This Project Aims To Create Virtual Avatars Of Us All
It's for our health: The Virtual Physiological Human project seeks to create an accurate computer-simulated replica of a patient so that doctors can better predict how certain procedures and medications will work.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
A large, multinational project involving over 100 researchers has as its ultimate goal the ability to create an accurate computer simulation of an individual patient's body on which doctors can test treatments and predict events such as childbirth. The University of Sheffield's year-old Insigneo Institute is spearheading the Virtual Physiological Human project, which has already received over £20 million (about US$33.7 million) in funding. A recent researchers' meeting revealed how each of them are progressing within their particular specialty. For example, British Heart Foundation fellow Dr. Paul Morris described his work with personalized virtual heart arteries.
What's the Big Idea?
The challenge of recreating an entire human body in silico is huge, and the goal won't be reached for some time to come, but rapid advances in technology could bring us predictive healthcare sooner than we think. Insigneo scientific director Marco Viceconti says, "Computers are nothing special – they know what we know, and sometimes not even that. But they can stitch things together and they’re not scared by sheer size. If we could know in advance which patient would respond to which treatment, we would just quantum leap our efficacy – without inventing anything. The opportunities are enormous."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.