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6 Advancements in Medical Technology to Watch

Medical Tech Arthritis

Technology increases in leaps and bounds every year. From new cancer screening scans to robots that can perform surgery, it’s astounding what brilliant minds are coming up with in the fields of medical science. Here are six recent advancements in medical tech that we’re watching closely.

Neuromodulation

Recent discoveries show that people with inflammatory conditions have low vagus-nerve activity. SetPoint Medical is developing a device that uses electrical stimulation to treat inflammatory diseases. The device works as a small electrical stimulator implanted near the vagus nerve in the neck. This device shows promise of helping conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The device is years away from potential market entry, but it could reduce the need for drugs with side effects. “It’s a pacemaker for the immune system,” says CEO of SetPoint, Anthony Arnold.

Surgical Robots

The rise of the ultra miniature robot for surgery includes a mechanical wrist instrument that can make incisions so they only need a very small band-aid to cover the wound. The researchers at Vanderbilt University are taking the lead in pioneering this minimally invasive surgery technique. In the past, laparoscopic surgery required 5-10 millimeter incisions. However, with these new needle-scopic surgery options, the incisions are less than 3 millimeters.

Cancer Screening

The newest way to get screened for lung cancer involves a special microscope that detects changes in cell samples in your cheek. Vadim Backman is a biomedical engineer and professor at Northwestern University working to improve early cancer detection with this noninvasive diagnostic test. Dr. Backman’s test detects lung tumors which are difficult to spot early without imaging scans. Using a specialized microscope, Dr. Backman developed a technique utilizing light to measure changes in lung health. If changes are observed, further testing is recommended.

Neural-bypass Technology

Exciting research in the field of neural-bypass surgery is helping paralyzed individuals regain the use of their limbs. This specialized technology uses a computer chip to help the brain reconnect to muscles. The chip transmits signals to software, which then interpret movements the person makes and recode the signals, sending them to a wire with electrodes that stimulate movement. The end result is helping paralyzed patients regain movement control.

Smartphone Device to Help Quit Smoking

Quitting cigarette smoking is a tough challenge for many Americans. Studies at Harvard show nicotine patches are not any more useful than quitting cold turkey. Since the death toll from cigarettes is very high, right now nicotine is responsible for one-fifth of U.S. deaths each year, improvements in this area of science are welcome. A new smartphone gadget worn by smokers can deliver nicotine at higher doses when cravings are strongest. The smartphone app can track progress and offer suggestions for users to deal with cravings. Researchers hope the product reaches the market by 2018.

Read more here about recent medical technology advancements.

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