“While books bound in human skin are now objects of fascination and revulsion, the practice was once somewhat common,” writes Heather Cole, assistant curator of modern books and manuscripts at Harvard’s Houghton Library. “Termed anthropodermic bibliopegy, the binding of books in human skin has occurred at least since the 16th century. The confessions of criminals were occasionally bound in the skin of the convicted, or an individual might request to be memorialized for family or lovers in the form of a book.”
Most of your body is younger than you are. The cells on the topmost layer of your skin are around two weeks old, and soon to die. Your oldest red blood cells are around four months old. Your liver’s cells will live for around 10 to 17 months old before being replaced. All across your organs, cells are being produced and destroyed. They have an expiry date.
In your brain, it’s a different story. New neurons are made in just two parts of the brain—the hippocampus, involved in memory and navigation, and the olfactory bulb, involved in smell (and even then only until 18 months of age). Aside from that, your neurons are as old as you are and will last you for the rest of your life. They don’t divide, and there’s no turnover.
But do neurons have a maximum lifespan, just like skin, blood or liver cells? Yes, obviously, they die when you die, but what if you kept on living? That’s not a far-fetched question at a time when medical and technological advances promise to prolong our lives well past their usual boundaries. Would we reach a point when our neurons give up before our bodies do?
Image above: Stainless steel sculpture “Neuron” by Roxy Paine. Outside the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Excerpt from an article written by Ed Yong at NATGEO. Continue THERE
Transistors. Resistors. Capacitors. Inductors. Diodes. RF antennas. Inductive coils. Lithium ion batteries. These are the components of microprocessors, wireless communications, and energy storage. Today you’ll find them in your phone. Tomorrow, you may wear them right on your body.
Research by John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois, has woven each of these technological building blocks into incredible skin-wearable circuits. They stick on your skin with a stamp. They can stretch and flex with the natural movements of your body, lasting about two weeks until they flake off from natural exfoliation. And since they’re in direct contact with the skin, they can integrate with you more seamlessly than the iPhone, Nike+ Fuelband or any other wearable product that’s been conceived to date.
“Our aim is to enable hardware that integrates much more naturally with the body,” Rogers says. “Conventional hard electronics, built on silicon wafers in the usual way, are unacceptable for generalized, everyday continuous use and monitoring, due to extreme mismatches in shape, weight and stiffness from tissues of the body.”
Excerpt from an article written by Mark Wilson at Co.Design. Continue HERE
When a friend hits her thumb with a hammer, you don’t have to put much effort into imagining how this feels. You know it immediately. You will probably tense up, your “Ouch!” may arise even quicker than your friend’s, and chances are that you will feel a little pain yourself. Of course, you will then thoughtfully offer consolation and bandages, but your initial reaction seems just about automatic. Why?
Neuroscience now offers you an answer: A recent line of research has demonstrated that seeing other people being touched activates primary sensory areas of your brain, much like experiencing the same touch yourself would do. What these findings suggest is beautiful in its simplicity—that you literally “feel with” others.
Excerpt from an article written by Jakub Limanowski, at Scientific American. Continue HERE
For almost 30 years, William (Bill) Edward McElligott drove a truck during prime sun hours throughout the city of Chicago delivering milk to stores and gas stations.
If you look at McElligott from the right, he looks like any 66-year-old would expect to, but from the left, wrinkles and sagging skin place him far beyond his years. He is a living demonstration of the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.
“It would take me an hour to drive to work and an hour to come home,” McElligott said. “It was a semi route, I’d have six to eight stops. … 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the road.”
Dr. Jennifer Gordon a dermatology resident at UT Southwestern saw McElligott while on a rotation at Northwestern in Chicago and submitted his case study, which was featured in the April edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It was very stark,” Gordon said. “We are used to seeing photo damage, photo aging every day, (but) for it to be so one sided? We were taken aback.”
Gordon explained that since McElligott spent so much time in his car, his left side was exposed to UVA rays that can penetrate glass and cause the majority of photo-aging, unlike UVB rays, which cause sunburns.
“We think its because it (UVA) can penetrate more deeply into the skin than UVB and affect your collagen and elasticity,” she said. “When you destroy those that’s what gives you the aging appearance that we see.”
Besides suffering the effects of photoaging, Mr. McElligott is unfortunately now facing the burning light of media exposure. Hopefully, to remind us about the effects of spending long periods of time under direct sunlight, and to bring awareness about the unhealthy demands not only this, but many other jobs like the Mr. McElligott used to perform.
Excerpts from an article written by Serena Marshall, at ABC News. Read it HERE.