10 amazing medical breakthroughs that will wow the world in 2017
1. The microbiome. The microbiome is made up of trillions of helpful bacteria that make a home inside the human gut – to prevent, treat and diagnose disease.
2. Diabetes drugs that reduce heart disease and death. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke than someone without the chronic condition, according to the National Institutes of Health. Two new drugs recently approved recently approved to treat diabetes. Novo Nordisk’s liraglutide, sold as Victoza, and Eli Lilly’s empagliflozin, sold as Jardiance, have shown promise in reducing these heart-related complications.
3. CAR-T therapy for leukemia and lymphoma. Using a new method called chimeric antigen receptor – T-cell therapy, doctors are now enlisting the patients own immune cells in the fight against leukemia and lymphoma . A patient’s T-cells are removed and genetically modified to seek out and destroy cancer cell, then re-infused via an IV.
4. Liquid biopsies to find cancer. Finding a way to test for a cancer that doesn’t involve the pain and cost of a doctor a chunk of tissue from your body has long been on the wish list of oncologists.. It’s now possible to find tumor DNA circulating the blood, spinal fluid and perhaps even urine. These liquid biopsies could help doctors understand how tumors change in order to beat existing treatments or help identify earlier stages of the disease.
5. Automated car safety features and driverless capabilities. Seatbelts have saved more than 329,900 lives over the past 50 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Other car safety features such as child safety seats and frontal, curtain and side-impact airbags have saved another 300,000 lives in that time. Starting in 2018, the NHTSA will require back-up cameras in new cars. Collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and cross-traffic alerts are some other innovations on the horizon to further reduce the more than 38,000 fatal car crashes each year.
6. Fast Healthcare interoperability resources, or FHIR. FHIR is an interoperability specification that can act as a translator for EHRs that don’t normally play well together. It’s been tested in a number of trials. Health Level 7 is expected to release it next year. To date, in spite of some advances, easy sharing of records between and across institutions has been elusive.
7. Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. For one-third of people with depression, nothing helps – not therapy or medication, not even electro-convulsive or shock treatments. Ketamine, once known as a club drug, improves symptoms rapidly for the majority of these patients in initial studies, prompting the FDA to grant the treatment fast-track status for development.
8. 3D visualization and augmented reality for surgery. Many eye and brain surgeons do their work in very small spaces, peering through high-powered microscopes with their heads bent and necks strained, Cuts made on the retina, for example, are usually smaller than a millimeter. 3-D cameras are helping surgeons and their teams get a better view, according to Rishi Singh, a staff surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute. Singh, who has been using the technology for about six months, said it widens his field of view, lets everyone in the operating room see what’s happening in three dimensions, and is a lot more comfortable. There is still a lot of research to be done to see if the technology reduces fatigue or has an impact on surgery, Singh said.
9. Self administered HPV test. An estimated 12,990 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2016, according to the American Cancer Association, An estimated 4,120 women with the disease will die from it this years. The HPV test, designed for routine use in women over age 30, detects te presence of high-risk types of HPV in the cells of the cervix with a vaginal swab. It’s a simple test, but women who don’t ger to the doctor will never get it.
10: Bioabsorbable stents. When an artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle narrows or becomes blocked it’s often opened with a stent. The tiny wire mesh tubes are made of metal and stay in place forever. Stents are very common – about 600,000 get them each year in the United States. About 2 percent of people develop life-threatening blood dots at the stent site, according to the National Health-Lung and Blood Institute. What if the stent could just disappear after it’s done its job? Absorbable stents are already in use in Europe and recently approved by the FDA, do exactly that. The absorbable stents also appear to reduce chest pain after surgery compared with the wire option.
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