There have been some amazing health breakthroughs this year from prostate cancer treatment drugs, artificial intelligence in healthcare to a promising Alzheimer’s drug. Some of these innovations will change healthcare and enhance healing in the upcoming year. Here are the top 10 health breakthroughs of 2019:
10. Pharmacogenetic Testing– Chronic pain is the leading cause of opioid prescriptions. The opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency and even though alternative therapies exist, none have reduced the incidence of this crisis. Now there is pharmacogenomic testing which uses a patient’s genetic makeup to predict how certain medications get metabolized. This testing can be used to avoid adverse reactions and eliminate ineffective prescriptions.
9. Artificial Intelligence (AI)– AI is allowing physicians to make smarter decisions by improving the ease and accuracy of viewing patient scans. For example, machine learning algorithms are able to highlight problem areas on images which can screen patients that need further testing and make sense of the mountain of data that doctors need to sift through.
8. New Drug Treatment for Prostate Cancer– Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was leading a trial in which the drug Enzalutamide- an androgen-receptor inhibitor that stops the growth of cancer cells- was being used along with testosterone suppression to treat metastasized prostate cancer. Results have been very effective and this drug has been FDA-approved for other uses. It is under review to make it more widely available for metastasized prostate cancer patients.
7. New Alzheimer’s Drug– A new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease called Aducanuab, is currently seeking FDA-approval. After 18 months of using the drug, participants showed lowered cognitive decline (15-27%) on memory and cognitive tests compared to a placebo.
6. Crispr-Gene Editing Tool– This gene editing tool allows scientists to modify DNA and genes. A patient has already been treated successfully for sickle cell disease. and clinical trials are underway to treat cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
5. A possible Cure For H.I.V– Two people have been cured from H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. It resulted from bone marrow transplants given to the infected patients to treat cancer, not H.I.V. Rearming the body’s immune cells may work in the future.
4. Psychedelic Drugs to treat Mental Health Problems– Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the opening of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research to study compounds like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and LSD. One study found that psilocybin can be more effective in helping people quit smoking compared to those using a nicotine patch.
3. Patient Specific Products with 3D Printing Medical devices can be matched to the exact specifications of a patient. It minimizes the risk of complications, increases comfort and improves performance outcomes. Most common devices include external prosthetics, cranial/orthopedic implants, and customized airway stents for diseases narrowing the airway.
2. Visor for prehospital Stroke Diagnosis– A new diagnostic tool called the hemorrhage scanning visor can detect bleeding in the brain much faster if someone is having a hemorrhagic stroke. Rapid diagnosis is essential for treatment as uncontrolled bleeding can lead to swelling and damage to the brain.
1. Peanut Allergy Treatment A new study out of Stanford University showed that after 1 injection of the antibody, etokimob, people with severe peanut allergies were able to eat peanut protein after 2 weeks. This antibody is being studied to treat other immune issues such as asthma and eczema.
Wishing you a year of love, good health, personal growth and success. Happy New Year!