How Technology Is Improving Our Health
Technology has provided us with an astounding range of health breakthroughs from cosmetic treatments like microscopic surgery for hair replacement through to an electronic cigarette to help smokers quit.Many state-of-the-art technologies such as genetic engineering, microsurgery, medical imaging and customised treatments are becoming increasingly available. Here are10 of the latest, and most fascinating, health breakthroughs:
In 2009, just over three million sterile male mosquitoes were released in the Cayman Islands in an attempt to reduce disease-carrying pest populations. After a year, the mosquito population dropped by 80 percent.Who would have thought sperm-less mosquitoes could help eradicate malaria?
SGLT2 inhibitors are a new class of oral medicine for the treatment of diabetes thatflush blood sugar out of the body in urine. This massive medical breakthrough has the potential to shift diabetes treatment from insulin to eating habits in an attempt to catch the debilitating disease early.
Medicine’s digital future
Patient records are moving into the digital age withcomputerised systems linking to online information on best practices, treatment recommendations and harmful medicine interactions. The potential benefits include fewer unnecessary tests, reduced medical errors and better care so patients are less likely to require costly treatments in hospital. Computerised patient care is ushering in a whole new era of information medicine and is growing by leaps and bounds.
Below-the-knee amputees can now walk, climb and compete in extreme sports thanks to microprocessors and computer chips that mimic actual leg motions. Recent advances in computer, sensor, electric motor and battery technology enable the prosthetic to be the first ever that powers knee and ankle joints in unison.
Implants for Brain Aneurysms
Recent studies show between two and three percent of adults globally will develop an aneurysm during their lifetime. Neurologist Professor Bernard Yan from the Royal Melbourne Hospital says that for every 100 people with an aneurysm, about one will suffer a ruptureeach year.Ballooning blood vessels can now be choked thanks to a new implant that stops blood flow to the dangerous defects with a 70 percent success rate.
Next-Generation Gene Sequencing
A machine the size of a desktop printer can read 10 million characters of genetic code in a matter of hours. As warp-speed mapping capabilities progress, health professionals will be able to identify the cause of serious illnesses in a matter of minutes.
Mobile Medical Apps
Doctors can now rely on increasingly advanced, user-friendly medical apps to access patient health records, medicine databases, dosing and disease-risk calculators. More sophisticated apps can even help diagnose sleep apnoea, detect seizures, and score cognitive test results.
Intelligent Mouth Guard
Footy players bashing heads and boxers knocking each other senseless can track the impact of the blows to their brain health. A computerised mouth guard can record the severity of hits to the head with Bluetooth technology. Once a brain injury is detected, intervention can be immediate.
CT Scans May Detect Lung Cancer Early
Studies using low-dose spiral CT scans are helping doctors detect evidence of lung cancer in its early stages. The new procedure is superior to chest x-rays and in a study of more than 50,000 smokers and ex-smokers, 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths were prevalent.
Breakthrough in Blood Pressure Control
Catheter-based renal denervation, a 40-minute procedure that zaps nerves in the kidney with low-power radio waves, is helping patients control blood pressure without drugs. In a randomised study, 39 percent of patients achieved their blood pressure target while 50 percent showed measurable results.