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Posts from the ‘Future’ Category

NASA Plans To Recycle Human Waste into Food

In its latest press release, NASA announced the selection of eight university-led proposals to study innovative, early stage technologies that will address high-priority needs of their space program. They award about $200,000 per year to each project for up to a possible three years of research.

The selected proposals for unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies will investigate challenges in the areas of solar cell operations at high temperatures, atmospheric entry model development, synthetic biology applications for space exploration and dynamic tensegrity-based space structures. Tensegrity is a property of structures that employs continuous tension and discontinuous compression to produce exceptionally strong structures for their mass.

One of the most exciting projects is “Synthetic Biology for Recycling Human Waste into Food, Nutraceuticals, and Materials” which could serve the needs for long-term space travel. It could provide the means to produce food, medical supplies and building materials on site at distant destinations using synthetic, biology-based approaches.

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Looking Back At Today’s Healthcare From The Future in 2050 – Video

A lot of people ask me about the future of medicine and healthcare. What’s coming next, what about the future of radiology, genomics or health sensors. They ask me to make really sharp predictions. But instead of this, let’s do something else now. Let’s look back from 2050, and see what today’s healthcare included, what barbaric elements played an important role in today’s healthcare in the 2010s.

Please let me know if I missed something.

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See more videos on The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel.

The Top List Of Video Top Lists: The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel

I’ve been publishing videos on the Medical Futurist Youtube channel for months and I have received plenty of messages about what top lists I liked to create the most. Here they are, I hope you will enjoy watching them.

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Five Videos About Health Wearables

Here are 5 videos from the Medical Futurist Youtube channel about how to use health wearables at home. I hope you will enjoy watching them.

The FDA Just Approved The First 3D Printed Drug

In The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I wrote about Lee Cronin and his group as they have been working on methods to print out drugs.

Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, wants to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs what Apple did for music. In a TED talk he described a prototype 3D printer capable of assembling chemical compounds at the molecular level. Patients would go to an online drugstore with their digital prescription, buy the blueprint and the chemical ink needed, and then print the drug at home. In the future he said we might sell not drugs but rather blueprints or apps. While this could make prescription drug distribution more efficient, a danger is that unscrupulous people will steal the designs and raw supplies in order to print out whatever drugs they want at home. This could become a regulatory nightmare, far worse than printing out guns. It will also restructure the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology as we know it.

It sounded like science fiction but today it doesn’t seem so any more. The FDA just approved an epilepsy drug called Spritam that is made by 3D printers. It prints out the powdered drug layer by layer to make it dissolve faster than average pills.

This could prove to be an important step for integrating 3D printing more deeply into the US health system. Doctors in the US already use a government-sponsored 3D-printing repository to share tool designs to aid in surgeries and treatments; now scientists are working on 3D-printed tracheas and bones, as well as ears, kidneys and skin—which could one day help cover the massive shortage in donor organs.

While the quick-dissolving Spritam tablet is a world away from 3D-printed organs and body parts, its approval shows that the FDA thinks certain 3D-printed materials are safe for human consumption.

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It was shown before how the technology could be used to print out drugs (with theophylline) but an FDA approval is a huge step forward.

I told you that soon the issue is going to be the overuse and not whether people get access to the right medications. We need to initiate public discussions about 3D printed drugs now.

5 Reasons Why Humans Is The Best TV Show About The Future of Robot Companions

I love all the branches of science fiction either in books or movies but the favorite kind is when authors and creators depict the future of our lives. We might soon live with robot companions that possess artificial intelligence and they could change how healthcare is delivered too. So far, the 2012 movie Robot & Frank has seemed to be the best example, but now I have a new favorite, Humans. It premiered on Channel 4 and AMC this June and has been receiving positive reviews.

Here is the plot summary:

In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live.

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I think there are five reasons why it might be the best TV series ever about our future robot companions.

1) It’s more about characters than science fiction.

When you start using a futuristic device at your home, it gets incorporated into everyday life instead of the technological backround playing the most important role. In this show, characters are better described than the actual technology behind the robot companions. What matters is how we will live with them, not how they will function.

2) These companions are on the verge of becoming conscious.

They possess artificial intelligence, but the desired friendly kind. This is the kind many scientists think we wouldn’t be able to create. The main plot of the show is about a few robots becoming conscious. And this is a crucial issue regarding the future of humanity.

3) There are companions designed for taking care of the elderly.

Some robots are depicted as healthcare professionals that can take care of the elderly at their homes. They have pre-programmed protocols and were designed to make sure those people live a healthy life and get help in emergency.

4) Companions can measure any parameters at home.

It’s not even too futuristic, but those robots can measure any health parameters and vital signs by looking at the patient or touching them for a second. They have all the medical records of the patient and keep the information private.

5) Companions have sexual features too.

Those who think users will not have sexual fantasies about robots that look perfectly like a human are wrong. In the show, this delicate issue is handled properly and honestly. The robots have a special +18 code with which some additional features can be unlocked.

Beautiful scenes, good plot and actors who play robots in a perfect way. Don’t miss it.

Check out the trailer:

The Ultimate Starter Kit For Looking Into The Future Of Medicine

I receive a lot of questions from patients, physicians, researchers, developers, and policy makers after my talks about where they should start in discovering the future of medicine. Which books, movies, TV series or websites would help them understand and get a clear picture about where medicine and healthcare are heading because of new disruptive innovations.

Here are the top choices in each of these categories.

1) Books

Let me show you two books about the future of medicine. The first is The Patient Will See You Now from Dr. Eric Topol. This is the Number One book in digital health. The second is The Digital Doctor from Dr. Bob Wachter. These two books will give you an absolutely clear picture about where we are heading.

Here are nine more books about the future of medicine.

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2) Movies

Regarding movies, Gattaca shows you the non-desired future of genomics. Big Hero 6 talks about how we could measure health parameters at home. And Elysium is discussing the future of radiology and how financial differences will harm society if it comes to health.

Read more in the Top 10 Science Fiction Movies About the Future of Medicine.

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3) Television series

Regarding TV series, The Knick gives a great picture about the first years of modern surgery and how medicine develops over time. And I like Humans which depicts a future with robot companions and what problems on the level of society we will have with them. I also like Star Trek that shows you what people thought about the future of medicine decades ago.

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4) Websites

These are the ones I check on a daily basis.

5) Social Media channels

Regarding social media channels, there are great communities on Google+ (see the image below) and I regularly check the futurology sub-Reddit on Reddit.com.

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What are your choices?

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