In the classical model used by pharmaceutical companies, scientists in an R&D lab investigate naturally occurring molecules while searching for potential therapeutic properties. When they find a molecule that could be a candidate, they begin a series of tests to determine the treatment efficacy of the molecules (and also to receive FDA approval).
Rather than going forward through the process, Insilico works backwards. The company starts with an end objective — say stopping aging — and then uses a toolbox of deep learning algorithms to devise ideal molecules de novo. Those molecules may not exist anywhere in the world, but can be “manufactured” in the lab.
The key underlying technique for the company is what are known as GANs, or generative adversarial networks with reinforcement learning. At a high-level, GANs include a neural net “generator” that creates new products (in this case, molecules), and a discriminator that classifies the new product. Those neural nets then adapt over time in order to compete against each other more effectively.
GANs have been used to create fake photos that look almost photorealistic, but that no camera has ever taken. Zhavoronkov suggested to me that clinical patient data may one day be manufactured — providing far more data while protecting patient privacy.
3D printing is performed by telling a computer to apply layer upon layer of a specific material (quite often plastic or metal powders), molding them one layer at a time until the final product — be it a toy, a pair of sunglasses or a scoliosis brace — is built. Medical technology is now harnessing this technology and building tiny organs, or “organoids,” using the same techniques, but with stem cells as the production material. These organoids, once built, will in the future be able to grow inside the body of a sick patient and take over when an organic organ, such as a kidney or liver, fails.
researchers in Spain have now taken the mechanics of 3D printing — that same careful layer-upon-layer approach in which we can make just about anything — and revealed a 3D bioprinter prototype that can produce human skin. The researchers, working with a biological ink that contains both human plasma as well as material extracts taken from skin biopsies, were able to print about 100 square centimeters of human skin in the span of about half an hour.
A 3D-printed pill, unlike a traditionally manufactured capsule, can house multiple drugs at once, each with different release times. This so-called “polypill” concept has already been tested for patients with diabetes and is showing great promise.
Aaron Traywick, 28, who leads biotech firm Ascendance Biomedical, used an experimental herpes treatment that did not go through the typical route of clinical trials to test its safety.
Instead of being developed by research scientists in laboratories, it was created by a biohacker named Andreas Stuermer, who “holds a masters degree and is a bioentrepreneur and science lover,” according to a conference bio. This is typical of the Ascendance approach. The company believes that FDA regulations for developing treatments are too slow and that having biohackers do the research and experiment on themselves can speed up the process to everyone’s benefit. In the past, the company’s plans have included trying to reverse menopause, a method that is now actually in clinical trials.
Experts say any gene therapy prepared by amateurs would probably not be potent enough to have much effect, but it could create risks such as an immune reaction to the foreign DNA. “I think warning people about this is the right thing,” says David Gortler, a drug safety expert with the consulting group Former FDA. “The bottom line is, this hasn’t been tested.”
The problem facing regulators is that interest in biohacking is spreading, and it’s increasingly easy for anyone to obtain DNA over the internet.
The last sentence is key. As in the tech industry, once you trigger bottom-up adoption the process is irreversible. And disruptive.
Most approaches aimed at combating ageing focus on arresting the harmful byproducts of metabolism, he says. These cause cellular damage and decay, which, in turn, accumulate to trigger the age-related disorders, such as cancer or dementia, that tend to finish us off.
For de Grey, this strategy turns anti-ageing treatment into an impossible game of Whac-A-Mole. Because we understand metabolism so poorly, our efforts to interfere with it remain crude and the process of decay races through the body far quicker than treatments to avert it can keep up.
Instead of stopping the damage, the approach that de Grey has developed at his research centre — Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), a public charity that he co-founded in 2009 — focuses on repair. This “engineering” approach is designed to keep the process of degradation below the threshold at which it turns into life-threatening disease. “If you can repair the microscopic damage then you are sidestepping the bigger problem [of prevention]”.
Assuming for a moment that some people alive today will be able to extend their lifespan to 200 years, or even 1,000 years, what would they do with such an enormity of time?
Today humans don’t really have a “life strategy”. They just live, allocating their lifetime to various activities according to what society has established. But what happens when your time extends well beyond the expectations of your society?
You may want to watch For de Grey’s TED Talk, too: A roadmap to end aging
So it’s a bit odd that this is the epicentre of a phenomenon rocking Silicon Valley: young blood treatments. JR is one of about 100 people who have each paid $8000 to join a controversial trial, offering them infusions of blood plasma from donors aged between 16 and 25 in a bid to turn back the clock. Participants have come from much further afield, including Russia and Australia.
in 2014, a team led by Tony Wyss-Coray, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, injected middle-aged mice with plasma from young mice. Sure enough, after three weeks they had anatomical improvements in the brain and a cognitive boost, compared with mice given a placebo.
The plasma didn’t even need to come from the same species – old mice became just as sprightly when the injection came from young humans. “We saw these astounding effects,” Wyss-Coray told New Scientist in 2014. “The human blood had beneficial effects on every organ we’ve studied so far.”
Ambrosia is a start-up headquartered in Washington DC. The trial didn’t need regulatory approval because plasma is already a standard treatment to replace missing proteins in people with rare genetic diseases. And there’s no placebo arm to it. All you need to join is a date of birth that makes you over 35 – and a spare $8000.
For your money, you are infused with 2 litres of plasma left over from young people who have donated to blood centres (see “Blood myths”). Unlike the trials looking at young blood’s effects on specific diseases, Ambrosia has a softer target: the general malaise of being old. In addition to measuring changes in about 100 biomarkers in blood, the firm is also “looking for general improvements”, says Jesse Karmazin, who runs the start-up.
The methodology falls short of the normal standards of scientific rigour, so it’s unsurprising that scientists and ethicists have accused Karmazin’s team of taking advantage of public excitement around the idea.
The numbers were as unverifiable as they were impressive: one month after treatment, 70 participants saw reductions in blood factors associated with risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease, and reductions in cholesterol were on par with those from statin therapy.
Risks commonly associated with plasma transfusion include transfusion-related acute lung injury, which is fatal; transfusion-associated circulatory overload; and allergic reactions. Rare complications include catching an infectious disease: blood products carry a greater than 1 in a million chance of HIV transmission. That’s too risky for JR, who tells me that before every treatment he takes a dose of the HIV prophylactic PrEP.
There could be risks of developing autoimmune disorders. And some fear that pumping stimulating proteins into people for years could lead to cancer. “If you keep infusing blood, the risk of reactions goes up,” says Dobri Kiprov, an immunologist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. “Many of these people are just eager to get younger – they don’t have a particular disease, so it’s not justified.”
It sounds dangerous and unproven, but there are multiple high profile startups researching this road:
Google’s life-extension biotech arm Calico, among others, she developed an experiment in which a pump ferried half the blood from one individual into another.
anti-ageing start-up Unity Biotechnology, which is backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s investment company. They are developing a blood-exchange device, a kind of dialysis machine for old age, which cycles your blood through a filter that washes a laundry list of harmful compounds out of the plasma before returning it to you. This would carry no immune effects or disease risks, because it’s your own blood. No regulatory approval is needed, because dialysis filters that remove proteins from plasma are already in use, for example to remove cholesterol in people with certain hereditary diseases.
They are also developing sensors to notify you when levels of bad biomarkers are getting too high – a decrepitude meter to tell you when it’s time for a decrepitude wash.
You may want to watch Tony Wyss-Coray TED Talk, too: How young blood might help reverse aging. Yes, really
None of us was made from scratch. Every human being develops from the fusion of two cells, an egg and a sperm, that are the descendants of other cells. The lineage of cells that joins one generation to the next — called the germline — is, in a sense, immortal.
Biologists have puzzled over the resilience of the germline for 130 years, but the phenomenon is still deeply mysterious.
Over time, a cell’s proteins become deformed and clump together. When cells divide, they pass that damage to their descendants. Over millions of years, the germline ought to become too devastated to produce healthy new life.
On Thursday in the journal Nature, Dr. Bohnert and Cynthia Kenyon, vice president for aging research at Calico, reported the discovery of one way in which the germline stays young.
Right before an egg is fertilized, it is swept clean of deformed proteins in a dramatic burst of housecleaning.
Combining these findings, the researchers worked out the chain of events by which the eggs rejuvenate themselves.
It begins with a chemical signal released by the sperm, which triggers drastic changes in the egg. The protein clumps within the egg “start to dance around,” said Dr. Bohnert.
The clumps come into contact with little bubbles called lysosomes, which extend fingerlike projections that pull the clumps inside. The sperm signal causes the lysosomes to become acidic. That change switches on the enzymes inside the lysosomes, allowing them to swiftly shred the clumps.
Ketosis, the metabolic response to energy crisis, is a mechanism to sustain life by altering oxidative fuel selection. Often overlooked for its metabolic potential, ketosis is poorly understood outside of starvation or diabetic crisis. Thus, we studied the biochemical advantages of ketosis in humans using a ketone ester-based form of nutrition without the unwanted milieu of endogenous ketone body production by caloric or carbohydrate restriction.
In five separate studies of 39 high-performance athletes, we show how this unique metabolic state improves physical endurance by altering fuel competition for oxidative respiration. Ketosis decreased muscle glycolysis and plasma lactate concentrations, while providing an alternative substrate for oxidative phosphorylation. Ketosis increased intramuscular triacylglycerol oxidation during exercise, even in the presence of normal muscle glycogen, co-ingested carbohydrate and elevated insulin. These findings may hold clues to greater human potential and a better understanding of fuel metabolism in health and disease.
To make the product, HVMN leveraged more than a decade and $60 million worth of scientific research through an exclusive partnership with Oxford University.
Most of the food we eat contains carbs. The carbs in fruit come from naturally occurring sugars; those in potatoes, veggies, and pasta come from starch. They’re all ultimately broken down into sugar, or glucose, for energy.
When robbed of carbs, the body turns to fat for fuel.
In the process of digging into its fat stores, the body releases molecules called ketones. A high-fat, low-carb diet (also known as a ketogenic diet) is a shortcut to the same goal.
Instead of going without food, someone on the keto diet tricks the body into believing it is starving by snatching away carbohydrates, its primary source of fuel.
This is why as long as you’re not eating carbs, you can ramp up your intake of fatty foods like butter, steak, and cheese and still lose weight. The body becomes a fat-melting machine, churning out ketones to keep running.
If you could ingest those ketones directly, rather than starving yourself or turning to a keto diet, you could essentially get a superpower.
That performance boost is “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Kieran Clarke, a professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford who’s leading the charge to translate her work on ketones and human performance into HVMN’s Ketone.
One of the inspirations for Vintiner’s journey into this culture was Professor Kevin Warwick, deputy vice-chancellor at Coventry University, who back in 1998 was the first person to put a silicon chip transponder under his skin (that enabled him to open doors and switch on lights automatically as he moved about his department) and to declare himself “cyborg”. Four years later Warwick pioneered a “Braingate” implant, which involved hundreds of electrodes tapping into his nervous system and transferring signals across the internet, first to control the movements of a bionic hand, and then to connect directly and “communicate” with his wife, who had a Braingate of her own.
In some ways Warwick’s work seemed to set the parameters of the bodyhacking experience: full of ambition, somewhat risky, mostly outlawed. The Braingate system is now being explored in America to help some patients suffering paralysis, but Warwick’s DIY work has not been widely taken up by either mainstream medicine, academia or commercial tech companies. He and his wife remain the only couple to have communicated “nervous system to nervous system” through pulses that it took six weeks for their brains to “hear”.
While this segment is the most interesting, the whole article is a long and fascinating journey into the biohacking counter-culture.
The gene Hanley added to his muscle cells would make his body produce more of a potent hormone—potentially increasing his strength, stamina, and life span.
Hanley opted instead for a simpler method called electroporation. In this procedure, circular rings of DNA, called plasmids, are passed into cells using an electrical current. Once inside, they don’t become a permanent part of person’s chromosomes. Instead, they float inside the nucleus. And if a gene is coded into the plasmid, it will start to manufacture proteins. The effect of plasmids is temporary, lasting weeks to a few months.
Hanley says he designed a plasmid containing the human GHRH [growth-hormone-releasing hormone] gene on his computer, with the idea of developing it as a treatment for AIDS patients. But no investors wanted to back the plan. He concluded that the way forward was to nominate himself as lab rat. Soon he located a scientific supply company that manufactured the DNA rings for him at a cost of about $10,000. He showed me two vials of the stuff he’d brought along in a thermos, each containing a few drops of water thickened by a half-milligram of DNA.
Hanley skipped some steps that most companies developing a drug would consider essential. In addition to proceeding without FDA approval, he never tested his plasmid in any animals. He did win clearance for the study from the Institute of Regenerative and Cellular Medicine in Santa Monica, California, a private “institutional review board,” or IRB, that furnishes ethics oversight of human experiments.
Hanley had opted to take six milligrams of the tranquilizer Xanax and got local anesthetic in his thighs. The doctor can be seen placing a plexiglass jig built by Hanley onto the biologist’s thigh. The doctor leans in with a hypodermic needle to inject the sticky solution of GHRH plasmids into the designated spot. He also uses the jig to guide the two electrodes, stiff sharp needles the size of fork tines, into the flesh. The electrodes—one positive, one negative—create a circuit, a little like jump-starting your car.
Highly controversial, and borderline legal, as you’d expect in any hacking activity, especially hacking the human body.
Hanley published his version of the story on the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, calling the above article a “gross misrepresentation”.
The Internet has countless entries for IQ-boosting drugs, and there are many peer-reviewed studies of cognitive enhancing effects on learning, memory, and attention for drugs like nicotine (Heishman et al., 2010). Psychostimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other clinical disorders of the brain are particularly favorite candidates for use by students in high school, college, and university and by adults without clinical conditions who desire cognitive enhancement for academic or vocational achievement. Many surveys show that drugs already are widely used to enhance aspects of cognition and a number of surrounding ethical issues have been discussed.
Overall, well-designed research studies do not strongly support such use (Bagot & Kaminer, 2014; Farah et al., 2014; Husain & Mehta, 2011; Ilieva & Farah, 2013; Smith & Farah, 2011). Even fewer studies are designed specifically to investigate drug effects directly on intelligence test scores in samples of people who do not have clinical problems. I could find no relevant meta-analysis that might support such use. In short, there is no compelling scientific evidence yet for an IQ pill.
As we learn more about brain mechanisms and intelligence, however, there is every reason to believe that it will be possible to enhance the relevant brain mechanisms with drugs, perhaps existing ones or new ones. Research on treating Alzheimer’s disease, for example, may reveal specific brain mechanisms related to learning and memory that can be enhanced with new drugs significantly better than existing drugs. This prospect fuels intense research at many multinational pharmaceutical companies. If such drugs become available to enhance learning and memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, surely the effect of those drugs will be studied in non-patients to boost cognition.
Biohacking is a broad term. Among the others, it can be associated with technologies and methods to boost intelligence.
Haier is one of the most prominent scientists studying intelligence and his book is a phenomenal history lesson on what has been researched in the last 40 years. There are innovative techniques being tried these days, including magnetic fields, electric shocks, and cold lasers to influence the cognitive processes. Some of them may work. Today’s drugs to boost intelligence don’t. There’s no scientific evidence of it.
the biohacker claims he’s the first person trying to modify his own genome with the groundbreaking gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. And he’s providing the world with the means to do it, too, by posting a “DIY Human CRISPR Guide” online and selling $20 DNA that promotes muscle growth.
But editing your DNA isn’t as simple as following step-by-step advice. Scientists say that injecting yourself with a gene for muscle growth, as Zayner’s done, won’t in fact pump up your arms. Zayner himself admits that his experiments over the last year haven’t visibly changed his body. There are safety risks, too, experts say: People could infect themselves, or induce an inflammatory reaction.
But to Zayner, whether or not the experiment actually works is besides the point. What he’s trying to demonstrate, Zayner told BuzzFeed News, is that cutting-edge biology tools like CRISPR should be available to people to do as they wish, and not be controlled by academics and pharmaceutical companies.
Another biohacker, Brian Hanley, popular for testing anti-age gene therapy on himself, commented Zayner’s kits with a post on the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:
Yes, there is a long history of scientists and physicians experimenting on themselves. 15 Nobel prizewinners did it. Hundreds of documented cases of prominent scientists doing it. I am sure there are thousands more such experiments by scientists that are not documented. There have been no documented deaths of scientists by self-experiment since 1928. But it is one thing for someone who really understands what they are doing to perform such experiments, or for qualified people to assist another qualified person. It is quite another thing for Joe programmer biohacker-hopeful to do that without really understanding it because some guy sold him a kit.
The point is not if it’s legit or not, effective or not, legal or not. The point is that there is a growing community of humans that is experimenting, tinkering, and taking risks with their bodies, trying to achieve things that the mainstream audience considers horrifying, impossible, out of reach. This community doesn’t have much credibility today, just like IT security hackers didn’t have much credibility in the early days of the Internet. Today, hacking communities are recruiting pools by top military organizations in the world, and hacking conferences are a prime stage for the biggest software and hardware vendors on the market.
Lost in a sea of pseudo-scientists, impostors, scammers, and amateur wannabe, there are a few serious, determined, fearless explorers of the human body. They won’t look credible until they will.
On it are the PowerPoint slides of his next big project, a breathtaking $100 million, five-year proposal focused on paralysis, depression, amputation, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. Herr is still trying to raise the money, and the work will be funneled through his new brainchild, MIT’s Center for Extreme Bionics, a team of faculty and researchers assembled in 2014 that he codirects. After exploring various interventions for each condition, Herr and his colleagues will apply to the FDA to conduct human trials. One to-be-explored intervention in the brain might, with the right molecular knobs turned, augment empathy. “If we increase human empathy by 30 percent, would we still have war?” Herr asks. “We may not.”
The idea of an endlessly upgradable human is something Herr feels in his bones. “I believe in the near future, in a decade or two, when you walk down the streets of Boston, you’ll routinely see people wearing bionic systems,” Herr told ABC News in a 2016 interview. In 100 years, he thinks the human form will be unrecognizable. The inference is that the abnormal will be normal, beauty rethought and reborn. Unusual people like Herr will have come home.
The first cancer treatment that involves reprogramming a patient’s own blood cells to fight cancer has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, leading the way for federal approval of other, similar efforts.
Kymriah is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG to treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It’s shown very encouraging results in clinical trials, but the price tag will be hefty: Analysts say it will cost “a fortune,” or maybe $700,000 for one course of treatment.
Kymriah is one type of so-called CAR-T cancer therapies. First, doctors take the patient’s white blood cells, or T cells, out of the body and add a special receptor called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). The receptor gives the T cells the ability to attack cancer cells. Then, these engineered cells are put back into the body. It’s a highly personalized form of medicine, since each dose must be tailored to the patient.
the team’s inventions include a biodegradable semi-conductive polymer, disintegrable and flexible electronic circuits, and a biodegradable substrate material for mounting these electrical components onto.
Totally flexible and biocompatible, the ultra-thin film substrate allows the components to be mounted onto both rough and smooth surfaces.
All together, the components can be used to create biocompatible, ultra-thin, lightweight and low-cost electronics for applications as diverse as wearable electronics to large-scale environmental surveys.
Maybe this is one of the many approaches we’ll use for biohacking or as wearable technology in the future.
The human vagus nerve contains around 100,000 individual nerve fibres, which branch out to reach various organs. But the amount of electricity needed to trigger neural activity can vary from fibre to fibre by as much as 50-fold.
Yaakov Levine, a former graduate student of Tracey’s, has worked out that the nerve fibres involved in reducing inflammation have a low activation threshold. They can be turned on with as little as 250-millionths of an amp — one-eighth the amount often used to suppress seizures. And although people treated for seizures require up to several hours of stimulation per day, animal experiments have suggested that a single, brief shock could control inflammation for a long time10. Macrophages hit by acetylcholine are unable to produce TNF-α for up to 24 hours, says Levine, who now works in Manhasset at SetPoint Medical, a company established to commercialize vagus-nerve stimulation as a medical treatment.
By 2011, SetPoint was ready to try the technique in humans, thanks to animal studies and Levine’s optimization efforts. That first trial was overseen by Paul-Peter Tak, a rheumatologist at the University of Amsterdam and at the UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. Over the course of several years, 18 people with rheumatoid arthritis have been implanted with stimulators, including Katrin.
For the images of the actual device, check Core77. They also have implantable bioelectronic devices.
The development of wearable and implantable electrical devices has been in great demand recently. However, most existing energy storage systems are based on strong corrosive or toxic electrolytes, posing a huge safety hazard as a result of solution leakage.
Here, we have developed a family of safe and flexible belt- and fiber-shaped aqueous sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) by using various Na+-containing aqueous electrolytes, including Na2SO4 solution, normal saline, and cell-culture medium. The resulting SIBs exhibit high flexibility and excellent electrochemical performance and can be safely applied in wearable electronics. Flexible SIBs with normal saline or cell-culture medium as the electrolyte showed excellent performance, indicating potential application in implantable electronic devices.
In addition, the fiber-shaped electrode in normal saline or cell-culture medium electrolyte can consume O2 and change the pH, implying promising application in biological and medical investigations.
In a lot of the flexible batteries out there, these electrolyte solutions are made out of strong acids or toxic chemicals, the study says. That stuff is corrosive, flammable, or toxic, and you definitely don’t want it dribbling onto or into your body. That’s why scientists at Fudan University in China came up with a way to replace these toxic electrolyte solutions with something much less harmful.
The researchers experimented with a few different types of electrolyte solutions. The one that worked best was sodium sulfate, which is sometimes used as a laxative. But saline solutions, which are literally diluted salt water, also worked well. Eventually, bodily fluids like blood, sweat, or tears might take over the roll of the electrolyte solution to power medical implants, the study says.
a group of researchers at MIT have developed a remote sleep sensing system that uses radio waves to capture data about your brain waves while you sleep–and AI to read them–without ever touching your body. It consists of a laptop-sized wireless device that emits radio signals. When put in the user’s bedroom, the waves detect even the slightest movement of the body. The system doesn’t just do the job of a sleep-tracking wearable without the wearable; it also just provides data at a similar level of accuracy as a sleep lab.
In order to cut out all the extraneous information her system records, she developed a machine learning algorithm that can extract sleep stages–light, deep, and REM sleep–out of the mess of data. The algorithm was trained on a sleep dataset of 25 individuals for a total of 100 nights of sleep, taken using an FDA-approved device that uses EEG to record brain waves.
The results are 80% accurate
Viome, a startup that does RNA analysis of all living organisms in the gut, today announced funding of $15 million to create unique molecular profiles for its customers by identifying and quantifying all the microorganisms that live in the gut. These include bacteria, viruses, yeast, mold, and fungus.
Viome uses artificial intelligence to analyze these results and figure out what’s going on in your gut — certain imbalances can cause chronic illnesses, according to Viome’s cofounder and CEO, Naveen Jain.
“There are other companies out there that can analyze your microbiome, but they use 16S testing, which only looks at a portion of bacteria and only at a genus level (any two people have 95 percent similarity in their microbiome at a genus level),” Jain wrote in an email to VentureBeat. “We look at all living organisms at a strain level and also understand what they are doing.”
It’s quite possible that Alzheimer’s patients of the future will be equipped with memory prosthetics derived from the devices being invented in Berger’s lab today. His work began with delicate electrodes inserted into a rat’s hippocampus, the brain structure responsible for encoding memory. Berger first deciphered the relationship between the input signals from neurons that process a brief learning experience—for example, which lever a rat should press to gain a sip of sugar water—and the output signals from neurons that send the information on to be stored as a memory.
Once he had mapped the correlations between the two electrical patterns, Berger could record an input signal and predict the output signal—in other words, the memory. He didn’t need to know which part of the input pattern coded for the dimensions of the lever or for the taste of the sweet reward. He simply mathematically generated the output signal and sent it to the memory-storage neurons. “It’s like translating Russian to Chinese when you don’t know either language,” Berger says. “We don’t want to know either language; we just want to know how this pattern becomes that pattern.”
Berger proved that he could implant the memory of the lever-and-reward test in a rat with a damaged hippocampus that was unable to form memories on its own. Even more remarkable, he implanted the memory in a rat that had never before undergone the test or seen the levers. The rat entered the test chamber for the first time, pressed the correct lever, and sucked down the sweet nectar.
Many procedures in modern clinical medicine rely on the use of electronic implants in treating conditions that range from acute coronary events to traumatic injury. However, standard permanent electronic hardware acts as a nidus for infection: bacteria form biofilms along percutaneous wires, or seed haematogenously, with the potential to migrate within the body and to provoke immune-mediated pathological tissue reactions. The associated surgical retrieval procedures, meanwhile, subject patients to the distress associated with re-operation and expose them to additional complications.
Here, we report materials, device architectures, integration strategies, and in vivo demonstrations in rats of implantable, multifunctional silicon sensors for the brain, for which all of the constituent materials naturally resorb via hydrolysis and/or metabolic action, eliminating the need for extraction. Continuous monitoring of intracranial pressure and temperature illustrates functionality essential to the treatment of traumatic brain injury; the measurement performance of our resorbable devices compares favourably with that of non-resorbable clinical standards.
In our experiments, insulated percutaneous wires connect to an externally mounted, miniaturized wireless potentiostat for data transmission. In a separate set-up, we connect a sensor to an implanted (but only partially resorbable) data-communication system, proving the principle that there is no need for any percutaneous wiring. The devices can be adapted to sense fluid flow, motion, pH or thermal characteristics, in formats that are compatible with the body’s abdomen and extremities, as well as the deep brain, suggesting that the sensors might meet many needs in clinical medicine.
Others who’d taken Basis before me had described effects including fingernail growth, hair growth, skin smoothness, crazy dreams, increased stamina, better sleep, and more energy. Once I began taking it, I did feel an almost jittery uptick in mojo for a few days, and I slept more soundly as well. Then those effects seemed to recede, and there were also mornings where I felt a little out of it. If these were placebo effects, they were weird ones, because they didn’t make me feel better, only different.
Because the two active compounds in Basis, pterostilbene and NR, are natural (occurring in blueberries and milk, respectively) and have long been available separately as supplements, Elysium has been able to skip the FDA gauntlet and sell its capsules immediately.
The agility that comes with bypassing federal regulation has an obvious cost: Guarente and his advisory board are the only scientific credibility Elysium can claim. The company stresses that it is using only compounds supported by hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, that it enforces high manufacturing standards, and that it is conducting a human trial (currently 120 people between the ages of 60 and 80 are participating).
but most importantly
A large number of men who have made fortunes in Silicon Valley believe so — or at least are trying to recast aging as merely another legacy system in need of recoding. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s Ellison Medical Foundation has spent more than $400 million on aging research. In 2013, Alphabet’s Larry Page announced a moonshot life-extension project called Calico, and XPrize founder Peter Diamandis partnered with genome sequencer J. Craig Venter to found a competing company called Human Longevity Inc. Paul F. Glenn, an 85-year-old venture capitalist who watched his grandfather die of cancer, launched an aging-science foundation more than 50 years ago that has since funded a dozen aging-research centers around the country. Peter Thiel is 37 years Glenn’s junior but equally desperate to find a death cure: He has given at least $3 million to the Methuselah Foundation, the research vehicle for the extravagantly bearded, Barnumesque immortality promoter Aubrey de Grey. Thiel has also said he takes a daily dose of human growth hormone, and he was reported to have seriously explored the transfusion of blood from the young to the old.
… lens implants aren’t a new thing. Implanted lenses are commonly used as a solve for cataracts and other degenerative diseases mostly affecting senior citizens; about 3.6 million patients in the U.S. get some sort of procedure for the disease every year.
Cataract surgery involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacing it with a thin artificial type of lens. Co-founder and board-certified ophthalmologist Gary Wortz saw an opportunity here to offer not just a lens but a platform to which other manufacturers could add different interactive sensors, drug delivery devices and the inclusion of AR/VR integration.
Maybe there’s a surprisingly large audience among the over 60 that is willing to try and get a second youth through biohacking. Maybe over 60s will become the first true augmented humans.
Long piece published by The Verge on the biohacking scene and how these early days devices stop working within a handful of years.
A Wisconsin company called Three Square Market is going to offer employees implantable chips to open doors, buy snacks, log in to computers, and use office equipment like copy machines. Participating employees will have the chips, which use near field communication (NFC) technology, implanted between their thumb and forefinger.
They’re essentially an extension of the chips you’d find in contactless smart cards or microchipped pets: passive devices that store very small amounts of information.
Augmentation of brain function is no longer just a theme of science fiction. Due to advances in neural sciences, it has become a matter of reality that a person may consider at some point in life, for example as a treatment of a neurodegenerative disease. Currently, several approaches offer enhancements for sensory, motor and cognitive brain functions, as well as for mood and emotions. Such enhancements may be achieved pharmacologically, using brain implants for recordings, stimulation and drug delivery, by employing brain-machine interfaces, or even by ablation of certain brain areas.
I plan to review all of them.
what does it means to be human in a future molded by automation, robots, and artificial intelligences ?
Our core belief is that the human is a system that can be quantified, optimized, and upgraded. Like any system (regardless of its origin as biological, mechanical, or computational), the human has inputs and outputs. HVMN develops inputs into the human system to optimize for key biometrics including cognitive, physical, and metabolic output.
While our rhetoric and our techniques may be modern, the fundamental human drive to improve oneself is not. The same instincts that drove Egyptian pharaohs, Spanish conquistadors, and Chinese emperors to seek enhancement drive modern biohackers.
Andreessen Horowitz is backing this startup. Worth watching.