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Transhumanism in fiction – Wikipedia

Posted: February 7, 2019 at 10:46 am

Many of the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as similar to the goals of transhumanism. Science fiction literature contains many positive depictions of technologically enhanced human life, occasionally set in utopian (especially techno-utopian) societies. However, science fiction's depictions of technologically enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong.

Examples of "transhumanist fiction" include novels by Linda Nagata, Greg Egan, Zoltan Istvan, and Hannu Rajaniemi. Transhuman novels are often philosophical in nature, exploring the impact such technologies might have on human life. Nagata's novels, for example, explore the relationship between the natural and artificial, and suggest that while transhuman modifications of nature may be beneficial, they may also be hazardous, so should not be lightly undertaken.[1] Egan's Diaspora explores the nature of ideas such as reproduction and questions if they make sense in a post-human context. Istvan's novel The Transhumanist Wager explores how far one person would go to achieve an indefinite lifespan via science and technology.[2] Rajaniemi's novel, while more action oriented, still explores themes such as death and finitude in post-human life.

Fictional depictions of transhumanist scenarios are also seen in other media, such as movies (Transcendence), television series (the Ancients of Stargate SG-1), manga and anime (Ghost in the Shell), role-playing games (Rifts and Eclipse Phase) and video games (Deus Ex or BioShock).

The science fiction film genre has always had a hand in exploring transhumanism and the ethics and implications surrounding it. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, however, there has been a surge of films and television shows focusing on the superhero genre. There are many superheroes whose stories are propelled or entirely result from dealings with transhumanism. From The Incredibles, to Iron Man, to The Batman saga, there have been plenty of heroes who did not receive their powers naturally, and therefore represent the great leap human beings may take into improving their own condition. Additionally, because these films represent the most popular trend in the medium today, they indeed represent a glimpse into the ideological shift of western culture as a whole. The fixation on normal men and women improving themselves artificially seems to have become a very widely accepted and celebrated idea.[3]

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Steve Jackson Games Forums – Powered by vBulletin

Posted: February 7, 2019 at 10:46 am

General information about Steve Jackson Games.

General talk and questions about Steve Jackson Games. Some staff members may have continuing threads here.

Discussion and suggestions about these forums, and requests for help.

Questions and discussions about our online store.

Discussion of our digital offerings, and of digital game support in general.

Discussions of Munchkin games and all things munchkinly!

Discussion of Steve Jackson's original RPG, The Fantasy Trip.

General discussion about roleplaying, or about games OTHER than the above.

Play RPGs online by posting in threads.

If it's a board or card game that isn't Munchkin-related, you can discuss it here.

General discussion about board games and dice games.

General discussion about card games.

General discussion about miniatures.

General talk about the hobby, including finding games or gamers.

Talk about the gaming industry; the business side of things. If it's about making games, it goes here.

Gaming and science fiction conventions.

Buy, sell, announce eBay auctions, whatever. Moderation is irregular; expect ads and spam if you visit this group.

Heres a place to post "game group wanted" or "opponent wanted" messages.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:46 AM.

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Regenerative Medicine Treatment in Greenville, Spartanburg …

Posted: February 4, 2019 at 11:45 pm

Regenerative Medicine Regenerative Medicine: A Holistic Approach for Musculoskeletal & Peripheral Vascular Disorders

That regenerative medicine is a holistic practice implies that regenerative medicine techniques for musculoskeletal and peripheral vascular disorders are both available and effective. That is true. Adding a holistic approach is another step in the process that helps your body move forward on a healing path.

Numerous forms of regenerative medicine exist. From a musculoskeletal and peripheral vascular perspective the first step should embrace the importance of nutrition. While several procedures are available to enhance cell regeneration none of them will be as effective if the body is nutritionally deficient. While numerous supplements are available, we recommend Juice Plus. This is a whole food fruits and vegetable extract with several medical school studies that demonstrate Juice Plus absorption and cell integration of the underlying nutrients.

Before regenerative medicine techniques are initiated it is best to have a medical doctor evaluate the root cause of the problem. Often underlying conditions are present that affect healing. For example, a patient with diabetes or early peripheral arterial disease will not heal as quickly as someone without those conditions. Medical management to obtain optimal control of co morbid disease can only enhance a regenerative medicine approach.

Likewise a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder or an osteoarthritic knee may be associated with a strained ligament in the neck or a nerve irritation in the low back. Quite often treating the spinal component will improve the results of treating the injured limb. That means the whole body should be evaluated, not just the area of most obvious interest. If muscles are inhibited, tight or weak a functional restoration program to re educate, stretch and then strengthen should occur.

Diagnostic Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, Segmental Plethysmography, and Arterial Duplex studies are three non invasive and non ionizing tests that can both image and detect the presence of injury or disease. Depending upon the severity of findings results can be used to formulate a focused treatment plan. A very powerful tool to re-grow, or proliferate torn or stretched muscle, tendon and ligament is Prolotherapy.

Prolotherapy is a technique where medications are injected into an injured musculoskeletal body part with the intent of regenerating tissue. Various compounds are used, but we prefer a combination of Xylocaine and Sodium Morrhuate. Morruate is 80% arachandonic acid. When injected into the injured body part it stimulates local prostaglandin production, which in turn initiates the wound healing cascade.

Essentially Prolotherapy is a natural way of telling your bodys natural wound healing response to come to an area and to it. Injections are often done an average of three times over a several weeks. Biopsies have been done and confirm the creation of organized tissue (not scar formation). After the third injection a 40% thickening can be expected.

For more severe cases, or in instances where a faster response is needed, PRP can be done. In this instance Platelet Rich Plasma (concentrated growth factors from your own blood) are injected into the injured tissue. Unlike prolotherapy that tells your bodys natural wound healing response to come to an area, PRP concentrates those cells involved in wound healing and puts them into the area. Usually only one or two injections are needed. While there can be more pain right after the injection it is usually short lived and followed by rapid improvement.

Placed in between PRP and Stem Cell therapy are concentrated growth factors that are obtained from donor sources such as amnion (the inner most layer of the placenta) or from the placenta itself. When tissue or growth factors are obtained from sources other then your own body they are called allografts. While some biologic companies that provide placenta derived growth factors have studies that show their products contain stem cells most claims from this class of products are restricted to containing growth factors only. The FDA closely monitors the process whenever biologics such as these are used to help assure that strict safety standards are met. Nice things about allograft growth factor treatments include relative ease of administration, they usually only need to be done one time, and they cause little pain during the procedure.

Even more advanced regenerative techniques include obtaining stem cells from bone marrow or fatty tissue (when the cells come from your own body they are referred to as autologus grafts), or umbilical cord derived sources. The goal for both autologus and allograft stem cell therapy is to provide a high concentration of undifferentiated cells (cells that have not yet decided what they want to be). Harvesting and preparing stem cells from bone marrow or fat cells requires a minor surgical procedure (either bone marrow aspiration or liposuction) so the technology needed to obtain these cells, and then to concentrate them, is more involved for the patient versus getting cells from allograft sources. That also means that the cost for autologus stem cells is higher and there is generally some pain when the tissue is taken (in most cases this is well controlled however some discomfort should be expected). When stem cells come from other donors as is the case with umbilical cord derived sources there is little or no pain associated with the procedure since only a graft is required. With each step up from proliferative injections to stem cell treatment the cost is higher and the response is expected to be more robust.

It is readily accepted that PRP and Stem Cell therapies can regenerate ligament and facilitate muscle & tendon healing. Cartilage restoration is a bit more controversial. Most physicians that perform regenerative medicine treatments however agree that when stem cells are employed the clinical response looks very much like new cartilage was laid down. With the exception of select cancer and wound or peripheral vascular conditions while there have been exciting reports of stem cell treatments resulting in miraculous responses in a wide range of medical conditions for the most part these other indications are not yet readily accepted by the medical community. Our office has published in the past on reversal of peripheral vascular disease when nutritional support (Juice Plus) is combined with medications such as Plavix and Pletal. We have seen excellent responses in wound and peripheral vascular cases using PRP or Stem Cell this approach in our opinion they are still not the main stay of treatment and experience remains anecdotal.

Reducing total load means doing whatever is necessary to put the body back onto a healing path. In an effort to maximize outcomes we like to help you and your body do what ever is necessary to facilitate the best outcome. That means looking at all the factors that affect wellness and doing whatever else is necessary too support your musculoskeletal system and the joint or tissue we are trying to treat. Some patients may even benefit from treatment with hormone replacement therapy, infectious and immunological approaches, or addressing mind body spirit challenges. We try to be open minded in our approach and provide only those treatments that make sense for you. Whether you suffer from sprained, strained or partially torn muscle, tendon, ligament, or have joint space narrowing associated with osteoarthritis,regenerative medicine offers new treatment options for restoring quality of life.

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Regenerative Medicine Treatment in Greenville, Spartanburg ...

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Osiris Cryonics

Posted: February 4, 2019 at 11:40 pm

Cryonics is an effort to save lives by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by today's medicine might be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health. Cryonics is a second chance at life. It is the reasoned belief in the advancement of future medicinal technologies being able to cure things we cant today.

Many biological specimens, including whole insects, many types of human tissue including brain tissue, and human embryos have been cryogenically preserved, stored at liquid nitrogen temperature where all decay ceases, and revived. This leads scientists to believe that the same can be done with whole human bodies, and that any minimal harm can be reversed with future advancements in medicine.

Neurosurgeons often cool patients bodies so they can operate on aneurysms without damaging or rupturing the nearby blood vessels. Human embryos that are frozen in fertility clinics, defrosted, and implanted in a mothers uterus grow into perfectly normal human beings. This method isnt new or groundbreaking- successful cryopreservation of human embryos was first reported in 1983 by Trounson and Mohr with multicellular embryos that had been slow-cooled using dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO).

And just in Feb. of 2016, there was a cryonics breakthrough when for the first time, scientists vitrified a rabbits brain and, after warming it back up, showed that it was in near perfect condition. This was the first time a cryopreservation was provably able to protect everything associated with learning and memory.

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Osiris Cryonics

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Adelaide Medical School | Adelaide Medical School

Posted: February 4, 2019 at 5:47 am

Learn from highly experienced staff and clinicians

Our large team of talented academics and titleholders, both clinical and non-clinical, will provide you with practical case-based learning, simulated and real world clinical experience, and valuable inter-professional learning opportunities. You will study in the new state-of-the-art Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building and Adelaide Health Simulation, and have the opportunity to undertake extensive hands-on practice at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Modbury Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital and in rural locations.

Learn more about studying with us.

Adelaide Medical School showcases a vibrant research and research training environment, with significant success in attracting external competitive research grant support. Research is undertaken across the entire translational medicine spectrum and is focused on our understanding and treatment of important common diseases, with an important emphasis on multidisciplinary research.

Learn more about our research.

Adelaide Medical School has a proud research record of vigorous and diverse research programs in basic science, with applications to health and clinical research across numerous core disciplines. Each of these discipline areas plays a valuable role in the teaching and research activities of the school.

Learn more about our disciplines.

In addition to Adelaide Medical Schools accomplished lecturers and researchers, you will also benefit from the dedication and expertise of our extended team of clinical titleholders, who are medical professionals from a wide range of specialist areas.

A vast amount of our undergraduate teaching is performed by clinical titleholders who are highly regarded specialists in their field. We are greatly appreciative of their valuable expertise and support.

Learn more about our staff.

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Adelaide Medical School | Adelaide Medical School

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Stem cell therapy could lead to HIV cure – SFGate

Posted: February 3, 2019 at 11:43 am

Photo: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle

Stem cell therapy could lead to HIV cure

Two teams of scientists with strong ties to the Bay Area are racing to develop a stem cell therapy that would provide a practical cure for people living with HIV infection, leaving them with an immune system capable of keeping them healthy without daily medication even as some virus remains circulating in their bloodstream.

Both groups of researchers are trying to capitalize on the DNA of so-called elite controllers - people who are naturally resistant to HIV due to a genetic mutation that prevents the virus from latching on to their immune cells. It was an elite controller who donated bone marrow to Timothy Brown, the "Berlin patient," who was the first in the world to be cured of HIV. Doctors attribute Brown's rebuilt HIV-resistant immune system to the genetic mutation in the bone marrow.

Bone marrow transplants are not an effective cure for HIV for the general population because they're risky and expensive. But stem cells, drawn from a patient's own bone marrow and altered to be HIV-resistant, may be able to do the job using the same premise.

"If you could make a person's immune system mutated in a way that HIV could not infect it, then you may be able to cure the HIV," said Dr. John Zaia, a virologist with the Beckman Research Institute near Los Angeles, who's working with Sangamo Biosciences in Richmond on a technique to engineer and transplant stem cells.

"That's the premise anyway," he said. "And it's based on that one case in the Berlin, that one transplant."

The teams at the forefront of stem cell HIV therapy are led by Sangamo and Calimmune, a San Diego company that is testing its treatment in patients in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Calimmune was the first to start human clinical trials, in July 2013, and last month reported that the first group of patients was doing well enough that they were ready to begin treating a second group. Sangamo expects to start clinical trials as early as this fall.

Both groups are being funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem cell agency.

The research is based on the discovery in the mid-1990s of a specific genetic mutation that blocks a protein called CCR5. The protein is found on the surface of some cells where it acts as a receptor, allowing HIV to attach and ultimately fuse with the cell. Without CCR5, it's much more difficult, although not impossible, for the virus to infect a cell.

In elite controllers, the CCR5 receptor is mutated in such a way that HIV cannot latch onto it. Scientists believe that only about 1 percent of people worldwide have the CCR5 genetic mutation.

Nearly 10 years ago, when Timothy Brown needed a bone marrow transplant to treat his newly diagnosed leukemia, his doctor in Berlin decided to attempt an experiment, and chose a donor who was known to be an elite controller.

Bone marrow contains stem cells that stay active during a person's lifetime, constantly replenishing the cells that make up their blood and immune system. In a bone marrow transplant, stem cells from the donor replace the patient's own stem cells and build a new immune system.

Brown had been HIV-positive since about 1995, and his doctor wondered if replacing his immune system with cells from a donor who was naturally resistant would kill the virus and cure the leukemia at the same time. It worked.

But bone marrow transplants are risky procedures - patients can die from rejection of the donor cells or from infection while their immune system is rebuilt from scratch. They're also expensive and require lengthy recovery. And it's impractical to collect donor tissue only from the rare individuals who are elite controllers.

So bone marrow transplants aren't considered a worthwhile treatment for everyone who has HIV, especially since antiretroviral drugs are so effective.

Instead, scientists believe that they can draw stem cells from the bone marrow of patients infected with HIV, and genetically engineer those cells so that they have the mutated CCR5 receptor. Then, the same cells can be transplanted back into patients, where they will supply the immune system with cells that are HIV-resistant.

"By actually treating the patient's own cells and giving them back, you're essentially helping to engineer an immune system that becomes long-term protective against HIV," said Dr. Louis Breton, chief executive of Calimmune. "The stem cells give the patient a group of highly protected warrior cells to do the job that we want our immune system to do, which is to kill off any disease and virus."

In theory, once the stem cells are implanted in the patients again, they'll be able to indefinitely replenish the immune system, and no further transplants or other treatments would be necessary.

Because scientists don't plan to destroy the patients' old immune system before transplanting the engineered stem cells, patients would continue to make cells that are vulnerable to HIV.

But the hope is that enough of the HIV-resistant cells will be produced that the body will be able to mount an immune response to fight the virus and keep it in check - providing what's called a "functional" cure, in which the virus remains but doesn't cause damage.

"Obviously eradication of all viral strains in the system would be extraordinary," Breton said. "This step we're taking is essentially a one-time treatment instead of lifetime."

The same premise could someday help scientists build a vaccine against HIV. But for now, the two teams of scientists are focused on a specific group of patients - those who aren't doing well on antiretroviral therapy and are at risk of their infection developing into AIDS.

The Sangamo and Calimmune teams have different strategies for engineering their stem cells and transplanting them back into patients. But the basic premise is the same, and the teams are nearly neck-and-neck in their research.

Calimmune was the first to put the stem cells into patients. Sangamo hasn't begun clinical trials with stem cells yet, but earlier this year it reported some success from a study involving transplanted T-cells - a type of immune cell that is destroyed by HIV. The T-cells were genetically engineered to resist HIV, using a technique that Sangamo will apply to stem cells in upcoming trials.

Scientists familiar with the research said they're encouraged both by the premise of the stem cell work and the results that have been produced so far. But even if both teams are successful, the treatment won't be practical on a global scale until it's made much simpler, said Dr. Warner Greene, director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in San Francisco.

Ideally, doctors would like to see a therapy in which patients are given a single injection that causes their stem cells to be re-engineered in the body, without having to be removed and treated in a lab. If the ongoing research proves successful in causing a functional cure, Greene said, the next step would be developing a procedure that's much more efficient.

"A lot of the stem cell work involves transplants. As proof of principle, that's great, but when it comes to treating tens of millions of people, it's just not going to work," Greene said. "We always have to have in mind a scalable solution. We must avoid therapies that are only useful to 100 rich people in the world."

San Francisco resident Michael Petrelis said he understands the need to remain wary of any promise of a cure - HIV is complicated, and there may never be a single treatment or therapy that works for everyone to wipe out the disease. But he said hope is something that helps keep him going.

"In addition to my AIDS cocktail, one of the things that's helped keep me alive is my hope for a cure," said Petrelis, 55, who has lived with HIV for more than a decade. "I'm optimistic that I can survive long enough to take advantage of stem cell research or something else.

"A lot of times, the researchers and even people with AIDS say we shouldn't use that 'C' word," he said. "And I'm of the thinking that yes, we should. We have to."

Erin Allday is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

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Stem cell therapy could lead to HIV cure - SFGate

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