Time is money

This movie looks to be interesting, not just because Olivia Wilde is in it (that’s enough to get my attention), but also because the sci-fi concept is compelling: a society where time literally is money.

If the movie is as interesting as the concept, it’ll be a winner.

Timberlake and Wilde star in the upcoming Andrew Niccol sci-fi thriller, “In Time,” playing mother and son. Which makes sense in the context: the film is set in a world in which the aging gene has been halted at the age of 25, where the rich buy and trade the world’s new currency, time itself, so that they stay forever young — while the poor die at the hands of their robbed clocks.

Wilde and Timberlake, low down on the socio-economic ladder, have to fight for every minute they can; Wilde’s character, Rachel, gave birth to Timberlake’s Will and was able to survive until he caught up to her in age, but her time, it seems, is finally running out. On the flip side, Will is gifted 100 years by an “old” man who no longer wants to live — setting off wild accusations and a fight for survival.

The film hits theaters October 28th.

Curing tinnitus in rats is great, but…

Like the old medical research joke goes, “Curing it in rats is great, but what about me?”

Since scientists have finally figured out that tinnitus is mainly in the brain, not the ears, research has taken a few leaps forward, and already they’re working on effective treatments and even some possible cures for the condition.

Closeup of a male ear-tinnitus ringing in the ears treatments

In a recent study, Kilgard induced tinnitus in rats by exposing them to loud sounds. Then he used tiny electrodes to stimulate the rats’ vagus nerve, a pathway connecting the brain to other organs. Each jolt of micro-current triggered the release of a substance called acetylcholine, which signals the brain to pay attention.

In sync with the stimulation, he played a wide range of tones — all except the one matching the frequency of their tinnitus — and repeated this 300 times a day for three weeks. The tinnitus disappeared in these rats, while a control group still had the condition.

In effect, Kilgard says, the rats’ brains were retuned, unlearning the tendency to overfocus on one tone by increasing the number of brain cells dedicated to other sound frequencies.

Kilgard’s study, published earlier this year in Nature, set the stage for a human trial by Dirk De Ridder, M.D., a neurosurgeon who heads a tinnitus clinic in Antwerp, Belgium.

De Ridder is implanting electrodes in 10 middle-aged tinnitus patients, each of whom has already tried various experimental techniques, including medication. He says he works with one patient at a time, as each undergoes vagus nerve stimulation coupled with sound therapy for 2 1/2 hours a day for four weeks. This is very much a pilot study, where the researchers hope to figure out some basic parameters (how long to continue treatment, among other things) that will guide a larger study.

The eventual cure might require some tiny electrodes to be implanted in the neck, but take it from someone who’s been suffering from the condition – which steadily gets worse – since 2003, that would be a small price to pay. Well, except for the monetary price, of course, since no doubt insurance companies most likely will not decide to cover them.

Tinnitus – a roadmap to a cure

ATA’s Roadmap to a Cure: Guiding the Way Toward Silence

What is the Roadmap to a Cure? Simply, it’s a chart that identifies what we know about tinnitus right now and what additional information we need so that we can make progress in developing a cure. The Roadmap is a sequence of steps along four paths- A, B, C & D- that begins with finding out what is responsible for producing tinnitus and ends with a successful tinnitus treatment. Path A leads us to identify where the problem is in the brain. Path B will determine the underlying mechanism that causes tinnitus. Path C will lead us to develop a general therapy for tinnitus and Path D leads us to customizing the therapy or therapies for individual tinnitus patients.

We have highlighted some recent ATA-funded studies and placed them on the various paths they fit on the Roadmap to showcase the broad scope of tinnitus research supported by ATA.

To learn more about ATA’s Roadmap to a Cure, visit ATA.org/research/roadmap-cure.

Just in time to spend more money

Word is out that Star Trek: The Next Generation is being remastered for high-definition Blu-ray, set for release in 2012.

According to a new report, the long-awaited Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD project is starting to gear up at CBS with a possible “Best of” pack of four episodes on Blu-ray coming this year and more to follow in 2012. See below for more on TNG in HD.

Report: TNG in HD coming in 2012 w/ test in 2011

For years CBS has been talking about remastering Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD like they did for the original Star Trek series. In May our friends at Digital Bits reported that CBS was starting to gear up to give TNG in HD a shot. TrekMovie later confirmed that the talk inside CBS had increased on this project, but that there are technical challenges to this process. Now Digital Bits reports that sources at Comic Con are saying that the first effort for TNG in HD will be a test to come out in 2012:

Multiple sources I spoke with at Comic-Con have also confirmed our report from earlier this year that CBS is hard at work on Star Trek: The Next Generation – Remastered for Blu-ray release starting sometime in 2012. The latest word is that 4 test episodes are currently being worked on for release as a sampler/demo BD disc of the project, and that sampler disc will somehow be available to fans by the end of this year.

It is worth noting that 2012 is the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The remastered project for the Star Trek was released in 2006, just in time for the 40th anniversary.

TrekMovie will continue to monitor this very exciting project and provide updates when possible.