Our ability to study and repair the human body is limited by the sophistication of our tools. Researchers today are working hard to refine these tools and help improve disease treatments and prevention. Here are 5 new advancements in medical technology that promise to change, and improve, the way doctors work.
Ultrasound Imaging on Smartphone
With a grant from Microsoft received last year, computer engineers at Washington University were able to create the first hand-held ultrasound machine. Among other possibilities, this USB-based ultrasound technology means that, soon, army medics will be able to make on-the-fly diagnosis of soldiers wounded in the field in order to make better decisions about their treatment.
Non-invasive Prostate Treatment
Exploding bubbles might sound like an odd method of treating prostate growth, but that is exactly what researchers at the University of Michigan have been able to do. It's called cavitation and it involves aiming focused ultrasound pulses at prostate growths. These pulses create bubbles, which upon exploding create shock waves that dissolve the malignant growth so that it can be secreted via urine.
Microwaving Liver Cancer
At UC San Diego's Medical Center, doctors are already using a new method of treating liver cancer. Usually, liver cancer is treated either by transplant or open surgery, but these two options are not always viable for every patient. The new procedure involves piercing the cancer tumor with ultrathin antenna, which then emits microwaves above 60 degrees Celsius in order to destroy the tumor.
High-resolution gamma cameras have enabled doctors to better detect breast cancer at its earliest stages. The detection method is BSGI and it stands for breast-specific gamma imaging. While mammograms and clinical check-ups are still important, there are some cases where these more rudimentary methods prove inconclusive. Gamma cameras have made it possible to add another layer of detection, and their use could extend to other types of cancer as well.
Unassisted Robotic Surgeries
The first steps towards creating working, unassisted robotic surgeons are being taken by researchers at Duke University. Using a basic, prototype robot, cutting edge 3-D ultrasound imaging and a basic artificial intelligence program, they were able to create a rudimentary robot that performs surgical tasks. While obviously more research and development is needed, the day might not be far when the medical equipment will be able to use itself.
The leading medical equipment provider will always have products that will be of new technology that promises to change, and improve, the way doctors work.