Have you ever heard about a man named Larry Smarr who has been using a supercomputer to monitor his health and see his internal organs?
Recently, this technology helped him survive a serious operation. Larry is an astrophysicist. He is one of the world's leading experts in computer engineering. He founded and headed the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which is engaged in the study of advanced digital technologies for medicine.
Most medical students follow the newest tendencies and write about them in their papers or entrust experts to do this so that they can have more time for their own medical research. Nowadays, there are a lot of technologies which make the process of conducting research easier.
Virtual reality technologies have already become firmly established in medicine. With their help, patients can see what result to expect after an operation. Also, specialists can learn from each other and the study of diseases comes is taken to a new level.
Medicine is a sphere which requires the constant search for new solutions, effective methods of treatment, and a new approach to solving the already existing problems. If there were more smart scientists like Larry, it would be possible to predict at birth what diseases a person will suffer when they become an adult.
However, many scientists claim that this will be possible in the nearest future due to the fact that they have found that common diseases and some features of mental development depend not on the presence of a particular gene, but on a certain interaction of a group of genes. So far, the development can only recommend a closer observation for those who have a particularly high risk of a disease. If you are interested in the newest medical discoveries, you are welcome to check them out here.
Micro-laboratory for diagnosing cancer at an early stage
Unfortunately, nowadays most of the varieties of cancer are diagnosed only when the tumor already consists of millions of cancer cells.
What if it is possible to identify cancer even before it has a harmful effect on the cells of the body?
It is known that it is much easier to extinguish one spark than a whole forest fire. The same opinion is shared by scientists who developed a unique chip capable of diagnosing cancer at the stage of its inception. An international team of researchers was working on this device, led by the Institute of Photonics in Spain. Within the framework of this project, a new technology was created, with the help of which it is possible to determine protein oncomarkers. The lab-on-a-chip developed by scientists is built using the latest achievements in various fields of science and technology.
Microelectromechanical systems chip, sometimes called "lab on a chip"
As shown by experiments, the micro-laboratory is able to detect the presence in the blood of specific proteins produced by cancer cells, even in a microscopic concentration. Thanks to this, doctors were able to diagnose the disease at the earliest stages of its development. It is worth noting that the development of scientists opens up broad prospects for medicine in the field of cancer treatment. This is due not only to the high level of reliability of the development and its sensitivity - due to its portability, it allows diagnostics even in areas with the undeveloped medicine.
With a size of only a couple of square centimeters, the micro-laboratory is equipped with a variety of different sensors that are located in a network of liquid microchannels. This makes it possible to conduct several analyzes at once. In this case, the device is able in just a few minutes to determine whether there are characteristic markers in the blood.
Miniature chip for looking inside the human heart
Scientists have created a unique microchip, thanks to which physicians could look inside perhaps the most important human organ. The creators of this truly unique device - scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology - were able to place on the surface of the chip 56 transmitters and 48 receivers operating in the ultrasonic range. At the same time, its dimensions are only 1.5 millimeters.
If this device is fastened to the end of the cord of the cardiac catheter, it can be delivered to the human heart through the circulatory system. After the microchip is inside the organ, cardiologists will be able to obtain:
a detailed three-dimensional projection of the heart
peripheral blood vessels
With this projection, physicians will be able to determine the causes of heart diseases as quickly and accurately as possible. The head of the project - Dr. Levent Degertekin - in an interview with journalists shared his thoughts on their offspring. According to him, any doctor wants to know what exactly is happening in the heart and arteries of his or her patient. However, sadly, most of the medical equipment is able to show only a part of the overall picture.
It should be noted that the prototype available at the disposal of scientists is capable of generating a three-dimensional picture with a frequency of 60 frames per second. At the moment, the researchers have started testing this device on animals, and soon they plan to test it on real patients. After the successful completion of all the tests, scientists are going to establish a serial production of their development and organize supplies to hospitals around the world.