With the help of technology, the medical world is advancing with new innovations making headlines every other month. These innovations become realities so that the world of medicine can be expanded to benefit both the healthcare professionals as well as the healthcare public.

1. ‘Nanotransfection’: Converting skin cells to blood vessels

The idea to make skin cells turn into blood vessels was developed by researchers from the Ohio State University in the form of nanotech called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). TNT is a device that a small nanotech chip and a cargo with biological instructions.

This technology is meant for cases where doctors can use the Tissue Nanotransfection to save patient’s failing organs. The device is applied to the particular failing organ and proceeds to work on it by converting the skin into the necessary cells.

The nanotech chip has been made in a way that it is able to deliver biological instructions to the skin cells for reprogramming. Through a small zap of electricity, the cargo then transmits the biological instructions to let the skin cells what to turn into.

It almost sounds like a scene from a science fiction book or movie, but researchers claim that this technology can very much become a reality starting next year when clinical trials in human application will be held.

The idea to make skin cells turn into blood vessels was developed by researchers from the Ohio State University in the form of nanotech called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). Photo credit: Nancy Crotti/Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry
The idea to make skin cells turn into blood vessels was developed by researchers from the Ohio State University in the form of nanotech called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). Photo credit: Nancy Crotti/Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry

2. Brain Composer: Making music with your mind

The Brain Composer was created using the brain-computer interfaces technology, which is also known as BCIs, by researchers from the Graz University of Technology. It is a kind of technology that allows anyone to compose music by just thinking of about it.

The Brain Composer works through the BCIs, which help to process bodily functions with programs that are controlled by brainwaves. BCIs are more or less applications that can read brain waves and in turn, let the users be in control of their external devices.

The BCIs are also able to replace or make everyday functions of a human being better. This helps the less-abled do things that they wouldn’t be able to do without the help of the BCIs, including writing and controlling prosthetics.

To make the Brain Composer a reality, researchers had to work with 18 test subjects, all of whom were connected to a BCI and music composition software through a brainwave measuring cap.

On a screen in front of them, notes and symbols flashed and the ones that the test subjects concentrated on the most were what they wanted. This is a result of one’s brainwaves altering slightly while focusing, which allows the BCIs to take notice of this change and present it.

When it came to the Brain Composer, the BCIs recognised the particular chord or symbol that the test subjects wanted to use. This technology might just be the assistance that paralysed patients need in carrying out their day to day activities.


3. AI technology: Predicting death

It is basic human curiosity to want to know about life and death. Soon, it might just be possible to know 'when' death is coming. Thanks to the developments in artificial intelligence (AI) that comes in the form of a computer.

This AI computer will be able to tell you how long you have left by just scanning your internal organs. The brilliant idea was the brainchild of a group of scientists from the University of Adelaide thought of this brilliant idea.

By analysing medical imagery, these scientists have been able to predict patients' lifespans with the help of AI, through a ‘deep learning’ algorithm. Images of 48 patients’ chests were used and predictions were made by the AI, with 69% accuracy rate.

The ‘deep learning’ algorithm learns to identify useful patterns, make observations and then predicts what it is created to. For this study, the algorithm already knows about the complications of displayed disease and it evaluated the patient’s health by looking at organ imaging. "Images are digital, standardised, and of very high quality—in fact, most images contain information that that the human eye literally can’t see," elaborates study co-author and epidemiologist Dr Lyle Palmer, PhD.

Scientists are still working at feeding the AI more information to make it more accurate. The more samples and information are fed into the algorithm, the more accurate the AI will get. It’s why scientist are going to use the next stage of research to feed the AI tens of thousands of images to be analysed. MIMS

Read more:
4 ways smartphones can help patients and doctors save valuable time
4 innovative medical devices by budding young scientists
4 science fiction ideas realised in medical technology

Sources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chentim/2017/10/06/5-breakthrough-medical-technologies-so-crazy-they-sound-like-science-fiction/#3634ea3419f5
https://news.osu.edu/news/2017/08/07/regenerative-med-study/
https://www.mddionline.com/%E2%80%98nanotransfection%E2%80%99-turns-animal-skin-blood-vessels-and-brain-cells
https://www.seeker.com/health/mind/brain-computer-interface-allows-users-to-compose-music-with-only-their-thoughts
https://www.inverse.com/article/36349-music-composed-brain-computer-interface
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170601124126.htm