The world wasn’t made for human beings, in fact, it wasn’t made for anything or anybody; it just is. It's weather, climate, tectonic plates, volcanoes and tornadoes would be here, as powerful as we know them, even if we weren’t here. It’s amazing then, how humanity has come to become the rule of all we see. We may not be the apex predator with strength, speed and reflexes like the animals we share this planet with, but our minds are perhaps the most powerful entities in the known universe. That’s not an exaggerating by any stretch of the imagination because the human brain can contemplate the world around us, chemicals, gases and the amazing laws of physics. We have progressed and advanced technology, so much so that now, instead of just making our lives easier and faster, we allow ourselves to live longer. From the healthcare industry, car industry and the energy industry, technology is now being designed and produced purely to improve safety to increase the average life longevity. It’s amazing to think how technology, can be harnessed to give us more time on earth, but it’s very real, and it’s something should be talked about because our future depends on it.
Remote Patient Monitoring
With the human population now above 7.5 billion people, it’s amazing to imagine that more and more hospitals are being made every year, but that still cannot satisfy the demand. Many people get injured and hurt, needing beds in hospitals to rest, have surgery and recuperate. However, the process of healing takes longer than being on the operating table, therefore in order for a quick turnaround that many hospitals want, remote patient monitoring is the route many are taking. Monitoring programs can collect a plethora of health data from the human body, such as vitals like blood sugar, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and even your weight.
Patients who have an insurance company or private health care can ask to have the technology that hospitals use to monitor the patient, at their home. This data goes to a hub center where specialists, can sit and monitor hundreds of patients from one centralised location. They can sit and read graphs to track your progression, and also send out doctors and nurses to give you medicine and other drugs to help aid your recovery. However, this technology is more for non-critical situations, and things such as heart attacks still require round the clock hospital care. But, a broken limb and postoperative recovery, can be done at home.
As our bodies live longer, the effects of ageing tissue are prolonged. This puts massive strain and demand on the heart to function for longer which sometimes can lead to later signs of heart failure. Modern pacemakers are currently being trialled in the UK, which will make the size of future pacemakers nothing more than the size of a pill. This new, smaller, more efficient technology can now use wireless technology to transmit data which can be studied in real-time. Unlike previous technology that was larger and had to be fitted onto the heart, this new device is implanted directly into the heart, where it delivers electrical impulses from an electrode.
This also means that a lead is no longer required which has the crucial benefit of substantially lowering the risk of infection. It also means that the recovery time is drastically shorter, and the risk of the lungs filling with liquid is lessened. This technology helps you live longer, because, seeing as the pacemaker is fitted inside the heart, the electrical shocks are more efficient. They are more effective in opening the valves and improving the rhythm of the heartbeats. This also means the frequency of electrical impulses is less, creating a more comfortable life for the patient.
Blood Clot Prevention
Thrombosis is also being combated with intricate technological advancements. When a blood clot occurs, the urgent requirement to save the patient is to unblock an artery or vein and return normal flow to the brain. Deep Vein Thrombosis was treated by using pressure lymphedema press. An apparatus was wrapped around the legs are squeezed the blood flow back towards the torso to manage an even pressure. However, laser trimming technology can now intricately designed metal stents which are permanent and able to perform to a higher standard than older plastic stents. Patients can have their artery scanned, and the exact shape, curve, and size can be measured. Then laser manufacturing companies create the stent to the exact order using absolute precision. The stents then will be fitted into the patient’s artery to keep structure open and increase the blood flow and prevent blood clots. When patients are released from the hospital, due to this advancement, they no longer need to wear pressure stockings to keep an even flow around their body. This technology can add 5 to 10 years onto a person’s perceived life longevity.
Gone are the days where you would no longer be self-proficient if you lost a limb. Modern state-of-the-art prosthetics use the nervous system to obey the user’s commands. Purely by wearing sensory equipment, the added prosthetic limbs can move, grip, extend, bend and rotate just like normal biological limbs. Wirelessly transmitted neurological, small electric impulses give mechanical limbs demands to move and do things that the amputee wants. Leading the charge is DARPA, which is specifically working with military personnel to return to civilian life without the need for a carer to help them with everyday chores and errands. The program developed, will impact a wide spectrum of patients but especially, those who have suffered spinal cord injuries that have debilitated them from living a normal life. The future challenge for the medical amputation community is to work with engineering companies to create a working interface, that can understand the millions of brain impulses that carry with them their own electronic signal. The interface needs to be directly compatible with the amputee’s brain because each brain is different and when the technology fails to connect the dots and perform an action, the amputee is left without the ability of working prosthetic limbs. However, with recent trials, the technology is moving forward, and the latency of movement from impulse to interpretation is being cut little by little.
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