Robotics Revolutionizes Cures
Human Genome Project - Genetics
The Human Genome Project, which was released to the public in 2000, 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 U.S. Census Bureau reports for 2009, report that 50.7 million residents, (including 9.9 million non-citizens) were uninsured. As to how Obamacare will affect these numbers is not really known nor will be discussed for the purpose of this article. 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 250,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these are avoidable.
Lou Gehrig's Disease
Life changed forever when the doctor diagnosed my husband with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease.
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 have now become common place. In 2007, at Cleveland Clinic surgeons removed kidneys through a small incision in the patient’s naval. 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.
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.
© 2012 Pamela Oglesby