Three-dimensional body parts and bionic eyes might sound like something out of a futuristic comic book. However, the following nine health breakthroughs are among the most incredible medical advances to watch out for in 2014!
1. Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer is getting a serious kick in the britches this year starting with a treatment called cancer immunotherapy, a new form of cancer care that uses drugs to power the body’s immune system up so it can attack and destroy tumors. This treatment zeros in on empowering the immune system—instead of zapping the tumor with chemotherapy or radiation treatments. With cancer immunotherapy, the body should eradicate any cancer cells as a natural bodily response.
2. Computer-Assisted Sedation
Were you aware that a large chunk of the cost of most anesthesia-required tests and operations goes to the anesthesiologist? That was until computer-assisted sedation was introduced. The device will literally knock you off your feet in 2014, no anesthesia or professional anesthesiologist required so costs will drastically drop.
3. Bionic Eyes
No it’s not a super power! The tiny, bionic camera will sit in a patient’s glasses. This device works by capturing images via electrical pulses and transmitting them wirelessly by antenna to a retinal implant, through the optic nerves in the brain and into images you see. The bionic eye virtually replaces a damaged retina, perfecting poor image definition and color, and restoring vision for those with macular degeneration.
4. Engineered Genes
Literally a new, experimental gene machine is almost ready to re-engineer genes in order to fight diseases such as leukemia, breast and blood cancers without the use of chemo or radiation. The therapy will virtually do away with the need for surgery to replace cancerous tumors in early stage cancer patients.
5. Personal Health Tracking Devices
We already know that the tech tread this year is set to be wearable devices, like Google glass. Likewise, in the health realm, personal, wearable devices that track aspects of our health will be all the rage. I mean, wouldn’t you love to strap on a gadget that was able to track your heart rhythm and forward any concerns to your doctor. You think that’s neat…how about a wristband that analyzes your food and breaks down the nutrients you’re eating, and sends that info to your smartphone, but of course!
6. Face Transplants
Nicholas Cage and John Travolta carried off a face transplant, almost without a hitch in the movie Face Off. However, surgeons are currently perfecting full face transplant surgery with the help of a group of researchers who studied blood vessels reattachment and are now able to speed up the success of the procedure. You will notice an option to opt in as a face donor on 2014 U.S. government transplant cards (recommended for family-relations only).
7. Hepatitis C Drug
A relatively new drug called Sofosbuvir is about to make life a lot easier for those suffering with hepatitis C. Instead of lengthy and harsh drug therapies, this oral treatment (the first of its kind) is set to be FDA-approved for hepatitis C—minus the time commitment and nasty side effects of other treatments.
8. 3D Prosthesis
In 2013, separate groups of researchers were able to turn a 3D-printed artificial outer ear into a real prosthesis. They also used printers to create blood vessels and replacement skin cells. In 2014, medical science plans to go one step further—by creating an artificial human liver using three-dimensional printers, one that can be implanted successfully into human patients.
9. Responsive Neurostimulating Epileptic Device
Approximately 30-percent of U.S. epileptics suffer from uncontrollable seizures. When medication and treatments aren’t helping there used to be no other options. However, in 2014, a responsive neurostimulator treatment will be introduced to reduce spasms. The device is surgically-implanted just under the skin to track a patient’s electrocorticographic (ECog) pattern and control a seizure before it even begins.