Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Ever since a monk called Mendel started breeding pea plants we’ve been learning about our genomes. In 1953, Watson, Crick and Franklin described the structure of the molecule that makes up our genomes: the DNA double helix. Then, in 2001, scientists wrote down the entire 3-billion letter code contained in the average human genome. Now they’re trying to interpret that code; to work out how it’s used to make different types of cells and different people.

The ENCODE project, as it’s called, is the latest chapter in the story of you.

National Geographic Documentary. Over the last three decades, science has been advancing our understanding of stress—how it impacts our bodies and how our social standing can make us more or less susceptible. From baboon troops on the plains of Africa, to neuroscience labs at Stanford University, scientists are revealing just how lethal stress can be. Research tells us that the impact of stress can be found deep within us, shrinking our brains, adding fat to our bellies, even unraveling our chromosomes. Understanding how stress works can help us figure out ways to combat it and how to live a life free of the tyranny of this contemporary plague.

h\t OpenCulture
In Stress: Portrait of a Killer, scientific discoveries in the field and in the lab prove that stress is not just a state of mind, but something measurable and dangerous.

When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter.

In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.

In a fascinating new study our ideas of old age are challenged..

Professor Tom Kirkwood has demolished a string of misconceptions about the ageing process with a groundbreaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation. “Its a myth that they are bowls of misery, unhappy with their lot, and always going on about ailments,” he insists. “Four out of five of them actually think they are doing pretty well.”His study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, has proved revealing on several fronts. For a start, people in the 85-plus range are generally much happier, and more independent, than is generally realised. Remarkably, 80% of a group carefully selected by the Kirkwood team – a fair sample of the UK population of this age – need little care. Around the same number rate their quality of life either good or excellent.On the downside, 20% need either regular daily help or critical 24-hour care. All of which might be almost manageable for the state, and for society, if this age range was static. But, as the amiable Kirkwood never tires of reminding questioners, the 85-plus group is now the fastest-growing segment of the population.

via Research dispels old myths about ageing | Society | The Guardian.

..Of course, this has huge implications for the cost of caring. Revealingly, in tracking 17 activities of daily living among survey participants – from dealing with finances to cooking and shopping – researchers found that men fared better than women; a third managed all 17 without help, compared with a sixth of women. Although women live, on average, five to six years longer than men, the study has found that their disabilities become greater with age.
Highly recommended reading.

Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others — and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.

In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings. Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus.

“This house wants to defeat ageing entirely”
Dr Aubrey de Grey (proposing) and Professor Colin Blakemore (opposing)

Follow the link for the second part

A public debate organized by Oxford University Science Society, held in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford on April 25th, 2012.

Highly recommended

The year is 2032. You have just celebrated your 80th birthday and you have some tough decisions ahead. You can either keep repairing your current body or move into a new one. The growing of “blank” bodies has become all the rage, and by using your own genetic material, body farmers can even recreate your own face at age 20. In just 20 years, this is an industry that has moved from the equivalent of Frankenstein’s laboratory to the new celebrity craze, with controversy following it every step of the way. The combination of a few high profile “accidents” along the way, coupled with those in the religious community who claim that body farmers are playing God, and asking “where does our soul reside?” has given it thousands of top media headlines around the world. Every person on the planet has a different opinion about this moral dilemma, or whether its safe or dangerous, or whether we should just get better at repairing our existing bodies. As medical advances continue, and we devise an entirely new range of health-enhancing options, I propose we set a new standard, raising the bar to the highest possible level. I propose we put an end to human death.  

Keep on reading..
Via www.futuristspeaker.com