Top Health Technology Advancements in 2018

As we roll into 2019, it’s important to shed light on some of the technology that erupted in the healthcare industry in 2018. This year saw many important and ground-breaking medicinal advancements. Each piece of technology – however small or big – helps shape the future of the healthcare industry in some fundamental ways.

The healthcare industry is changing quickly, and early adopters and innovators are the first to make bold, life-altering moves. The technologies not only boost the ability to improve patient experiences, but to make it easier for doctors and researchers to learn more on the field and continue to progress. Here are some of the top health tech advancements in 2018:

A Simulator for Cardiatric Surgeries

Cardiatric surgeries are very complex, and new technology. All around the world, medical professionals are attending interventional cardiology conferences to discuss breaking news and disruptive technology in the world of cardiology. Cardiology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the heart and circulatory system. Your blood vessels, for example, are a part of that circulatory system.

Certain procedures, like types of brain surgery, are that much more complicated because blood vessels that create a forcefield around the brain. Heart surgeries are also highly complex, and one wrong move can make a tough medical scenario even more difficult. The Super Beat training simulator is a new piece of technology, that mimics are heartbeat by utilizing artificial muscles that are engaged through electricity. This would allow cardiovascular procedures to be performed much more safely during surgeries.

Artificial Ovaries

Over the past few years, many scientists and medical professionals have worked on developing artificial ovaries for women who have complications getting pregnant-particularly after treatments like chemotherapy. Now, these artificial ovaries are becoming much more advanced, and after thorough tests, are ready to be introduced into the human population. Part of the reason why artificial ovaries are also necessary is because transplanting frozen ovaries has a higher possibility of introducing cancer into the body. Artificial ovaries are not only potentially more effective, but much more safe.

Serotonin 2C Receptor For Drug Addictions

Drug addictions are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Drug addicts find it very difficult to curb an addiction because of significant changes in their brain chemistry, which becomes crippling to their health and lifestyle. With new technology called serotonin 2C receptor therapeutic, doctors can better restore weakened signals in the brain caused by drug abuse. With this intervention procedure, addicts will find it easier to eliminate drug-seeking behavior.

Virtual Reality as a Treatment

In 2018, virtual reality became more commonplace in hospitals and clinics as a treatment option. For example, in France, a French startup called Healthy Mind began using virtual reality instead of drugs to help treat patients who have underwent painful procedures. The overall objective is to provide a foundation for them to be distracted by the pain, and avoid the hazy effects and long-term risks of drugs (which can be just as harmful in some cases).

Virtual reality also helps to reduce the anxiety associated with being in a hospital environment. Via an advanced headset, patients were able to venture across peaceful gardens and go on guided tours through calming environments. In the future, we’ll see more of virtual reality incorporated into pain management.

A Cure for Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergies are a serious issue in the world of healthcare. Some peanut allergies are so harsh, that they could be life-threatening. Around 150 to 200 people die annually from peanut allergies. Although only 4% of the population suffers from a peanut allergy, the prevalence of peanut allergies actually doubled from 1997 to 2002.

For those with severe allergies, even the smallest amount of peanut in food or products can cause a nasty reaction. Still, nearly 20% of peanut allergies in adults can be outgrown. A Canada-based biopharmaceutical company called Aimmune Therapeutics conducted a study where they tested capsules that contained peanut flour. Upon ingesting the capsules, the participants were 67% more likely to tolerate peanuts afterwards.

Artificial Pancreas

In addition to artificial ovaries, there are also artificial pancreas devices. The pancreas is vital to the body because it secretes insulin, sugar, and digestive enzymes that help break down food. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin in the body. Currently, diabetes is a huge issue in the country. A smart, artificial pancreas mimics the effects of a healthy pancreas, regulating insulin and glucose as necessary. It will also be able to monitor glucose levels in the body, and adjust accordingly. The first system of this kind has been officially approved by the FDA, however, newer versions are expected to launch over the next several years.

Stethoscope - health technology advancements.
Stethoscope. Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.