Sci-fi Meets the Medical Industry
by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor, Life Alert
Cloaked in his white surgical mask and lab coat, the doctor stands over the body laid out on the slab. Carefully, he transplants the missing tissue and limbs onto the comatose being. He then hooks up small electrical devices to the muscles in hopes that the electrical current will re-generate and create new life.
This may sound like an excerpt from Frankenstein; however, in the land of non-fiction cutting edge medicine is rebuilding the human body cell by cell. Tissue regeneration, muscle motorized prostatics, and brain implants that prevent seizures…the possibilities are endless and becoming a reality.
As seen with The RNS System from NeuroPace, designed for partial epilepsy. The RNS System entails attaching a neuro-component in the head which will send electrical pulses to the brain through implanted leads. It can detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain and then deliver stimulation to normalize it before a seizure comes on.
Whereas, over at the U.S. Department of Energy, seeing is believing, at least that should be the motto of their Artificial Retina Project.
An answer to Retina Diseases, the artificial retina works through a tiny camera attached to dark sunglass. The camera “sees” images and sends the information to a microprocessor which converts the data and then transmits electrical signals to the retina’s viable cells then onto the brain allowing it to perceive patterns of light and dark. So now you can see where you’re going day or night, and you’ll look totally cool by wearing your sunglasses at night.
Perhaps one of the most fascination medical revelations that sounds like it came out of Mary Shelley’s novel is occurring at The Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM); a research and rehabilitation institute focused on improving the function and quality of life for people who have suffered limb loss.
CBM is pioneering a technique called "targeted reinnervation." Simply put, amputated nerves are transferred to spare muscle and skin in an amputee's limb. The nerves grow into the muscle to provide additional control signals for the operation of prosthesis. This allows patients to control multiple functions in their prosthesis while creating an easier, more natural manner. Although this may seem like the beginnings of the Star Trek’s Borg race, this is real revolutionary science; Sci-fi meets the medical industry.
Dr. Frankenstein only had a slab, electricity and an abnormal brain to work with but today’s world of modern medicine has cutting edge technology at its fingertips (quite literally) and is creating bionic people with life expectancies that can reach beyond 100 years and, more importantly, without any monster-destroying-the-village side effects.
Not to be left behind, Life Alert also researches cutting edge technology that will reinstate and rejuvenate something just as vital as ones’ mobility and sight – Independence! Their new wireless emergency response system allows those who don’t have a standard landline to still be safe and independent. Plus it is easy to install and comes with a small, lightweight emergency button can be worn everywhere, even in the shower.
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