Technological Inventions that Changed the Medical Industry Forever

Technological Inventions that Changed the Medical Industry Forever

Medical technology seems to be made of sterile stainless steel, spinning centrifuges, and wonderful machines that allow us to see, hear, and feel for longer than our parents ever imagined. looks like But reality is often like the penicillin smear in a Petri dish that changes everything.

Ingenuity and luck aren’t the only keys to transforming the healthcare industry. These breakthrough changes often improve aspects of treatment that were not necessarily part of the original goals. Innovative medical technologies improve the accessibility of care, the efficiency of care in terms of time, the accuracy of diagnosis, the level of personalized technology and, in many cases, the cost effectiveness of the effort, It can make a big difference. Enhanced by technology. While you might not think that these factors are solely related to health activities, they improve and in some cases revolutionize health care outcomes.

Of course, medical care itself does not necessarily improve or prolong life. In this Aperion study, sunscreen was credited with saving twice as many lives as CPR, and synthetic fertilizers saved more lives than anything else simply because agriculture could produce more food. It is said that We’ll focus on the healthcare industry here, but the greatest potential can be found in other areas as well.

Medical imaging: X-rays

Of course, medical imaging is not a single technology, but rather a collection of different methods that can be used to get a sense of what’s going on inside our bodies. One example would be a combination of these methods, such as the full-body scanner Explorer, which performs both PET and CT scans. Without these advances, we would be devoting even more resources to palliative care. The technologies in question include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds, each of which has changed the diagnostic landscape in its own way.

But the x-ray itself is more than just a diagnostic tool. They are used to guide surgeons, monitor treatment progress, and inform treatment strategies regarding the use of medical devices, cancer treatments, and different types of blocks. In 1896, the then-hyphenated New York Times ridiculed Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen’s medical use of X-ray imaging as “the purported discovery of how to photograph the invisible.” Five years later, Roentgen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. A century later, X-rays have replaced invasive surgery and guesswork as the central diagnostic tool for physicians at all levels.

Computed tomography (CT) is not so much a new imaging technique as an excellent implementation of existing methods. She uses cross-sectional x-rays taken from different angles and her computer algorithms to quickly create navigable three-dimensional images of her in small or large parts of her body. Because the CT scan is based on her x-rays, it can show bones more accurately than soft tissue. CT scans have many of the same advantages as other medical imaging modalities, but are enhanced for many purposes due to their speed and superior imaging of bone.

Medical imaging: computed tomography and sonography

In 1952, the Nobel Prize was awarded for research fundamental to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI is a technique that uses magnetic fields and high-frequency non-ionizing radiation to create layered images (“slices”) that allow for excellent visualization. Soft tissue as opposed to other techniques. The ability to distinguish between many soft tissues and fluids, including distinguishing between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, has benefited medical diagnostics.

Diagnostic medical ultrasound (ultrasound) is an imaging test that can be used to examine and monitor the fetus and potentially more sensitive areas of the body, such as the pelvic region. Ultrasound utilizes changes in high-frequency sound waves to map areas of the body without the need for invasive surgery or methods that require the use of radiation. Ultrasound machines range from large machines found in hospitals to smaller modern devices such as ultrasound stickers. Ultrasound is a very important diagnostic tool. The low risk makes it practical to create 3D images, including 3D time-series visualizations that can show tissue movement and changes over time.

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Microscopy and the germ theory of disease

Few inventions have had a greater impact on our understanding of (and our ability to fight) disease than the microscope. There are several reasons for this, but the most important one is that it promoted the germ theory of disease. The germ theory is the widely accepted concept that certain microorganisms are responsible for certain diseases. Without the germ theory, most diseases would have been traced back to the miasma theory, the long-held belief that diseases are caused by polluted air and are not contagious from person to person.

Of course, while miasma is suspected as a cause, there have been advances in health care and even in the treatment of certain ailments, and a lot of important research has been done in the area of ​​hygiene and socioeconomic factors. rice field. But anything real that can be proven by a false theory can be proved even more effectively by a more scientifically sound theory, and the germ theory established some important ideas in medicine. Clearly, thorough treatment depends on pinpointing the cause, which is possible with microscopy and bacteriology. And the idea of ​​human-to-human transmission, which miasma theory denies, gave meaning to preventive medicine. Before the early discoveries that led to the acceptance of the germ theory, the spread of epidemics was often carried out at will by doctors, and sometimes doctors were the vectors for the spread of epidemics.

And the germ theory is just beginning. This has clarified the need for aseptic surgery, revealed the identity of the microbes responsible for certain diseases, and enabled the development of targeted vaccines and other drugs. Microscopes that can see smaller areas have changed the way we see almost everything.

Blood transfusion

Sometimes we develop great technologies more or less by accident or for completely the wrong reasons (think leaching). Aperion estimates that blood transfusions have saved him a billion lives, but early adopters didn’t understand why transfusions sometimes worked or even failed catastrophically. bottom. It took less than 200 years from the discovery of the blood circulation to the first successful human-to-human blood transfusion. This was done by an American, a prophet named Philip Singh Physic.

By 1867, Joseph Lister had applied his knowledge of germ theory to develop antiseptics to combat infections resulting from blood transfusions. Moreover, in less than 100 years, blood banks became commonplace, and the fractionation into albumin, gamma-his globulin, and fibrinogen enabled new plasma-derived blood therapies. There are currently at least 23 therapeutic plasma products. In the meantime, blood typing was discovered and refined, and by the start of World War II, blood transfusions were widely used as a medical therapy.

The history of blood-related therapy traces a deeply incomplete understanding of the human body. George Washington was killed by a 3,000-year-old practice of bloodletting while Philip Sin Physic was secretly transfusing. The practice had little meaning, but was so widely accepted that it was used without hesitation against former presidents. Phlebotomy was thought to help balance her four fluids in the body (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) and prevent or alleviate disease. Aside from a few specific uses of leeches, humoral medicine has not contributed much to modern medicine. It at least recognizes that disease has naturalistic (rather than supernatural) causes, and in that narrow sense, science has saved the billion lives of secret experimental blood transfusions within two centuries.

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Gene sequencing

Faith Raguey writes in the AMA Journal of Ethics that “just as the germ theory narrowed the focus of environmental factors to specific microbes, so too has the history of medicine contributed to the discovery of more localized causes of disease.” It is history,” he wrote. Our understanding of genetics and the application of that understanding has been limited to the molecular level. Over time, genomics has fundamentally transformed medical diagnostics, making him throw darts 6,000 miles away. Gene sequencing has revolutionized precision medicine, transforming everything from prenatal diagnostics to tracking the information-rich world of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

Germs theory led to disease and individual focused medicine. By focusing on individual genomics, she was able to narrow our view (to genes), but broaden it to therapeutics. Sequencing of the human genome, the process of mapping human genes to their physical and functional consequences, was first “completed” in 2003.

There are countless important applications of human gene sequencing today. We will be able to better predict many diseases and disorders in specific individuals and better understand their impact. We assess the possible effects of substances on individuals (pharmacogenomics/toxicogenomics) and study the interactions of genomes of different species in metagenomics. We create new fuels, solve crimes and improve crops. All this is done with the help of genomics. We cataloged genes and mutations in over 20,000 samples from 33 cancer types. This will lead to better treatment and prevention efforts and potential treatments for the foreseeable future.

While the germ theory has made it impossible to ignore the environmental conditions that cause disease (but not by chance), genomics has led us to a medical approach that goes beyond a single treatment room.

Anesthesia

You may not think of anesthesia as a technique. In fact, this is just a handful of technologies that don’t do much on their own, other than helping other things. That makes anesthesia the most important medical technology candidate among all medical technologies. Because without his four forms of anesthesia (systemic, twilight awareness, topical, and regional), many common (and life-saving) medical procedures would be impractical or impossible at all.

The importance of anesthesia in modern surgery is emphasized by the fact that anesthesia often poses greater risks to the patient than the surgery itself. Of course, without anesthesia, in most cases the operation is impossible. The first modern general anesthetic was the application of diethyl ether by Dr. Crawford W. Long, 1841. Sources and authorities vary. His 1842 appears as the date. Alternatively, we see William Morton (1846) or Henry Hickman (1824) as the pioneers who first used ether as a surgical anesthetic. Whoever deserves the credit, they have saved so many lives and prevented an incredible amount of pain and suffering over the last few years.

Of course, general anesthesia is not the only method. Various forms of local anesthetics had always had little effect until the first use of coca leaf in the mid-18th century, which sparked a revolution in local anesthesia that lasted until the 1970s. It started with the synthesis of cocaine to block local pain, but the potential for cardiotoxicity and addiction led to the development of new aminoester and aminoamide local anesthetics such as tropocaine, benzocaine, procaine and lidocaine.

Overall anesthesia has improved dramatically even in recent decades. Anesthesiologist Christopher Troianos, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic that the odds of anesthesia-related death during general surgical anesthesia are currently about 1 in 200,000.

Vaccines

Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccine (technically the cowpox vaccine effective against smallpox) is the origin of the term “vaccine”, which is now used for all vaccinations. Here we extend this generalization to apply the term to modern variants that have little in common with early smallpox, rabies, and other vaccines. These new variants involve immunization against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using mRNAs, viral vectors, and protein subunits, but not the virus itself. All are called vaccines. Nor is it necessarily a new strategy. The first protein subunit vaccine (against hepatitis B) was approved over 30 years ago.

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Vaccines are one of five technologies on Aperion’s list of medical inventions that have saved more than a billion lives in the last 200 years. This is four to five times the number of lives lost in all wars and conflicts of the 20th century.

Computerization

The importance of digital health technology (that is, computers in many forms) in overcoming the information bottlenecks and deficiencies that have long hampered medical progress cannot be overstated. In the 1960s, attention was first drawn to the potential medical applications of computers. Since the 1980s, as computing power has increased and interfaces have become more sophisticated, that original dream and many others have slowly begun to become reality. However, as noted in reports from the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) and others since 1991, the slowness of this adoption has been painful. Security and interoperability issues, and lack of standards for electronic prescriptions, imaging, messaging, and reporting, are slowly improving, and the healthcare industry is looking to improve communication, improve medication monitoring, and improve the quality of care. I am benefiting. Fewer errors and more privacy.

What patients see from this information technology (e.g., digital medical records/medical records) and the practice of telemedicine/mHealth will be a challenge to address the enormous complexity of the industry’s underlying systems and their integration with each other. works well for As we all know, the industry continues to hold up thanks to IT. You’re stuck with outdated fax technology. Shortcomings in interoperability and communication.

Despite all these challenges, however, it is difficult to imagine a modern hospital without the computer technology commonly used to facilitate patient records, order entry, billing, etc. is. Even if these exist, there will be room for improvement and growth. A Johns Hopkins study published in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) estimates that medical errors are his third leading cause of death in the United States. This is a win-win situation for IT. teeth. solution.

NeuroRestore’s neurological implantation and other potential game changers

The future of medicine rests largely in the imagination of the unborn, people who might not have been born without the imagination of previous generations. But we can speculate quite a bit about the technologies that will have a dramatic impact in the near future.

Artificial intelligence algorithms related to processing and interpreting medical images have already outpaced doctors in terms of time and accuracy. However, the potential for using AI in medicine is enormous. Refining workflows, reducing errors and enabling patients to participate meaningfully in their care are key areas where his AI can reinvent parts of the industry already fueled by information technology. .

Similarly, the use of augmented reality in the healthcare industry has already advanced, and further progress is expected in AR-assisted robotic surgery, wound care, physical therapy/rehabilitation, and many other areas in the next decade. increase. Immersive medical training can be delivered through AR-powered simulations, and virtual surgery can help surgeons prepare for real-life surgeries and perform better when the time comes.

Other promising areas include stem cell therapy, targeted cancer therapy and neural implants. NeuroRestore’s implant technology, currently in development, uses AI to assist people with debilitating neurological trauma. Three complete spinal cord injury patients were studied using his NeuroRestore technology. Each patient showed remarkable progress from day one, including standing and walking. After four months, one in three could stand for two hours and walk one kilometer without a break. These are the types of technologies that add a whole new parameter to the list of important healthcare technologies in the future.

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