The field of modern medicine is on the precipice of a wonderful age. Human ingenuity, combined with unparalleled computational power, are succeeding in addressing problems that were once thought to be insurmountable. In the coming years, we will have the privilege of banishing several longstanding health concerns – and will witness what promises to be a giant leap forward in both medicine and life expectancy. Below, we’ll look at two incredible technologies which once only existed in science fiction... and are now proven, empirical fact.
The blind will see again
Those struck with retinal complications undergo a tremendous amount of challenges as their sight gradually diminishes. Vision is our most powerful sense, and is the primary way in which a human being encounters and interacts with the world. Without sight, a long and difficult journey must be made to compensate for its absence. Soon, these hardships will be a distant memory – thanks in no small part to the astonishing work of a team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
A long standing goal of modern medicine has been to eliminate the complications which lead to reduced eyesight and blindness. The secret to this answer is contained in the fashion which the eye captures visual information. This incredibly complicated organ encodes data in a way that your brain can decode into usable information. Picture a computer hooked up to a specially designed custom interface, and you’ll be on the right track. These two pieces of your hardware communicate with each other using a kind of code or language. It is this language that must be deciphered before a workable synthetic eye can be manufactured. Well, that day is almost here.
Due to the limitations of 20th century science, such a hoity medical undertaking was once believed to be unthinkable – but Dr. Shiela Nirenburg has recently turned that archaic assumption on its head. Her recent tests with mice have actually restored sight to the blind. Put simply, her team has cracked the neural code responsible for vision. In the next few decades, we may very well see blindness vanish into the murky depths of the distant past.
No Heartbeat Required
The heart is a pump. Its job is to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body. Once the heart stops, the organism it feeds slowly dies. That’s what’s been true throughout the recorded history of our species, but now... well, things have changed. Thanks to the brilliance of Dr. Billy Cohn and Dr. Bud Frazier, a pulse is no longer required in a living, breathing human being. Their continuous-flow artificial heart is simply astonishing.
Taking the manufacturing process into their own hands, literally, Dr. Fraser constructed the first prototypes of this device in the comfort and privacy of his own garage. It has now developed significantly, and has been successfully tested in several human trials. Not just intended to replace a vital organ, it can also act as a supplemental pump. By assuming the workload of moving blood throughout the body, this invention can effectively remove strain off an injured heart – giving it the time and space it needs to heal itself. Previously, many in the medical community considered the concept of reversing heart failure as unthinkable – but this device actually allows the heart to mend its own damaged walls, allowing the organ to grow strong again and resume a sustainable level of functioning.