ALSO I WILL TELL YOU YOU’RE A COOL PERSON
but holley that’s just too much good shit that I get for free what is THE CATCH
you gotta write a video game haiku. best haiku wins. contest ends mmmmmmm when I wake up tomorrow, let’s say noon.
send me the haiku in an ask or reblog this and post it on there idk. I might buy two depending on the state of my bank account. You’ll have to send me your email address if you win so, you know, be cool with that. you don’t have to follow me or anything like that
Bebionic Prosthetic Hand Ties Shoelace And Deals Cards
Walking is the obvious goal for individuals who have a chronic spinal cord injury, but it is not the only one. Regaining sensation and continence control also are important goals that can positively impact an individual’s quality of life. New hope for reversing the effects of spinal cord injury may be found in a combination of stem cell therapy and physical therapy as reported in Cell Transplantation by scientists at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“Our phase one/two clinical trial had one goal: to give patients who have no other treatment options some hope,” said Hatem E. Sabaawy, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine in the molecular and regenerative medicine program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Early findings have concluded that we have met our goal and can improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries by providing a safe treatment that restores some neurological function.”
Dr. Sabaawy led a clinical trial that included 70 patients who had cervical or thoracic spinal cord injuries and were previously treated for at least six months without response. The patients were randomized into two groups, both of which were given physical therapy treatment. One of the groups also received stem cells derived from their own bone marrow injected near the injury site. Using the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment (AIS) Scale, patients received neurological and physical evaluations monthly for 18 months to determine if sensory and motor functions improved.
“Of primary importance, there was a notable absence of side effects in patients treated with stem cells during the course of our investigation,” added Dr. Sabaawy, who also is a resident member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
None of the patients in the control group who received only physical therapy showed any improvement in sensory or motor function during the same time frame. Although the scale of injuries differed, all patients who were treated with a combination of bone-marrow derived stem cells and physical therapy responded to tactile and sensory stimuli as early as 4 weeks into the study. After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in sensation and muscle strength, which was associated with enhanced potency and improved bladder and bowel control that eventually allowed patients to live catheter-free. Patients who showed improvement based on the AIS scale also were able to sit up and turn in their beds.
“Since the emergence of stem cells as a potential therapy for spinal cord injury, scientists have diligently sought the best application for using their regenerating properties to improve a patient’s mobility,” said Joseph R. Bertino, MD, University Professor of medicine and pharmacology, interim director, Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey and chief scientific officer at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “Dr. Sabaawy’s discovery that treatment is more successful when stem cell therapy is combined with physical therapy could provide a remarkable, and hopefully sustainable, improvement in the overall quality of life for patients with spinal cord injury.”
At the end of 18 months, 23 of the 50 patients who received both physical therapy and stem cell therapy showed a significant improvement of at least 10 points on the AIS scale. Several were able to walk with assistance. In addition, more gains were made in motor skill control by patients with thoracic spinal cord injuries, suggesting that patients with thoracic spinal cord injuries may respond better to the combined treatment.
Dr. Sabaawy however cautioned that more studies are needed with a larger number of patients to test different cell dose levels and intervals at which stem cell therapy should be delivered.
“Although a cure for spinal cord injury does not yet exist, it is clear that the regenerative and secretory properties of bone-marrow derived stem cells can improve symptoms of paralysis in some patients when coupled with the current standard of care that physical therapy provides,” said Dr. Sabaawy. “We will continue monitoring our patients for long-term safety effects of stem cell therapy and work to expand our research through a phase two clinical trial that can be conducted at multiple centers nationwide and internationally.”
(Image courtesy: University of Alberta, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
This is a question that I find increasingly relevant as tolerances and taboos shift and fade in the upcoming tech-dependent generations. Is transhumanism the new humanism? Some would say that humanity began the transhumanist movement the moment one of our ancestors picked up the first tool and extended his capabilities beyond that with which he was born. However, there is still a reluctance on the part of mainstream society toward invasive utilities: cochlear implants for example. Sure, a person born deaf may want a cochlear implant, but will people born hearing also want one when cochlear implants surpass the capabilities of organic cochleae?
This week an Australian woman had some of her vision restored thanks to a retinal implant. Some transhumanists believe that as technology improves, people might replace their healthy retinas for implants if it meant gaining added functionality such as night vision. This is a guest post by Luke Robert Mason, director of Virtual Futures and advisor to Humanity Plus.
What if you could dramatically alter the way you choose to perceive the world? What if, like bats, you could use echolocation to navigate? Dramatically improve your ability to see in the dark like a cat? Be able to see ultraviolet light? Or perhaps have the ability of a butterfly — to taste with your feet?
Transhumanists, a group who believe that augmentation of human capabilities is desirable, speculate that enhanced hearing and visual aids may soon enable us to customise our perception.
As mobile phones become increasingly ubiquitous, we are simultaneously wondering what will supersede these handheld communication devices and how new tools may alter the way we interact with the world around us.
Wearable technologies seem like a viable possibility, with projects such as Google Glass giving real traction to heads-up display (HUD). However, significant developments in perceptual aids for people with disabilities may offer a glimpse at an entirely different future for human-machine interfaces.
Cochlear implants, sometimes referred to as “bionic ears”, are speech processors that allow the natural apparatus of hearing to be bypassed. These are currently used by over two hundred thousand people worldwide. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Artificial Retina Project aims to develop a conceptually similar device that bypasses retinal photoreceptors, in order to send images from a camera directly to the visual regions of the brain as a way to restore vision to those who have been blinded by retina disease.
The capabilities of both these technologies, however, are still not as effective as the biological ears and eyes they aim to replace. Both are considered to be therapeutic forms of human enhancement — an enhancement that provides the means of overcoming a perceived disability. We will see a number of therapeutic enhancements on display over the duration of London’s 2012 Paralympic games. But what if these enhancements were able to take a person to a state of “improved” or “elevated” ability?
Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius made headlines when he was almost banned from competing in the Olympic Games because his carbon-fibre prosthetics were considered an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes. Despite high hopes, Pistorius’ Olympic campaign came to an end when he finished last in the 400m semi-final. But what if he had gone ahead and won the 400m Gold? Would athletes start seeing prosthesis as a desirable addition to, or replacement for, parts of their own body?
American double amputee, athlete and model Aimee Mullins has often spoken about the “opportunity of adversity”. Mullins is able to select her height daily by being able to choose from a series of interchangeable synthetic legs that she can ‘wear’ in the same way someone would wear a pair of fashionable shoes. She has what transhumanist philosopher Max More would call morphological freedom — the ability to alter her bodily form at will.
Neil Harbisson, a colour-blind artist, has decided to push this freedom one step further by creating his own bespoke form of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a neurological condition where the the stimulation of one sense triggers another — a synaesthete, for example may perceive numbers as colours. In a similar way, Harbisson uses a device attached to his head which allows him to hear colour as a series of musical notes, thereby extending his perceptual capabilities. His work raises an important question about the sort of choices we may soon be able to make and the ways in which we can begin to manipulate our own sensorium.
In an increasingly networked and mediated environment we may choose perceptual augmentations that extend our ability to acquire and interpret a greater quantity (and quality) of information. Augmented reality (AR) is already exploring different ways to overlay the visual senses with relevant location based data. But vision is proving to be a limited way to augment our perception — with traditional AR relying on our ability to view the world through the screen of our smartphone device.
Some researchers are suggesting it may be possible to extend information acquisition to other senses. David Eagleman, Director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine, is exploring ways to expand our sensory world by feeding electrical signals into the brain. Eagleman notes how, as biological creatures, we are only able to perceive a small amount of electromagnetic radiation called “visible light”. His work is currently exploring different ways to perceive the invisible parts of the world.
This convergence of plausible near-future technologies could give rise to people who are able to perceive a wide range of stimuli previously invisible or inaudible to humans. Many of these technologies remain speculative, but it is important to understand the slippage between today’s tools for therapeutic human enhancement and how these may have impact on the design of future interfaces.
Some humans may want augmented perception, and some may not. Perhaps this will follow the usual adoption life cycle we see today —from early adopter to laggard. If so, these enhancements could have the potential to become as desirable and ubiquitous as handheld mobile devices.
We do not yet know what forms of enhancement will be considered socially acceptable, but if any sensual augmentation does become normalised, those who decide not to augment their perceptual capabilities may become regarded as “disabled”.
After all, how much better would an artificial retina need to be, and what sort of functionality would it need to afford, before you would decide to replace your own eye with one?