Notable Technological Breakthroughs in Healthcare From the Last 10 Years

robotic surgeryHealthcare is being improved on a regular basis, which means that some individuals with previously untreatable or incurable diseases might currently or soon be able to be cured or receive an easier, more successful treatment. For instance, before the creation of insulin in the 1920s, those diagnosed with type I diabetes were considered to be terminally ill, as they eventually died as a direct result of the condition. Since then, numerous other advancements in health have been made, including the following that have been made in the last 5 – 7 years:

Lupus Treatment

Lupus is a debilitating autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own joints, skin, kidneys, heart, brain or any other part of the body. Symptoms vary from patient to patient and include muscle and joint pain, extreme fatigue, photosensitivity, hair loss, abnormal blood clotting, anemia, headaches and various others. Women in their child-bearing years, somewhere between the ages of 15 – 44, are usually those afflicted; however, children and even men have been diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease. Usual treatments are anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, anticoagulants, anti-malarials, immunosuppressives and various medications for pain. Medications specifically created to treat lupus hadn’t been developed in over 50 years until the FDA approved Benlysta, a safe and effective new medication for lupus, in 2011.

Robotic Surgery

In 2007, surgeons at the renowned Cleveland Clinic began using tiny robots to remove kidneys from patients, and what used to result in a 10-inch long scar now leaves only small, barely-noticeable incisions. Robotic surgery is now performed at various hospitals around the world, enabling patients to recover quicker, experience less pain, and have fewer risks of complications.

NOTES

Also performed at the Cleveland Clinic, surgeons removed a woman’s unhealthy kidney through the use of a breakthrough procedure called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) in 2009. Instead of removing the diseased organ in the usual manner, surgeons removed it through her vagina.

Face Transplantation

In 2005, surgeons in France were the first to transplant a woman’s face after she sustained extreme disfigurement after being mauled by a dog. More face transplants have been performed since then, which is great news for people with severe deformities of the face due to illness, surgery and injuries.

HPV Vaccine

In 2006, Gardasil was introduced as a vaccination intended to prevent the human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer and other diseases. The vaccination is indicated for HPV prevention in both young women and young men.

Scientists are constantly performing research on numerous health-related conditions, and they will continue to make technological breakthroughs at accelerated rates. Perhaps there will soon be a cure developed for diabetes, HIV and possibly even cancer. Of course there is no guarantee that cures will ever be discovered for these or any other potentially fatal disease, but the more scientists conduct their research and experiments, the higher the probability of cures, or at least viable treatments, being uncovered.

About the Guest Author

Scott Schumacher is a nurse educator and blogger for various healthcare resources. He writes frequently about advances being made within the healthcare industry, and more of his research in this area can be found at Nursing Informatics Program Rankings.

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