Author: Jiqing Hansen

Having worked passionately for 15+ years in Medicine, I felt that I yearned to do something a little bit different, something that satisfies my curiosity and creativity, maybe something that helps to inform me and others what our world will look like in the future. That's when I took on the challenge of being the editor & expert relationship manager at Supertrends. I love the fact that I can still be in touch with my academic background when I am trying to understand and reach out to the experts in the most exciting fields. I also love the diverse and enthusiastic team at Supertrends. The best of all, I get to have a peek into the future, and I am at the position of helping many others to get the opportunity to look into the future.

The Human Brain, the Least Understood and Most Exciting Organ

Paul survived a car crash but was paralyzed because of a spinal cord injury. In the hospital, doctors inserted an implant into his brain and another implant to the end of his spine. The two implants were connected and formed a channel to communicate the brain signals to the lower part of the spinal cord that is still functional. Paul was able to walk again. The above is an imagined story, but it may well happen in the future. Neuroscientists and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are experimenting with new approaches to repair damaged neural connections currently considered untreatable. The...

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3D Printing is a Game-Changer in Surgery

In 2016, a nine-month-old baby boy in China was found to have a rare heart defect. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Without surgery, doctors estimated that he had only a 20 percent chance of surviving to his first birthday. However, the complexity of the surgery was a risk factor that concerned his doctor. The doctor 3D-printed a full-size model of his tiny heart for the surgery pre-planning. The baby recovered after the surgery and is expected to live with little to no lasting ill effects. The Seven Revolutions in Healthcare That Will Impact Your Life – Part 2 Healthcare,...

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Genomics Spells the End of ‘One Size Fits All’ Medicine

The same disease can cause different symptoms in different people. The same drug affects everyone differently.  COVID-19 has reminded us once again that medicine is not “one size fits all”.  Breakthroughs in genomics have made it possible to tailor prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to individual levels.  The Seven Revolutions in Healthcare That Will Impact Your Life – Part 1 Within five to ten years, healthcare as we know it may be changed radically. Disruptive technologies such as genomics, artificial intelligence, or 3D printing have already started to have an...

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Meat, Culture, and Cultured Meat: Supertrends Surveys Consumer Attitudes Toward Cell-Based Meat

The young industry of cultured meat has seen many technological, funding, and regulatory breakthroughs in 2020. Despite the rapid growth, some questions remain to be answered: Will consumers eat cultured meat? Will cultured meat face negative consumer attitudes, similar to genetically modified food?   Cultured meat, or cultivated meat, is meat produced in a laboratory environment from animal cells. 2020 has been a record-breaking year for this young industry. Investment in this sector soared to US$350 million; fetal bovine serum (FBS)-free media has been developed and commercially produced;...

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The First Cultivated Seafood Company from Africa

Cultured seafood, synthetically grown from fish or crustacean cells in a bioreactor, is being touted as one of the next major developments in the food industry. Most of the small but growing number of companies in the sector of cultured meat are based in the US, Europe, and Asia. However, the cutting-edge technology is also gaining a foothold on the African continent. Supertrends spoke to Marica Quarsingh, the CEO of Africa’s first cultured seafood company. In 2020, Marica Quarsingh’s promising energy efficiency project was brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of looking backward,...

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Aging

When Does Your Brain Start Aging?

Some people think the brain aging starts after 65. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, usually occurs after age 65. However, decades of diligent work on this disorder have not resulted in any effective treatment. Could it be that we diagnose and treat brain aging too late? Do our brains begin to age long before any visible signs can be detected? A recent study found that people in middle age, who have older biological age, can have signs of advanced brain aging, diminished sensory-motor functions,...

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tablet screen showing a digital gut model

Inside the World of the Gut Microbiome

For the gut microbiome, which includes countless bacteria, viruses, and fungi living in our intestines, the abdomen constitutes a complete ecosystem. The gut microbiome has attracted a great deal of attention in scientific research in recent years. Diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and autism have been linked to the gut microbiome. Some companies see big opportunities in this robust field. In recent years researchers have made exciting discoveries that established a link between the gut microbiome and several diseases including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and autism. A young...

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Man and child buying meat in supermarket

Singapore leads the future of food with world-first approval of cultured meat sales

Cultured meat, also known as “lab-grown meat” or “clean meat”, is built up from layers of animal muscle cells cultivated in a bioreactor. Since the debut of a proof-of-concept hamburger patty in 2013, it has increasingly come to the attention of potential consumers and investors. Although the technology of cell culture has been well developed in the medical field, the concept still faces several challenges in making a commercial product as an alternative to animal protein. One of these challenges is regulatory approval.  This week, Singapore became the first country to overcome the...

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aqua drop

Finding the elusive aquaporin modulators

Aquaporins are channel proteins that facilitate the transport of water across cells. The discovery of aquaporins in 1992, for which researcher Peter Agre received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, opened the door to a new therapeutic approach for treating many health conditions. On one particular start-up’s journey in finding applicable aquaporin modulators, the student has become the master. Water is one of the substances that are essential for life on Earth and for the survival of all plants and animals. Although the importance of water transport has been recognized since ancient times, the...

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The new challenge in fighting old sepsis

While we have been battling with sepsis for centuries, now COVID19 added new challenges to this battle. Can Aquaporin-based therapy be our newest weapon against this malicious viral sepsis? “Patients typically develop a high fever, their Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is high. If we can get them to pass the two-week mark, they will survive.” Dr. Masab Moumneh, MD, ICU physician Sepsis – an elusive syndrome Sepsis has been defined as a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. First described by Hippocrates, it is one of the oldest topics...

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Cultivated red meat to be produced in Southeast Asia

Consumption of livestock products has increased tremendously in the last decade. In the next decade, the steepest growth in this sector is projected to come from South Asia and other parts of Asia. However, in the current landscape of cultured meat startups, not many companies from Asia are focused on red meat products. Is there a unique opportunity for cultivated red meat in Asia? Asia is recognized as the leader in fish and seafood production and consumption. However, the increase in its demand on meat in recent years is less recognized. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation...

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Bringing down the price tag of growth medium for cultivated meat

Header image: Cai Linton working in the lab (photo: Thomas Angus, Imperial College London) Cultivated meat has the potential to replace butchered animals as the main future source of protein. New start-ups in this field are aiming not only to deliver the end products, but also to provide technologies. When Cai Linton was introduced to the concept of cultivated meat in early 2019, he was excited about the opportunities presented by this potential revolution in the biosciences. He and his teammates, who are mostly still completing their college studies, decided to contribute to this new...

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Is India ready for lab-grown meat? (part 2)

India has been the fastest-growing major economy in the past few years. Within the next decades, India is also expected to surpass China and become the most populous country in the world. Can cultivated meat help to meet the country’s rising demand for protein? Varun Deshpande, Managing Director at Good Food Institute India, is quite confident that it will. When Varun Deshpande started The Good Food Institute India in December 2017, his mission was to offer producers and consumers an alternative to industrial animal agriculture. Today, with the support of Varun...

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Africa’s future is innovation

With the arrival of the first cultured meat start-up in South Africa, when will cultivated meat make its debut on the Africa continent? Mzansi Meat Co. is one of the companies that could define Africa’s future. Africa’s future is innovation In 2019, the World Economic Forum published an article describing Africa’s future as innovation rather than industrialization. Can Africa seize the opportunity of the fourth industrial revolution, which is merging our physical, digital, and biological worlds? Will Africa’s dominant agricultural, extractive, and manufacturing industries be disrupted...

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