Tag Archives: Donald Bruce

Guardian hosts live streaming convo on nanotechnology and health in an aging population

In one week, Jan. 31, 2012, the Guardian newspaper in the UK is inviting people (I previewed the process for participating and it is not limited to citizens of the UK) to take part in a live debate with the UK’s Minister of Science and Technology and an assortment of nanotechnology and nanomedicine researchers titled, How nanotechnology is prolonging life. From the Guardian’s nanotechnology event announcement page,

According to government figures, there are currently about 10 million people over the age of 65 in the UK and by 2050, that figure will have almost doubled to 19 million.

This changing demographic will place an unprecedented strain on health and social services. Fortunately more and more people are taking steps to ensure their old age is spent in good health and new medical advances that rely on nanotechnology are coming to the fore, which allow for better treatments, diagnosis and prevention of diseases associated with old age.

But what are the challenges and wider implications of using nanotechnology to prolong life and support a healthier, more independent ageing population?

The debate is being moderated by Alok Jha, science correspondent for the Guardian, and guests expected to participate include,

David Willetts, MP, minister for universities and science
Dr Mark Miodownik, head of the Materials Research Group, Kings College London
Professor Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam, consultant vascular surgeon, Leeds General Infirmary
Dr Leonard Fass, director academic relations, GE Healthcare
Professor Peter Dobson, director for Oxford Begbroke and chief strategic adviser to Research Councils UK for nanotechnology
Professor Kostas Kostarelos, chair of nanomedicine, Centre for Drug Delivery Research, School of Pharmacy, University of London
Dr Donald Bruce, managing director, Edinethics

This is not the Guardian’s first nanotechnology debate, the paper hosted an online debate (a Q&A session with a nanotechnology expert [Dr. Mark Miodownik]) in mid-December 2011 (mentioned in my Dec. 16, 2011 posting).  So, it’s a bit strange they don’t do more than give the starting time for the debate, 3 pm GMT but no ending time since that information was given for the Dec. 2011 debate.

For those of us on the west coast of North America, this means a 7 am start. I believe you have to register to attend the session. Well, I don’t particularly want to register but I did try out the system.

I could choose my country but was much amused to note how they list the timezones. If I wanted to specify my timezone (PST), I’d have to choose either San Francisco or Tijuana. The Canadian choices included, Saskatchewan, Halifax, and Newfoundland (no mention of Labrador).

Good on Saskatchewan, Halifax, and Newfoundland but why were those three locations chosen in particular? These are very unusual choices and the equivalent of ignoring London (UK) while allowing people to choose Cornwall, Leicester, or Northunberland (pretending for a moment that they are in different timezones). No disrespect is meant to any region but it is unusual to see Ottawa, Toronto, and/or Montréal left out.