How Long Until We Are All Part-Machine?
A coming age of neural implants and super-prosthetics should easily augment the natural capacities of the human body. The benefits will go to the disabled first, making them super-human.
What's the Latest Development?
At the London Olympics this summer, South African sprinter and double amputee Oscar Pistorius, equipped with carbon fiber sprinting prosthetics where his lower legs once were, may compete alongside able-bodied racers. Though Pistorius was banned from the 2008 Olympics, officials were persuaded by his doctors' testimony that the advantages conferred by his prosthetics are balanced out by his status as a double amputee. The "poster boy for our superabled future," Pistorius is currently one successful race away from qualifying for this summer's Olympic competition.
What's the Big Idea?
Thanks to the burgeoning power of technology, a series of bionic devices my turn society's disabled population into a generation of super-humans. That sounds far-fetched, but when brain implants combine instant neural communication with superior prosthetics, the performance of the human body will be easily augmented. "The sudden appearance of 'super-abled' people could put new and unforeseen strains on our society. For example, what happens when mentally sharp, physically capable retirees return to the workforce by the millions?"
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It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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