8 Amazing Biotech Breakthroughs in Medicine
We live in a world where breakthroughs keep happening and medicine is advancing in big leaps. The following breakthroughs can help improve and save lives, as well as treat diseases that were thought to be untreatable.
1. Cancer Spit Test
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have found a way to detect cancer in the oral cavity without performing a biopsy. From a drop of your saliva, with the help of this test, doctors can see whether you have cancer or not.
This is possible because proteins linked with cancer cells are present in saliva and when the sensor comes into contact with it – it becomes fluorescent. This is a pioneer achievement among the saliva-based tests used for diagnoses, and according to engineer Chih-Ming Ho, it will probably be applicable for many other diseases as well.
2. Smart Contact Lens
These contact lenses were developed at the University of California, Davis for patients at risk of glaucoma (which develops when retinal cells in the eye are damaged by the pressure that builds up inside the eye).
These lenses monitor the pressure and send information to a device that a patient wears. This helps doctors determine the cause of the condition and find the best way to deal with it, while the lens itself helps keep eye pressure in check and alerts you to react in time if it builds up too high.
3. Speech Restorer
Ambient Corporation from Illinois has made a phonetic speech engine which uses electrodes to detect signals that travel from the brain to the vocal cords and provide an audible voice. This is a very important breakthrough as it can help those who have lost their ability to speak become able to express themselves verbally again.
This device is worn in a neck brace, and when you imagine speaking certain words, it sends signals to a cell phone or a computer that is wirelessly connected with the device, and then the phone or computer produces speech.
4. Muscle Stimulator
When a person breaks a bone, while it heals, the muscles around it don’t move much so they usually atrophy because of the lack of use.
In order to prevent this from happening, StimuHeal (an Israeli company) invented a device which electrically stimulates muscles and prevents them from losing their strength and tightness.
This helps patients to recover more quickly and not have to deal with atrophied muscles after the bone heals. The device is called MyoSpare, and it is a true breakthrough when it comes to inventions applicable in medicine.
5. Absorbable Heart Stent
When a person has a coronary artery disease, arteries become narrowed. A stent’s job is to open those arteries and let the blood flow more easily. This stent is not drug-eluting, and it doesn’t use such substances to prevent arteries from narrowing.
This stent opens the arteries and then after six months it starts dissolving, to be completely gone in two years. This bio-absorbable stent was created by Abbot Laboratories in Illinois, and it helps the arteries return to health. It starts disappearing when the artery is already close to being completely healthy again.
6. Smart Pill
This is not what it sounds like – this pill will not make you smarter. It is actually a group of sensors produced by Proteus Biomedical in California, which detects the time of ingestion of drugs and sends the information to the computer through a wireless network.
These sensors were engineered in the form of tiny microchips which also monitor heart rate and breathing, in order to see how certain medications affect the body, which can lead to creating better and more improved medications with as little risk factors as possible.
7. Autonomous Wheelchair
This type of wheelchair was developed by researchers at MIT and it can understand voice commands and take you where you want to go. The patient identifies certain locations vocally (“this is the kitchen”, “this is my room”) and the wheelchair makes maps using Wi-Fi. Then the chair learns about the patient’s environment, and it’s enough to say “kitchen” and the chair will take you there.
These maps make the chair work well inside, as well as outside. The autonomous wheelchair still needs to be perfected, and soon cameras will be installed to prevent collision and avoid bumping into people and things.
8. Walking Stimulator
Those who have had a stroke are now offered a virtual-reality rehabilitation program which was developed in Britain at the University of Portsmouth. This program works by showing the patients a slower version of their walking, so the patients make an extra effort to walk faster. The producers say that patients feel less pain while walking.