April 07, 2017

Telemedecine, Time-Crystals and Synthetic Yeast

By Grace Carr
Synthetic Yeast DN

Designer biologists have nearly completed the first completely synthetic baker’s yeast to be used in products ranging from beer and biofuels to medicine. Researchers have now synthesized about 30% of the fungus’ genetic material. For decades, molecular biologists have been able to tailor individual genes to aid in the diagnosis of inherited diseases or synthesize medicines. Synthetic yeast is the latest example of genetic engineering’s ability to exercising mastery over the machinery of living cells. Researchers soon hope to design and build artificial life forms from scratch that would play important roles in drug discovery and bio-manufacturing. By the end of this year, scientists hope to finish synthetic versions of all 16 chromosomes in the yeast genome, raising the possibility of new antibiotics and better biofuels.

Scientists Discover New Matter

Scientists report that they have discovered a “time crystal”, opening new avenues of research and potentially paving the way to the development of quantum computers and sensors. Companies including Microsoft, Google, and International Business Machines are developing quantum computers for future applications in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The team of scientists are the first to create and observe time crystals – quantum systems that spin independent of their environment, breaking the rules of normal timekeeping. The underlying physics and the technology used to probe such quantum systems could have long term applications in quantum computing. While the research is in its early stage, discovering a new phase of matter opens doors to new theories and potential applications.

Tech to Speed Emergency Room Care

The next frontier in digital health may happen in the emergency room. Given that the primary complaint about emergency rooms is wait time, the goal is to reduce waiting times and get patients with non-urgent cases in and out of the emergency room efficiently without compromising care. Using digital technology has reduced the total amount of time spent in the ER from over 2 hours to between 35 and 40 minutes. Those without life-threatening injuries or symptoms are given the option of Express Care, reducing congestion in the emergency room. Meanwhile, doctors can now treat patients from more than one hospital from their desks, and pivot to their administrative tasks more quickly in between visits. Telemedicine has become increasingly popular to serve patients in remote settings or tech-savvy regions. Just last year, twenty million people in the U.S. received medical care remotely and this number is expected to grow by 15% this year.