Inhalable Insulin Could End Injections for Diabetics
August 23, 2013, I saw this report in Bloomberg Businessweek Technology about AFREZZA, a rapid-acting insulin therapy in the form of a powder that can be breathed in using pre-metered single dose cartridges that plug into an inhaler. Over 5,300 human patients have received treatment using it in 56 different clinical trials. The results when compared to traditional insulin treatment:
- Significant reductions in post-meal glucose fluctuations;
- Comparable overall glucose-level control;
- Lower fasting glucose levels;
- Reduced risk of hypoglycemia;
- Less weight gain.
Costing about the same as conventional insulin injection therapy the FDA is expected to approve AFREZZA's use sometime in 2014.
University of Georgia Researchers Use Nanoparticles in Fight Against Cancer
August 23, 2013, Nanotechnology is making a big contribution to medical science. At the University of Georgia scientists in the NanoTherapeutics Research Laboratory are using nanoparticles to teach immune cells to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Cancer thrives because it confuses the immune system which has trouble discriminating between diseased and healthy cells. As a result the cancer cells multiply and eventually form tumors that consume the body as they grow.
The researchers, however, removed cancerous cells from a patient and targeted the mitochondria (the cell within our cells) using nanoparticles which disrupted function and caused cell death. They then exposed the patient's immune system and cells to the dead cancer cells with the former recognizing the latter as a foreign invader. These activated immune cells if cultured could become a personalized vaccine making it possible to kill the cancer.
Breast cancer was the target of the research done using mice. Human trials will have to follow before this can become part of a growing number of nanotech medical treatments for many diseases.
50% of Added Energy Capacity in U.S. Coming from Renewables
August 23, 2013, Ernst & Young has published a study that shows that the growth in energy capacity in the U.S. is increasingly coming from renewables. In 2012 they accounted for 49% of added capacity with $55.3 billion spent. The total dollars invested in renewables dropped from 2011 when spending amounted to $65.4 billion. But that doesn't mean less total capacity investment. Instead it just reflects the falling cost of renewable projects as they become mainstream. The drop in total new investment also reflects the declining cost of solar panels.
Wind led in new capacity increasing by 13,124 Megawatts in 2012, while solar grew by 3,313 Megawatts with California becoming the first U.S. state to do new installations of more than 1,000 Megawatts in a single year.
NASA Refines Planned Asteroid Mission
August 23, 2013, A new video animation depicting a mission to study a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) has been posted online by NASA. It shows an Orion spacecraft with two crew members on board taking off from Earth using the Space Launch System heavy rocket, doing a slingshot maneuver around the Moon and rendezvousing and docking with a robotic asteroid capture satellite to collect samples for a return to Earth. The trip will take nine days from Earth to the asteroid which will be in a retrograde orbit around Earth beyond the Moon.
NASA plans to use solar-electric propulsion in this mission, an engine similar to the one on board Dawn, the robotic spacecraft that visited Vesta and is now on its way to Ceres in the Asteroid Belt. The propulsion system will establish the NEA in a stable orbit for future visits by astronauts.
Oil Spills, Oil Spills, Oil Spills - They're Everywhere
August 24, 2013 - We humans are addicted to oil and we keep messing up the environment when we move it around to satisfy our energy cravings. Let's look at the number of spills in the last few weeks.
- July 6, 2013 - 378,000 liters of oil spill into Chaudiere River, 150,000 liters of oil water in Lac Megantic, Quebec derailment and explosion;
- July 27, 2013 - 50,000 liters of diesel and gasoline spilled off the island of Koh Samet in Thailand;
- July 31, 2013 - 7 million liters near a marine reserve off the coast of Ternate, an Indonesian island;
- August 9, 2013 - 500,000 liters of diesel spilled into Manila Bay in the Philippines;
- August 16, 2013 - unknown quantity of lube oil and diesel leaking into the seas off Cebu Province, Philippines from ferry and freighter collision, the latter carrying 120,000 liters of bunker oil, 20,000 liters of lube oil, and 20,000 liters of diesel;
- August 23, 2013 - corroded pipeline spilling oil into the Niger Delta, Nigeria, adding to the millions of barrels siphoned off or spilled in the region since 2008.
In a period of less than two months that's 6 recorded incidents large enough to make headlines. Now think of all the small marinas and ports where, as you walk by you notice a sheen on the water surface, and you begin to understand just how serious the problem of oil pollution is. How much more can our oceans, lakes and rivers absorb from destructive human behavior? Who can you admonish when the self-destructive behavior is endemic to our entire species? Just something to consider here in the second decade of the 21st century.
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December 9, 2013 - For the past few years when I am out and about young people often stop me to ask me the time. I look at my battery-powered wristwatch and tell them. What I wonder about is what happened to the day when everybody wore a watch?
December 8, 2013 - How do you measure the downside of unburnable carbon assets against the balance sheets of energy companies? Enter the Bloomberg Carbon Risk Valuation Tool (CRVT), from Bloomberg Professional Service at XLTP XCO2.
This week I received two detailed reports from 23andMe (23andMe.com), the genomic organization I wrote about in an earlier blog. They sent a LOT of information, and I am still working through. The first report was about strengths and weaknesses in my health plus information about how my body might respond to various medications. The second report related more to ancestry and genealogy.
December 6, 2013 - Scientists who look at rivers and watersheds and model changes to them from climate change predict that Africa will be the continent most affected by a warming planet. Why is that?
- Today Africa is 66% arid. Two of the largest deserts on Earth can be found here.
New technology could make us a world of winners. Customer control will increase so businesses will serve customers with total dedication and focus. Here’s examples from products, services, business relationships and health care. You win in tomorrow’s economy!
December 6, 2013 - An article in The Guardian a couple of weeks ago caught my eye.
Exactly 80 years ago today, city streets across the United States went into celebratory mode: President Roosevelt had just signed a repeal of the prohibition on alcohol. On Dec. 5, 2013, however, a new challenge is under way against another set of U.S. prohibition laws. And the arena isn’t just the United States, but the entire globe. The present-day forbidden fruit: illegal drugs.
December 5, 2013 - At this blog site we have looked at artificially-induced vortices as a novel approach to generating energy, but this one seems less like science fiction, a technology that captures wind from any direction and funnels and compresses it to drive a generator.