We are living in an age where extensive research and development continues to improve all aspects of our lives, and the rate in which new technology is created and then widely adopted is remarkable.
The medical field is no different. In fact it is perhaps the most important area of all, in terms of how new procedures and technology can positively affect the human race.
Increasing life expectancy, saving lives and improving the quality of life for those afflicted by a serious medical condition are three things that can be achieved from advancement in medical care.
In the past 10 years alone there have been great strides made throughout the medical field. In this post we are going to explore a selection of the most significant advancements from the past decade.
Face Transplant Procedures
The world’s first full face transplant successfully took place in 2010, five years after the world’s first partial face transplant. The operation, which happened in Spain at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital, was the first of its kind.
The recipient of this ground-breaking surgery, aged 31 at the time, was disfigured following a shooting accident. The procedure took around 24 hours and involved 30 highly skilled doctors.
Advances in Prostheses
Prostheses have been used for thousands of years, with the earliest confirmed discovery dating back to between 1295BC and 664BC.
Of course, improvements in the creation of artificial body parts have come on a long way since the days of the Ancient Egyptians. But perhaps the most significant strides in this particular field of medical research and development have been made in last few years.
Bionic limbs and other body parts have been engineered to highly advanced standards whereby they are ever increasingly similar to the actual body parts with which they replace.
A very recent example that demonstrates the remarkable advances that have been made in the development of prostheses is the creation of a bionic hand that also allows for a sense of touch, something that previous designs had failed to achieve.
Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries that resulted in a prognosis of permanent paralysis have for so long been considered as exactly that – permanent.
However a ground-breaking medical device used as part of a comprehensive spinal cord injury treatment procedure has been helping patients in recent years regain mobility, despite previously being told they would never be able to move or feel their affected limbs again.
The procedure in question is known as epidural stimulation and it involves the implantation of an electronic device into the patient’s lumbar region.
Once activated, the device is able to stimulate movements that would usually occur from brain impulses. As a result, by bypassing the point of injury, the limbs that have been affected by the injury to the spine can be reached, allowing the recipient to make voluntary movements once again.
More details of this progressive treatment can be found on the Epidural Stimulation Now website, including the extensive rehabilitation programme that plays an essential part of the overall procedure.
Highly Effective and Affordable Hepatitis C Drugs
Up until recently, treatment of hepatitis C was a very costly procedure. In the US, the cost per pill of one of the effective drugs to treat hepatitis C could be as high as $1,000, or $84,000 over a 12-week course. At this price, it has been deemed too expensive to roll out en-masse by the government.
However, a new treatment involving two drugs has been developed which has been proven to be highly effective in curing hepatitis C at a much lower cost.
At around $300 for a 12-week course, the combination of Ravidasvir and Sofosbuvir is much more attractive from a financial point of view than the previous treatments available in the USA.
Following the success of the medical trials involving the combination of the two aforementioned drugs, there are plans to introduce this new treatment to several countries throughout the world.
With over 70million people worldwide living with hepatitis C, the news of a safe, effective and also affordable treatment will no doubt be greatly received, assuming there is easy access to it.
What the Future Holds
As is evident from the four examples featured above, medical research and development continues to improve the lives of many throughout the world. However, being able to access and benefit from these advancements is not always as simple as it perhaps could be.
There is no doubt that progress will continue to be made. If a similar article to this is written in 10 years from now, I think we will once again be amazed with exactly how much progress has been achieved in the medical field.
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