The medical advancements the human race has made in the last 100 years or so are truly staggering. It’s difficult to believe that so many of things we now take for granted used in hospitals and even at home are relatively new inventions. So where does the future of medicine lie? Here are just a few of the possibilities…
3D printing is still relatively in its infancy despite being around since 1983. However, it’s now starting to have some incredibly useful real-world applications (rather than just being used to make pizza). 3D printing is now being used in the medical industry and scientists have actually been able to print organs and tissue using a special gel made from human cells. Artificial bones have also been printed, with one man receiving a whole new jawbone that acted just like the real thing.
Part of the 2030 Home Life Report, Dr Mirror is an amazing looking piece of kit, although how feasible it is could be up for debate! It claims that it’s like having a GP in your bathroom, with different pieces of equipment scanning you and discretely gathering information before sharing it with your GP. It will also dispense advice on how to keep healthy and even give you discounts on healthy ingredients. Sounds a little ‘1984’ but it could be revolutionary.
Nanotechnology isn’t exactly new anymore, but its uses are becoming more and more widespread all the time. This article claims that microscopic nanorobots the size of bacteria could be put inside your body and then do a multitude of different tasks. For example, they could act as artificial white cells, tracking down germs and viruses and killing them before they can do harm.
What makes this even more interesting is that the treatment would only take a few hours, meaning the bacteria wouldn’t have time to develop immunity as is the case with many current antibiotics.
There’s also the possibility that the nanorobots could perform surgery on specific cells, replacing diseased or damaged material with new material. Potentially very exciting indeed.
Contact lenses for treating diabetes
Jin Zhang, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering professor at the University of Western Ontario, has developed an amazing set of contact lenses that eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to test their blood/sugar levels. Instead, the lenses react with glucose molecules in tears to change the colour of the eye to indicate high or low levels. A blood/sugar level test would be as simple as looking in the mirror.
This might seem a little creepy and something from a science fiction novel, but artificial wombs could be a thing of the future. Tanks filled with amniotic fluid will house the foetus, whilst the umbilical cord will be hooked up to machines that regulate the amount of nutrients it receives.