Google has long since ceased to be a mere search engine. It is keeping one step ahead of scientific and technical developments, as evidenced by Google Glass and driverless cars. Now, in its Life Sciences division, it wants to change the traditional approach to medicine and observe the body from within. But to interpret the results, Google also had to recreate the body’s protective barrier, the skin.
Dr. Andrew Conrad, who heads the Google X Life Sciences team, wants to make medicine more proactive and preventive than episodic and reactive, so he is more interested in preventing people from getting sick than in curing them. His team is working on developing a wristband to detect cancer cells, heart problems and other diseases long before the first symptoms appear. The innovative wristband picks up the light emitted by nanoparticles inserted into the body by simple pills. The team didn’t think twice about developing artificial human skin. Read More
Our skin is equipped with the perfect machinery whose function is to retain water and prevent dehydration. The skin, a vital organ in our body, has the crucial function of protecting all the other organs within it. And it does so through a complex network of molecules called the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which ensures a delicately balanced epidermis, despite environmental variations in humidity and temperature.
When we are born our skin is already equipped to stay hydrated and protected from UV rays. Time and environmental aggressions wear down the skin’s mantle, with the result that we lose the water-retaining capacity in some of the beneficial substances in the skin, which should contain some 10% to 15% water. If the water level falls to under 10%, dry skin problems develop: the skin becomes brittle, rough and dull and is more prone to eczema and infections. How can we ensure that the skin retains a minimum of water? Read More
This video entitled “Danielle”, by audiovisual creator Anthony Cerniello, has been played more than 6.4 million times. It shows, in less than five minutes, the changes that time imprints on the skin over a lifetime. It is a simple piece of multimedia art that reminds us that the skin is the most visible part of our body and that life moves on inexorably for all of us.
The idea, says the author, was "to show a process which is not seen but is felt” … that just unfolds as we smile, cry, live. Cerniello teamed up with a photographer and several animators to take photos of Danielle’s family, edit them and assemble them Timelapse style to show the effects of time on the face. Read More
She acknowledges having stupidly sunbathed without protection, like almost anyone else. But she also says she’s learned her lesson. Queen Letizia of Spain, inaugurating the 1st International Symposium on Cancers of the Skin, held in Madrid last January, insisted that "we don’t need to get burned to get a good tan."
The data prove her right. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of skin cancer triple each decade. Skin cancer annually affects about 160,000 people worldwide; in Spain, incidence has increased 38% over the past four years. The sun takes its toll on the skin. In her talk the Queen very much emphasized this; avoiding excessive and uncontrolled exposure to the sun is key to preventing skin cancer, she said. Read More