This past year has been another year of breakthroughs in medicine and health care. Here are 10 of the best from Wellcast.
10. Ebola Vaccine– the ebola virus outbreak was the largest epidemic in history mainly affecting the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Total cases of those infected are 20,115, and the death toll is 7,857, with 1 death and 2 locally acquired cases in healthcare workers in the U.S. (CDC.gov/2014). There is now a vaccine against Ebola being tested.
9. Exercise Prevents Depression– there are plenty of studies indicating that exercise can treat depression. But a review published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that 150 minutes a week (yes…about 21 minutes /day) of moderate exercise can actually prevent you from getting depressed by up to 63%.
8. Seizure Stopper– called the NeuroPace is like a defibrillator for the brain. Sensors are implanted in the brain that can spot the first tremors of a seizure coming on. It sends electrical impulses that counteract the brain’s own haywire signals and stops the oncoming seizure in its tracks. Seizure episodes have been reduced by an average of 53 percent.
7. The Bionic Eye– otherwise known as “Argus II” uses a video signal from a camera built into sunglasses that transmits that image to implants in the retinas of those that have lost their vision. This could soon help more than 1.75 million people who suffer from macular degeneration.
6. Immunotherapy– these treatments strengthen your body’s natural defenses to beat cancer. Cancer cells evade the immune system by putting it into overdrive and causing it to weaken. These new drugs interrupt the cycle so the body can fight back. Ipilimumab is one drug currently being used to treat melanoma skin cancer.
5. Genomic-Based tests-have brought a new age to cancer diagnosis and specific treatment. We are now able to analyze the mutated genome of a tumor and pinpoint whether a cancer is sensitive to a certain chemotherapy. Management of breast, colorectal and prostate cancers have used this gene test to avoid aggressive treatment and individualize specific drug therapy resulting in better outcomes.
4. Cure for Hepatitis C– Until now, treatment helped only 30-40% of those infected. But in December of 2013, the FDA approved Solvaldi (sofosbuvir), a pill which cures up to 90% of hep C patients when used with another drug, simeprevir. More oral drugs are in the pipeline which are expected to be approved soon.
3. New Breast Cancer (gel) for DCIS– Women with this condition have a high risk of invasive breast cancer. These women as well as those with a strong family history of cancer are often prescribed Tomoxifin to prevent cancer. Most women are concerned with starting this drug due to its side effects such as hot flushes, and blood clots. The availability of a gel is in the works in a few years to help reduce these side effects while reducing abnormal cell growth similar to a pill.
2. Personalized Health Care– the ability to individualize medication selection using rapid gene sequencing is being done at institutions like the Mayo Clinic. It’s about time!
1. Fecal Implant Transplantation– doctors transfer a liquid suspension made from a healthy persons fecal matter into a sick person’s colon. This approach has become a primary therapy for treating deadly and challenging C.difficile infection, but also for inflammatory bowel disease. The goal is to restore bacterial balance and fight infections and diseases. It sounds “Yucky”, but the results are amazing!
Wellcast wishes you and your family a prosperous, healthy and peaceful New Year!