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Whoa!

Courtesy of purplespark: Scientists create mice able to regenerate lost limbs and regrow damaged organs.

The experimental animals are unique among mammals in their ability to regrow their heart, toes, joints and tail.

And when cells from the test mouse are injected into ordinary mice, they too acquire the ability to regenerate, the US-based researchers say.

Their discoveries raise the prospect that humans could one day be given the ability to regenerate lost or damaged organs, opening up a new era in medicine...

"We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow," she said.


Now, this kind of stuff has always been within the laws of physics, but development of new techniques in genetic engineering and nanomedicine are both progressing faster than even the most optimistic of us transhumanists had expected. And speaking of biomedical nanotech, I bring you another article, Research scientists at Georgia Tech have built nano-scale detectors so sensitive that they will be capable of spotting individual cancer cells.

The detectors are based on a new kind of quasi-one dimensional nano material, dubbed nanobelts or nanoribbons, which can be made from a variety of materials, like zinc or tin oxides. They are typically between 30nm and 300nm wide, and can be a few millimetres long.

The semiconducting nanobelts, first synthesised in 2001, can be tuned to exhibit certain behaviours. Introducing oxygen vacancies can affect their conductivity, surface and optical properties...

These nanostructures are ideal objects for building sensors with biomedical applications, Professor Wang said, ahead of a presentation at the EMAG-Nano 2005 conference in Leeds yesterday, such as force sensors, blood flow sensors and cancer detectors.


I think a lot of people who aren't really paying attention now are going to be very surprised when these things start hitting the market. I also suspect that people fifty or seventy-five years from now are going to look back on this as the Age of Barbarism: "Someone had a heart attack and you savages thought the best solution was to SLICE HIM OPEN??!!"


Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
minniethemoocha
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
This is marvelous.
dilletante
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
faster than even the most optimistic of us transhumanists had expected.

i admit, i'm looking forward to the advances in medicine. on general principles, i've been expecting for a long time that the flood of money and attention the baby boomers will bring to the problem will greatly advance life-extending technologies... which will be useless, but the bugs will get worked out on my generation... leaving them actually usable in my kids' generation. but i'd love to see things happen faster, of course. :)

i'm also, however, looking forward to the first strain of nanomachines to be obliterated by the common cold. and to the era when stainless steel and aluminum begin to rot like wood and iron do, because of genetically-engineered garbage-eating microbes released into the environment.

i believe in the future. but i also believe in shadenfreude. ;)
sinboy
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, it *is* the best goddamn solution, because right here and now, the alternative is to let him die.
tacit
Sep. 1st, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC)
That's true, though it doesn't change the fact that it's crude, low-tech, and...well, barbaric.

Nowadays, we look back on the fact that the cure for cavities used to be pouring molten lead or gold into the tooth--without anaesthetic--and wince; it seems crude and barbaric to us. Best they could do at the time, but it still seems crude and barbaric to us. The time is coming--quickly--when the most advanced "modern" medicine we practice today will seem even more appalling.
peristaltor
Sep. 1st, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
Really, now, we can't discount outright the ancient cures just because they are, well, ancient. Let's be pragmatic.

For example, there are on this world many with the unmitigated audacity to find with me some disagreement, and must therefore be philled with Ille Humors or Impetuous Demons. I phant'sy they requireth a Good and Thorrow Bleeding.
violet_tigress1
Sep. 1st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
A-HA!I knew it was only a matter of time before these Earth scientists figured out Borg technology!

This very excxiting. Very exciting indeed.
datan0de
Sep. 1st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
As if my day couldn't get any better. :-) This is awesome stuff!

I know it's wishful thinking to think that we won't actually need cryonics, but it's nice to see that it's not entirely out of the question.
pstscrpt
Oct. 17th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
The problem with cryonics is that we don't really know whether memory will be preserved. If it's basically electric, it probably won't be.

I do expect that nanomachines will eventually be able to repair the cellular damage from ice crystals, but I would want what comes back to be *me*, and not just a twin.
datan0de
Oct. 17th, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
The current thinking is that you'll lose whatever was in short term memory- the minutes or hours leading up to "deanimation", but that as long as suspension goes by the book the synaptic structures which define your long term memory will be well preserved. The reason for this being that cryonic suspension isn't simply a matter of dropping your carcass in liquid nitrogen- it's a complex process whereby the water in your cells is washed out and displaced by a cryoprotectant perfusate during a gradual, controlled cool-down to the final storage temperature. Ideally, the entire brain ends up vitrified rather than frozen, with no ice formation whatsoever.

Of course, it's still a bit of a crap shoot. The perfusion rates are constantly monitored, but there's always a possibility that some areas of the brain may have vascular damage and won't be thoroughly saturated. Likewise, if your cause of death is a bullet to the head or some other such severe head trauma then your chances are pretty grim. The only guaranteed outcome is if you don't opt for cryonics. :-)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )