People hate parasites. They’re slimy and repulsive - worms emerging from blisters on the body, mites breeding in skin folds. They hold wild parties in our guts. They bring pestilence, misery…even death. But wait: parasites can also be good - really, really good! Author Rosemary Drisdelle explores these much maligned creatures and their importance in nature, and she unveils exciting new medical research into the good they can do for us.
Tagged with “medicine” (11)
Maybe you thought your body was a noble castle poised against the onslaughts and invasions of the world. Well, think again. It turns out, we are the world. Our bodies are loaded with a jungle of microbial life, inside and out, that is essential to healthy life.
New science has found ten times as many bacteria cells as human cells in and on the human body. A load of microbes that work with us from the moment of birth in all kinds of key ways. Killing them off, avoiding them, may make us sick. Make us fat.
This hour, On Point: Microbes are us. The amazing full ecology of the human body.
In case you don’t read The Journal of Neural Engineering, here’s the news: scientists have created a brain implant that restores lost memory function and strengthens recall.
A brain implant. Now, it was in a rat. But it’s proven what can be done.
And offered a glimpse of what’s coming for humans. There is lots of talk about the “bionic brain.” To repair injuries, like Gabby Giffords’.
To supplement brains like yours and mine. Check out this headline: “Intel Wants Brain Implants in Customers Heads by 2020.”
It’s exciting, and it’s scary.
What’s gotten into you? In this hour we explore nature’s moochers - the good, the bad, and the hideous. We have stories of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and maybe even mind-controlled humans. Could parasites be the shadowy hand that pulls the strings of life?
"In this hour of Radiolab, we take several different looks at that moment when we slip from life … to the other side. Is it even a moment? If it is a moment, when is that moment? And what happens afterward? It’s a show of questions that don’t have easy answers. So, in a slight departure from our regular format, we bring you eleven meditations on how, when, and even if we die." From http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/
In 2006 James Maskalyk, a young, single ER physician, gave up a successful practice at one of Toronto´s finest hospitals to join Médecins Sans Frontieres. Armed with a wide set of medical skills and unburdened by a family of his own, he volunteered to serve in the world’s most dangerous places. After months of waiting, he received his assignment: a small village called Abyei, sandwiched in between two military compounds on the border of northern and southern Sudan. This event was recorded at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Dr. Robot, I presume? Your appendix may be removed by motor-driven, scalpel-wielding mechanical hands one day. Robots are debuting in the medical field… as well as on battlefields. And they’re increasingly making important decisions – on their own. But can we teach robots right from wrong? Find out why the onslaught of silicon intelligence has prompted a new field of robo-ethics.
Plus, robo-geologists: NASA’s vision for autonomous robots in space.
- P.W. Singer – Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, and the author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
- Wendell Wallach – Chair of a technology and ethics working group for Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and the co-author of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong
- Pablo Garcia – – Principal engineer working on medical robotics at SRI International, Menlo Park, California
- Robert Anderson – Planetary geologist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Robyn Asimov – Daughter of author Isaac Asimov
Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years - surely long enough to have become fully evolved?
It was thought that the dramatic extension of life spans during the 20th century eliminated natural selection, but new evidence shows that to be false.
Will selection always be natural, or could postmodern also mean posthuman?
From public health to forensics to conservation, Dr. David Mindell discusses the broad applications of evolutionary science in his recent book, The Evolving World.
Learn how evolution has grown from an unpopular curiosity to a set of invaluable tools.
While neuroscience and biomedicine speed ahead at an awesome pace, this 2008 Deakin Lecture questions what the ethical and legal barriers are to unlimited progress. It features Professor Roger Brownsword, from Kings College London. He is the director of the Centre for Technology, Ethics, Law and Society at the University of Edinburgh.
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