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They Once Were Blind; Now They See Thanks to Gold

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Last week, Peter Schiff was a guest with Nicholas Merten of DataDash. In comparing and contrasting Bitcoin and gold, Peter brought up the fact that gold has intrinsic value outside of its use as money. People want to own gold because of its unique qualities.

The reason gold became money in the first place is because everybody wanted gold because of what gold is, because of the tangible, physical properties of that rare element – all of the things that you can do with the metal. It is a luxury good that people have desired for time immemorial.”

And in recent years, gold has been increasingly valued for its use in various technological applications. In a report late last year, the World Gold Council reported the demand for gold in the technology sector has been growing since 2016 and that growth is continuing to accelerate due to new innovations.

In one of the most amazing developments, gold may even be able to help restore eyesight.

A team of Chinese researchers partially restored the sight of blind mice by replacing their deteriorated photoreceptors – sensory structures inside the eye that respond to light – with nano-wires made of gold and titanium. An article at explained what the scientists did.

To test their artificial receptors, the team first altered the mice’s genes so that their natural receptors degraded. The researchers implanted the metallic receptors in a few mice at a time, and watched as their subjects began responding to green, blue, and ultraviolet light. The mice’s pupils dilated, confirming the new photoreceptors were working and that the mice were responsive to light. The photoreceptors were left in for eight weeks, during which none of the mice displayed any negative side effects or injury.”

Of course, scientists have no way of knowing exactly what the mice saw or how clear their vision was with the artificial photoreceptors. Nevertheless, researchers called it a significant breakthrough that could lead to treatments for humans suffering from deteriorating eyesight, particularly resulting retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and macular degeneration.

Restoring sight isn’t the only recent breakthrough involving gold.

Another team of Chinese researchers has developed a gold-laced tab that generates electricity from body movements. As IFL Science put it, this could eventually allow you to charge your cell phone with the flick of a finger. Here’s how it works:

The tab is made from two thin gold films separated by a strip of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), the same silicon-based substance used to make contact lenses and Silly Putty. One of the gold layers is stretched so that it crumples on release to form ridges reminiscent of a mountain range.  Bending causes electrons to flow back and forth between the gold layers. The more friction, the greater the amount of power is produced.”

The team of researchers is now working on developing a larger version that can generate more power, along with portable batteries capable of storing energy produced by the tab.

Over the last few years, scientists have developed a number of cancer treatments using gold nanoparticles. Now researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a process using gold to repair the mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

A new study shows that a single injection of CRISPR-Gold, as the new delivery system is called, into mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy led to an 18-times-higher correction rate and a two-fold increase in a strength and agility test compared to control groups.”

Scientists say the CRISPR-Gold system has the potential to develop into a therapeutic for treating a number of different genetic diseases.

We generally think of gold as an investment as well as money, but its increasing use in technology and industry will likely impact demand. The amount of gold used in technology was roughly equal to the amount purchased by central banks between 2010 and 2016. This fundamental driver of demand will only increase the overall value of the yellow metal.

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