DIY Gene Editing and Other Health News

Phil and Stephen discuss surprising medical developments.


After 15 Years in a Vegetative State, Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness

Researchers have been able to restore consciousness to a patient who has been in a vegetative state for 15 years. The groundbreaking study utilized vagus nerve stimulation to help restore consciousness to the patient.

The outcome challenges the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible, the researchers say.

Scientists Have Discovered a Drug That Fixes Cavities and Regrows Teeth

Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called Tideglusib. Developed for and trialled to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the drug also happens to promote the natural tooth regrowth mechanism, allowing the tooth to repair cavities.

Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay.

This Rare Medical Condition Makes You Love Everyone

Williams syndrome, which affects 30,000 people in the U.S., is often called the opposite of autism.

The syndrome, whose sufferers have a surfeit of oxytocin, aka the love hormone, affects roughly 1 in 10,000 people worldwide, with 30,000 in the U.S.  People with Williams tend to love and trust everyone, so they run up to strangers and hug them, which obviously, also makes them very vulnerable.

A 2010 study showed that people with Williams felt no racial bias, whereas, by the age of three, every other group shows an implicit preference for their own race. This has been part of us throughout evolution, because in the early days, if you weren’t a member of our tribe, then you were very likely to be regarded as a threat.

It’s amazing to see people with Williams approach everyone with this basic belief in the goodness of the other person. For me personally, as an introvert who is more wary of new people than average, watching Eli approach people so openly was uncomfortable because I’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re taking such a risk, you’re in so much danger!’ But 99 percent of the time, the person would respond positively. Watching him taking risks that I would never take, and it turns out OK, that changed me a lot.

It’s not like I learned any tricks on how to win friends and influence people. But I did learn that you can be more open and vulnerable. And that you can gain from it.

Child and teen obesity rates soar globally, WHO reports

The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has jumped tenfold in the past 40 years and the rise is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia, a major study said on Wednesday.

Childhood and teen obesity rates have leveled off in the United States, north-western Europe and other rich countries, but remain “unacceptably high” there, researchers at Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Human Myostatin Knock-Out Targeting CRISPR-Cas9 Plasmid

This plasmid expresses Cas9 and a gRNA targeting exon 1 of the human myostatin gene.

Part of this project:

DIY Human CRISPR Guide

This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive guide and is instead meant to show people the ease at which CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to modify the adult human genome.

This Guy Says He’s The First Person To Attempt Editing His DNA With CRISPR

“I want to live in a world where people get drunk and instead of giving themselves tattoos, they’re like, ‘I’m drunk, I’m going to CRISPR myself,’” said Zayner, who has a few tattoos of his own, in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “It sounds crazy, but I think that would be a pretty interesting world to live in for sure.”

The Odin, Zayner’s startup, just started selling a molecule that disables a gene that inhibits muscle growth, so the end result — or at least the intended one — is bigger muscles. This kind of material is already available through other companies that sell DNA supplies. (Within the last two weeks, Zayner says, he’s sold about 10.)

But Dana Carroll, a biochemist and CRISPR expert at the University of Utah, said the experiment is unlikely to work as Zayner suggests, pointing out that the gene is most influential when muscles are being developed early in life.

“When your muscles are already developed and you’re sitting there with mature muscles, there’s not a lot you can do to make them bigger and stronger other than exercise,” he told BuzzFeed News. “So he’d be better off exercising than injecting himself.”

Carroll isn’t too worried that people who follow Zayner’s instructions and use his materials will seriously hurt themselves. “I don’t think a great deal of harm can be done,” he said. “To do real, effective genome-editing, it’s going to require a more sophisticated laboratory and more sophisticated materials than the ones he’s providing.”


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About Phil 523 Articles
Phil Bowermaster is a nationally recognized author and speaker. He has more than 25 years experience writing about emerging technologies and the future. As co-host of the popular Internet radio series, The World Transformed, Phil has talked with leading scientists and technologists, best-selling authors, philosophers, filmmakers, artists, entrepreneurs and others who are shaping our understanding of the amazing era of transformation in which we live. Phil helps leaders and their organizations develop strategies for managing accelerating change. He shows how imagination, optimism, empathy, and humor can make all the difference in both understanding and making the most of the powerful currents of change we face.