“Whether you live in the developed world or the developing world, the further you travel outside of a major city, the harder it is for you to access the medicine you need to stay healthy and alive.”
Rethinking Autism: Interview with NeuroTribes Author Steve Silberman
The package is simple and dirt-cheap—a plastic bag with a condom, a syringe, a rubber tube, and a card with instructions—but it can mean the difference between a mother living and dying.
The drug has been proven effective at reducing seizures from certain types of childhood epilepsy.
We’re now starting to scratch the surface of the true potential of virtual reality.
From newborn health to AIDS treatment to DNA research, these brilliant women paved the way for incredible advances in the field of medicine.
Should terminally ill patients be allowed to try experimental procedures? Hear the amazing, true story of the AIDS activists who fought for a "right to try." And won.
For centuries, prosthetics didn't change much at all, but the past 10 years has seen an incredible leap forward in the way they look and work.
The average American is one medical accident away from being destroyed financially. These bill collectors woke up to the brutality of their industry - and are using their insider knowledge to save strangers from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Jerry Ashton was a debt collector working on Wall Street when the Occupy Wall Street movement started. He became interested, and eventually partnered with them and his friend Craig…
MaCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda’s design studio, Alleles, began as an unorthodox college thesis project. It is now a premier boutique where amputees can be fitted for fashionable limb covers that make their prosthetic limbs stylish and eye-catching. These designers hope their fashions will help reduce the stigma that comes with prosthetics.
When nerve cells in the brain communicate, they create tiny electric fields that can be sensed – and sometimes altered – from outside the skull.
Deepfakes have ignited fierce media criticism and call into question the public’s ability to discern fact from fiction. But the technology behind Deepfakes, called GANs, has enormous potential to drive innovation beyond fake social media videos. Read more to find out some of the amazing things being done with this technology.
The "secret life of antidepressants" could open up a host of new treatments.
Is the solution to dangerous drugs... making them safer?
A shocking amount of scientific studies can’t be reproduced. Do we need to change the culture of science?
Any father would do whatever it takes to save their child’s life. So when Steve Levine found out that his daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease, he started thinking of any way he could help. The problem was that his daughter was born with reversed left and right ventricles, the weaker of which would run the risk of giving out as she aged. She had a pacemaker installed…
Before he was director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rory Cooper was customizing his own wheelchairs for racing. His racer was lighter than traditional chairs, optimized for racing on the road, but many of its modifications have since become commonplace in wheelchairs designed for everyday use. Cooper's chair demonstrated the importance of performance and functionality, ensuring that the user's quality of life is improved by restoring or augmenting…
As more and more former football players exhibit symptoms of CTE, one company thinks their new helmet can address the problem of player safety.
From virtual hearts to immersive battlefields, doctors and scientists are using virtual reality to transform medicine
How Rory Cooper Built the Custom Wheelchair When people think about using wheelchairs, they probably don’t envision a custom design. Instead, they picture a bulky frame, handicap ramps, special vans for transportation with archaic wheelchair lifts, and a design out of the past. The sad truth is wheelchair technology has changed very little in the last 200 years. And over time, these dated designs can cause physical injury and deplete…
Companies gather to discuss impact of A.I. A possible neural lace breakthrough. And unmanned cargo ships. This is the coolest stuff we've read this week.
With Thanksgiving winding down, take some time to join us on a journey to the frontier of medical technology.
From how to make good habits (and keep them) to a crisis at the NIH, it's a new edition of our week in ideas.
Patients stricken with “essential tremors” have their lives upended by this nerve disorder which causes uncontrollable shaking. But doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are helping these patients find relief by “burning out” the problem-causing part of the brain with a high-intensity focused ultrasound. This miracle treatment significantly reduces tremors without the potential for complications posed by more invasive brain surgery. This, along with other neurological advances,…
For amputees, the sensation of a ‘phantom limb’ can be a terrible or disorienting experience -- feeling a hand, arm or leg that isn’t there anymore. But researchers at Johns Hopkins have recognized that these sensations are a clue, and they’re using it to restore the sense of touch.
Pheo Coffee isn’t your everyday coffee company — it’s paying for critical medical treatments in developing countries. Founder and physician Larry Istrail saw that millions of people worldwide were suffering because they couldn’t pay for basic medical care — while in America we're drinking millions of cups of coffee a day. He decided to make a difference by starting a coffee company whose proceeds would go toward creating a sustainable…
It's a breakthrough for the blind and paralyzed, not the first step toward the Matrix. (Promise.)
Robots can make hundreds of tiny copies of your organs, allowing doctors to test many different treatments at the same time.
There's more to your DNA than just letters, and mutations can lurk in that genetic "dark matter."
Our best tool for preventing disease is the least effective in the places where it's most needed.
Forty years later, IVF shows how fears about new technology can fade.
Like the day’s newspaper, the brain has a temporary way to keep track of events.
Businesses have gotten to space; now what?
The Ebola outbreak sparked more medical innovation in two years than TB has in decades, even though TB is killing millions of people a year.
The "Human BioMolecular Atlas" will map the active genes in over 200 types of cells and 80 different organ systems.
We need a lot more calories to feed a growing world, and these scientists may have figured out how to get them.
Basic science funding is a mess. Fixing it could radically improve the pace of innovation.
Building a new, community-based foster care system
There are currently over 7 billion human beings alive on Earth --- and in 2050 the world's population will rise by almost 2 billion. That's a lot more mouths to feed considering that roughly 11 percent of the world goes hungry today. "in the next 40 years, we need to produce the same amount of food as we did over the last 8,000 years." Ernst van den Ende , Managing…
After a 30-year struggle, Atlantic salmon modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon has been approved by the FDA. Its producers say it solves problems related to climate change, ocean pollution, and food scarcity. Skeptics call it playing god. Both call it the Frankenfish.
Gene therapy uses a virus to replace missing or defective genes. It sounds counterintuitive, but it could be the key to curing previously incurable diseases.
Anemia affects up to ⅓ of the world’s population, but tests are expensive and require complicated devices. Now, an app is able to screen for anemia without even drawing blood. It’s the brainchild of Rob Mannino, a postdoctoral fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology who has anemia himself. He wanted to fight the disease, so he teamed up with Wilbur Lam, an associate professor at Emory. Recognizing the number…
Scientists have figured out how to hack the brain's memory.
How will artificial intelligence transform medicine?
A new discovery upends what we thought we knew about premature births and could point the way to entirely new solutions to prevent them.
Smoking kills off good bacteria and upsets the balance of power your gut.
Reliable power straight from the sun looks more achievable than ever.
We could be on our way to a fast, reliable, portable test for almost any virus or cancerous mutation.
In the fight against TB, sometimes it's better to just get along.
The experiment breaks the conventional wisdom about what memories are made of.
The bacteria in your microbiome ward off infections and help keep your skin healthy.
Millions of people are dealing with traumatic head injuries; brain scans show that cognitive training could actually repair damaged neural connections.
A pill instead of a needle would be the "holy grail" for diabetes treatment.
One small step for a mouse, perhaps one giant leap for treating spinal injuries.
Vitamin D deficiency is an age-old problem, but new techniques from archaeology may be the key to catching it early.
How the founders of the "coffin clubs" got started – and their advice for others.
Artificial intelligence will multiply your own intelligence, in ways that will surprise you.
Can mind-readers replace passwords and biometric security?
Why does pain hurt more for some people? Why do others feel nothing at all?
A CRISPR skin graft looks like a promising way to deliver gene therapy.
New research suggests that our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.
How a pediatric cancer drug went from discovery to clinical trials in five years and just $500,000.
When the New Horizons spacecraft launched in 2006, Pluto was still a planet and the iPhone didn't exist.
The only treatment for retinoblastoma is surgical removal of the eye—but scientists may have found another way: cancer-killing viruses.
As police departments look for ways to rebuild trust with their communities, an increasing number are turning to new community policing programs. But are they effective? As with most things, it depends on what you measure.
Epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin of Cure Violence says we need to treat violence like a public health crisis and employ the same types of strategies we use in medicine to treat violence.
For many cancer patients, being treated at home is just as safe, more affordable, and more convenient than being treated in a clinical setting.
“Everyone - no matter their age, race, or background - needs a network of supportive relationships to help them thrive.”
Humanity is locked in an arms race with diseases: we update our vaccines, and diseases evolve new ways to try to sneak past them. Cutting-edge research is exploring how to stimulate immunity without using vaccines, using the new gene-editing technology known as CRISPR.
Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein
This mobile lab, run by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, is one of several workarounds developed by US researchers to study cannabis outside the confines of campus, where federal law has stymied research of the drug.
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with employment barriers, whether due to prior convictions, medical concerns, poverty, homelessness, or any other issues which make gainful employment difficult.
New proposed regulations from the FDA would effectively shut down private stem cell clinics in the U.S.
Clean meat is becoming a more widely known, and much loved food category. But do you expect to see it on your gourmet plate any time soon? These chefs think yes.
First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives service members an outlet whenever they need it.
Virtual reality users experience more lucid dreams, a paralyzed man gets movement back, and self-lacing shoes. These are our favorite stories this week.
An incredible medical breakthrough, Google ups the ante, and the SpaceX Mars rocket. These are our favorite stories of the week.
Dr. Giovanni Borromeo dreamed up a brilliant scheme that saved dozens of Jewish families in Rome from Nazi persecution.
Reimagining how we get medicine to people, using genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika, and selfies as passwords. These are the stories that got us talking.
We take a look at a few of the not-so-obviously-bizarre things we've launched beyond the earth's atmosphere.
As talk of space colonization heats up, is it time to have a serious conversation about conflict resolution in a place where few rules or laws exist?
The Swedish public health researcher says that, contrary to most of what you hear, the world is actually moving in the right direction.
Google releases some beautiful VR, human trials of gene-editing technology CRISPR, and importing Cuba's cancer vaccine.
Scott Phoenix, founder of Vicarious, shares insights on the development of artificial intelligence and why this is a great time to be alive.
8i takes video and converts it into virtual realities that are nearly indistinguishable from real life.
The unbelievable story of the day Jordan Riley was declared brain dead and his journey of re-learning how to be human.
Rethinking the MRI machine, how will Christianity handle advanced tech, and is this 7-year-old the next Einstein?
A century after its discovery, insulin is still incredibly expensive, but DIY bio-manufacturing could change that in a big way.
If you thought dragons existed only in the domain of historical fantasy fiction like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, think again. Dragons are real and their blood just may be our biggest hope when it comes to tomorrow's antibiotics. Dragons Are Real The largest of any earthly lizard, Komodo dragons walk the earth to this day. They’re not only real, but they’re also much like their larger,…
Superhuman is a Freethink original series about the amazing advances in medical innovation that are making the present look more like a sci-fi depiction of the future. Join us as we meet the engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors and patients who are giving people a new lease on life today, while building our superhuman future of tomorrow.
Most of medical science focuses on combating disease and managing the impact of aging. But one MIT researcher wants to tackle aging head on. Through decades of research, Dr. Leonard Guarente has uncovered a basic mechanism to regulate aging and co-founded Elysium to turn his research into a product. Elysium’s mission is to help people live healthier for longer. Freethink is proud to present this story in partnership with Elysium.…
As hospitals collect more and more data, analyzing it is a challenge and an opportunity. Montefiore Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine is a case study in how using artificial intelligence in hospitals can help improve outcomes. They’re working with Intel’s Healthcare AI team to develop machine learning algorithms that can see patterns within it. The result, which they call the Patient Centered Analytic Learning Machine or…
What do you do when there are no experts to turn to? For computer scientist Matt Might, the answer was obvious: you become the expert. When doctors couldn't figure out his son's disease, he found a way to crack the code. Matt's son, Bertrand, suffers from an extremely rare genetic disease, called NGLY1 deficiency, which causes chronic seizures, liver problems, and developmental delays. In fact, it was so rare that…
Superhuman is back with Season 5! Premiering Wednesday, August 7th, we'll be meeting the scientists, cyborgs, and real life heroes who are pushing the frontiers of groundbreaking medical technology. Can't wait until then? Get to know the Superhuman cast below. The Emerging Cyborg Meet Alec McMorris When his cousin’s car skidded into a guardrail on an icy Utah road in 2013, Alec McMorris rushed to help him. While trying…