger Animals Get Cancer More Often?; Antioxidants: Separating Myth From Reality; And more.
A medication called modafinil is commonly used to treat people who experience narcolepsy, but it’s suspected that the vast majority of those who use the drug are taking it for another purpose that isn’t medically authorised: as a general cognitive enhancer for tasks such as studying or meeting a deadline.
Now a comprehensive review of the medication has looked at this ‘off licence’ use of the drug by healthy, non-sleep-deprived subjects to determine whether modafinil is safe – and to confirm whether the belief that it acts as a general-purpose ‘smart drug’ is grounded in reality.
According to researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and Harvard Medical School in the US, modafinil delivers on both counts, constituting what’s thought to be the first safe smart drug that can provide demonstrable cognitive and concentration benefits. Brainpower in a pill, in other words.
Ever since the free radical theory of aging was conceived in the 1950s, antioxidants have been a buzzword in health — saturating the cosmetic industry and contributing to a smoothie blending, supplement popping boom.
Ever since the free radical theory of aging was conceived in the 1950s, antioxidants have been a buzz word in health — saturating the cosmetic industry and contributing to a smoothie blending, supplement popping boom. While antioxidants can certainly play an essential role in health, there is growing evidence that additional supplementation has limited benefit and can actually be harmful in some cases.
Aging has yet to be ascribed to one, singular cause and the free radical theory has struggled to prove itself. While in some organisms reducing oxidative stress can prove beneficial and increasing mitochondria targeted catalase (an important antioxidant enzyme) production in mice showed a modest increase in lifespan, when important enzymes were knocked out in C. elegans (a model organism) there was curiously no reduction and reducing expression of various antioxidant mechanisms in mice also failed to reduce lifespan. While a certain amount of vitamins and antioxidant intake is necessary, as many are co-factors in essential reactions, it seems that aside from nutritional value there is little consensus regarding additional benefits.
Everything makes you fat! Gluten-free food is the key to eternal youth! You need to poop once per day or you’ll die! You’ll find tons of equally ridiculous health claims around the internet, and some of them are widely believed. Today we’re taking a look at 10 common myths and uncovering the truth.
While we’ve learned a lot about health issues here at Lifehacker over the years, we can’t claim expertise on any particular subject. To help us get to the root of these myths, we solicited the help of three experts: Dr Carly Stewart (medical expert at Money Crashers), Andy Bellatti (Las Vegas-based registered dietitian), and Dr Spencer Nadolsky (medical editor at Examine.com). They all offer a unique perspective on each myth but mostly came to the same conclusions: we have a lot of silly misinformation out there about our health.
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas within the 3D printing space is that of bioprinting. Using layer-by-layer fabrication methods, a number of companies are in the process of pushing forward a new paradigm shift within the medical implant, transplantation, and surgical spaces. While the media has mainly focused on Organovo, the company behind the world’s first 3D printable liver tissue, there are actually several other companies involved in this incredible space. Here are 3DPrint.com we thought it would be helpful to underline just a handful of those companies that may be about to change medicine as we know it.
Organovo The company, headquartered in San Diego, California, has been at the forefront of 3D bioprinting research for some time now. Not only are they currently bringing revenues in by providing pharmaceutical companies with their exVive3D™ Liver Tissue for drug toxicity testing, but they have partnered with major companies in the health space including L’Oréal and Merck, and are planning on introducing their exVive3D™ Kidney Tissue product by next year. With an ultimate goal of 3D printing patches made of human tissue for failing organs, and eventually entire organs for transplantation, Organovo certainly has their work cut out for them.
Checkout the latest Longevity Reporter Newsletter (15th August, 2015), covering this week’s top news in health, aging, longevity
This week: ‘Danielle’ — An Eye Opening Simulation Of The Aging Process; How Does Chronic Inflammation Lead To Cancer?; Low Inflammation and Telomere Maintenance Predict Healthy Longevity; 3-D Printing: Could Downloadable Medicine Be The Future?; And more.
A universal therapy that targets mis-folded proteins is a very significant step forward if clinical trials in humans translate from animals. Obviously there is more work to be done but it this is the kind of technology we need in order to intervene against biological aging.
It is not hard to see that a therapy like this followed up by another that regenerates the brain eg, the Conboy Lab work by promoting neurogenesis could be a way to repair and restore the brain to healthy function.
A drug that breaks up different types of brain plaque shows promising results in animals and could prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Leave it to Berlin to breed the coolest of tech-related gatherings. At this interdisciplinary ‘unconference’, industry leaders and tech enthusiasts rubbed shoulders as they sipped chia seed smoothies among the sun-kissed gardens of an abandoned carpet factory.
While exploring which biological processes might predict successful in centenarians, a team from Newcastle and Tokyo have identified two prominent factors that facilitate health longevity — low level inflammation and telomere length.
“Centenarians and supercentenarians are different — put simply, they age slower. They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population.”
After measuring a number of health markers in 1,554 people including: those over 105, between 100 and 105 and a group near their 100th birthday along with their offspring, these two elements emerged as consistent longevity predictors.