The Future of Medicine in 2013

In 2012, we saw the world’s first bionic leg, new advances in breast cancer research and laboratory-grown human organs. What could 2013 have in store?

On today’s show, we’re showing you how to make 2013 a miracle year for you. Additionally, I’ve also been following some great medical advances as they develop that may make 2013 a healthier year for all of us.

Today’s medicine isn’t as advanced as it was on Star Trek – at least not yet. Now, researchers are developing a medical tricorder, similar to the ones used on Star Trek. In 2012, the X Prize Foundation created a $10 million incentive to develop a device that can use “wireless sensors, imaging technologies, and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements” to “diagnose a set of 15 diseases” and monitor vital signs like blood pressure, pulse or temperature. Some interesting models have already been developed that do a fraction of what the $10 million project requires, including one that may be in medical supply stores this year for only $150. I suspect such a device would not look much different than today’s smartphones.

Speaking of, new and futuristic smartphone apps are a great way to help us doctors take better care of you – and empower you to take your health care into your own hands. Thermodock uses an attachable infrared sensor that can take your sick daughter’s temperature without actually touching her. Another app, pulse phone, can check your pulse; you won’t have to buy any extra special equipment either. All you need to do is place your finger over the camera, and your phone will monitor the pulses of blood in your finger to record a pulse. Who knows what else smartphone app developers will think of in 2013?

One cool device in development, the iMicroscope, can turn our phones into an actual microscope that helps with examining blood cells and possibly diagnosing infections. Another device-in-development, the AliveCor, uses two attachable metal bumps to monitor heart electrical activity – an EKG in a phone!

In the mental-health arena, new psychiatric devices are being developed to help improve your mood faster than sitting on a therapist’s couch talking about your mother (for example). A new implant, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), may revolutionize how we treat depression. When I first heard about this, I was astonished. Because of the invasiveness and prohibitive cost of this procedure, this treatment will probably be reserved for only the toughest depression cases. However, I would have never imagined a surgeon curing as complex a disease as depression!

We’ve seen some amazing technology develop in 2012, and I bet the best is yet to come.

What new medical innovations would you like to see in 2013?