Where would we be without medical technology?
Imagine if you were alive before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. If you were to become infected, the common treatment would have been bloodletting. This therapy dates all the way back to 1000 B.C. in Egypt and consisted of legitimately removing blood from an infected patient as a means of treatment. Thankfully, the medical field has come a long way, both in terms of treatment and medical devices available to physicians.
The progression of medical advancement
Not only do we now have a variety of antibiotics to overcome bacterial resistance, but we have multiple ways in which to observe and study microbes. As early as 1250, the first magnifying glass was discovered. Now the development of such lenses has developed into microscopes. Magnifying lenses are often crucial in surgeries. Today, Welch Allyn has a variety of products used daily by medical professionals. For example, they sell otoscopes which contain a lens that helps medical professionals observe the ear canal or the throat.
Technology has quickly advanced in the past century or so giving us such medical devices as the pacemaker, contact lenses, and cochlear implants, to name a few. Arco Medical was one company that sold some of the first pacemakers which use electrical impulses to control abnormal heart rhythms. This device is used by over one million Americans today, showing great medical advancement.
Science is bringing about some amazing technology
We now have a plethora of amazing medical technology, and innovation is continuing to provide more and more useful tools in the field of medicine. Recently, genome sequencing has become so prevalent that people are receiving DNA test kits as Christmas gifts. The first human genome sequence took thirteen years and approximately $1 billion to complete, and now it can be done in as little as a day and costs about $5000. However, people don’t need their whole genome sequenced, only certain genes of known interest looked into to get a good amount of information. This process is called genotyping and a kit from 23andMe costs less than $200. So imagine how much more we will advance with some of the more recent technologies, such as those listed below.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are simply cells capable of differentiating into various types of cells. They can be used to replace damaged cells and treat disease. For example, bone marrow donations to treat leukemia actually rely on stem cells. They also have the potential to treat more extensive diseases, such as Parkinson’s and diabetes. However, there is still more work to be done before we’re at that point.
Although gene editing isn’t currently used on humans for a variety of ethical reasons, recent CRISPR technology has amazing potential. While CRISPR is currently used in scientific research labs with mice or in cells, it could potentially cure genetic diseases and fight superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria).
Nanotechnology has a diverse array of applications, including drug delivery, nanosensors as diagnostic devices, and even new anti-microbial techniques.
Wireless devices can be useful for more than listening to music or your favorite podcast. Recent oximeters to measure oxygen levels are wireless, making doctors and nurses jobs a little easier.
Advanced Artificial Limbs
In recent years, scientists have developed brain-computer interfaces that allow people to control a bionic limb with their brain. While these artificial limbs don’t currently have kinesthetic feedback, so the amputee would know the limb is there without looking at it all the time, this feature may not be far behind.
While it’s obvious that medical technology has come a long way, reaching each advancement often takes years. Scientific advancement can be a long process and full of failures. However, scientists learn to accept failure and learn from their failures to succeed in the future. When science can sometimes feel out of reach to those of us who aren’t scientists, take some advice from the scientists and learn to welcome failure. For example, Benjamin Franklin was someone who accepted his failures and produced great inventions. If he had stopped at his first failure, we may have lost out on understanding electricity.