With the advent of a new year a number of technological wonders have hit the market. Healthcare technologies have been the biggest gainer from this revolution. From the Oculus Rift to the nano-bubbles which work specifically against cancer cells in the body, a number of these quasi-magical advancements have made themselves available to the privileged people. Holding hands of the latest advancements of communication technology, a number of methods and instruments have also advanced which aim at making the job of doctors a lot simpler.
From diagnostics to treatment, a number of these inventions can be used in everyday practice by the doctors very soon. Most of these are fresh out of their R&D stage, but their human trials have already shown promise. So let us now talk about 5 of the most recent groundbreaking innovations which are about to change the world of diagnostics and medicine as we know it today.
Scans which detect Autism
Even 40 years ago detection of autism with complete confidence was kind of impossible before a certain age. The lack of proper diagnosis has led to a number of challenges in the formative years of a number of promising young children. Even in the early 2000’s the diagnostic procedure was not complete. One had to take a number of tests which involved answering a number of verbal questions to determine their mental abilities. For the first time in the history of psychiatry and medicine, a comprehensive and simple brain scan may be able to detect autism in children and even in covert cases of grown men.
The detection process is sort of infallible as it relies very less on human interactions and more on a computer software. This software program has successfully compiled the connections between different areas of the brain. Concurrent repetition of the experiment while building a “map” of such brain neuron connection allowed the programmers to perfect the ubiquitous connections which exist in every human brain. As a result, the scientists were finally able to identify 16 specific connections which are present in the brains of people affected with autism.
Microscopy to detect blood cancer
The researchers at UCLA have recently developed a LASER-based tech which can rapidly screen blood samples collected from patients. One scan is enough to screen the samples containing blood cancer cells from the normal ones. This technology is extremely promising as it bypasses all resident detection techniques which often leave huge rooms for errors. Even today may laboratories perform human guided diagnostics when it comes to blood cancer detection. The most common prevalent tests include a complete blood count which makes a comparative study of all types of blood cells observed in the sample vs. their normal count. However the LASER-based microscopy technique is more of a real-time technique which directly observes the cells for classic abnormalities.
The camera fitted to the microscope eye piece takes millions of snapshots per second by virtue of its AI algorithms. The microscope itself relies on photonic time stretch and a computer software which is responsible for running the algorithms. This is a key to data based phenotypic diagnosis and the heterogeneity of the disease. This technique is expected to hit the main market soon enough. The use of such phenotypic diagnosis will shorten the test periods and eliminate the risks of false positives.
Say goodbye to melanoma scares
The MelaFind is not a definitive diagnostic tool for doctors. But it does give a fairly good idea about the requirement of biopsy of existing warts, moles and skin pigmentations in patients. The main aim of this FDA approved tissue analytical machinery is to minimize the biopsy scars. Till date there is no other way to confirm the presence or absence of melanoma than conducting a full-fledged biopsy of excised tissue from the mole or wart. This is a 100 percent non-invasive technique which can capture and display data from under the epithelial surface which is not accessible to the naked eye.
The result is actually a combination of hundreds of signals obtained from scanning a doubtful skin formation with 10 different wavelengths. These signals are then processed by data refining algorithms which cross-reference the composed image with images from a melanoma database. This most definitively provides instant results in only a few minutes without causing any kind of discomfort or pain to the patient. The results are shown as “low disorganization” or “high disorganization”; the latter usually calling for further tests on subject including tissue biopsies.
Diabetes care minus the pin pricks
No one likes diabetes self care unless they are masochists in disguise. It involves constant blood draws for regular glucose tests and administration of insulin for regulating blood sugar levels. But finally in 2016 your patients can say goodbye to the regular pin pricks. The automated technologies which have evolved include replacement of the intimidating needle with a harmless patch. One can put on the patch anywhere, anytime, without drawing any attention to themselves. In fact Echo Therapeutics from Philadelphia, USA is developing the patch technology which will make monitoring diabetes a walk in the park even for kids.
This is a brilliant news for all those who are about to specialize in juvenile diabetes. Most kids are more intimidated by the needles than the impacts of the disease itself. The replacement of the needle with a patch will definitely result in the creation of a positive attitude in most young people. Their metabolic data can be monitored through a remote monitor and any disruption of normal levels will trigger an audible alarm. From real-time monitoring of body glucose to sounding warnings when the metabolites are off balance, the new technology will provide a wholesome care which the world cannot wait for.
3D printing everything from ears to hearts
Do you remember the time when being on the transplant list almost meant a confirmed goodbye? Mustn’t be that difficult because that was just about a year ago! Well, you can kiss that idea goodbye now because apparently scientists are now 3D printing human organs. Only 5 months ago little Lucy Boucher received the world’s first 3D printed kidney. This relieved her from the painful kidney dialysis process and now she can live a normal and happy life.
In addition to being quick as compared to the elaborate process of scrounging through international donor databases searching for the right donor and the right donor or waiting your turn for the transplant. The 3D printed organs have no chances of sending a person to anaphylactic shock or cause organ rejection symptoms. These 3D printed organs are fully functional, but they do not come with MHC Class I or MHC Class II proteins which determine the compatibility of organs and receivers. Hence now anyone in the world can undergo a transplant without having to worry about organ rejection or histo-compatiblity tests. This is most definitely a lifesaving technique which will rewrite medical and surgical history.