New Medical Technologies and Devices to Treat What Ails YouJanuary 18, 2018
Gone are the days when you'd just open your mouth and say "ahhh." Today, new medical technologies have diagnostic tests which help doctors gather more information to make smarter clinical decisions about your care. Every day brings more surprising discoveries that make identifying illness-and treating it-much easier, quicker and safer.
- Blood Work Works Harder
You've probably had "blood work" done many times in your life. Now blood tests show remarkable promise to reveal much more than in the past. For example, a study in the journal PLoS One reported that a new test may be able to detect cancer in the body and even tell us where the tumor is located.
A study in Lancet Neurology said that a new blood test can actually predict the onset of the serious neurological disorder, Huntington's disease, as well as how it progresses. In April, a paper in Clinical Chemistry reported that British scientists have discovered a blood test that detects damaged muscle caused by a heart attack.
- Big Data, Big Results
Maybe you didn’t know that more than 7,000 rare diseases affect 30 million Americans. Here in the United States, a disease is "rare" if it affects fewer than 200,000 people. In late 2015, the Undiagnosed Disease Network opened to improve diagnosis and care of patients with these diseases.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, it will utilize big data and allow people with the diseases to share information "for the greater good." These large sets of data can reveal trends and patterns, allowing researchers to make deductions based on many examples instead of just a few - and to then apply that knowledge to decisions about care.
- Innovative Medical Technology Helps Manage Diabetes
Last year marked the announcement of the first artificial pancreas, a wearable medical device. It automatically monitors blood glucose and provides appropriate insulin doses in people with diabetes who use insulin. Google is branching out from its search engine roots with development of a "smart" contact lens that will take blood glucose readings without requiring the traditional finger prick. It will also correct vision.
- Don't Sweat Diagnosis
In February, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that a noninvasive, wearable sweat sensor can be used to quickly detect cystic fibrosis. The research team says it opens the possibility for a wide range of health monitoring applications.
Innovations in tomorrow's health care are here today. Your doctor can advise you about the latest and most appropriate tests for your particular situation.
Shicheng Guo, Dinh Diep, Nongluk Plongthongkum, Ho-Lim Fung, Kang Zhang, Kun Zhang. Identification of methylation haplotype blocks aids in deconvolution of heterogeneous tissue samples and tumor tissue-of-origin mapping from plasma DNA. Nature Genetics, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/ng.3805