Live Long and Prosper – Medical Breakthroughs in 2014

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By Susan Heckler
The medical, scientific and healthcare communities are always busy trying to find new cures and new technology to assist patients and medical professionals to manage patient care. Some of the big breakthroughs for 2014 are:

• Newly-developed drugs called “B-cell receptor pathway inhibitors” have been highly effective in treating low-grade B-cell lymphomas and leukemias in clinical trials.

• Scientists have now discovered what may be an important new biomarker, called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which could be a useful screening tool for people who don’t have traditional risk factors.

• Computer-Assisted Sedation Without an Anesthesiologist.

• Data Rich Wearable Devices that can gather your personal health data and transmit this meaningful information to your medical professionals in real time.

• Relaxin for Acute Heart Failure; a type of vasodilator, helps during episodes of acute heart failure by improving blood flow throughout the body.

• Cancer Immunotherapy is a new frontier in cancer treatment where your body’s own immune system can eliminate tumors to avoid chemo.

• Fecal Microbiota Transplantation; The process involves the transfer of healthy fecal matter into a sick person’s colon, which restores bacterial balance.

• Decision Support System for Anesthesia; in an effort to meet the demands and improve outcomes, a new electronic anesthesia management system has been developed which creates, in real time, a full anesthesia record of events, drugs, and procedures.

• Genome Editing to surgically alter the genetic material of an organism.

• The Human Microbiome is the study of the 1,000 bacterial species that live in the human digestive system alone and how they are associated with diseases.

• Retinal Prosthesis – bionic eyes.

• Responsive Neurostimulator for Intractable Epilepsy.

• New Hepatitis diagnosis and treatments.

Over the last few months, emphasis shifted to Ebola and Enterovirus, which have been in the news. As of October 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that four people infected with the Enterovirus had died, but it’s unclear what role the virus played in the deaths. The need for medical breakthroughs seems to be never ending, but at least there is progress!