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Medical Technology Advances in 2018

Current Events, Medical, Innovation

2018 is likely to be a groundbreaking year in the world of medical technology. The field of healthcare is constantly changing, and new technologies are ushering in new capabilities for researchers and doctors to offer quality services to patients. Here are some of the new technologies introduced this year in the medical field.


Chatbots and apps have shifted the ground in the therapy field, but teletherapy is poised to bring mental health back to face-to-face interaction. Teletherapy is a technology where therapy sessions are conducted through video-enabled interface. Therapists and patients use FaceTime, Skype or any other video conferencing service to communicate. This innovative development provides a practical solution for people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to attend in-person mental health services. The ever-increasing demand for psychiatrists and therapists coupled with the rising price of health insurance makes this option a win-win for consumers. This web-based experience is low cost, no one has to travel, and one can have the session from the comfort of your home.

Smart Inhalers

Asthma is often well-treated with inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids. The first medication relieves the flared symptoms while the second controls inflammation. Inhalers are effective if they are used correctly, but surprisingly, up to 94% of the inhalers are administered improperly. To solve this issue, medical researchers have developed Bluetooth-enabled smart inhalers.

These devices remind the patient when to use the medication.The inhaler records the time, date, and place of each administered dose, and notes whether the dose was properly used. This data is collected in the app and can be used to determine how the patient controls and uses the medications, as well as creating the pattern of the patients drug use. Smart inhalers encourage efficient and proper dosing, and can assist patients who may otherwise have difficulty using these types of medications. Devices which can be clipped onto the inhaler to send data to the smartphone app are currently being perfected, and may be available before the end of the year.

Cancer treatment precision medications

An estimated 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Those numbers are staggering. Medical researchers have long been developing protocols for battling various types of cancer. One of the tools that has been recently added to the arsenal in the war on cancer is precision medicine.

Precision medicine is a cancer treatment approach that allows doctors to choose a specific medicine to administer based on the genetic makeup of the individual. Simply speaking, a doctor will no longer administer the same medication regimen to all cancer patients. They will be treating the strain of cancer specific to the patient, down to the specific abnormalities in the patients proteins and DNA. Over the last decade, doctors and researchers have amassed a greater understanding of the genetic mutations and molecular mechanisms that mutate in cancerous cells. Going forward, instead of looking at the organ system cancer, cancer will be looked at from a molecular point of exploitation.

Artificial Pancreas

Breakthroughs in medical technology have revolutionized the way patients regulate type 1 diabetes. One of the most innovative technologies in the field of diabetes is the invention of the artificial pancreas.

Artificial Pancreas (AP) systems are automated insulin delivery systems, and are similar to traditional insulin pumps. What sets the AP system apart is the ease with which it works. These systems are designed to automate the management of blood sugar by monitoring glucose levels on a continuous basis, and provide insulin to stabilize blood sugar as required. This device is managed by an algorithm that connects the insulin pump to an app on the patient's smartphone. The technology behind the AP is still being perfected, and doctors caution that diabetes patients must always be aware of their blood sugar levels. In the years ahead, newer versions of the app will be enhanced, in the hope of delivering more efficient use of the device.

Memory Prosthesis

Treatment for Epilepsy has led to the development of an implantable memory-boosting device. Electrodes are implanted into the hippocampus region of the brain and can be stimulated to increase the patient's retention of information. The electrical shocks mimic the way the human brain takes in and catalogs memories.

In recent studies, researchers found that these stimulations improved short-term memory by 15 percent and working memory by roughly 25 percent. This breakthrough is potentially transformative for the field of Alzheimer's and dementia. While more research is necessary to perfect the technology, the prospective improvements to quality and extention of life provides hope to these patients and their families.

Sleep Apnea Implant

Sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm, which then triggers lapses in breathing that can last a few seconds to minutes. This frightening ailment affects an estimated 22 million people in the United States. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine. These machines are bulky and uncomfortable, and require the patient to wear a mask to sleep.

The FDA has recently approved a new treatment for sleep apnea, Remede. The device is comprised of a battery pack which is surgically implanted under the skin in the upper chest and small wires that are inserted into the blood vessels in the chest. The implant stimulates the phrenic nerve and monitors the person's lung function as they sleep. Clinical tests of patients using Remede showed that their sleep apnea was reduced by at least half among 51 percent of people who used the system.

Advances in medical technology are happening at a staggering pace. These innovative breakthroughs offer hope to the millions of people suffering and the friends and families who care for them. It is an exciting time in the field of medicine, and 2018 proves to be a year of endless possibilities.