Updated 10 October 2018

5 amazing medical innovations that changed the world

We look at advances in health and medical practices that have changed – and in many ways continue to change – our world today, which we often take for granted but changed the medical landscape around the globe.

Everyday medical professionals are working to save lives across the globe, combining medical knowledge and skills with incredible medical innovations and inventions – miracles don’t seem so farfetched anymore!

Saving lives, preventing the spread of disease, allowing for quicker and more accurate diagnosis and better patient care are just some of the great benefits medical inventions and technologies have made to our world. And the industry continues the rapidly change. What once was a major medical breakthrough may now be a common place surgery or medication, but we shouldn’t forget the incredible strides and changes that the medical profession has made in keeping us all healthy and living a better life.

The list below looks at advances in health and medical practices that have changed - and in many ways continue to change - our world today, which we often take for granted but changed the medical landscape around the world:

1. Augmented reality

For many of us, Pokemon Go was our first experience of augmented reality (AR), wherein a computer digitally enhances real-life environments. The medical field has been adopted AR technology as well which blends computer-generated information and information from MRI and CT scans to make it possible for doctors to see below the skin and visualise the organs, bones and muscles of patients without having to operate.

2. The bionic eye

This development sounds like it comes straight from a science fiction novel, the Argus II takes video signals from a camera which is built into sunglasses and wirelessly sends that image to implants in the retinas of those who have lost their vision. Although this technology has a lot of kinks that is still being improved on, it has been approved for people who have lost their sight from retinal pigmentosa.

3. The Sedasys

It can almost be called a robot anaesthesiologist, the Sedasys is a computer that is attached to the IV and gives the patient the correct amount of sedatives and monitor’s patients’ vitals. It also includes an earpiece that wakes up the patient at the correct time if necessary. This machine helps doctors to perform light to moderate sedations without the support of an anaesthesiologist. 

4. Cancer-fighting nanoparticles

One of the most prevalent medical fights is against cancer. And scientists have worked tirelessly to create sub-microscopic delivery vessels, that are about the ten-thousandth the width of a human hair. These particles are injected into a tumour, and the patient is put on an alternating magnetic field which makes the particles agitate and heat up, which either destroys the cancer cells or makes them more sensitive to other oncology treatments.

5. Mind controlled wheelchairs

No, this is not an X-Men comic, this is real life. Researchers have developed a wheelchair that works in tandem with a cap that is inserted on the patient’s head, over the motor cortex of the brain, and monitors the electrodes so that if the patient thinks simple commands such as ‘forward’ or ‘go left’ or moving towards specific objects that the patient wants to go to.

Many times, things seem too good to be true. Medicine has changed and developed so much that procedures and inventions that sounded unbelievable only a few years ago are becoming a reality. In the same way, an affordable insurance that takes out all the difficult bits and makes things easier for you, the consumer, seems quite farfetched.

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