Tag Archives: tackling obesities

Three-Parent Babies – Tackling Obesities scenario becomes reality

“By combining the DNA of parents with genetic material from a third person, scientists might have developed a way for women with rare genetic disorders to have healthy children. The bad news: The ethical complications involved are so messy that it might be a long time coming. The researchers outline their work in a study in this week’s Nature. On the surface, the idea is fairly simple. They took the nuclei out of the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg, and transplanted them into a donor’s egg cell that had its nucleus removed, but whose mitochondria remained in the cell’s cytoplasm. What you get is the genetics of both parents, plus the mitochondrial DNA of the host. This technique was pioneered in monkeys last summer, but researchers have now done a proof-of-principle study with human cells.”
via Discover Magazine

During my internship on the Tackling Obesities project at Foresight, DTI (now Government Office for Science) we were asked to respond and envision the impact of the predicted obesity epidemic over the next 40 years. This current scientific research development reflects some of the work I generated during this internship; one scenario Michael Burton and I generated was entitled P-Evolution Clinic.

P-Evolution Clinic: The Immersive Future Child Portrait Room

The P-Evo Clinic is the ultimate preventative measure against our obesity epidemic and a development of the Family Planning Association. It offers services to would-be parents, through advanced PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis), to predict genetic variants in the not-yet-conceived child. Parents can prepare for possible special requirements their unborn child may need in an obesogenic environment. The experience of a visit to the P-EVO clinic is a rare blend of religious vision, health spa and theatrical spectacle. It was particular a service catered towards three different parents who want to find the opportuntiy to merge the ‘ideal’ DNA of each parent to prevent future predisposition to obesity disease.

This particular scenario was generated to raise discussion amongst the other scenario planners and researchers at Foresight to imagine the impact obesity will have on the health service. Now that this research has been published, where might the discussion continue?

What would be the parental negotiations if 3 parents were responsible for a child? What social services would exist? Would the average family be increased? How will housing change? Would and how will these Gattaca services exist? How would parents roles change? Would the mother become ever more a vehicle for reproduction ( see The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood)

Tackling Obesities scenario is realised with Le Whiff

FOOD HEDONISM: Was the name of one scenario generated during my internship for the Tacking Obesities project at the Government of Science’s Foresight think tank with colleague Michael Burton. During our research, we were influenced by an essay by one expert, “The potential of contributions from neuroscience and psychology for understanding and treating obesity” by Edmund T Rolls. This essay was sourced by the Foresight team detailing the psychological impacts of our hunger pains and relationship to food intake. We proposed the possibility of creating alternative taste buds that exist elsewhere on the body; could hunger be satisfied using the other senses?. Would they offer the feeling of a food,  a phantom food and satisfy the hunger of an individual? Would there be spas that people would go to to immerse themselves in the feeling of healthy food, but smell the sugar and chocolate at the same time. What other sensual mash ups might this ensue? What impact would this have on diabetics?
With this in mind i find it amazing to see that Le Whif has been produced. Le Whif is a revolutionary new way of eating chocolate that you inhale. David Edwards the founder of Le Laboratoire, a new artscience center in Paris in his new book , Whiff, outlines experiments in encapsulating flavours.

“In this latest experiment, the double-Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx collaborated with the colloidal scientist Jérôme Bibette to introduce a new way of encapsulating flavors. Wishing to present these delectable capsules in an unusual way, a group of art and science college students developed with Edwards a new way of eating by aerosol, called whiffing.”

le whiff

Tackling Obesities: Future Choices: Foresight report

biofeedback Superfarm
P-evo clinic Food Activists

On Wednesday 17th, the government think tank, FORESIGHT, will be launching its Tackling Obesities report at the RSA, in London. Based on a 2 year project it outlines its investigations into the future of obesity in the UK, including its prediction that half the population could be obese within 25 years.

During summer 2006 I spent two months working as an intern alongside the FORESIGHT team to envision the impact of the predicted obesity epidemic over the next 50 years. I worked in collaboration with Michael Burton in the development of our scenarios which are highlighted in the images above. Each image represents a scenario based on a variety of topics relating to the many factors that contribute to the increase in obesity in the UK including food deserts, individual genetic make up, cultural stigma, built environment, education, choice etc.

Our work considered the evolution of the body in response to an overtly obesogenic environment and some proposals for tackling the problem. Our project aims to be a point of provocation informed by Foresight’s extensive consultation with leading world scientists, experts and other stakeholders in order to stimulate debate in Government as well as the general public.

More information about each scenario can be found at my website>.

Further news links related to the FORESIGHT report can be found here>