It’s official, we are living in a bizarre Jetson’s future age. Doctors and scientists have worked together to create an ingestible computer, that basically puts Google Glass to shame. The pill-form objects contain tiny sensors that help monitor the health of your body. The pills can collect data on how your systems are running, and transmit that information back to an external computer.
Several companies are currently working on pill prototypes. Just this last year, Proteus Digital Health raised more than $60 million dollars to create their version of a computer pill, which is actually powered by the body. Rather than an internal battery system, the pill has copper and magnesium ends which generates electricity to power itself via stomach acids. The Proteus model requires that users wear a special patch that transmits information from inside the body to a cell phone app that tracks everything from blood pressure to body temperature to movement and rest patterns.
The development could have huge implications for everything from the monitoring of heart disease and diabetes, to the progress of schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s. That’s great news for people who have chronic diseases that need to be managed; doctors and family members could potentially be connected to the system to help monitor the health of a loved one. But it also could spell trouble when it comes to privacy issues surrounding health information. After all, some of this data could be used to justify dropping or denying physically compromised patients from their insurance plans. Keep reading »
Jane Goodall is one of my personal heroes, so I was delighted to see this pair of photos of her — one as a young researcher playing with a chimpanzee in the early 60s, and another more recent shot (below) of her and another chimp enjoying a similarly silly interaction. The only detectable change in the more than 50 years between the two snapshots? A bit of gray hair. Now 79, Goodall has studied three generations of chimpanzees and spends her time mentoring researchers and zoologists who want to follow in her footsteps. She also makes sure to visit her beloved animals at Gombe Stream National Park a couple times a year. “When I’m on my own at Gombe now, I can easily recapture how I felt at 26, when all the world was new,” she told National Geographic. “There’s still a spiritual power there. I can breathe it in.” [National Geographic]
For the first time ever the U.S. Air Force has a female chief scientist. Her name is Dr. Mica Endsley and we think she’s pretty kickass. She assumed her official duties for the Air Force on June 3th and is the 34th chief scientist to be appointed.
This is an amazing accomplishment, but looking at her past, it really comes as no surprise: Keep reading »
We were thrilled to report a mostly happy ending to the story that was high school studentKiera Wilmot being expelled and arrested for attempting a science experiment on school grounds. No formal charges were brought against the student and she and her sister will get a free ride to space camp soon, but to hear Wilmot tell the story in her own words brings the frightening reality of what almost happened back to life.
Wilmot wrote a full account of what happened for the American Civil Liberties Union and as a kid who rarely got in trouble at school, it brought back memories of how bad it actually felt when I did. Only, I don’t think I could ever imagine what it would be like being handcuffed at school for doing a science project.
The piece, titled “An Unexpected Reaction: Why a Science Experiment Gone Bad Doesn’t Make Me a Criminal,” broke down the whole experience, which began by choosing a biology, chemistry, or physics project for class. Read more on The Mary Sue…
A couple weeks ago, we brought you the crazy story of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old student in Florida whose ill-fated science experiment got her arrested and charged with a felony. Wilmot was set to be tried as an adult in Florida’s notoriously tough court system, but thanks to a public backlash and internet campaign, she was able to get a lawyer who represented her for almost no charge and the state of Florida finally dropped the charges against her on Wednesday. But the good news doesn’t stop there… Keep reading »
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend. If you’re lucky enough to spend time with your mom, you might spot some of these mother-daughter relationship realities explained by science. Many research dollars have been spent to find out why your mom loves to text you or why she always seems to mimic your fashion sense. Scientists have also discovered the very positive, and sometimes negative, influences moms can have on their daughters’ lives. Keep reading to find out what they are.
As She Gets Older, She Likes You More Than Dad. If you noticed that your mom texts and calls you more and more, British researchers say that’s totally normal. A 2012 study analyzed two billion cell phone calls and half a billion texts and found that in early adulthood, women communicate most with romantic partners. But when a woman reaches her 40s, the attention goes to her daughter. And by 60, communication between a mom and daughter peaks. Read more on Tres Sugar…
If you, like me, spent a portion of your morning delicately pulling out gray hairs from the crown of your head, you’re going to want to hear about this. Science! Yes, the same science that told us that boobs shouldn’t wear bras and that there’s a neurological reason you can’t get Rihanna’s “Diamonds” out of your head, has figured out why hair goes grey as we age. It’s “massive oxidative stress,” silly. Keep reading »
When I was a kid, my oral fixation was gum. Grape or blueberry Hubba Bubba. I used to take my ABC gum and hide it in my dollhouse, under my bedside table, behind my book shelf for “later.” And then I would go on a “treasure hunt” for my gum and when I would “find it,” I would start chewing it again. I was so deep into gum that I slept with it in my mouth. It usually ended up in my hair in the morning which did not make my mother happy. While I thought my experimentation with chewing gum was totally normal, I made a point of making fun of Alex, the kid in my second grade class who picked his nose and ate it. I made up a song that I sang about his nasty habit to my friends:
Everybody knows, Alex picks his nose, his nose
Wipes it on his shirt and eats it for dessert
Eat it, Alex!
I wish you could hear me sing it because the melody is really bluesy and soulful. Anyhow, as it turns out, Alex was doing it right. University of Saskatchewan biochemistry professor Scott Napper is convinced that there are major health benefits to picking your nose and eating it. He is doing some major snot research to back his claim up. Keep reading »
Searching for something to do with your old poop? Does flushing it down the toilet just seem sad? Perhaps you should consider a fecal transplant — give the gift of your poo to someone else. This sign was photographed at the University of Adelaide in Australia and sent to us by a reader. “Donors wanted: Our research needs your poo,” it says. “We are conducting research into faecal [sic] transplantation as a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis and we need healthy volunteer donations.” Either this is the ickiest research study ever done Down Under (yuk, yuk) or someone is pranking Dr. Sam Costello and Dr. Jane Andrews bad. [Thanks, LR52185, for the pic!]