Nanotechnology and fitness

Nanotechnology is an exciting new field of science and technology that will likely lead to all sorts of major advances in medicine, and technology in general. It is still in its infancy, but is already being used for drug delivery and in medical diagnostics. That said, it is not without risks. New nano-materials need to be carefully examined to limit toxicity and harm.

Nanotube. Source: Public domain

Carbon nanotube. Source: Public domain


Nanotechnology involves building and manipulating things at the atomic and molecular level, which would allow all sorts of unprecedented advantages over older technology(nanotubes and nanomaterials built from carbon at the atomic level are ultra-strong while being very light), especially in the field of medicine. It could revolutionize medicine as we know it.
According to: Nanotechnology and nanomedicine: going small means aiming big

Abstract

Nanotechnology is an emerging branch of science for designing tools and devices of size 1 to 100 nm with specific function at the cellular, atomic and molecular levels. The concept of employing nanotechnology in biomedical research and clinical practice is best known as nanomedicine. Nanomedicine is an upcoming field that could potentially make a major impact to human health. Nanomaterials are increasingly used in diagnostics, imaging and targeted drug delivery. Nanotechnology will assist the integration of diagnostics/imaging with therapeutics and facilitates the development of personalized medicine, i.e. prescription of specific medications best suited for an individual. This review provides an integrated overview of application of nanotechnology based molecular diagnostics and drug delivery in the development of nanomedicine and ultimately personalized medicine. Finally, we identify critical gaps in our knowledge of nanoparticle toxicity and how these gaps need to be evaluated to enable nanotechnology to transit safely from bench to bedside.

It sounds very promising when it comes to medicine, for treating and preventing heart disease and cancer. However, could nanotechnology help make those of us who are already fit and healthy even fitter? Could nano-engineering or nano-machines going through our bloodstream, or in our muscles help make us stronger, faster, more coordinated or even smarter? There’s also the possibility of nanotechnology leading to the creation of Iron Man suits. Just imagine armies of “Super Soldiers”!

This also leads to all sorts of ethical questions, especially in light of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, but also when it comes to athletic competition in general. What kind of restrictions will there be on nanotechnology in athletic competition? Will they ban as-of-now inconceivable nano-devices that could strengthen the heart muscle and make it beat faster? What would be considered “cheating”? I realize this is all speculative and sounds like science fiction, but technology is moving so fast it is never too early to ask such questions.

Just think of a future in which athletes can have spare body parts if they badly damage a leg or arm, or use nanotechnology combined with biotechnology and stem cells to regrow bad knees. Or why stop there, maybe create hybrid cheetah/human legs for sprinters to help them run faster. Aging itself could even be haulted or reversed through repairing DNA and aged, cross-linked protein structures throughout the body. In a way, it will be like eugenics through technology.

Sounds impossible now, right? Just remember that so much of the technology we have today would have been unimaginable to people living 40 years ago, never mind 200 years ago. People 50 years from now will look upon and laugh at our most “advanced” tablet computers the same way we look at computers from the 1950s.

In some ways the future looks promising, in other ways it looks bleak. Let us hope that along with the billions of dollars being invested in nanotechnology, a lot of wisdom is also being invested in it.

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4 responses to “Nanotechnology and fitness

  1. Hi there,

    This is an interesting topic. My grandfather has been talking about nanotech for years. He buys these gel packs (http://nanovitaminc.ca/products.htm) I guess they allow way more Vitamin C into your body than you could normally get because your liver would filter it out. He’s convinced but I say, if your liver wants to limit your Vitamin C, maybe you should let it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ll be checking back in to see how your joggling progresses.

    Kelly

    • Does his doctor recommend this? I don’t think mega-dosing with vitamin C is a good idea, unless a doctor recommends it for something or other. Mega-dosing with vitamin C may do more harm than good, which is what my previous post about antioxidants was largely about. You’re right about the liver; bypassing it may be dangerous. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. This reminds me of a very promising drug on my husband’s chemo regimen (he was just diagnosed with Stage IV cancer that seems to have spread all over his body, and we’re still reeling from the series of bad reports). It’s a drug they referred to as a “biologic agent” rather than a traditional chemotherapeutic drug. Their description of it sounded as if it works on the cellular level as well, but the description was mostly over my head. However, the abstracts I’ve read on Medline seem to indicate that it’s often highly effective, for which we are very thankful. Re: promising vs. bleak: that seems to be the way of most progress, especially where technology is concerned. It always seems like a two-edged sword, a good servant but a poor master. Thanks for the interesting post!

    • I hope your husband makes a full recovery. That drug your husband is taking may or may not involve nanotechnology, I have no clue. I’m not an expert on nanotechnology or medicine, so its all over my head as well, but I do enjoy reading about it and realize its a very promising field. Thanks for visiting and I hope your husband gets better. Take care!

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