Health technology to watch out in the coming decade

<strong> <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/snehashree-mandal-923b311a5/">Snehashree Mandal</a></strong>
 Snehashree Mandal

Science writer, Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India

 According to the World Health Organization, deaths due to CVD (cardiovascular diseases) would rise to 23 million annually by 2030, but for now it rests at 17.9 million each year. A few technologies have shown results and might be helpful in treating cardiovascular and other diseases in the coming decade.

One among them is the Brain-computer interface, a technological advancement that has come up over the years. Paralysis patients suffering from spinal cord injury, brain stem stroke, or other neurological challenges can hope to live differently using this technology.

Research in this field began in the early 1970s at the University of California, Los Angeles. It is a machine devised to establish direct communication between the brain and an external device. It is a two-way connection and currently, the research is where laser eye surgery was decades ago. It is incredible to know that a chip inserted in the brain can interpret electrical signals and then send it back to the machine. The machine would again send back some form of communication or directions to the brain.

A 30-year old paralyzed man named Thibault could move all his four limbs along with the support of an exoskeleton (use of sophisticated robotics) when this mechanism worked for him.

Another upcoming technology that is showing promise is designed to read the vocal biomarkers.  They can be suitably used as a diagnostic tool (for diagnosing CVD and other diseases). Vocal biomarkers help machines understand a lot about human emotions by analyzing and detecting the intonations (original voice rise and fall speaking while) in our voice. The technology is designed to interpret these intonations in a way that they can find out a lot more about diseases that might affect the person in their future.

Beyond Verbal, an Israeli company tackles analytics of our emotions and makes software that can be used for voice analysis. They have claimed that their algorithms could identify coronary artery disease in a certain group of patients.

Vocalis Health similarly combines the knowledge of vocal biomarkers, big data and an AI-based voice platform to “detect and monitor health status.”

Another company called Sonde Health Inc., a company based in Boston, also claims to be evolving technologies that easily track, monitor, and diagnose a person’s mental and physical conditions.

Well, a technology very different from the previous ones, yet immensely helpful, is the different drug delivery systems that are being tested in different parts of the world. What cannot be achieved when biomimetic drug delivery systems would change the way CVDs and brain tumors are treated presently. These forms of drug delivery can, in fact, revolutionize even other fields of medicine. Several types of biomimetic particles are being designed all across the world to counter challenge different diseases (including infectious diseases like tuberculosis) that are too difficult to treat even with the current advancements.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute are running an experiment on exceptionally minuscule sized robots that can deliver targeted drugs by simply swimming through your blood. They can swim through everything- the hardened blood vessels of the heart, the saliva of your mouth and the sticky goo in your eyeballs. Cardiac diseases can be cured exceptionally well with the use of these nanoscale drug delivery systems.

In 2015, the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the first drug combined with a digestible sensor. Designed in collaboration between the Japanese Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Proteus Digital Health, digestible sensors carrying a mental illness drug could communicate with a wearable sensor patch as and when the drug is ingested. Later the same information can be fed to a smartphone or tablet. Can you imagine how amazing that can be?

Digital tattoos are another interesting find that can change the way diseases would be diagnosed in the next decade. You can place the tattoos anywhere and not only early signs of heart attacks but also several other signals can be rightfully explored and evaluated with these tattoos.

Usually made of conductive ink, these tattoos are made of liquid metal alloys to embed and print the ultra-thin circuits in them. All you might need to do is wet the digital tattoo to apply it on your skin, just like you used to do with your simple tattoos when you were once a child. They are capable of detecting early signs of heart attack, stroke, heart valve blockades, and brain signal irregularities and also analyze our psychological parameters.

There would be tiny electrodes that can record the information about our health conditions and can transmit the same information to a smartphone or any other device to which it is connected. What could be more brilliant than the fact that they can operate simply by using energy obtained through different electrophysiological processes instead of batteries.

Even telesurgeries via 5G network would be a game-changer in the field of CVDs over the next decade.

So what do you say? Would you not believe now that technology can change the way you look at your health in the coming decade?

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1 thought on “Health technology to watch out in the coming decade”

  1. Technology will change the way we look at ourselves in the upcoming years. Wonderful post by an amazing writer. Keep it up Sneha.

    Reply

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