Top Medical Innovations 2012
CATHETER-BASED RENAL DENERVATION
Why it's needed: One in three adult Americans has high blood pressure, or hypertension, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure. Hypertension—not smoking—is the No. 1 risk factor for death in the world.
How it works: Small nerves that carry signals between the brain and kidneys—known as the renal sympathetic system—play a role in the regulation
of blood pressure levels. Research has shown that disrupting these nerve fibers can positively
CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR ATHLETES
How it works: The concussion management system is the first high-tech assessment tool that objectively and accurately assesses cognitive and motor function simultaneously. The system hinges on an instrumented mouth guard dosimeter that records all hits to the head, monitoring and reporting impact data in real time, via Bluetooth. The device looks exactly like an ordinary mouth guard.
HARNESSING BIG DATA
Why it's needed: Big Data, or the terabytes and even petabytes of data being generated by healthcare systems including hospitals and biopharmaceutical and medical device companies, is largely an untapped resource; the data has surpassed the analytic systems needed for evaluation. McKinsey & Co. estimates that proper aggregation and analysis of Big Data would create more than $300 billion in value each year, mostly by reducing healthcare expenditures by almost 8 percent.
How it works: Using an advanced computing infrastructure, at least one company was recently formed to "act as both a repository and clearinghouse of data coming from different clinics, hospitals, researchers, and doctor's offices," by standardizing and aggregating the data, for use by subscribing member health systems. An online interface allows for "real-time search, tagging, and collaboration across some of the largest data sets in the world," says the Cleveland Clinic.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED MOSQUITOES TO REDUCE DISEASE THREAT
How it works: Scientists manipulate the DNA of male mosquitos to make them sterile—only females bite humans—and then release them to mate with wild female mosquitos, causing a dramatic population drop. "In the future, it's hoped that releasing modified mosquitos into the wild, whose genes cause female mosquitos to die in the embryonic stage, would eventually result in a major sex imbalance in the area," says the Cleveland Clinic.
How Digital Medicine Can Pinpoint Dosing Regimens to Optimize Drug Efficacy and Safety