Medicine has come a long way since the early days. From the time of the first recorded surgery in Egypt and Mesopotamia over 4,500 years ago (when the only known anesthesia was a blow to the head!), medical knowledge has grown dramatically. This information explosion goes hand-in-hand with remarkable advances in diagnostic and treatment methods over the centuries. Even though life-saving developments are not new, the twenty-first century has seen advances unheard of even a few decades ago. Here are five that are sure to benefit us for many years to come.
Magnetic resonance imaging has reached a new level. The technique has the ability to see the human brain in action. It works by measuring variations in oxygen levels and blood flow, indicators of neuron activity. Patients perform easy tasks, like identifying a color. When they answer, the machine marks the parts of the brain activated. MRI is giving researchers insights into such conditions as depression, memory problems, and even skin maladies like psoriasis.
There’s an App for That
Medical apps do everything from helping people keep track of the calories they consume to providing information for nursing mothers on the possible effects of medications on breast milk and babies. Doctors can use these technologies to detect heart rhythm abnormalities, monitor a diabetic patient’s glucose levels, and more.
Until now, if a patient had a bacterial infection, pinpointing the type could take days and could be very expensive. With this new technology, the bacteria can be identified in minutes. The cost? 50 cents.
These range from assisting technology that benefits children with disabilities and their caregivers to fluorescence microscopes. The devices work by shining ultraviolet light onto a specimen. This light causes molecules within the specimen to become fluorescent. These new-generation microscopes enable users to identify important chemicals as calcium, sodium, and enzymes. With this enhanced imaging ability, health conditions can be more accurately pinpointed, leading to more effective treatment.
Neuromodulation Therapy for Headaches
Migraine and cluster headache sufferers have a reason to celebrate. A miniscule implant is placed in the upper gum via a tiny incision. Whenever patients feel a headache firing up,they simply trigger the pain-blocking device via remote control. Another boon? Since medication is not used, there are no problems with dosing, waiting for the medicine to work, or side effects.
These discoveries are certain to improve our lives and quality of life now and in the future. Science and technology is constantly evolving and there will always be new developments that will come to light in the years ahead?