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Every year, a million babies are born worldwide with hereditary diseases. Physicians once had little to offer. Now a new breed of gene doctors is on the case. They are devising treatments that target the root causes of these diseases. Please note this title contains potentially offensive language.
So many technological developments have taken place this century that enable medical professionals to practice medicine at a distance. Thanks to information technologies it is no longer necessary to go to the doctor's office for a checkup or diagnosis. Doctors now have the ability to take vital signs, perform tests, or even operate from a distant location.
Watch the story of how gene therapy restored the sight of a nearly-blind young patient. Told from the perspective of two researchers who spent over 25 years working to develop this breakthrough technology, this short film chronicles their successes and challenges, and illustrates how the method works to treat inherited conditions.
Rigoberto Delgado, a health economist at the University of Texas, wants to help health-care professionals target their limited resources. His team is using geospatial mapping science and predictive analytics to forecast areas of highest risk for illness. The researchers want to figure out where to send the mobile health clinics to help prevent potential outbreaks. Part of the "Science Nation" series.
The University of Washington is advancing research into deep brain stimulation, which is used to treat people with essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions. At the Center for Neurotechnology, a team is designing and testing upgrades for devices to make them smarter and less intrusive. Along with enhanced brain sensors, new control algorithms, and machine-learning techniques to improve device performance, the team is ensuring the design meets the day-to-day usability needs of patients. Part of the "Science Nation" series.
The cloning of Dolly the sheep can trace its origins all the way back to Charles Darwin's trip to the Galapagos Islands in the 1800s. Darwin's evidence for evolution was overwhelming, but scientists still didn't know how traits passed from parent to offspring. As microscopes improved, scientists were able to see cells divide and eventually discovered the genes that make up DNA. This, along with other technological advances, has opened up an exciting new area of scientific study: nanotechnology.
Engineers are joining forces with designers, scientists, and doctors at Drexel University to produce new biomedical textiles, and the resulting smart clothes are not only fashionably functional, but could also be life savers. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), electrical and computer engineer Kapil Dandekar, industrial and fashion designer Genevieve Dion, and OB-GYN Owen Montgomery are incorporating RFID technology into their “belly bands” for women with high-risk pregnancies. The band continuously tracks data and alerts the doctor’s office via the Internet should the woman start contractions. Part of the National Science Foundation Series “Science Nation.”
Researchers around the world can compare notes on one of the most powerful tools available for imaging human brain function, the fMRI, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project, called OpenfMRI, allows scientists to share their data easily and securely in a standardized format. The advantages are clear to Stanford neuroscientist Vinod Menon, who researches brain development and is using OpenfMRI to validate his research. Menon says as more studies are added to OpenfMRI, it becomes a powerful tool for diagnosing and treating neurological disorders. Part of the National Science Foundation Series “Science Nation.”
Imagine having the ability to manipulate light waves in order to see through a skull right into the brain, or being able to use lasers to diagnose a bacterial infection in a matter of minutes. At the Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems (CBSS) at Boston University, technologies enabling these abilities and many others are coming to light. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), mechanical engineer Thomas Bifano and his colleagues are developing optical microscopes that can image deep into biological tissue, helping scientists observe molecular-scale activity. Their goal is to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Part of the National Science Foundation Series “Science Nation.”
While many of rely on passwords to protect their identity, there's more sophisticated identity recognition technology called "biometrics" for use. Security measures that use biometrics rely on a person's unique characteristics and traits rather than on what that person can remember, such as a password. Ocular biometrics, in particular, relies on iris and retinal scanning. With support from the National Science Foundation, computer scientist Oleg Komogortsev and a team at Texas State University are taking the technology a step further, making it even more secure, reliable and nearly impossible to fool. Part of the National Science Foundation Series “Science Nation.”