Health technologies, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and e-prescriptions, are now commonplace in health care facilities across the country. But what does the future hold? Learn about some of the new technologies on the health care horizon.
Nanobots Will Work on the Body
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Researchers are developing tiny robots, known as nanobots, to treat a range of conditions. These bots would have sensor and propulsion systems to help them navigate a path through the body.
It’s thought that these nanobots could deliver chemotherapy that is 1,000 times more powerful than current drug treatments with fewer side effects. Nanobots could also work like white blood cells, fighting off bacteria or viruses for people with low white blood cell counts, including leukemia and AIDS patients. According to CNN, nanobots could also deliver medications directly to the eye retinal area to treat diseases including macular degeneration.
Wearable Devices to Detect Disease
In recent years, Google has diversified its business model into the field of health care informatics. Combining its tech expert knowledge with a new focus on health has helped the company to be on the forefront of some new developments, including a wearable device to detect diseases.
The tech giant is currently developing magnetic nanoparticles which could detect and attach themselves to cells, proteins, and other molecules within the human body. Google envisions that the nanoparticles could enter the body via a pill. Once administered, a wearable device would monitor nanoparticle activity within the body. Irregularities could help the device detect a range of diseases, including cancer.
“Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” Andrew Conrad, the head of Google X research lab’s life sciences department told The Advisory Board Company. “That is our dream.”
Industry experts suggest the technology’s delivery is at least five years away.
Artificial Pancreas for Management of Type 1 Diabetes
Living with Type 1 diabetes can be challenging, requiring constant monitoring of blood sugar levels and regular insulin injections. Many sufferers wear insulin pumps to regulate their condition, but an artificial pancreas may be more effective. This device mimics a normal functioning pancreas, supplying the insulin the body needs to cope with changes to glucose levels.
Medical News Today reported results of a clinical trial conducted in late 2014 comparing an artificial pancreas performance with insulin pumps. The test assessed the performance of both a single-hormone artificial pancreas, which delivers only insulin, and a double-hormone artificial pancreas, which delivers insulin and glucagon.
Both artificial devices kept glucose levels more stable than conventional pump therapy. The double-hormone artificial pancreas did a better job of reducing hypoglycemia, but the single-hormone pancreas “might be sufficient for hypoglycemia-free overnight glycemic control,” according to testing endocrinologist Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret and authors of the clinical trial study.
An artificial pancreas has significant implications for Type 1 diabetes treatment, a condition which could affect as many as 1.25 million Americans and more than 371 million people around the world, according to JDRF. More clinical trials are planned, with market delivery predicted in the next five to seven years.
New technologies like these described above will ensure the health care industry continues to evolve and improve patient care and outcomes.
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