Five medical breakthroughs thanks to technology

While surfing on the internet looking for others breakthroughs in medicine achieved thanks to the evolution in technology and IC, I ended up reading this article:

Okay, now I know it’s not the most scientific source but it shows exactly what I am telling time after time. Technology is really important for the development of our health.
The article shows the latest 12 most significant medical breakthroughs. The article has been published on January 25 2012 so it is possible that it is a bit outdated but that doesn’t matter to my purpose. I just want to show you that from the 12 breakthroughs, 5 are only possible due to technological improvement. That’s almost 50%…

Let’s look at the third point: Skin cells Printer repairs burns (Huidcellenprinter herstelt brandwonden)

Thanks to the 3-D scan and 3-D printing it will be possible to ‘easily’ provide the patient of new skin after he suffers skin loss of skin burn.
It’s not the biggest and most deadly ‘disease’ but it shows that also the daily problems need to be investigated to help improve people’s health.
As mentioned in the article this technique can possibly evolve to ‘organ printing’ and would be a serious breakthrough in donor transplants and also a better solution as the second point in the article (alternative for donor organs).

The fourth point of is: Stomach Pacemaker combats obesity (Maagpacemaker bestrijdt obesitas)

This is also an ‘invention’ that has nothing to do with the most complicated diseases but a disease that occurs daily.
It’s the perfect alternative for unhealthy diets where people starve their selves or take pills that are not 100% controlled or worse not 100% safe.
It is also an alternative for the stomach ring.
The only disadvantage is the high price but this can lower in time as it is introduced in the market or when more research has been done.

The fifth point of the article is close to my previous post: Minilab accelerates correct diagnosis (Minilab versnelt correcte diagnose)

The minilab can detect all kinds of bacteria, viruses in the blood in a very short time instead of the examinations that are done nowadays and which take a lot of time. Examples are the MRSA-bacteria, better known as hospital bacteria. But also flue, cancer and HIV can be detected more quickly due to the minilab.
The fact that there are a lot of similar techniques, points out that those techniques are very doable and very useful!

The tenth point of the article is close to the point of the 3-D printer and 3-D scan: Brand new imaging technique (Gloednieuwe beeldvormingstechniek)

It is a new imaging technique that has been developed. Thanks to this technique it is possible to identify different areas in the lungs. The authentic tests could not identify the different areas and left doctors with no idea about which parts were affected. It is very helpful for people who suffer of ‘the innocent’ kind of asthma or for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
It is an important breakthrough because now it is possible to give personalized and individual treatments to people because the doctors can see how the inhaled medication is distributed in the lungs.

The twelfth and last discussed breakthrough is: Cheap chip detects infectious diseases (Goedkope chip spoort besmettelijke ziekten op)

This chip is called the mChip (mobile microfluidic chip) and can tell whether the patient is infected with HIV, syphilis or other infectious diseases.
The greatest advantage is that it operates very fast. Instead of very long analysis hours it gives a result that is equally accurate in only 20 minutes.
This chip is also interesting because it can help in our debate about development aid. If this kind of chip is used in third world countries, the death rate -that is a consequence of those diseases- drops and the health increases. Then maybe the people realize that they can have a chance at a better life and they make a ‘click’ like we did after Pasteur’s inventions.


4 thoughts on “Five medical breakthroughs thanks to technology

  1. deckersbram says:

    Very cool evolutions!

    However I ask myself where will this technology end, it is off course very good that we can prevent diseases, cure more and more people and have a longer and more healthy life. But I believe these evolutions will bring other problems we have to cope with, for instance the cost of all those treatments, the growing aging population, overpopulation, … I’m very curious on how the we will deal with these problems once they rise to critical levels.

    What do you think of this?

  2. gabuglio says:

    I found this a very ethical question, especially about the growing aging of population and overpopulation.

    Due to the continuing progress in medicine, the age of the population indeed will continue to rise. But can you say we stop the research because otherwise there wil be to much people on the planet?
    There are also younger people suffering of the disseases I wrote about and I think they diserve the chance to a healthy life.
    Because if we don’t want overpopulation then why should we for example pay attention to security in the workplace? Then also people will die and the problem of overpopulation is vanished.

    On the other hand it is a very good question and it can be very smart and usefull to anticipate on those critical levels by thinking about potential problems that may rise due to overpopulation and rising age.

  3. jefhimself says:

    In my blog post were I tried to outline the aspects I use of computer vision, you asked me if my research isn’t outdated. I still don’t know what you were referring too, but I’ll assume you were actually referring to computer vision itself.

    As I mentioned in that post, a lot of the current applications of computer vision are in medical imaging. The tenth point in your quoted source, is an advancement in medical imaging, and thus potentially a new application of computer vision.

    I can’t find anything that details how the new method works right away, so I tried to figure it out with the plainly available information. The best source I could find, was in the magazine of the UZA, here (I couldn’t find any slides or papers from the conference they reference at the end of the article).

    This source mentions that this method uses CT scans. CT scans by themselves are established scanners, so I’m assuming the advancement isn’t in the scanner itself (plus, it seems highly inefficient to adapt such a machine, to detect only a handful of diseases). It is noteworthy that the CT scan does use geometry processing to construct the 3D representation (an emerging area of research, which I explained in a comment to use as well, for accurate positional information).

    There’s nothing concrete beyond that, but the provided image leads me to believe they might also be using a contrast fluid (not uncommon with CT scans). Possibly, this is their advancement of the state of the art: a new contrast fluid with a described usage that exposes COPD on the CT scans.

    Even if the advancement is strictly in a method with a new contrast fluid, you would still need a method to actually see that new contrast fluid as well. A task for computer vision. 🙂 The images need to be processed, and the contrast fluid marked. In other words, you need to detect it somehow in the images, using the kind of techniques I described in that post. In fact, they may not even be using a new contrast fluid. Computer vision is quite ‘hot’ at the moment, and the innovation may be entirely in a new feature extraction process, coupled with results of classical CT scanning methods that are specific to COPD.

  4. gabuglio says:

    First of all with my response I didn’t want to criticize you;
    I find it very interesting that you combine the relevance of our posts and with this answer my vision on the ‘outdating’ of computer vision is totally vanished :).

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