Science today is making great strides in the healthcare industry and developing more advanced technology to help patients see, fight cancer, and analyse the food we eat. This article discusses some of new advancements scientists have made, and how the healthcare industry is changing.
3-D Body Part Printing
Scientists are now able to create human body parts using 3D printing, going as far as blood vessels, skin cells, organs, and even ears. Organovo, a company located in San Diego, is working on a human liver they expect to print this year.
Cornell bio-engineers have already printed an ear they injected with gels containing living cells. The ear closely resembles a real ear, and will be used to transplant onto children with microtia which is a congenital deformity, and people who are need ear transplants as a result of cancer or accidents.
And it's not all theoretical, there have been genuine successful results. Recently, a 2-week old baby was saved by 3D printing as doctors in New York were able to create a replica of the baby's heart to study before an operation.
Gene therapy revises human genes to fight cancer and then injects the genes back into a person’s body. This process has been successful in reversing breast cancer in mice. This is an innovative way to fight and treat the early stages of cancer and offers an alternative to radiation and chemotherapy.
Bionic Eye Development
A California company called Second Sight has developed a bionic eye which will allow people with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration to see color and objects.
The bionic eye is actually a pair of glasses with a small camera that transmits electrical pulses to an antenna implanted into the retina. The electrical pulses are converted into images that the optic nerve interprets and transmits to the brain.
Gadgets and Apps
Many different gadgets and apps are being released on the market that will interpret what you are eating. The AIRO wristband will be released in late 2014, which contains a spectrometer that detects the nutrients in a meal.
An app by TellSpec will analyse the chemical composition in food and notify you on your smartphone if you are eating unhealthily. Students getting masters in special education are also getting used to new technologies that help those with special needs regulate their diet and health.
Covidian Pipeline Embolization Device
Patients with broad-neck and wide-neck aneurysms who have suffered from aneurysms no longer have to risk a rupture because of the few treatment options available.
The new Covidian Pipeline Embolization device is a mesh tube that is placed on the opening of the neck of the parent vessel and restores blood flow and makes the aneurysm thrombose. It will replace the porous stent now used. Most of the 25 patients who have undergone this procedure since its approval in 2011 have thrombosed in six months.
Research in the healthcare field continues to lead to the development of new technology that will save and improve the quality of life in patients.