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By Gabriel Adams
There have been a large number of medical advances over the past decade which provide valuable advancements in treatment for a wide ranging number of illnesses or injuries. Here are five advances in medicine that are now widely used and prevent, prolong or offer the opportunity to improve the quality of our lives.
Robotic surgery is much less invasive than traditional methods of incision into one’s body by medical instruments. Wounds associated with entry to the area to be treated, excised or repaired are diminished. Healing time is much quicker, bleeding is minimized and the trauma to one’s body associated with traditional surgical processes is lessened and hence the time spent in the hospital recovering is also reduced. Robotic surgery is fast becoming the norm for a number of surgical procedures. Cardiopulmonary surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, neurosurgery and a number of other procedures are available. The surgeon normally is seated in front of a monitor that provides a view of the surgical site and operates robotic arms that can sense his movements and precisely and microscopically duplicate them as the actual operating instruments are making the necessary movements and repairs.
Chemotherapy associated with the treatment of a number of cancers has been vastly improved. In the past chemotherapy often resulted in the destruction of healthy cells while trying to destroy the cancerous ones. New antibodies which are used to attack cancerous cells now spare the healthy ones resulting in much better outcomes for the patient and often preventing the sickness associated with chemotherapy. The quality of life of cancer patients has been vastly improved as a result of this advancement. Formally patients believed the chemotherapy was worse than the disease.
Largely as a result of wounded military members in Iraq and Afghanistan there have been remarkable strides in the development of prosthetic devices. Devices currently used to replace arms or legs lost to traumatic amputation are significantly more efficient and more comfortable that those of the past. Lightweight devices using carbon fiber are providing the opportunity for those that suffer amputations to lead more productive and fulfilling lives. In many cases service members that have lost limbs can continue in the military service where the physical demands are certainly greater than they would be in the civilian world.
Mapping the Human Genome
Scientists have almost completely identified the more that 20,000 genes that make up the human body. The outgrowth of this remarkable advancement is being realized now and promises additional remarkable advances in the future. Currently genes have been identified that are responsible for the predisposition of a individual to breast cancer, liver disease and several other disorders that can alert doctors to potential problems. Prophylactic measures can now be taken to treat and mitigate a potential disease or disorder.
Medications that treat erectile dysfunction (ED) were first introduced less than 10 years ago and have revolutionized the quality of life of many men that have been affected by this disorder. These medications have been widely promoted through television and are often the subject of humorous anecdotes, but the truth is that the premature demise to a satisfactory sex life is devastating. Viagra was the first medication on the market, but there are now several alternatives.
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