Technology promises us extraordinary things but, perhaps the greatest is longer life and improved health. Today’s technology is helping modern medicine extend and improve the lives of patients for strokes, heart attacks and hundreds of similar ailments. It also helps reduce symptoms and saves lives. See the most impacting ways technology is helping modern medicine now.
Finding the Right Drug at the Right Price
Modern medicine is uncovering more alternatives for heart attack and stroke victims. As technology advances, druggists develop new medicines that surpass the effectiveness of previous drugs. In one study researchers found patients taking prasugrel (marketed as Effient) suffered fewer recurring events than patients on Plavix. This competition results in lower prices and more options for those relying on heart medications.
Developing New Heart Valves
New, smaller manufacturing processes and advances in materials like plastics offer more effective heart valves. One such wonder is inserted through a tiny incision in the patient’s lower torso. The valve inflates with a tiny balloon opening up a previously shut valve to bring vital blood to the heart. Previously, surgeons cut open the patient’s breast bone to insert a valve.
Many types of heart valves exist today, but they are all made possible by advances in modern technology. Man-made valves use strong but light materials like titanium or special ceramics possible only with advanced manufacturing processes.
Valves made from human or animal tissue are also made possible thanks to advanced recovery and surgical procedures. With organic tissue valve patients do not need to take any blood thinning medication.
Creating New Limbs
One fascinating way modern technology is helping modern medicine is through prosthetics. Thanks to micro-manufacturing and computers, prosthetic limbs are more nimble and articulate than ever before. Some limbs can even pick up small pieces of fruit without crushing them. That’s never been possible before.
These limbs remind us of science fiction movies, but they are quickly becoming a reality today. The new limbs can move in ten different ways or “degrees of freedom” as scientists put it. That means it can swivel and move just like a real human arm can. The best part is this new prosthetic is lighter too, weighing as much as a normal arm.
The new arm is still in developmental stages, but it promises new and exciting opportunities for amputees. The creator of the new arm is Dean Kamen, founder of Deka and inventor of the two-wheeled scooter, the Segway.
Creating Artificial Heart Pumps
Another giant leap forward for medicine is the Heartmate, an artificial heart pump, which is inserted into patients suffering from heart failure. The pump is small but powerful, and thanks to modern technology, it controls the heart with precision. The implant takes the place of human heart transplants, which are possible today but very difficult due to the lack of viable hearts available for transplants.
The big advantage with the Heartmate is availability. Provided they have the money for the device, anyone can have one implanted without waiting around for a heart transplant.
Robotic Surgeons Make Incisions Precise
Robotic surgery is another giant leap forward for medicine. Today, robots do several surgical procedures with greater accuracy and consistency than surgeons. One example is MAKO, a robot that performs hip or knee surgeries. The robot creates renderings of the hip in three dimensions and then precisely sets the replacement for the doctor.
This advancement gives a new lease on life to patients whose knees or hips have failed. A precisely placed hip or knee lasts longer and provides more freedom and fewer problems for recipients.
Other robots help doctors do all types of surgeries with less invasive cutting, so patients can leave the hospital sooner and endure less recovery time. The Da Vinci robotic surgery instrument is one example. This machine uses several arms and a visual rendering system with magnification for more precision.
By Taking a Look Inside
Previously, doctors could not properly diagnose patients with internal bowel problems. Now, they can see right inside, thanks to a little pill with a camera. Patients swallow this camera pill, and as it travels the digestive tract it records everything giving doctors an inside look at their plumbing.
This ingenious device is only possible thanks to microscopic lenses and tiny camera technology both recent advances in technology. This device is already helping patients. Over a million capsule cams have already hit the market to help those with digestive problems.
There’s no end to how technology advances and helps medicine. These unique devices and techniques only enhance our ability to cure disease and overcome physical problems. Who knows what the future holds.
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