So here we are again at the end of a year with new medical advances and ways to make your life better. There have been advances in chronic pain, women’s health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, men’s health and brain health. Let’s look at the top 10 breakthrough picks of 2023:
10. Drug-free treatment for diabetic nerve pain: FDA approved use of Eterna, Proclaim Plus and Proclaim XR Spinal Cord stimulation systems to help relieve lower extremity pain by sending mild electrical signals to the spinal cord reducing pain by 53% in studies.
9. New research linking neurodegenerative diseases with viral infections. Degenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-ALS. These have been associated with a wide variety of viral infections such as influenza, viral pneumonia and recent findings connecting the Epstein-Barr virus to an increased risk of MS.
8. New 3-D breast ultrasounds for better mammograms. These scans plus a conventional mammogram found 20% more cancers than mammograms alone and were better at weeding out false positives. Read the full article at Wellcast.org: Dense Breasts)
7. New treatment for pulmonary embolisms (PE), which are blood clots in the lungs. New Bashir and Basher S-B Endovascular catheters that unclog arteries while delivering clot-dissolving drugs for the treatment of medium risk PE which effects up to 65% of people.
6. Continuous Glucose Monitoring- an easy way in “real-time” to measure blood sugar levels. You can see how certain foods, sleep and stress affects your blood sugars. It is best to start when you have pre-diabetes, which almost 64 million midlife and older Americans have.
5. New procedure to treat low-intermediate risk prostate cancer. It destroys cancerous tissue from inside the prostate gland with ultrasound heat. Recovery is faster than surgery or radiation and there are fewer side effects.
4. Nerve Stimulation device to help stroke recovery. A device that is implanted under the collarbone, with a wire under the skin leading to the Vagus nerve. During occupational sessions at home, a therapist can turn on the Vivistim System sending mild electrical pulses to the Vagus nerve and on to the brain. This stimulates the brain to make new pathways and release neurotransmitters helping people recover use of their arms and hands.
3. Women and girls can finally get a contraceptive pill without a prescription. In July, the FDA approved over-the-counter sales of the progestin-only mini pill Opill. The ability to get Opill without needing to see a physician will likely reduce the number of unintended pregnancies (currently about 3 million) each year.
2. New uses for Naltrexone. This drug was once prescribed for alcohol and opioid abuse. But in lower doses, known as low-dose naltrexone prescribed at compounding pharmacies, this drug has many more uses. It is an immune modulator at low doses and has eased pain for Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and treated many long-haul COVID symptoms.
1. Diabetes Drug used for Weight Loss. Mounjaro, an injectable diabetes medication activates receptors on cells for glucose controlling hormones. Since it’s FDA approval in 2022, different versions of this weight loss prescription known as semaglutide (generic name for Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus) has come to market. In addition to helping with weight loss, it also has reduced cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
May the year ahead be filled with love, inspiration and beauty. Have a Happy, Healthy New Year!!
References: Landau, M. The most exciting health breakthroughs in 2023. Prevention.com. 10/31/2023.
Harrar, S. Medical Breakthroughs. AARP. Oct/Nov 2023.
Nath, A. Association between viral exposures and neurodegenerative disease risk. Primary Care: Multiple Sclerosis. Feb 26, 2023.