Thursday, May 04, 2006

'Well, God bless nerds'

mitnerds   karl

At left, MIT nano-nerds Rutledge Ellis-Behnke and Professor Gerald E. Schneider. Pictured at right is Karl,"Everyone's favorite wheelchair bound drunk guy"

Karl, an engineer in Cromwell, Conn., has been living with a tumor in his brain stem for six years, according to his MySpace blog. Karl has undergone numerous surgeries to correct paralysis in various parts of his body. But his spirits improved recently when he read about MIT's nanotechnology research. In Karl's words ...

I have been living like this for 6 years, and was able to graduate college as an Engineer. But, my nerves are running short. Something is gonna need to change. I don't think, I can deal much longer. Recently. I thought my only possible chance for change was stem cells. But, then I saw this article: It is titled Nanotechnology maybe able to repair damaged brains. Apparently, some Nerds at M.I.T. have fixed damaged mice brains. Well, God Bless Nerds!!

Karl is asking readers to contact their senators to urge continued funding for this program. Something tells me that funding is not in danger, though.

But Karl's plea does remind me that real lives wait on the other end of nanotech research. And those who would place a moratorium on its development or, conversely, hype it up beyond realistic expectation, should keep people like Karl in mind.

Neuroscientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, one of the MIT nerds in charge of this research, said it better in a story written by my friend Charles Choi of UPI:

"There are 550,000 new cases of severe stroke a year, with over 3 million living with the effects of severe stroke today in the United States alone. There are about 100,000 new cases of severe traumatic brain injury a year, with 2 million living with the effects," Ellis-Behnke said. "Those are the reasons I do what I do every day."

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