The global health crisis dominated the headlines during the past year due to its far-reaching effects on the lives of people around the world. It compelled governments to implement measures to mitigate the effects of the virus and slow down its spread in different parts of the world.
Even as the pandemic became the highlight of 2020, there was also a silver lining in innovations in the medical field. Aside from developing the vaccine for the virus, the healthcare industry also saw breakthroughs in the treatment of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of the use of technology in healthcare.
Here are the innovations that emerged while the world focused on the pandemic.
New Studies in Strokes and Heart Disease
Innovations in the treatment of stroke and heart disease emerged in 2020. These innovations include changes in the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or a heart disease affecting the heart muscle. The disease causes heart muscles to thicken, which can cause heart conditions resulting in cardiac arrest or heart failure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) also highlighted new treatments for atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat. The new treatment requires minimally invasive surgery to prevent complications that can emerge due to the condition. Among the complications that it can prevent are stroke and heart failure.
Aside from these treatments, the AHA also emphasized the significance of taking an interdisciplinary approach when dealing with health issues, such as heart disease. The organization indicated that it discovered that diabetes medications could also help patients experiencing heart failure. Sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2 inhibitors) reduced the need for hospitalization among heart failure patients by as much as 35 percent.
The significance of the study extends to road safety since cardiovascular disease is among the chronic medical conditions associated with increased traffic accident risk. When a person suffers a stroke while on the road, the chances of causing an accident increases. The accident can cause injuries to other people who are on the road with the victim. In this situation, a car accident attorney will be necessary to deal with the insurance company. The legal professional will also have to work to get compensation for his client.
Bridging the Gap Between Doctor and Patient
The pandemic also saw the increased use of telemedicine services across the country. As people started to work from home, they opted to stay home more often to avoid getting the virus. This meant having their necessities delivered to their homes. It also meant that they consulted their doctors using videoconferencing software.
Aside from keeping the patients safe, the technology also allowed medical professionals to connect with patients who lived in remote locations in different parts of the country. It became the normal practice for doctors to see their patients over the internet. This also allowed doctors to check on patients’ health who could not get out of the house due to their health conditions.
In a way, it increased access to healthcare as patients did not need to go to a clinic or hospital to consult their doctors. To promote the use of technology, state and federal authorities reduced the obstacles to the use of technology to provide a lifeline to patients.
Gene editing was also a breakthrough for the year as Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier discovered the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors. The genome-editing tool allows scientists to edit DNA at a faster and cheaper rate. It can cut all types of DNA molecules at a designated location.
The technology offers many applications, particularly in the treatment of genetic conditions that some people have. It essentially allows researchers to remove genetic errors and replace them with the right genetic code.
New Way of Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease
The year also saw a breakthrough in the detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The breakthrough makes it easier to detect the disease through a simple blood test. Currently, around five million Americans are affected by this progressive form of dementia, and most of them are over 65 years old.
Even as the test has yet to pass the trial phase, it provides a huge opportunity for the medical community to detect the disease. Early detection means better treatment for patients suffering from it. This is important since Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country.
Once the test receives approval, medical professionals can use it to check if the memory loss of a patient is temporary or if it’s a sign of an underlying disease.
The pandemic took the limelight in 2020, but the year also saw medical innovations that can make life better for many patients in different parts of the country.