On 21st April, we celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Day. To honor this occasion, we decided to share the latest and coolest innovations in the medical field. You might lose motivation as the exam period approaching, so we would like to give inspiration and remind you that one day you might be the one to change the world. Until then, here are the innovations of 2018.
The FDA approved the first hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system in 2016. This new technology enables direct communication between the continuous glucose monitoring device and insulin pump to stabilize blood glucose at an unprecedented level. This device has lots of potentials to make Type 1 but also Type 2 diabetes more manageable.
While continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) is the gold standard treatment, a lot of sleep apnea patients refuse to wear the device. Why? Because the CPAP machine makes sleeping difficult. Neuromodulation is a brand new way to treat apnea. Imagine a pacemaker for poor sleepers. The implant is controlled by a wearable patch that is worn during sleep and helps to synchronize the respiration with the action of the tongue using a breathing sensor and a stimulation lead powered by a small battery. Clinical tests have been encouraging, and neuromodulation is certainly more comfortable for patients (and spouses) than a CPAP device.
The FDA has recently approved the touch-activated phlebotomy device that extracts blood quickly and virtually painlessly. The single-use device, which is about the size of a golf ball, adheres to the patient's upper arm. A push of a button activates 30 microneedles and a small vacuum to collect 100 microliters of capillary blood. An indicator signals that the collection is complete.
In a historic move, the FDA has approved gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases. Caused by RPE65 mutations (which is responsible for producing a protein that makes light receptors in the eye), these rare genetic conditions result in progressive vision loss and blindness. This innovative gene therapy delivers a working copy of the gene that produces a functional protein. Researchers place this gene inside a modified virus, and this “vector” delivers it to retinal cells.
Several children's hospitals and companies are developing together a software that provides three-dimensional VR experiences to help children. With the help of this device, they are more likely to overcome or be distracted from their fear of hospitals. Recent studies have shown significant declines in pain and anxiety scores in children and a decrease in the anxiety of parents helping their child through difficult and numerous medical procedures with the use of VR technology.