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Five Exciting Medical Advances of the Past Decade - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date Five Exciting Medical Advances of the Past Decade The new Century has witnessed many changes in the health care field. Advances in medicines, techniques and equipment have greatly improved the circumstances for all patients…
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Five Exciting Medical Advances of the Past Decade
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Download file to see previous pages Important breakthroughs in treating cancer and heart disease are saving people’s lives that would not have been as fortunate just a decade ago. Stem cell and gene therapy are other areas that hold great promise for treating a variety of conditions. The wonders of medical science are progressing at an electrifying rate at a time when technology seemingly knows no boundaries. The digital age, information technologies and the Internet has altered the method of interactions within the healthcare community. This more efficient means of communication has changed the practice of medicine for the better and had made the patient’s life safer. Once admitted to the hospital, for example, patients receive a bracelet with a bar code stamped on it which gives the attending health care worker vital information in moments, information such as blood type, medication schedules and medical history. According to the Journal of the History of Medicine editor, Margaret Humphreys, MD, “The ways in which computer systems are improving hospital care are pervasive and radical.” (Cox, 2009). However, due to the extraordinary expense of digital technologies, many doctors and hospitals were slow to make the transition. In 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $20 billion was allocated to help update all medical care facilities with IT equipment. Gene and stem cell therapies are gaining recognition in treating Neurodegenerative diseases, nerve disorders that gradually cause the body to lose muscular control. Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease are all degenerative nerve conditions. It’s estimated that at least one member of every family is affected by a Neurodegenerative disease, one in four Americans. Because a predictor of this condition is family history, genetics is known to play a significant role in both contracting and combating the disorder. Just a few years ago, doctors and physical therapists were limited to treating only the patient’s symptoms. During this past decade, however, scientists have discovered gene therapy could repair the particular genes responsible for causing the disease. The patient’s defective cells are injected with healthy, modified genes, a process which has been shown to slow or stop the disease’s progression. “While it’s not a cure, ongoing studies show promising, measurable results of decreased disease activity.” (Trimarchi, 2012) Embryonic stem cells have shown great promise in treating and curing many maladies including heart disease, the most prolific killer of persons in the U.S. Stem cells have the ability to become nearly any other type of cell such as those of the heart muscle. When injected into the diseased heart of pigs and mice, stem cells have taken over and replaced dead and injured heart cells which increased recovery time. Other studies conclude stem cells have the potential to effectively treat spinal cord injuries and diabetes. (Weiss, 2012). It seems astounding but just a generation ago; a patient suffering from a heart attack was taken by hospital staff to a dark room and given a pain killer and some lidocaine, which was thought to calm an irregular heartbeat. That’s it. Experiencing a heart attack generally meant a quick death or a damaged and weakened heart that was soon to give out again. Today, doctors and hospital staff can offer life saving solutions provided the patient arrives quickly. Instead of shuffled off to a dark room to die, health care professionals work ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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