Science and Technology links (February 16th, 2019)

    1. In their new book Empty Planet, Bricker and Ibbitson argue that within the next 30 years, Earth’s population will start to rapidly decline. They believe that official population predictions overestimate future populations because they fail to fully take into account accelerating cultural changes.
    2. It is believed that senescent cells are a major driver of age-related conditions. Senescent cells often occur when cells are the results of too many divisions (beyond the Hayflick limit). Our hearts age, but their cells do not divide very much. That is a problem because our hearts have a limited ability to repair themselves (by creating new cells) but this should protect our hearts from senescent cells… Yet Anderson et al. found that there are senescent cells in the heart: basically cells can become senescent due to damage. What is more exciting is that they found that by clearing these cells in old mice, they could effectively rejuvenate their hearts. Furthermore, there is a growing number of therapies for removing senescent cells. Furthermore, there are ongoing (early) clinical trials to measure the effect of removing senescent cells in human beings. Initial results are encouraging:

      The doctors found that nine doses of the two pills over three weeks did seem to improve patients’ ability to walk a bit farther in the same amount of time, and several other measures of well-being.

      More trials will start this year.

    3. Goldacre et al. looked at how well the most prestigious journals handle the agreed upon set of standards for reporting scientific trials:

      All five journals were listed as endorsing CONSORT, but all exhibited extensive breaches of this guidance, and most rejected correction letters documenting shortcomings. Readers are likely to be misled by this discrepancy.

      (Source: A. Badia)

    4. A new drug appears to reverse age-related memory loss, in mice.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

One thought on “Science and Technology links (February 16th, 2019)”

  1. The UN, WHO and similar organiztions have a whole range of different population projections. They take a conservative but not worst-case projection as their baseline scenario. The lower trajectories are possible – and certainly are a good way to sell books.

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