In the 21st century, there have been a litany of medical advancements that are nothing short of amazing. The explosion covers all specialties with patients having more autonomy in deciding how to stay healthy. In fact, choices are so varied, now several exist that make standard procedures almost obsolete. While a few changes based on using the body’s own defenses, medical devices lead the way in all other areas. Examples include app software, vision innovation, immunology, genetics, and emerging technologies.
Widespread use of apps for counting calories and steps has evolved to include the ability to track and monitor heart functions. Transformative remote devices include stethoscopes and arm cuffs that sync with smartphones. They can perform ECGs and ultrasounds from any location, reducing the number of visit to the cardiologist.
Wearable devices are now capable of triaging a person’s current medical status in real-time and relay this information straight to their doctor. Conditions such as sleep apnea no longer require overnight stays in a hospital setting. Instead, devices can be worn and information sent to experts to interpret and develop a treatment plan.
Leaps and bounds is the way to describe the gains made to correct a host of vision abnormalities. The innovations have targeted the most prevalent diseases with more work on rare conditions still in the pipeline. For example, robotic eyes are a treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. An implant is connected to glasses that send pulse transmissions to the brain. The vision is not ideal, but adds a quality of life that was not thinkable 10 years ago. KAMRA Inlay Corneal Implant helps millions of presbyopia and cataract suffers to restore clear vision, and LASIK eye surgery is another treatment option for cataract surgery. This procedure has become so commonplace, that thousands are performed annually.
The latest in the fight against cancer has its most potent tools to date and has put the oncology world on its head with a new treatment paradigm. In the past, the goal was to introduce toxic agents into the body to destroy abnormal cells. However, immunology uses drugs that strengthen an individual’s immune system are the new way in.
This in turn activates the body’s defense system to attack the cancer without myriad side effects and the results have been amazing. Former President Jimmy Carter is an example of its success with his malignant brain tumor being completely eradicated.
DNA is the foundation of all living things. Scientist have taken this fact and developed protocols that use genes to fight cancers. Currently blood disorders such as leukemia have shown promising results with increased survival rates and cures being achieved. With these results, medical researchers have started the process of using this treatment on breast cancer cells in mice. Just like leukemia patients, the results have been positive with a stunning reverse in the disease’s course.
This translates to early detection requiring less chemo and radiation treatment. Additional benefits include the development of a small implant that assesses if specific drugs are working properly and the level of efficacy.
This last section has a group of technologies that are being used around the globe, while some have not quite made it to the United States. They address a range of areas including drawing blood test, glucose monitoring, electronic implants to fight obesity, skin biopsies, and heart valve replacement. These cutting-edge concepts are devices that improve patient health and well-being.
For diabetic individuals, the need to prick will soon be replaced by a trans-dermal patch that reads blood analytes and notifies of abnormal readings with an alert. MelaFind is the new weapon against melanoma the leading skin cancer and prevents unwarranted biopsies by distinguishing cells with a handheld wand during an office visit.
This article reviews the tip of the medical advancement iceberg. There is plenty more cutting-edge innovation in this space that continues to keep individuals healthier. This means the latest data documenting people living well into their 80s and the growing population of centenarians is no myth.