Monthly Archives: April 2009

Times are changing

Sometimes it is fun to google your own name. I googled my name and came across a posting in College of San Mateo website (click the picture). It was fun to read what I wanted to do then and it was interesting that at that time I used to think about studying law!

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Weird Science: How tumors form

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Approaching Singularity: Terminators and Machine Integrated Humans

Terminator IV is coming out and with a bang…the bang being an explosive combo of Christian Bale and McG. But am I seeing the rise of the machines here? I just read in Wired that “Adam,” a robot capable of carrying out the entire scientific process (formulating hypotheses, designing and running experiments, analyzing data, and deciding which experiments to run next) exists. Thinking bots! Should we start thinking about REAL terminators chasing us…just a thought!

In near future technology may allow us to integrate man and machines. There will be no need to carry ID cards, a chip installed in our body will be detected by scanners installed in doors. While this is a possibility in the near future, in distant future cell phones will not be needed, a sim card implanted in our brains will directly make phone calls. May be connecting to the world as shown in the movie Avatar will be possible and we will truly achieve singularity…well this may be fantasy of my mind. One positive effect of integration of machine into man is that it may help thousands of disabled humans as Eythor Bender shows in the following TED talk:

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The Invention of The Bicycle

Although modern men may have invented the wheels, it took mother earth to invent the bicycle. Just read

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Everest Test Match

Everest Test

Everest Test

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Bacteria Therapy: Cure for HIV?

Bacteriophage

Bacteriophage

Just a thought…

The article above in Popular Science is very interesting to me because I wonder whether reverse phage therapy or bacteria therapy would work in HIV. In phage therapy, viruses that kill bacteria are used to kill infectious drug resistant bacteria. If we could use bacteria instead to invite infectious viruses and then clear the bacteria post infection, we can in turn clear the viruses.

In case of HIV, initially I had thought that we could possibly engineer a bacteria to express receptors such as CCR5 or CXCR4 that would lure HIV to infect them instead of CD4+ T cells. These bacteria would also express receptors that would facilitate the opsonization process (clearing of pathogens by immune cells).

Engineered Bacteria

Engineered Bacteria

However, there major obstacles in this process. First, the interaction of CD4 with other molecules expressed by our cells can prove to be a major obstacle. Next, the bacteria may generate immune response and may be cleared too soon before it can actually circulate in the body. Third, it may cause immune activation which is not necessarily advantageous to a patient. Fourth, how will these bacteria be administered? Fifth, depending the route of administration, they may not clear HIV from hard to reach areas such as gut and brain. Finally and possibly the most importantly, it will not clear latent infections. One more: there will still be CD4+ cells that will be infected…how are we going to deal with them?

Although these questions persist and not being able to answer any one of these questions may render the whole process uneffective, it is important to think about phages in HIV. Despite the fact that there are thousands of papers on HIV and hundreds on phages, to my knowledge, there is not a single scientific literature that has investigated the possible role of the phages in HIV infection/pathogenesis. Therefore, despite various challenges, investigating the the beneficial use of phages in HIV could lead us to a novel way of tackling the HIV epidemic.

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An interesting fact about US population

As reported in TIME

…But there are big issues here, issues of economy and simple justice, especially on the sentencing side. As Webb pointed out in a cover story in Parade magazine, the U.S. is, by far, the most “criminal” country in the world, with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners. We spend $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47.5% of all arrests are marijuana-related. That is an awful lot of money, most of it nonfederal, that could be spent on better schools or infrastructure — or simply returned to the public….

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