Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and with every passing year, there are more and more needs being discovered in the quest to keep humanity in top health. Thankfully, innovators are always churning out new ideas to address these needs and keep us on the leading edge of an ever-changing world.
A wide range of healthcare technologies intended for use by doctors are becoming increasingly available, but many of those are hospital-side applications and cybersecurity developments. What breakthroughs are being made in medicine and treatment technology for patients? In this article we’ll explore 5 emerging healthcare technologies aimed at patient treatment.
New Gene Therapy for Hemoglobinopathies
Hemoglobin, commonly known as red blood cells (RBCs) is the protein that gives blood its red color, and is responsible for the transportation of oxygen through the cardiovascular system.
Hemoglobinopathies are aberrations in the structure of RBCs caused by genetic factors, passed on from progenitor to heir. One such condition most frequently heard of is sickle cell disease, which causes RBCs to become deformed and sickle-shaped.
The product of the latest research in hemoglobinopathies is an experimental gene therapy aimed at giving those afflicted by the condition the ability to produce functional RBCs, reducing sickle-shaped cells or ineffective cells to prevent related complications.
New Treatments for Migraines
Migraine is a condition that has been quite the headache to find solutions for in the past century. Since its root cause is yet to be fully discovered, physicians, scientists, and researchers have turned to various treatments with various levels of success throughout the years.
The most promising in recent years is the use of natural cannabidiol (CBD) to address pain and inflammation, as well as wearable tech, such as migraine glasses from Axonoptics.com, which address things that trigger migraines.
Recent advances in research have uncovered that a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) spikes during a migraine attack, leading to the development of a new class of drugs targeted at preventing the activity of CGRP. These have been approved by the FDA and widely prescribed in 2020.
New Medication for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a long-lasting and potentially disabling disease that affects the central nervous system. The immune system attacks and eats away at the myelin axons, the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers, and causes problems in the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body.
About 15% of sufferers have a subset known as primary-progressive, the symptoms of which are characterized by a slow onset and steady progression.
The FDA has approved a new therapeutic monoclonal antibody aimed at people with primary-progressive MS, the first and only of its kind.
New Medication for Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CS) is a condition identified by mucus that clogs airways because of its extreme thickness and stickiness, which causes germs to be trapped, leading to many complications, the most common of which are inflammation and infection.
A defective cystic fibrosis conductance regulator (CFTR) protein is the cause of CS. Drugs called CFTR modulators are used to correct the defect, but until last year, they have only been effective for certain mutations in a limited group of people.
A new drug targeting the most common CF gene mutation called F508 del was approved by the FDA. This will provide relief for about 90% of people suffering from the condition.
Cardiac pacemakers are devices that generate electrical impulses that are transmitted by electrodes to the heart muscles, making them contract and thus, pump blood. Traditionally, this device is monitored by physicians through a bedside console. It is thus no surprise that adherence to regular monitoring is often neglected by users.
To bridge this gap, a Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker that can be connected to a smartphone app was developed. Now, heart health for people with pacemakers and their physicians are literally accessible by the tips of their fingers.
With medical technology growing in leaps and bounds, we can expect more exciting technologies to come our way as the year rolls on. Here’s to hoping that natural relief, cutting edge science, and the quest for optimum health makes even more important innovations for the benefit of humanity in 2021!