The saying “Health is wealth” has never been more important nowadays. Throughout history, there have been unprecedented innovations aimed at improving the quality of health and life for everyone. With the end of this year just around the corner, let’s take a look at the incredible healthcare events of 2018:
1. Emerging of user-friendly apps.
The recent years have really brought a lot of developments in medicine and overall health style of people. These include the creation of lifesaving mobile applications. Such apps can help track a woman’s period, first aid resource, remind people to take their medicines, meditate, (or even drink water) or serve as a fitness and diet guide. For example, TreatHF is a mobile app that helps clinicians determine suggested therapies for their patients having symptomatic heart failure. Physicians just enter the patient’s indications, review the steps for medical therapy and serve as their guide. These apps, however, do not replace an actual physician’s guidance.
2. Discovery of brain cells responsible for anxiety levels.
Anxiety, on various levels, can affect people’s lives. This year, scientists have found brain cells in mice that appears to be responsible for the anxiety levels. The finding was reported in the journal Neuron. Although the discovery is yet at its early stage, this can serve as a major step towards developing tools that can regulate anxiety in people.
3. Using big data in healthcare.
Data collection plays a vital role in the health sector not only for patients but also to medical practitioners. It helps in providing advanced care to patients, improving operational efficiency in hospitals and labs, as well as finding cures for various diseases. For example, Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) are used in many hospitals and clinics around the world. Patients have their own digital records which include their medical history, demographics, allergies and laboratory test results among others. These records are shared through secure information systems available for healthcare providers both public and private.
4. Passing of the First Philippine Mental Health Act of 2018.
For years, mental health has been one of the most underserved, if not neglected, topics in the Philippines. Thus 2018 really serves as a remarkable year with the passing of the first-ever Philippine Mental Health Law. The law aims finally paves way for the integration of mental healthcare in the general healthcare system in the country.
5. Cutting the cost of Hepatitis B diagnosis.
Hepatitis B is one of the major health problems in the Philippines, affecting to an estimated 16.7% of the adult population. Methods of diagnosing Hepatitis B can cost thousands of pesos, but now there is the possibility of drastically cutting its cost. Thanks to the simple 20$ blood test could help diagnose thousands of patients with Hepa B in need of treatment.
6. Approval of Philippine Universal Healthcare Bill.
All Filipinos will soon have access to health services with the senate’s approval of the Universal Health Care Bill. Once enacted, all Filipinos will be given universal health care coverage and benefits under the National Health Security Program.
7. Sparking hope towards Tuberculosis vaccine.
The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with nonprofit TB group Aeras, has recently developed a vaccine that could potentially end tuberculosis. Throughout the years, the Philippines remain to be one of the Tuberculosis high burden countries. Thus, this breakthrough sparks a great hope in ending the nation’s battle against the disease.
8. Invention of needle-free injections.
Needle injections, indeed, are the less happy part of going into hospitals and clinics. But now, start-up company Portal Instruments has developed an injection that requires no needles. They created a device that ejects a high-pressure stream of the medication into the skin that can reach the bloodstream without the aid of a needle.
9. Fighting flu viruses through the use of UV light.
Journal Scientific Reports has recently published a report about the far-ultraviolet C (Far-UVC) light can potentially kill flu viruses. According to the report, the use of Far-UVC light in public areas like hospitals, schools, and airports could drastically reduce flu infections.
The Far-UVC light is just as effective in killing viruses without posing threat to humans, unlike the conventional UV light.
10. Curing diseases through genome editing.
The Salk Institute scientists have recently used CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) genome editing to target the RNA of diseased cells in frontotemporal dementia. The method effectively restored healthy levels of protein to the neurons affected by the disease. Though this is not the first RNA-targeted experiment that used CRISPR, its accuracy and safety is something great to look forward to.