weekly blog--one for the ages
It’s HubWeek in Boston, the second annual celebration of the area’s technology prowess.
On Tuesday night, I went to a lecture on harnessing evolution to solve problems in biotechnology and therapeutics science. The focus was on speeding up the evolutionary process of proteins in a laboratory to engineer novel therapeutic agents that address a variety of problems including agricultural productivity--specifically the rise of insects resistant to insecticides. One day the process might be used to eliminate genetic disorders.
On tap for Friday is a panel discussion on the horizons in regenerative medicine, otherwise known as ageless aging.
Also this week, I received my first copy of the magazine, Today’s Geriatric Medicine. The articles inside were revealing. One focused on the concept of a good death, the difficulty doctors have in discussing the topic with patients, and the forms being developed to address this issue. Another article highlighted the development of an app, Fit2Drive that predicts on-road driving ability in patients with dementia.
A third discussed the new dietary guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and what the experts recommend for optimal nutrition among older adults. A fourth featured a story on elder suicide, a growing problem as more people live longer, and how to identify patients who are at risk.
More upbeat was an article that delved into the development of electrodes (multijoint neuroprothesis) that can be implanted near the nerves of large muscles in people who had a stroke to improve walking.
Finally, for 50 years Japan has honored centenarians with a silver sake cup and a congratulatory letter from the prime minister. But the 31,747 people who are eligible for the gift this year – a rise of 4.5% from last year – will instead be presented with a silver-plated cup on Respect for the Aged Day, which is celebrated on September 15th. The cost of the new cup is about half of the old one. Japan had just 153 centenarians when records began in 1963, and as recently as 1998 the number stood at just 10,000. It exceeded 30,000 in 2007, and increased to more than 60,000 in 2015.