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Thursday, 8 December 2016

10 ANIMALS ON THE VERGE OF EXTINCTION


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10 animals on the verge of extinction
By Shea Gunther,
Mother Nature Network, 7 December 2016.

Whether it's due to habitat loss, poaching or unintended poisonings, animals like the cheetah are seeing their populations drop lower and lower. Conservation efforts, including protected reserves and bans on hunting and poaching, may be too little too late to stop the downward spiral many animals are experiencing. These 10 animals in particular once had the the run of the wilderness, but now they're on the brink of disappearing.

1. Polar bears

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Photo: U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr

The polar bear has become the poster animal for the devastating changes global warming is bringing to the Arctic. Polar bears are dying because their range is shrinking; the sea ice they use to hunt seals is melting as temperatures rise. With a recognized 19 subpopulations in decline, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that there fewer than 26,000 polar bears worldwide.

A new study paints an even more dire picture. Researchers led by Eric Regehr of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska, combined 35 years of satellite data on Arctic sea ice with shifts in polar bears groupings across four Arctic zones. They found that there's a 70 percent chance the polar bear population will decline by more than 30 percent by the middle of this century.

2. Orangutans

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Photo: Nomo/Wikimedia Commons

About 2,070 to 3,070 orangutans live on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Their habitat has been chopped up into smaller, more isolated pockets. Logging, road construction and especially the creation of palm-oil plantations have leveled their habitats, leaving them vulnerable to hunting and kidnapping (to be sold as pets). Like mountain gorillas, orangutans have the benefit of good PR, but that might not be enough as one conservation charity has declared that the orangutan could be extinct within 10 years if more is not done to preserve their habitats.

3. African lions

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Photo: Schuyler Shepherd/Wikimedia Commons

It might be too late for lions. The panthera leo has experience a population reduction of 43 percent between 1993 and 2014. As a result, today there are an estimated 23,000 to 39,000 lions in the wild. Their population has been carved up into ever-tightening, isolated ranges, and as the IUCN notes, humans are spreading into these small pockets of space and instability within Africa isn't conducive to conservation efforts.

4. Elephants

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Photo: Amoghavarsha JS/Wikimedia Commons

There are about 470,000 African elephants in the wild. Habitat fragmentation as a result of human land use aggravates elephant populations. Meanwhile, Poachers hunt elephants for their tusks, a relationship that has changed their evolutionary path - elephants with shorter tusks are breeding more and producing offspring with increasingly stunted tusks. Meanwhile, Elephants don't breed until they're teenagers and gestation lasts for 22 months - creating a population that struggles to bounce back.

5. Tigers

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Photo: Tu7uh/Wikimedia Commons

Tigers and humans don't mix well. We hunt them for fur, gallbladders, paws, teeth and tail. Their habitat has been under assault by development over the past few decades. All six remaining subspecies are endangered, and the IUCN puts the the overall Panthera tigris population between 2,154 and 3,159 big cats.

6. Cheetahs

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Photo: lajon/Pixabay

Do you recognize any patterns? We're good at killing big cats. Cheetahs are fast, but they might not be able to outrun extinction. The cat that can accelerate faster than a muscle car isn't adaptable to habitat change and has recently suffered from genetic degradation due to inbreeding. It's estimated that about 6,676 cheetahs remain the wild. They have a high infant mortality rate and are losing more habitat every year.

7. Egyptian vultures

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Photo: derwerbepool/Pixabay

These beautiful, white, well-feathered birds have an average wing span of 5.5 feet and are found in southern Europe, northern Africa and western and southern Asia. They use tools, dropping rocks onto ostrich eggs to crack the shell. Their thin beaks and long necks let them get carrion larger birds can't reach. These crafty birds face a declining population across all of its regions, with between 13,000 and 41,000 birds in the wild. A surprising source of danger for the birds is Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used on domesticated animals.

8. Eastern gorillas

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Photo: Rod Waddington/Wikimedia Commons

Both species of the mountain gorilla - the eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) and the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) - face significant challenges in their isolated habitats. The mountain gorilla has around 680 individual members living between two different groups and both face threat from an ever-encroaching human population. The eastern lowland gorilla, dealing with war and strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has seen its population drop from 17,000 in 1995 to 3,380 in 2016.

9. Chinese alligators

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Photo: Greg Hume/Wikimedia Commons

While American alligator populations are exploding, their Asian cousins are in danger. There are possibly only 50 Chinese alligators living in the wild in a handful of ponds along the lower Yangtze River in eastern China. They were pushed out of their habitats by agriculture and the presence of poisoned rats, which the alligators eat. The species is thriving in captivity, with over 10,000 around the world.

10. Blue whales

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Photo: anim1754/Wikimedia Commons

The world's largest animal is in trouble. Blue whales were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th century, and by the time hunting was deemed illegal in 1966, only a few thousand remained, down from a pre-whaling population of about 240,000. Today, the population has rebounded to between 10,000 and 25,000 individuals. They remain are under attack from seas polluted by chemicals such as PCBs and noise from boats and sonar equipment. Add the warming and acidification of the seas, and the outlook is bleak.

Top image: The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Credit: Hein waschefort/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited. Some images added.]

10 OBSCURE ASTRONAUT ACCIDENTS


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10 Obscure Astronaut Accidents
By Raymond Gerald,
Listverse, 8 December 2016.

Space flight is incredibly dangerous, requiring bravery that borders on insanity. (That’s exactly what makes astronauts so cool.) We’re all familiar with the big mishaps like the Challenger and Apollo 13, but hiding in their tragic shadow are a few accidents even stranger and more horrifying. These space program setbacks should give you renewed respect for the spacefarers among us.

10. Voskhod’s Vicious Vacuum

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Photo credit: Ria Novosti/Science Photo Library via BBC News

On March 18, 1965, Russia’s Voskhod 2 spacecraft blasted into Earth’s orbit on an historic mission: mankind’s first spacewalk. Cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev crewed the cramped two-man vessel, which had been rushed into production to beat the US. It was plagued by countless malfunctions, but the deadliest came not from the ship, but Leonov’s spacesuit.

Shortly after embarking on his historic stroll, Leonov realized something wasn’t right. Immediately after stepping into the vacuum of space, his pressurized suit began to swell up. His hands slipped out of his gloves, making it nearly impossible to perform his delicate work. Worse yet, his swollen suit was too large to fit back through the airlock, trapping him outside the spacecraft. Desperate, he released his oxygen, bringing himself dangerously close to suffocation, until he could squeeze back inside. Fortunately, he survived, teaching us precisely how not to build a spacesuit.

9. Mir’s Fender Bender

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Photo credit: NASA

In June 1997, an unmanned Progress resupply ship was docking with the Mir space station. Vasily Tsibliev, aboard Mir, had taken remote control of the Progress and was steering it via a live camera feed. However, TV screens don’t offer the greatest depth perception, and he only realized too late that he was bringing the ship in far too fast.

Progress slammed into Mir, crippling a solar array and punching a hole in its hull. The space station was thrown into an uncontrollable spin and was hemorrhaging oxygen. Luckily, however, astronaut Michael Foale was able to work out the station’s orientation by the position of the stars and radioed to ground control, who remotely fired Mir’s thrusters, stabilizing the craft. The ruptured section was sealed off from the rest of the station to control the air leak.

8. The Deadly Deprivation Chamber

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An extremely common test for astronaut hopefuls is the sensory deprivation chamber. Meant to simulate the extreme isolation of outer space, trainees are locked within for several days with only very minimal external stimuli. It’s unpleasant but not particularly dangerous...except for once in March 1961.

Valentin Bondarenko, a 24-year-old cosmonaut-in-training, had reached the end of his ten-day stay in the so-called “Chamber of Silence.” The small room, which had been pumped full of oxygen to match the conditions of Russian spacecraft, began to decompress as Bondarenko prepared to leave. He’d used an alcohol-soaked pad to remove the adhesive which had held medical sensors to his body and had casually tossed it aside when he’d finished. Unfortunately, it landed on Bondarenko’s hotplate and caught fire. The oxygen-rich room immediately burst into flames, roasting the young man alive. His injuries were beyond help, and he died eight hours later.

7. Who Says Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice?

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Photo credit: NASA

November 14, 1969, saw ominous clouds threatening Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 12 was set to launch that morning, and despite some concerns about the weather, officials agreed that the launch wouldn’t be affected. Roughly 36 seconds after liftoff, they began having second thoughts.

A lightning bolt struck the ascending craft, jolting the astronauts and disabling most of their electronics. They were still scrambling to fix the problems when a second lightning bolt struck, knocking out their remaining systems. The astronauts suddenly found themselves several miles above the Earth in a paralyzed ship.

They turned to Mission Control for suggestions, and a young engineer was able to solve the problem with the flip of a single, obscure switch. Power was immediately restored, and the mission went off without a hitch. That engineer, John Aaron, went on to help save the Apollo 13 and eventually became manager of the International Space Station.

6. A Truly Terrifying Test

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During the early 1960s, the US was speeding through tests of various spacefaring technologies, hoping to beat Russia into the history books. One such trial involved two test pilots, Malcolm Ross and Victor Prather, donning prototype space suits and riding high-altitude balloons into the upper atmosphere to test the suits.

Aside from a few hiccups, the test run went smoothly. It wasn’t until they returned to Earth that tragedy struck. After touching down in the Gulf of Mexico, the relieved pair awaited the helicopter that would take them home. It arrived and lowered cables to haul them up, but Prather slipped. He tumbled into the Gulf, water flowing into his suit. He was dragged under and drowned before divers could reach him.

5. The Gemini Jet Crash

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Photo credit: SSGT Jeffrey Allen, USAF

The US’s Gemini missions helped to perfect various techniques that would eventually allow the Apollo missions to reach the Moon. But few know just how close these missions came to not happening thanks to a freak accident one February day in 1966.

Gemini crew members Elliot See and Charlie Bassett had boarded a T-38 Talon with their backups, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan, in another. They were flying to the McDonnell plant in St. Louis, where the Gemini IX and X were being constructed, to train in their simulator. However, the weather over the city was gloomy, and visibility was low, making landing difficult.

Stafford and Cernan circled to get a better angle on the runway, but See and Bassett went straight for it. Unfortunately, the airfield was located ridiculously close to the factory, and in the haze, See plowed his jet into the very building in which the two spacecraft were being constructed. Sadly, the two astronauts were killed, but miraculously, the craft - and the Gemini program - survived.

4. The Apollo-Soyuz Gas Chamber

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Photo credit: NASA

On July 17, 1975, a US Apollo spacecraft and a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked in a display of international spacefaring goodwill. Both sides traded pleasantries and were given tours of the other’s craft. It all went perfectly according to plan...until Apollo returned home.

A complication with the thrusters and venting systems caused toxic nitrogen tetroxide gas to build up in the crew module during their descent. They could do nothing about it until they splashed down, so they did their best to get their jobs done despite increasingly severe coughing. To make matters worse, they flipped upside down after landing, so water blocked the air intakes.

Fighting to maintain consciousness in the toxic mist, astronaut Tom Stafford got oxygen masks for his crew, one of whom had already passed out, and the landing module was soon righted. The deadly fumes quickly dissipated once the hatch was opened, but the nearly suffocated crew still ended up in the hospital for two weeks.

3. The X-15 Disaster

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Photo credit: NASA

Michael Adams was a pilot of incredible skill. Having earned numerous awards for outstanding achievement, he was an obvious choice for the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory. He began training as an astronaut, but when the program started to smell of cancellation, he asked to work on the X-15 project instead. The X-15 was a hypersonic aircraft that traveled at such high altitudes that most pilots, Adams included, qualified as astronauts.

Adams’s flight on November 15, 1967, began well enough, but after reaching his cruising altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi), electrical issues began to throw the plane off course. Within minutes, he was in a 5,500-kilometer-per-hour (3,400 mph) spin. His training allowed him to stabilize the supersonic aircraft, but he ended up in an inverted nosedive which he could not correct. He slammed into the California desert at 6,400 kilometers per hour (4,000 mph) and was killed instantly.

2. Space, Where No One Can Hear You...Drown?

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Photo credit: NASA TV via Space.com

In July 2013, astronauts aboard the International Space Station were performing a routine spacewalk when one noticed a sensation totally unexpected in space. Italy’s Luca Parmitano felt water pooling on the back of his head.

Puzzled but focused on the mission, he continued his work until the water began to work its way around, clinging to his face in the zero-gravity environment. He reported the situation to Mission Control, who aborted the spacewalk. By this point, water had blinded Parmitano and had filled his nose and most of his mouth.

Amazingly, he kept his composure in the face of imminent suffocation and found his way to the airlock by memory alone. His fellow crew members were then able to remove the water still stubbornly stuck to his face. It was ultimately found that a blockage had caused the suit’s built-in cooling system to back up into Parmitano’s helmet.

1. The Nightmarish Fate Of Vladimir Komarov

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Photo credit: Ria Novosti/Photo Researchers Inc. via NPR

Yuri Gagarin was, of course, the first human being in outer space. However, his friend and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is not nearly as well-known, despite a much more memorable mission.

The Soviet Union had decided to stage a dramatic rendezvous between two of their spacecraft on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Unfortunately, this meant that the craft used were rushed into production to beat the deadline and were little more than space-age deathtraps. Komarov was chosen to pilot the first craft. He knew that if he refused, his friend Gagarin would be sent instead, so he accepted the job, knowing full well he wouldn’t make it home.

On April 23, 1967, Soyuz 1 took Komarov to space and failed almost instantly. Nearly everything malfunctioned as expected, and the flight was quickly canceled. The parachutes failed to deploy upon reentry, and Komarov hurtled through the atmosphere, burning as he went. US listening stations picked up his final agonized moments, cursing the engineers who had sent him to his death. Komarov was nearly vaporized upon impact.

Top image credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Listverse. Edited.]

12 DELECTABLE PASTRIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD


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12 Delectable Pastries From Around the World
By Suzanne Raga,
Mental Floss, 6 December 2016.

While you’re probably familiar with pies, croissants, cream puffs, and tarts, there are plenty of other tantalizing pastries to discover. Using a simple base of flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and shortening, pastry chefs can create a cornucopia of delicious desserts. If you’re looking to expand your pastry horizons, consider these 12 delectable pastries from around the world.

1. Franzbrötchen - Germany

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Most popular in Hamburg and other parts of northern Germany, Franzbrötchen are croissant-like spiral pastries made with butter and cinnamon. Germans usually eat Franzbrötchen at breakfast with their morning coffee, and they sometimes add raisins to them.

2. Gulab jamun - India

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We can thank India for gulab jamun, a glorious pastry that combines balls of fried dough with sweet syrup. Shaped like doughnut holes, the balls of dough are usually made with milk powder or corn flour and then fried in ghee. Gulab jamun packs a powerful dose of sugar, but cardamom, rose water, and saffron add more subtle notes to the pastry.

3. Pastelitos - Cuba

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Image credit: my_amii via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Cubans and Cuban-Americans in Miami know pastelitos well. Similar to jelly doughnuts, the pastries are typically made with flaky filo dough and contain a filling of guava and cheese. Some pastelitos have more unusual sweet and savory fillings, such as pineapple, coconut, and crab.

4. Baklava - Turkey

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A popular Middle Eastern dessert, baklava consists of layers of chopped pistachios and sweetened filo dough. The pastries may also include chopped walnuts or pecans as well as plenty of honey, butter, and sugar. For an authentic Turkish experience, savor baklava after a meal while sipping tea.

5. Cannoli - Italy

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Cannoli got its start over 1000 years ago in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Today, Italians still enjoy biting into the cannoli’s shell of fried dough to taste the creamy, sweetened ricotta filling. And thanks to Italian-Americans making and selling cannoli, most of us are familiar with the decadent Italian pastry.

6. Sufganiyot - Israel

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Sufganiyot are Israel’s answer to jelly doughnuts. The balls of deep-fried dough are filled with jelly and topped with powdered sugar. The Jewish recipe is popular around the world now, especially each December when they are served during Hanukkah.

7. Linzer torte - Austria

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The beautiful latticework on the top of Linzer tortes makes them instantly recognizable. Said to date to the mid-1600s, people in Linz, Austria began making these tortes, layering pastry dough with currant preserves. Today, the torte usually contains a filling of berry preserves, and the pastry dough is made with butter and ground nuts.

8. Kolompeh - Iran

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Image credit: MRG90/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Native to Kerman, Iran, kolompeh are cookie-sized pies made with minced dates, walnuts, cardamom, saffron, and sesame. Before baking the pastries, Iranians stamp them with kolompeh stamps, creating beautiful, intricate designs on the top of the pastries.

9. Birnbrot - Switzerland

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Image credit: Adrian Michael/Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Pear lovers will enjoy Birnbrot, a pear-centric Swiss pastry that incorporates dried fruits, spices, and nuts. The sweet bread is made from yeast dough and filled with everything from dried pears, dried apples or figs, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, clove, and coriander.

10. Mooncake - China

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Image credit: misbehave/Wikimedia Commons

Every fall, Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by gathering to view the full moon and giving mooncakes to their friends and family, symbolizing completeness and unity. The pastries are round (like the moon), sweet, and filled with a paste made of lotus seeds, red beans, or dates. Some Cantonese mooncakes also contain a salted duck egg yolk inside.

11. Croquembouche - France

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If you’re at a wedding or special event in France and spot a tower of desserts, you’re probably looking at a croquembouche. This triangle-shaped tower consists of carefully stacked profiteroles (a.k.a. cream puffs) decorated with strands of caramelized sugar. It’s fancy, elegant, and downright delectable.

12. Pineapple bun - Hong Kong

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Pineapple buns - also called Bolo Bao - are soft, sweet, chewy, and slightly crunchy on top. They don’t actually have any pineapple in them; rather, the pastry’s crust has a grid pattern that resembles a pineapple. If you’re not in Hong Kong, you can probably find pineapple buns in Chinese bakeries.

Top image credit: Maklay62/Pixabay.

[Source: Mental Floss. Edited. Some images added.]

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

INFOGRAPHIC: THE OLDEST SCAM ON THE INTERNET AND HOW TO AVOID IT


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The Nigerian Prince is one of the great bits of internet lore: a scam involving a large amount of wealth trapped overseas that need your help to release it. The result: you get fleeced. But the Nigerian Prince is just one form of advance fee fraud, which continues to steal billions of dollars every year. Find out all about it in the following infographic by Who Is Hosting This.

http://blogmedia.whoishostingthis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/oldest-internet-scam.jpg

Infographic Sources:
1.
Common Fraud Schemes
2. What I Learned Hanging Out With Nigerian Email Scammers
3. The “Nigerian” Email Scam
4. Nigerian Scam
5. Who Made That Nigerian Scam?
6. Millions of Victims Lost $12.7B Last Year Falling for Nigerian Scams
7. Smart People Easier to Scam: 419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2013
8. Nigerian Online Romance Scam
9. Nigerian Scam Victim Tells Her Story
10. Nigeria Law - Criminal Code Act, Part VI
11. $242m 419 Scam Trial Collapses
12. Britannica - Nigerian scam
13. “Spanish Prisoner” and Buried Treasure Bait Again Being Offered to Unwary Americans
14. Wikipedia - Advance-Fee Scam
15. Why We Should Scam the Scammers
16. How Does the Nigerian Scam Work
17. Perth Woman Recovers Money Following Dating Scam
18. Scam Victim Stories
19. Wikipedia - Emmanuel Nwude
20. McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld
21. FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center Annual Reports

[Source: Who Is Hosting This.]

8 MEDICAL TECH BREAKTHROUGHS THAT YOU MAY NEED ONE DAY


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8 Medical Tech Breakthroughs That You May Need One Day
By Dan Price,
Make Use Of, 5 December 2016.

We’ve come a long way since the days of using heroin to suppress a chesty cough. Thanks to technological advances in the medical sector over the last 50 years, we’re now healthier and living longer than ever.

But the heartbeat of progress is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, the discoveries are increasingly spellbinding and the breakthroughs are becoming more important with every passing day.

In this piece, I’m going to look at eight recent medical tech breakthroughs that you really ought to know about.

1. Bionic Eye


Bionic eyes might sound like something out of a 1990s B-side sci-fi movie, but they now comprise a real and growing field of medical technology. The goal is a simple one: restore the power of sight to people who have lost their vision.

The eyes aren’t perfect yet. They allow a user to distinguish large objects and differentiate between different shades of black and white, but they’re not good enough for someone to read a book or surf the web without accessibility tools.

The most commonly used system at the moment is Second Sight Medical Products’ Argus II. It works by transmitting the video signal from a pair of sunglasses directly to an implant in the retina of the user.

2. Artificial Pancreas


Approximately 415 million people in the world suffer from diabetes. There are two types of the disease: Type 1 in which the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, and Type 2 in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.

Whichever version a patient suffers from, the pancreas is to blame. That’s why news that artificial pancreases are in the final stages of testing has been met with such joy.

The device, which is worn externally on the body, can measure how much insulin the body needs and then deliver the dosage. The patient doesn’t need to do anything.

3. Anti-Aging Drugs

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Image credit: Ash/Wikimedia Commons

Living forever is either a dream or a nightmare, depending on your ethical and religious standpoint. Although we’re not quite there yet, scientists now firmly believe they at least have the technology to significantly reduce the aging process. Theoretically, it’ll allow people to live a healthy and active lifestyle well into their 120s and 130s.

A clinical trial called “Targeting Aging with Metformin” will go live in the United States in Winter 2016. If successful, it could see diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s consigned to history. More importantly, it could usher in a new period of “geroscience,” where doctors no longer try and cure issues like cancer and dementia, but instead fight the underlying mechanisms of aging.

4. Anti-Bacterial Lightbulbs


Hospitals are disease-ridden places - putting all of those people with all of those different ailments under one roof is a recipe for trouble. Superbugs like MRSA and C. diff are becoming increasingly common.

American company Indigo-Clean thinks it has found a solution thanks to a new technology which uses visible light to continuously disinfect an area. The 405nm light targets naturally-occurring molecules (called porphyrins) inside harmful micro-organisms. The porphyrins then produce “Reactive Oxygen Species” which inactivate the bacteria and prevent it from multiplying.

5. Tooth Regeneration

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Here’s a frightening statistic: by the time you’re 74 years old, there is a one-in-four chance that you’ll have lost all your permanent teeth. But don’t worry, a visit to the dentist could soon be a thing of the past thanks to research conducted by a team at Harvard.

They used low-powered lasers to activate stem cells and stimulate the growth of teeth, with high levels of success.

(Note: This doesn’t mean you should start eating lots of candy and stop brushing your teeth!)

6. Brain Defibrillator


We’ve all heard of heart defibrillators, machines that try to get your heart beating again if you suffer from a cardiac arrest. But brain defibrillators? That’s a new one.

The idea is to try and help the 840,000 people who suffer from sudden and uncontrollable epileptic seizures. An implant with the ability to recognize the early warning signs of a seizure is inserted into your brain. It then uses electrical pulses to counteract your brain’s own signals, thus preventing a full epileptic fit.

In the first year of availability, the number of seizures dropped by 40%. The figure jumped to 53% in the second year.

7. Skin Cancer Finder


Around 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, but the number of invasive surgical biopsies is much higher. That’s because the majority of dangerous-looking moles are harmless, but it’s impossible to find instances of melanoma without cutting into a patient.

But a dermatologist’s job is about to get much easier thanks to a new handheld tool - MelaFind - that can do a multispectral analysis of tissue morphology. Currently, the device is not for definitive diagnosis, but it can greatly help a doctor when deciding whether to order a biopsy.

The benefits are two-fold: there will be fewer patients with unnecessary biopsy scars and hospitals will spend less time and money on unnecessary procedures.

8. Brain-to-Brain Communication


I’ll leave you with what sounds like the most far-fetched idea of all the breakthroughs on this list: mind-reading. Okay, it’s still in its experimental phases, but in 2015 scientists at the University of Washington successfully used direct brain-to-brain interfacing to allow two people to communicate directly through neural coding.

In the experiments, the “sender” had their neural signals extracted, digitized. They were then re-coded in the “receiver” brain using induced neural activity. Several pairs of people were able to successfully play question-and-answer games over a network using nothing more than brain signals.

Where Will It All End?

You’ll have presumably realized just how other-worldly some of these advances sound. Even a decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine just how far we might have come.

Most amazingly, the pace of innovation is getting faster, not slower. Experts already predict 2017 will be a breakout year for robotic doctors, DNA manipulation, and bionic limbs, among others.

We now live in an age where anything seems possible, medically speaking. There is very little we cannot fix, mend, or cure - and that list is shrinking all the time.

Top gif image: NeuroPace RNS System brain defibrillator. Credit: Image created from Business Wire/YouTube.

[Source: Make Use Of. Edited. Some images and videos added.]