Robotics Revolutionizes Cures
Human Genome Project - Genetics
The Human Genome Project, which was released to the public in 2000; it has perhaps made the biggest impact in advancing medicine, whether in diagnosis or treatment than any other single discovery in history. Certainly there is still illness, and consumer costs remains a problem, however, some diseases that were considered a death sentence now have a better chance of treatment. The two in particular that come to mind are HIV/AIDS and cancer.
The best of the new discoveries is the potential for treatment that is more affordable in the future for those that are uninsured or under insured. The US Census Bureau reports for 2016, report that 91.1 million residents are now insured. Changing Obamacare has affected these numbers between 2016-2017, along with some of the other health insurance changes. The focus of this article is the fantastic new advances in medical care.
The third leading cause of death is HIV/AIDS, killing approximately 1.8 million people annually in poor countries. Clinical researchers from John Hopkins University and College London have discovered a way to use blood to combat this disease, rather than trying to kill the virus. When a person is infected by HIV, the body’s immune system provides a quick, but flawed defense to the virus.
The HIV takes the membrane from the cell that it infects. The researchers found they could remove a portion of the membrane to make it more permeable, which would let the body mount a stronger defense. While this is not yet a cure of HIV, this breakthrough will eventually reduce necessary resources to combat this disease, and it should also allow treatment of other similar types of similar diseases.
Hand Size Ultrasound
Jeff Neasham and Research Associate Dave Graham at Newcastle University developed a hand held size ultrasound device (USB) that plugs into a computer and works the same way ultrasound scanner that is used to picture an unborn child. These medical units typically cost £20,000 to £100,000. This new scanner costs as little as £30-£40. Ultrasounds are done routinely on pregnant women in most civilized countries in the world.
The goal for this new scanner is to provide health care in third world impoverished countries. This same, affordable unit could save the lives of thousands of women and babies around the world. Currently the UN estimates that 515,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these are avoidable. In industrialized countries only 1 in 4 women die during childbirth, but that number increases to 1 in 13 in developing countries.
What is Lou Gehrig’s Disease?
Another very exciting discovery by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine study promises a possible cure for one of the biggest mysteries in this century. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gherig’s disease, is a horrible, fatal disease that has long stumped scientist as to how it occurs or to find an effective treatment.
This disease is a neurodegenerative disease that gradually paralyzes its victims. These scientists have discovered that the cause of this disease is due to a flaw in the protein recycling system in the neurons of the spinal cord and brain. Having finally diagnosed the cause of the disease, now scientist will be able to find a cure.
Robot Surgery Treats Brain Blood Clots
Robot surgeries or robotic assisted surgeries have now become common place. In 2007, at Cleveland Clinic surgeons removed kidneys through a small incision in the patient’s naval. Numerous hospitals now have this ability.
Since that time robot surgeries have evolved as they are very accurate. They are particularly useful in cancer surgeries. The magnification lets the surgeons get very clean margins. These surgeries are typically used in minor surgeries due to the small incisions typically used.
The benefits of robotic surgery include:
- "Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection
- Less pain and blood loss
- Quicker recovery
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
Robot surgery is expensive, however, the benefit of less invasive surgery and surgery with precision accuracy outweigh the concern of cost.
Full-Length Surgery: Robot-Assisted Single-Site Gallbladder Removal
There are numerous other advances happening as this article is being written.The advances in stem cell research are staggering and volumes could be written.
One of the problems for doctors is harnessing the large volume of information of a patient, along with all the new medications and data. Doctors are frequently using new technology, including IPods, just for this reason. The new technology for some of the worst diseases of man is very exciting and holds great promise for the future.
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.