Nestlé demanda a la competencia por fabricar cápsulas para Nespresso

El gigante suizo de la industria alimentaria ha abierto una guerra del café contra el grupo Sara Lee y un ex alto ejecutivo de Nestlé. Esto se debe a que otras firmas han empezado a comercializar las cápsulas de café Nespresso que Nestlé pretendía mantener como un monopolio.

Nespresso ha demandado a las compañías de la competencia acusándoles de fabricar copias de las cápsulas originales violando así la propiedad intelectual de Nestlé, según informa El País. La compañía lanzó su producto como la posibilidad de disfrutar en casa de un expresso como el que se toma en las cafeterías, pero la competencia ahora ha creado cápsulas compatibles y a un precio más barato, algo podría suponer pérdidas de miles de millones.

El juicio comenzará el próximo mes en París, donde las empresas rivales distribuyen sus productos en tiendas de comestibles esperando poder ampliar su mercado a Europa y Estados Unidos. Richard Girardot afirmó que “Nestlé ha invertido millones de euros en desarrollo e innovación de Nespresso durante muchos años. Así que cuando alguien sale con una mera copia del producto, tenemos que protegernos”.


El gigante suizo de la industria alimentaria ha abierto una guerra del café contra el grupo Sara Lee y un ex alto ejecutivo de Nestlé. Esto se debe a que otras firmas han empezado a comercializar las cápsulas de café Nespresso que Nestlé pretendía mantener como un monopolio.

Nespresso ha demandado a las compañías de la competencia acusándoles de fabricar copias de las cápsulas originales violando así la propiedad intelectual de Nestlé, según informa El País. La compañía lanzó su producto como la posibilidad de disfrutar en casa de un expresso como el que se toma en las cafeterías, pero la competencia ahora ha creado cápsulas compatibles y a un precio más barato, algo podría suponer pérdidas de miles de millones.

El juicio comenzará el próximo mes en París, donde las empresas rivales distribuyen sus productos en tiendas de comestibles esperando poder ampliar su mercado a Europa y Estados Unidos. Richard Girardot afirmó que “Nestlé ha invertido millones de euros en desarrollo e innovación de Nespresso durante muchos años. Así que cuando alguien sale con una mera copia del producto, tenemos que protegernos”. Leer más “Nestlé demanda a la competencia por fabricar cápsulas para Nespresso”

Getting Started with Drupal: A Comprehensive Hands-On Guide

Drupal is a popular open source content management system. With its powerful and advanced features, you can build complex websites with ease, compared to building them from scratch. With the support of a huge community and a big number of available modules, no wonder Drupal is a system you keep hearing about over and over again.

In this guide, we are going to discover Drupal using a pragmatic approach. We will create a Drupal site with a custom content type and views.

Ready? Let’s dive right into this immensely powerful content management system.
Objectives

By the end of this guide, you will:

* Learn the benefits and disadvantages of using Drupal
* Install Drupal
* Understand the Drupal back-end
* Learn about Drupal modules
* Explore the Administer page
* Create and publish content
* Create custom content types with the Content Construction Kit
* Create Views
* Create Page view displays
* Create Block view displays
* Learn about Drupal themes


by Saad Bassi

Getting Started with Drupal: A Comprehensive Hands-On Guide

Drupal is a popular open source content management system. With its powerful and advanced features, you can build complex websites with ease, compared to building them from scratch. With the support of a huge community and a big number of available modules, no wonder Drupal is a system you keep hearing about over and over again.

In this guide, we are going to discover Drupal using a pragmatic approach. We will create a Drupal site with a custom content type and views.

Ready? Let’s dive right into this immensely powerful content management system.

Objectives

By the end of this guide, you will:

  • Learn the benefits and disadvantages of using Drupal
  • Install Drupal
  • Understand the Drupal back-end
  • Learn about Drupal modules
  • Explore the Administer page
  • Create and publish content
  • Create custom content types with the Content Construction Kit
  • Create Views
  • Create Page view displays
  • Create Block view displays
  • Learn about Drupal themes Leer más “Getting Started with Drupal: A Comprehensive Hands-On Guide”

How to Find Your First Client

Once you become better known in your profession, clients will constantly come to you instead of you looking for them. You’ll often be so busy with work and won’t need to market yourself as often.

But, what do you do when you’re just starting out or not well known? Before you begin getting clients, it can be tough to figure out what to do all day. That’s the perfect time to make yourself well known.

Finding clients is different for everyone and what works for some doesn’t always for others. However, I’d like to share several of the ways I got work in the beginning.
Don’t Focus on Bidding Sites

When you don’t have anything to do all day, it can be tempting to check out bidding sites like eLance, Guru or Freelancer. I mean, there are a ton of clients asking for work right there, right?

In reality, bidding sites can be a lot of trouble for freelancers, and so should be approached with caution. The hours you spend going through the site, making bids, and the low (sometimes criminal) pay you often receive is rarely worth it. You’re usually much better off spending that time marketing yourself.


Once you become better known in your profession, clients will constantly come to you instead of you looking for them. You’ll often be so busy with work and won’t need to market yourself as often.

But, what do you do when you’re just starting out or not well known? Before you begin getting clients, it can be tough to figure out what to do all day. That’s the perfect time to make yourself well known.

Finding clients is different for everyone and what works for some doesn’t always for others. However, I’d like to share several of the ways I got work in the beginning.

Don’t Focus on Bidding Sites

When you don’t have anything to do all day, it can be tempting to check out bidding sites like eLance, Guru or Freelancer. I mean, there are a ton of clients asking for work right there, right?

In reality, bidding sites can be a lot of trouble for freelancers, and so should be approached with caution. The hours you spend going through the site, making bids, and the low (sometimes criminal) pay you often receive is rarely worth it. You’re usually much better off spending that time marketing yourself. Leer más “How to Find Your First Client”

Top 5 Ways Big Brands are Using Foursquare

Unlike other more mainstream social networks, the business potential of Foursquare (Foursquare) may not be immediately apparent. At present, the location-based network is less about conversations and resource sharing, and more about tying your social activities to physical places.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, a Foursquare strategy makes a lot of sense. But what about brand promotion in general, say in the entertainment or publishing worlds? With Foursquare, it’s not about linking users back to your site or products, but creating a new location-based product that has value for fans and followers. Here’s how five big brands are attempting to connect location to their online social presences.
1. Recommendations with Personality: Bravo

Bravo on Foursquare Image

In the television industry, Bravo was one of the first networks to get on board with Foursquare, and 50,000 of its fans have followed so far. The network’s programming is a mix of food, fashion, and reality drama, and the TV personalities and hosts that viewers love are the ones making recommendations on Foursquare.

Restaurant, shopping, and hotel suggestions reinforce Bravo’s image as a network of culture experts, and the personalities who leave tips through the brand add that bit of personal flavor or sass that draws viewers to the shows in the first place. Fans don’t follow for Bravo per se; they’re following to see where Top Chefs and Millionaire Matchmakers spend their time in New York and LA.


Foursquare LogoUnlike other more mainstream social networks, the business potential of Foursquare (Foursquare) may not be immediately apparent. At present, the location-based network is less about conversations and resource sharing, and more about tying your social activities to physical places.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, a Foursquare strategy makes a lot of sense. But what about brand promotion in general, say in the entertainment or publishing worlds? With Foursquare, it’s not about linking users back to your site or products, but creating a new location-based product that has value for fans and followers. Here’s how five big brands are attempting to connect location to their online social presences.


1. Recommendations with Personality: Bravo


Bravo on Foursquare Image

In the television industry, Bravo was one of the first networks to get on board with Foursquare, and 50,000 of its fans have followed so far. The network’s programming is a mix of food, fashion, and reality drama, and the TV personalities and hosts that viewers love are the ones making recommendations on Foursquare.

Restaurant, shopping, and hotel suggestions reinforce Bravo’s image as a network of culture experts, and the personalities who leave tips through the brand add that bit of personal flavor or sass that draws viewers to the shows in the first place. Fans don’t follow for Bravo per se; they’re following to see where Top Chefs and Millionaire Matchmakers spend their time in New York and LA. Leer más “Top 5 Ways Big Brands are Using Foursquare”

Dell’s Aero smartphone now available in U.S.

IDG News Service – Dell on Tuesday dived into the highly competitive smartphone market, releasing the Aero in the U.S.

The Aero phone comes with a 3.5-inch touch screen and is available through Dell’s Website for $99.99 with a two-year mobile contract with AT&T and for $299.99 without a contract.

Aero is the second mobile device announced by Dell with smartphone capabilities. On Aug. 12, Dell started shipping its Streak mobile device, which has a 5-inch screen. The Streak — termed a tablet by Dell — is a mobile Internet device with voice capabilities. But Dell considers the Aero to be its first wireless handset, the company said as it launched the smartphone.


By Agam Shah

IDG News Service – Dell on Tuesday dived into the highly competitive smartphone market, releasing the Aero in the U.S.

The Aero phone comes with a 3.5-inch touch screen and is available through Dell’s Website for $99.99 with a two-year mobile contract with AT&T and for $299.99 without a contract.

Aero is the second mobile device announced by Dell with smartphone capabilities. On Aug. 12, Dell started shipping its Streak mobile device, which has a 5-inch screen. The Streak — termed a tablet by Dell — is a mobile Internet device with voice capabilities. But Dell considers the Aero to be its first wireless handset, the company said as it launched the smartphone. Leer más “Dell’s Aero smartphone now available in U.S.”

Nike’s Tiger Woods Apparel Line Snubbed by Consumers

Tiger Woods fans have put up with the philandering, the text messages and the domestic spats. Now comes what may be the hardest thing of all to tolerate: Losing.

Woods has played through the year without a single tournament win, putting him at 83rd on the PGA Tour’s money list. As his performance slumps, so have sales of his apparel line through Nike Inc., according to retailers Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Roger Dunn Golf Shops and Golf Discount Superstore.


AT&T National Golf Tournament @ Congressional ...
Image by Chase McAlpine via Flickr

By Alex Sherman

Tiger Woods fans have put up with the philandering, the text messages and the domestic spats. Now comes what may be the hardest thing of all to tolerate: Losing.

Woods has played through the year without a single tournament win, putting him at 83rd on the PGA Tour’s money list. As his performance slumps, so have sales of his apparel line through Nike Inc., according to retailers Golfsmith International Holdings Inc., Roger Dunn Golf Shops and Golf Discount Superstore. Leer más “Nike’s Tiger Woods Apparel Line Snubbed by Consumers”

Awesome Artworks by Rogier de Boeve

Rogier de Boeve, 22 year old and a Graphic designer who hails from Belgium. He started making graphics about 5 years ago and he became a more experienced designer as he was part of online Art groups like Evokeone and Konvulse. He is currently looking for new artistic, professional adventures. Although He is a student he is however available for freelancing. In this post we have gathered some of his awesome and beautiful artworks for your inspiration, we hope that you will like this collection.


Rogier de Boeve, 22 year old and a Graphic designer who hails from Belgium. He started making graphics about 5 years ago and he became a more experienced designer as he was part of online Art groups like Evokeone and Konvulse. He is currently looking for new artistic, professional adventures. Although He is a student he is however available for freelancing. In this post we have gathered some of his awesome and beautiful artworks for your inspiration, we hope that you will like this collection.

Leer más “Awesome Artworks by Rogier de Boeve”

Intel, Nokia Taking Smartphones Into A Whole New Dimension: The Third

The Intel Nokia Joint Innovation Center (INJIC) officially opened its doors today. There are actually three parties involved in the new enterprise: Chip-maker Intel, cell phone master Nokia, and the University of Oulu in north-central Finland. Nokia, despite its slipping grip on the smartphone (and being completely sucker-punched by the touchscreen phone revolution) does lots of innovative research, and this new facility is destined to craft “compelling mobile user experiences that could leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices.” One particular target is the Intel-Nokia collaborative OS Meego, as it “provides the greatest flexibility for developing new 3-D experiences on mobile devices,” and this also explains the choice of Oulu, which has a “focus on future telecommunications solutions” and lots of “3-D interface expertise.”


BY Kit EatonToday

Nokia Intel 3-D

Smartphones have only become powerful enough to display high-quality 3-D graphics in the last couple of years. But Intel and Nokia have high hopes for the future of the technology. To this end, they’ve just opened a new research lab. It’s all about “immersive” experiences. Leer más “Intel, Nokia Taking Smartphones Into A Whole New Dimension: The Third”

5 Tips to Prevent Bad Debt

One of the great things that I have found about freelancing is the thrill of finding new clients. One of the roughest parts of being a freelancer is waiting to see if your new client is going to pay you for the services you provided.

Here are a few ways that might be useful for you prevent bad debt and maintain your freelance paycheck:

Communicate – Be upfront and clear as to what your payment expectations are. If you require a deposit before any work is completed (and you are fully within your rights to do so) then be firm that work doesn’t start until you’ve received the payment. Be consistent with your policies so all parties involved understand the expectations.

Part of your payment expectations can include a credit or background check. If you have your prospective client provide you with references, take the time to call the references to find out what kind of client you are looking at. A quick phone call today can prevent a lot of headache tomorrow.

Communication works for those who work at it.
John Powell

Invoice – Whether you’re using Freshbooks or just an excel spreadsheet that you’ve converted to pdf (you are converting them to pdf, right?), make sure you send an invoice out to each client. This invoice needs to include your name and business address, as well as your clients name and business address. A detailed breakdown of the services performed can help prevent “misunderstandings.”

There’s always something to be thankful for. If you can’t pay your bills, you can be thankful you’re not one of your creditors. (Anonymous)


One of the great things that I have found about freelancing is the thrill of finding new clients.  One of the roughest parts of being a freelancer is waiting to see if your new client is going to pay you for the services you provided.

Here are a few ways that might be useful for you prevent bad debt and maintain your freelance paycheck:

Communicate – Be upfront and clear as to what your payment expectations are.  If you require a deposit before any work is completed (and you are fully within your rights to do so) then be firm that work doesn’t start until you’ve received the payment.  Be consistent with your policies so all parties involved understand the expectations.

Part of your payment expectations can include a credit or background check.  If you have your prospective client provide you with references, take the time to call the references to find out what kind of client you are looking at.  A quick phone call today can prevent a lot of headache tomorrow.

Communication works for those who work at it.
John Powell

Invoice – Whether you’re using Freshbooks or just an excel spreadsheet that you’ve converted to pdf (you are converting them to pdf, right?), make sure you send an invoice out to each client.  This invoice needs to include your name and business address, as well as your clients name and business address.  A detailed breakdown of the services performed can help prevent “misunderstandings.”

There’s always something to be thankful for. If you can’t pay your bills, you can be thankful you’re not one of your creditors. (Anonymous) Leer más “5 Tips to Prevent Bad Debt”

Sony Introduces New Cameras With Translucent Mirrors

Sony announced three new camera models on Monday, including two that feature a new translucent mirror technology. The three new cameras are the a55, the a33, and the a560.

Sony Alpha a55 and a33: Translucent Mirrors for Faster Shooting

The a55 and a33 are similar cameras, with the same sized APS-C CMOS sensors (23.5×15.6mm) and design. The higher-end a55 has a larger megapixel count, faster Speed Priority continuous shooting mode, and built-in GPS capability.

What’s most notable about these cameras is that both the a55 and a33 will have a translucent mirror that allows light to pass through directly to the camera’s sensors. Since the mirror no longer has to lift in order to capture an image, the camera can take photos much faster. That means a smaller camera body, higher continuous shooting rate, and continuous auto focusing, even while the camera records an image or video.

The 16.2-megapixel a55 can shoot 10 fps (frames per second) in Speed Priority mode or 6 fps in Continuous Shooting mode. The 14.2-megapixel a33 can shoot up 7 fps in Speed Priority mode and 6 in Continuous Shooting mode.


Heather Kelly

Sony announced three new camera models on Monday, including two that feature a new translucent mirror technology. The three new cameras are the a55, the a33, and the a560.

Sony Alpha a55 and a33: Translucent Mirrors for Faster Shooting

The a55 and a33 are similar cameras, with the same sized APS-C CMOS sensors (23.5×15.6mm) and design. The higher-end a55 has a larger megapixel count, faster Speed Priority continuous shooting mode, and built-in GPS capability.

What’s most notable about these cameras is that both the a55 and a33 will have a translucent mirror that allows light to pass through directly to the camera’s sensors. Since the mirror no longer has to lift in order to capture an image, the camera can take photos much faster. That means a smaller camera body, higher continuous shooting rate, and continuous auto focusing, even while the camera records an image or video.

The 16.2-megapixel a55 can shoot 10 fps (frames per second) in Speed Priority mode or 6 fps in Continuous Shooting mode. The 14.2-megapixel a33 can shoot up 7 fps in Speed Priority mode and 6 in Continuous Shooting mode. Leer más “Sony Introduces New Cameras With Translucent Mirrors”

Patience Is Needed In Social Media Event Marketing

I’ve really been organizing events for about 30 years. I can say that because I was always the one as a teenager who called around all of my friends and got a big group of people together for a meet up. Sometimes I lamented and wondered why no one else would organize events. Until eventually I realized that most people don’t organize stuff, and prefer to sit back and wait for others to drive events to happen.


Logo for the Addicted to Social Media Blog
Image via Wikipedia

Posted by John Cass

I’ve really been organizing events for about 30 years. I can say that because I was always the one as a teenager who called around all of my friends and got a big group of people together for a meet up. Sometimes I lamented and wondered why no one else would organize events. Until eventually I realized that most people don’t organize stuff, and prefer to sit back and wait for others to drive events to happen. Leer más “Patience Is Needed In Social Media Event Marketing”

How Men and Women Use Their Smartphones Differently

The genders may be equal, but their smartphone usage may not be. While there have been no readily available studies on how men and women may use their phones differently, we suspected that there had to be trends to separate the two. In an effort to get an idea of just how wide the gap may be, we asked some of the most hardcore iPhone and Blackberry junkies what they thought. The results may surprise you!


By Linsey Knerl

man-woman-phone624.png

The genders may be equal, but their smartphone usage may not be. While there have been no readily available studies on how men and women may use their phones differently, we suspected that there had to be trends to separate the two. In an effort to get an idea of just how wide the gap may be, we asked some of the most hardcore iPhone and Blackberry junkies what they thought. The results may surprise you!

Leer más “How Men and Women Use Their Smartphones Differently”

Puma estrena zapatillas inspiradas en comics en el Festival de Arte Urbano

Siguiendo con las acciones de promoción vinculadas al arte que practican varias empresas, y luego de dos ediciones que contaron con la presencia de 27.000 personas, la compañía deportiva anunció la realización de un nuevo Puma Urban Art.

El encuentro, que se realizará el próximo fin de semana en el Auditorio de Buenos Aires, contará con la presencia de artistas internacionales y locales que vestirán el lugar con sus últimas creaciones.

La marca tiene como objetivo dar lugar a diferentes expresiones del arte urbano. Además, contará con un espacio VIP dedicado a su modelo de calzado 917, que tiene inspiraciones en el mundo del comic, otra de las novedades de esta edición del festival.

En cuanto a los invitados a la tercera edición, estarán presentes Leslie Iwerks, de EE.UU., directora de los films “The hand behind the Mouse” y “The Pixar Story”, nieta del co-fundador con Walt Disney de Mickey Mouse.
También participarán tres virtuosos de la ilustración y la pintura urbana tales como Stephan Doitschinoff, más conocido como Calma, de Brasi), que salió a la calle a responder la violencia e incluso hizo intervenciones en favelas, y Clayton Brothers, de EE.UU., dos hermanos que trabajan cada obra de manera conjunta, son profesores de la University of Art and Design y realizaron videos como “All Around The World” (1997) de la banda Oasis.


La deportiva sigue apostando a la cultura como forma de promover la marca y prepara un encuentro con artistas donde se presentarán los últimos diseños

Puma estrena zapatillas inspiradas en comics en el Festival de Arte Urbano

Siguiendo con las acciones de promoción vinculadas al arte que practican varias empresas, y luego de dos ediciones que contaron con la presencia de 27.000 personas, la compañía deportiva anunció la realización de un nuevo Puma Urban Art.

<!–

–> El encuentro, que se realizará el próximo fin de semana en el Auditorio de Buenos Aires, contará con la presencia de artistas internacionales y locales que vestirán el lugar con sus últimas creaciones.

La marca tiene como objetivo dar lugar a diferentes expresiones del arte urbano. Además, contará con un espacio VIP dedicado a su modelo de calzado 917, que tiene inspiraciones en el mundo del comic, otra de las novedades de esta edición del festival.

En cuanto a los invitados a la tercera edición, estarán presentes Leslie Iwerks, de EE.UU., directora de los films “The hand behind the Mouse” y “The Pixar Story”, nieta del co-fundador con Walt Disney de Mickey Mouse.
También participarán tres virtuosos de la ilustración y la pintura urbana tales como Stephan Doitschinoff, más conocido como Calma, de Brasi), que salió a la calle a responder la violencia e incluso hizo intervenciones en favelas, y Clayton Brothers, de EE.UU., dos hermanos que trabajan cada obra de manera conjunta, son profesores de la University of Art and Design y realizaron videos como “All Around The World” (1997) de la banda Oasis. Leer más “Puma estrena zapatillas inspiradas en comics en el Festival de Arte Urbano”

[Argentina – Fibertel vs. Gobierno – Affair] Sin aumentos ni cargos de instalación

EL GOBIERNO DICTO UNA RESOLUCION PARA EVITAR COSTOS ADICIONALES A LOS USUARIOS

La Secretaría de Comunicaciones dispuso que las empresas que pretendan captar a los clientes de la desaparecida compañía de Internet no podrán cobrar abonos más caros ni cargos de conexión o alquiler de equipos. Reunión con asociaciones de consumidores.

Los usuarios de Fibertel no tendrán costo de migración hacia otro proveedor ni pagarán un abono superior al actual, obteniendo la misma calidad de servicio. Esas son las exigencias que estableció el Gobierno a las empresas de Internet que pretendan captar a los clientes de la desaparecida compañía del Grupo Clarín. La Secretaría de Comunicaciones lo estipuló a través de una resolución que prometió saldrá publicada hoy en el Boletín Oficial. La novedad fue transmitida ayer a un grupo de asociaciones de consumidores por el interventor de la Comisión Nacional de Comunicaciones (CNC), Ceferino Namuncurá. Las entidades la recibieron como “positiva”, aunque advirtieron que “más allá de las buenas intenciones, la posibilidad fáctica de que se logren estas condiciones está en duda”.


EL GOBIERNO DICTO UNA RESOLUCION PARA EVITAR COSTOS ADICIONALES A LOS USUARIOS

La Secretaría de Comunicaciones dispuso que las empresas que pretendan captar a los clientes de la desaparecida compañía de Internet no podrán cobrar abonos más caros ni cargos de conexión o alquiler de equipos. Reunión con asociaciones de consumidores.

Los usuarios de Fibertel no tendrán costo de migración hacia otro proveedor ni pagarán un abono superior al actual, obteniendo la misma calidad de servicio. Esas son las exigencias que estableció el Gobierno a las empresas de Internet que pretendan captar a los clientes de la desaparecida compañía del Grupo Clarín. La Secretaría de Comunicaciones lo estipuló a través de una resolución que prometió saldrá publicada hoy en el Boletín Oficial. La novedad fue transmitida ayer a un grupo de asociaciones de consumidores por el interventor de la Comisión Nacional de Comunicaciones (CNC), Ceferino Namuncurá. Las entidades la recibieron como “positiva”, aunque advirtieron que “más allá de las buenas intenciones, la posibilidad fáctica de que se logren estas condiciones está en duda”. Leer más “[Argentina – Fibertel vs. Gobierno – Affair] Sin aumentos ni cargos de instalación”

The Medical RevolutionWhere are the cures promised by stem cells, gene therapy, and the human genome?

Dr. J. William Langston has been researching Parkinson’s disease for 25 years. At one time, it seemed likely he’d have to find another disease to study, because a cure for Parkinson’s looked imminent. In the late 1980s, the field of regenerative medicine seemed poised to make it possible for doctors to put healthy tissue in a damaged brain, reversing the destruction caused by the disease.

Langston was one of many optimists. In 1999, the then-head of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, testified before the Senate that with “skill and luck,” Parkinson’s could be cured in five to 10 years. Now Langston, who is 67, doesn’t think he’ll see a Parkinson’s cure in his professional lifetime. He no longer uses “the C word” and acknowledges he and others were naive. He understands the anger of patients who, he says, “are getting quite bitter” that they remain ill, long past the time when they thought they would have been restored to health.

The disappointments are so acute in part because the promises have been so big. Over the past two decades, we’ve been told that a new age of molecular medicine—using gene therapy, stem cells, and the knowledge gleaned from unlocking the human genome—would bring us medical miracles. Just as antibiotics conquered infectious diseases and vaccines eliminated the scourges of polio and smallpox, the ability to manipulate our cells and genes is supposed to vanquish everything from terrible inherited disorders, such as Huntington’s and cystic fibrosis, to widespread conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
[Más…]

Adding to the frustration is an endless stream of laboratory animals that are always getting healed. Mice with Parkinson’s have been successfully treated with stem cells, as have mice with sickle cell anemia. Dogs with hemophilia and muscular dystrophy have been made disease-free. But humans keep experiencing suffering and death. Why? What explains the tremendous mismatch between expectation and reality? Are the cures really coming, just more slowly than expected? Or have scientists fundamentally misled us, and themselves, about the potential of new medical technologies?

The Brain Is Not a Pincushion
Parkinson’s disease was long held out as the model for new knowledge and technologies eradicating illnesses. Instead, it has become the model for its unforeseen consequences.

Langston, head of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, explains that scientists believed the damage to patients took place in a discrete part of the brain, the substantia nigra. “It was a small target. All we’d have to do was replace the missing cells, do it once, and that would cure the disease,” Langston says. “We were wrong about that. This disease hits many other areas of the brain. You can’t just put transplants here and there. The brain is not a pincushion.”

Parkinson’s patients in the 1980s were guinea pigs, getting fetal tissue transplants—a precursor of stem-cell therapy—in their brains. After reports of dramatic improvement, it seemed like a new era had begun. But to make sure the results were real, in the 1990s a group of patients agreed to undergo a double-blind study: Half would get brain surgery with the fetal tissue, half would get holes drilled in their heads and no transplant. (Yes, there are patients willing to have useless holes drilled in their heads for the sake of advancing science.)

It was a huge disappointment when the two groups showed only a marginal difference in disease manifestation—the previous benefits, it turned out, were largely placebo effect. Then, horrifyingly, a year after the surgery, a major difference appeared. Fifteen percent of the patients who received the fetal tissue developed “tragic, catastrophic” uncontrollable movements.


By Emily Yoffe

Illustration by Rob Donnelly. Click image to expand.Dr. J. William Langston has been researching Parkinson’s disease for 25 years. At one time, it seemed likely he’d have to find another disease to study, because a cure for Parkinson’s looked imminent. In the late 1980s, the field of regenerative medicine seemed poised to make it possible for doctors to put healthy tissue in a damaged brain, reversing the destruction caused by the disease.

Langston was one of many optimists. In 1999, the then-head of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, testified before the Senate that with “skill and luck,” Parkinson’s could be cured in five to 10 years. Now Langston, who is 67, doesn’t think he’ll see a Parkinson’s cure in his professional lifetime. He no longer uses “the C word” and acknowledges he and others were naive. He understands the anger of patients who, he says, “are getting quite bitter” that they remain ill, long past the time when they thought they would have been restored to health.

The disappointments are so acute in part because the promises have been so big. Over the past two decades, we’ve been told that a new age of molecular medicine—using gene therapy, stem cells, and the knowledge gleaned from unlocking the human genome—would bring us medical miracles. Just as antibiotics conquered infectious diseases and vaccines eliminated the scourges of polio and smallpox, the ability to manipulate our cells and genes is supposed to vanquish everything from terrible inherited disorders, such as Huntington’s and cystic fibrosis, to widespread conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.