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Wanted: Adaptive Encouragement

It’s that time of year again. The global holiday of January 1, and with it, the annual ritual of self-improvement: setting New Year’s resolutions.  It’s a time when we’re called on to reflect on our lives and the behaviors we might want to change—and bombarded with ideas on how to do so.  It’s the time of year that makes me crave the realization of one of our Science and Technology forecasts: Adaptive Encouragement.

Replacement parts: “We can rebuild him, we have the technology”

Regenerative medicine will replace, restore, maintain, or enhance tissue and organ functions, dramatically improving patients’ health and quality of life, and potentially reducing the cost of their care. Tissue engineering will heal diabetic foot ulcers, reducing the need for amputations; organs grown in a lab will ease our dependence on donor transplants; and tendons, cartilage, and bone regrown with autologous cells will be used to repair injuries and joints.

Optimizing Healthspans: Branching paths of longevity and death

Optimizing Healthspans was one of our forecasts on the recently released Science, Technology and Well-being 2020 Forecast Map.

To clear up your first question, (what’s a healthspan?), by healthspan we mean the length of healthy, quality living. In the last hundred years we’ve seen a dramatic lengthening of our life expectancy, and radical life extension hopes to lengthen our lifespans, but what we’re grappling with now and in the next decade is optimizing our chances of those added years being happy and healthy.

Programming Immunity: Defense to Offense

As we scanned the horizon of science and technology’s ability to create health and well-being, we became fascinated with the idea of tinkering: experimenting with incremental improvements to our selves and surroundings. And one of the bits of our biology we’ll be tinkering with over the next decade is our immune systems.

Our immune systems are the key to humans’ profound resilience in the face of all the other organisms around and inside of us.

Which resilient future? As many as we can imagine.

“I’ll be dead by then. Shot.”

 

What if you could make the invisible visible?

Emotional Networking for Caring and Well-being

I just got a note in my email.  My aunt is busy with her own appointment, and nobody had yet volunteered to pick my uncle up from the VA hospital tomorrow, after he recovers from surgery.  Hey, it's a Friday.  I can take off a little early to pick him up, and get him to my cousin's place over the hill.  I respond to the email, volunteering. 

Sustain Saskatchewan

"Trees make the prairies tolerable." 

Apples 67, Oranges 109—Fight!

Kale, ANDI-1000. Broccoli, ANDI-376. Carrots, ANDI-240. It seems so familiar, yet so bewildering. What are these signs, and why is the answer on the tip of my tongue as I roll through the produce section of my local Whole Foods? Should I hunt around for some explanatory sign?

Courageous or Cheating? Prosthetics in Sports

The Boston Globe has a profile of MIT's Hugh Herr, a specialist in the development of prosthetic limbs. As is typical for current articles about prosthetics, sprint Oskar Pistorius makes an appearance. Herr makes an astute observation about the cultural tension regarding prosthetics and the potential for super-enabled disabled:

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