Medical researchers improve technology

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Medical researchers are improving technology. I started my pediatric residency before the days of CT scans and MRI’s. They are now household words.

We don’t know today what we can expect in the future. What we do know is there will be changes. Some of them will be big.

I recently wrote about CRISPR technology that will likely be revolutionary in nature. Along similar lines, a new form of ultrasound is being evaluated. It actually adjusts the ultrasonic frequencies to create what is almost a camera lens. The result is that it can look inside the body almost like a real camera. Its development would make GI endoscopy a much rarer test.

Scientists are looking at the proteins that allow us to form hearing cells in our ears. The hope is that we can help people whose cells are damaged repair them on their own.

We have heard the ads on TV for cancer medications that are specific to the type of cancer the patient has based upon genetic testing. We can expect more of that in the future.

We already use a cancer vaccine in children to protect against the human papilloma virus (HPV). We can expect more developments along these lines in the future. Of course, those people who don’t believe in immunizations will choose to die of cancer. That is what evolution is all about.

We only need to look at history to understand this. In 1900, mortality statistics were very different than they are today. Over half the deaths (53 percent) were cause by infectious disease. That number is now down to three percent primarily because of immunizations and antibiotics.

By contrast that same year 36 people died in auto accidents. As expected that number continued to climb over the years. It reached a peak of 54,589 in 1972. It is not a coincidence that seat belts were first used in cars in 1968. Other safety features were also introduced after that time. In 2018, there were 36,750 deaths.

Some of the advances are predictable. Some of them are not. What we do know is that medical care will change markedly in the years to come. We are just not yet sure of what those changes will be.

 

Oops

Sorry folks, that should have read “donations accepted,” not “donations expected,” for the reading of my comedic play, Hold the Phone, on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are free with a donation to Possum Point accepted. Contact me by e-mail at ampolicastro@comcast.net for tickets.

2019-09-06T07:15:49-05:00 September 6th, 2019|HEALTH|