Technology and medicine have coexisted for a very long time. Numerous millions of lives have been saved thanks to ongoing advancements in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. As time goes on and healthcare technology develops, it is impossible to foresee what medical discoveries will take place next. Below is a list of the top 10 new Medical Technologies for 2022:
1. mRNA Engineering
Because it is a part of the brand-new Covid-19 vaccines, mRNA technology has recently attracted notice. Due to their great efficiency, aptitude for rapid development, and potential for low production costs, MRNA vaccines offer an alternative to the traditional vaccine method.
The genetic information derived from DNA is transported through a single-stranded RNA molecule known as messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines work by providing cells with the genetic material they require to produce viral proteins, which the body can subsequently employ to generate an immune defense. The efficacy of the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines has significantly expedited efforts to develop further mRNA vaccines for illnesses ranging from cancer to the Zika virus.
The potential of mRNA is thought to extend beyond immunizations. Since practically any protein may be expressed by mRNA, the same core technique may also make it possible to construct a variety of treatments by simulating a pharmacological interaction in the body. Antibodies made outside the body are only one example of the many protein-based treatments that have shown to be incredibly effective but also quite expensive. As a result, by using mRNA technology, the human body would be in charge of producing proteins, which would shorten development times and lower costs.
2. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been around for quite some time. However, it is now routinely used to treat and manage a wide range of psychological conditions, from stress and anxiety to dementia and autism. They do, however, have applications in successful pain management by changing patients’ attitudes and pain perceptions, which go beyond mental health issues.
The ability of VR to transport you inside the human body has also greatly improved the way medical professionals are trained. While the doctor is able to diagnose, the patient can virtually enter a panoramic image of their body to better understand their illness or condition.
However, surgery, cancer therapy, assisted living, rehabilitation, and preventive healthcare are its primary focus areas for medical advancement. There is a lot of untapped potential for virtual reality in these fields.
3. Utilization of neuroscience
Neurotechnology has the potential to enhance numerous aspects of life. In addition to the medical and wellness sectors, where it is already in use, it has a wide range of possible future uses in a variety of contexts, including education, workplace management, national security, and even sports.
The field of neurotechnology encompasses all tools designed to comprehend the brain, visualize its operations, and even manage, correct, or improve its performance. These components can be created from computers, electrodes, or any other gadget that can be set up to block electric pulses that are passing through the body.
Brain imaging, which captures the magnetic fields produced by electrical activity in the brain, neurostimulation, which involves stimulating the brain and nervous system to affect brain activity, and neurodevices, an emerging technology, are all examples of how neurotechnology is currently applied in the healthcare sector. The majority of neurodevices are still in the research phase, although they show significant promise for treating neurological disorders.
An excellent illustration of this is Neuralink. Neuralink is a device being developed by Elon Musk that will be placed into the human brain to record brain activity and wirelessly send it to a computer. The outcomes of this study might then be applied to electrically stimulate brain activity. It might be used to treat neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s if it works. Neuralink has only tested its chips on animals up to this far, but according to Elon Musk, the company plans to start implanting its chips in people in 2022.
Neurotechnology, while immensely exciting from a therapeutic perspective, is still debatable. Data rights and privacy issues are brought up. Neurotechnology is expected to grow rapidly in the worldwide healthcare market over the next several years.
4. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is amongst the most intriguing technologies altering the healthcare sector in 2022.
AI has shown to be quite useful in detecting diseases early and speeding up proper diagnosis. For instance, the use of AI in the treatment of breast cancer is enabling mammograms to be evaluated 30 times faster and with 99% accuracy, obviating the need for needless biopsies. AI is also there to monitor early-stage heart disease, allowing doctors to spot potentially deadly problems earlier on while they are still treatable. AI is also helping doctors create more complete treatment regimens that will enable patients to better control their illnesses.
Drug discovery is one of the more recent applications of AI in the life sciences. AI can speed up the drug discovery process, reducing the time it takes to produce new treatment and its related costs, by creating more efficient methods to identify and repurpose pharmaceuticals.
5. 3D printing
At the moment, 3D printing is among the most well-liked technologies available. These ground-breaking medical printers can create joints and even implants that might be utilized during surgery. Prosthetics created via 3D printing are growing in popularity as they can be totally customized and manufactured to a person’s specifications down to the millimeter. This allows for unprecedented levels of comfort and mobility.
The practice of using 3D printing for preoperative planning is also growing in popularity. The use of a realistic replica of a real patient’s anatomy has allowed surgeons to attempt surgeries they previously wouldn’t have been able to. The success rate of a complicated surgery that may be planned and practiced beforehand using 3D-printed models has the potential to increase while simultaneously reducing operating room and recovery time.
Products that are both soluble and durable can be created using printers. Patients will benefit from employing 3D printing, for instance, to ‘print’ pills that include numerous prescriptions, which would simplify the organization, timing, and monitoring of various medications. Another innovative medical procedure that advances 3D printing is bioprinting. Initially groundbreaking, the capacity to regenerate skin cells for skin grafts for burn victims has gradually given way to even more optimistic possibilities. Scientists have created artificial pancreas, fake ovaries, and blood arteries. The injured original organ is subsequently replaced by these artificial ones that the patient’s body grows. If artificial organs could be created that the body’s immune system wouldn’t reject, millions of people who depend on life-saving transplants each year could be rescued.
6. Individualized medication
As medical technology advances, it becomes increasingly tailored to certain individuals. The genetic makeup, environmental influences, and way of life of each patient are all taken into account by precision medicine. For instance, thanks to precision medicine, a cancer patient might get a treatment that is specially designed for them based on their unique genetic composition. This personalized medicine is much more effective than conventional forms of treatment since it targets tumors based on the patient’s DNA, creating gene mutations and making them more receptive to elimination by cancer therapy.
Precision medicine has a lot of potentials to change the way healthcare is provided in the future. While the realm of oncology is where precision medicine is currently most progressed, it also has more fascinating, broader applications in the treatment of infectious disorders as well as rare and inherited diseases. Prior to becoming widely used, however, precision medicine will need to be incorporated into healthcare, which will be a challenging process given infrastructure, expertise, and equality concerns that the sector must solve.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats is the most advanced gene-editing technique currently used (CRISPR). It works by utilizing the immune systems that are already present in bacterial cells and have the ability to “rip off” contaminated DNA strands. The way we approach treating diseases may alter as a result of this DNA slicing. Thanks to DNA modification, some of the largest threats to our health, such as cancer and HIV, might be eliminated in a few years.
Additionally, it seems hopeful to use CRISPR to treat rare diseases. The rare hereditary disease known as cystic fibrosis affects the respiratory and digestive systems (CF). Mutations in the CF gene alter the way salt is controlled across cell membranes, thickening mucus that impairs the function of the pancreas, lungs, and other organs.
Cystic fibrosis is caused by a variety of mutations, and multiple clinical trials are currently being carried out to see if CRISPR may be used to correct these abnormalities. CRISPR is also being investigated as a possible treatment for sickle cell disease, which is also caused by a genetic anomaly. Before recently, a bone marrow transplant was the only effective treatment for patients, but CRISPR gene therapy has offered patients new hope.
There are several potential applications for CRISPR, including the correction of genetic defects, the treatment and averting of disease, and improving the hardiness and growth of agricultural crops. Despite this, the technique also raises ethical concerns, particularly over humanity’s capacity to “play God” and worries about gene editing being exploited to produce babies with custom genetic makeup.
There has been an increase in demand for telehealth and telemedicine after the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020. Telemedicine only focuses on distant clinical services, whereas telehealth also includes remote non-clinical services. More people have adopted new working and living practices since the pandemic; as a result, this tendency is expected to keep accelerating. The global telemedicine industry is expected to grow from $68.36 billion to $218.49 billion by 2026.
Telemedicine has many advantages for patients as well as medical professionals. Because the patients are not liable for any additional expenses like childcare or travel, it may also be less expensive while offering patients superior comfort and convenience. Accessibility can also assist other groups, including the elderly, the physically handicapped, and those unable to leave their homes. Telemedicine benefits healthcare professionals by reducing administrative expenses, reducing the risk of sickness and infections, and allowing practitioners to visit more patients because of the flexibility telemedicine affords.
Due to the increased use of telehealth and telemedicine over the previous two years, 1:1 doctor-patient video conferencing will no longer be the norm for online medical appointments by 2022. For instance, in response to the growing number of patients needing behavioral therapy for mental health disorders, we can predict the development of technology that will permit group sessions, enabling many patients to be supported concurrently. It is a very important point in Medical Technologies.
9. Health-related wearables
The need for wearable technology has grown since it first gained popularity in recent years, notably following the introduction of Bluetooth in 2000. People now track a range of things with wearables that are synced with their phones, including their sleep patterns, heart rates, and physical activity. Due to the aging population in much of the industrialized world, wearables can be helpful in preventing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease by supporting patients in tracking and improving their fitness.
All of the major tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, produce smartwatches, which continue to rule the market for wearable medical equipment. They can capture electrocardiograms, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and sleep patterns, depending on the model. Manufacturers are currently working on smartwatches incorporating blood glucose sensors, which will make it easier for persons with diabetes to control their condition. Along with smartwatches, additional gadgets are becoming more and more popular and are proving to be increasingly useful in gathering data for clinical research, including smart rings, smart clothing, and wearables.
The creation of inside tables and implantables shows that technological advancement is not just restricted to things that are worn on the outside. In the past, these inside microcomputers have been used to assist in the operation of organs like the heart and brain. Insideables, commonly referred to as smart pills, are widely thought to be the next development after external wearables. These take the form of a hard capsule that must be swallowed and send readings from inside the body, including glucose levels, or images that aid in diagnosis. It is projected that implantables and inside tables, which are still in their infancy, would revolutionize healthcare in the years to come. It is one of the best Medical Technologies right now.
10. Technology’s impact on mental health
By 2030, depression is predicted to represent the majority of diseases worldwide, making the need for novel therapies greater than ever. Over the past year, a number of cutting-edge technologies have emerged that can help with patients’ ongoing mental health needs.
Some applications are able to complete patient intake forms and provide an initial diagnosis before a patient even contacts a therapist, and AI-powered technologies are revolutionizing the way mental health treatments are provided. Voice recognition technologies like Ellipsis and AI chatbots like Woebot, which may be integrated into smartphone apps to help patients practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches, can listen for early signs of emotional discomfort in a patient’s voice and speech patterns. Digital symptom tracking is crucial for developing future efficient mental health care. Online symptom tracking motivates patients to provide data every day.
An AI algorithm then analyses the data to find patterns and alert service providers in real-time of any danger indicators.
Another cutting-edge technology used for mental well-being is video games. EndeavorRx is the first and only video game therapy, and it was approved by the FDA in 2020. The game, which needs a prescription, is made to help kids with ADHD who are between the ages of 8 and 12 improve their attention span. Participants in clinical studies said that their capacity for paying attention had increased by 73%.
Video games are anticipated to become a more popular, affordably priced, and convenient treatment for a range of health concerns as a result of this success. It was recently disclosed that DeepWell Digital Therapeutics would launch a groundbreaking video game publishing and development business focused to creating games that may amuse players while simultaneously delivering, improving, and hastening the treatment of a number of illnesses and problems.