Healthcare 2.0: New tools to keep you fit and fine

Updated: Jun 8 2014, 16:00pm hrs
Technology is taking us into exciting areas and none more exciting and promising than in the area of health and treatments. Here are some areas on the verge of major breakthroughs:

Anti-ageing drugs: Breakthroughs in tissue rejuvenation with stem cells, molecular repair and organ replacement using artificial organs can possibly enable humans to have indefinite lifespans through total rejuvenation. Such processes, scientists say, could be available a decade from now.

Organ printing: The use of a combination of cells, engineering, material methods, suitable biochemical and physio-chemical factors to improve or replace biological functions. The term is closely associated with applications that repair, or replace, portions of, or whole, tissues.

Personalised medicine: A branch of genomics where individual genomes are genotyped and analysed using bioinformatics. These may eventually lead to personalised medicine, where patients can take specific drugs for individual use.

Organ replacement: Engineered replacement organs for humans that perform better than their natural counterparts. This includes a process called Respirocytes, artificial red blood cells that carry oxygen 200 times more efficiently than red blood cells. Scientists are working on Respirocytes at present.

Biometric sensors: The use of biometrics via telecommunications, which helps in remote biometric sensing. Aadhaar card holders, for instance, can be verified and authenticated from a central office using remote technology, which can also monitor blood levels, infections and suggest remedies.

Medical tricorder: A handheld portable scanning device, which can be used by consumers to self-diagnose medical conditions within seconds and take basic vital measurements. Scientists working on the project say it will be a general-purpose tool, which can take health measurements such as blood pressure, temperature and blood flow in a non-invasive way, and with much more accuracy than what is available now.

Labs on chips: Devices that integrate one or several laboratory functions on a single chip of only millimetres to a few square centimetres in size. They represent safer platforms for chemical, radioactive or biological studies.

Nanobots: Miniscule robots that emulate living biological functions mechanically or chemically. The main use of this technology is to enhance the human bodys capabilities or treat malfunctions with tiny robots capable of re-programming different conditions by mimicking organic functions.

Bionic implants: Bionic implants represent tools to empower preventive medicine and develop customised solutions for specific organisms and diseases.