The Future of Medicine

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I am curious, as to what everyone thoughts are about the future of medicine. I was just thinking today, can I sort of "do what ever I want", now, and not have to worry about the long term effects of it, twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty years from now, because medical technology will be so great, and will be able to heal me? I mean, I read an article, about artificial blood, thats in testing right now, which is given to trauma victims. For instance, if a patient is suffering from head trauma, you give them this and it delivers %34 more oxygen to the brain, then regular blood. This has already saved many lives, and greatly reduced inevitable brain damage to victims, who would otherwise had died, or been extremely mentally damaged. Such things like this, and with amazing medical discoveries being made every day, when do you think mankind will get to the point of having super-human life spans. Or even, just not having to worry about getting in a bad car accident, because technology is so advanced, we can just, "fix" you. Another thing... In biology this last week, we talked about an article entitled "Miracle Grow". Its about a new powder that supposedly helps "regrow" amputated limbs. A man got the tip of his finger cut off, working, and he got to the hospital, and he couldnt find it, so they couldnt reattach it. The mans brother in law was a lead scientist in this powder, and sent him some. Sure enough, 4-5 days later, the finger tip had regrown, just as it was, fingernail and all. The article brought up some very intriguing points.

Supposedly, the powder uses something similiar to stem cells, which are basically blank cells, which are not coded to become any specific tissue, and can therefore, adapt to the area where its applied, and grow accordingly, recieving instructions from the exsisting cells DNA. Another interesting topic was, when humans are in the womb, there is not an inflammatory response to trauma, but instead, a regenerative response. So, its essentially like the tails of some lizards, if they get chopped off, then they simply grow back. However, the body mysteriously seems to 'switch' to the inflammatory response after the 6th month or so in the womb. So now doctors are trying to use gene therapy to discover the mechanism that controls the switch, and if its possible for there not to be a switch.

This sort of technology is already being applied to soldiers in Iraq, who have suffered from massive skin burns, and this 'powder' is sprayed on, and the skin starts regenerating, and they heal, strikingly well. Our class had a two and half hour debate on this topic in class, and I am curious as to what everyone's thoughts are, as well as what your thoughts are for the previous topics....So, have at it!
 
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LittleAdam

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Wow, this is a great topic Connor. My thoughts on this miracle grow thing is that I am all for it as long as it is used for the right purposes (ones that you mentioned). I am especially impressed that it is being used for the soldiers in Iraq...I think that is absolutely awesome.
 
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daria7483

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Interesting topic. What you're describing is, in some ways, a world without consequence. Being able to drive however you want to without having to worry about serious injury or death? Probably not so much need for strict enforcement of traffic laws, then. Eating whatever you want and sitting on your butt all day without worrying because we can easily reverse or prevent obesity/diabetes/high blood pressure? No need for anyone to be disciplined or show restraint anymore. Sounds great, but how are we going to pay for all this technology? If everyone does what they want because the consequences can be reversed at a hospital wouldn't health care costs skyrocket?

I'm not trying to knock all these ideas. I think it's great that someone's life could be saved in 30 years that we couldn't save today. But I'm just pointing out, all of this will have consequences and in some ways may not be good for us as a society. Just some food for thought...
 
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I absolutely agree, there are so many aspects that I could never talk about in one thread, and you make some great points. There are so many kinks that need to be worked out, but dont you think its possible that in thirty or so years, the average human life span, could be 110 years?
 

ballucanb

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I tought the same way when I was your ages, I figured by now medical science would be so far advanced cancer would be cured along with every other disease known to man.

Things have improved but not that much, we know more about some diseases, but were not that far advanced.

If I had any advice for younger people it would be to go into some sort of medical feild.
 

Chillhouse

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On the idea of regeneration of limbs, suposedly, long ago, mammals had the ability to regenerate limbs. But we traded that in for an immune system that could better fight off cancer.
 

IncompleteDude

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Maybe it would be possible for me to be irresponsible about my health now and be healed later, but not only might those treatments cost a great deal of money, they may not pan out in time. I'm not going to take my chances just so I can smoke crack or something.
 
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Maybe it would be possible for me to be irresponsible about my health now and be healed later, but not only might those treatments cost a great deal of money, they may not pan out in time. I'm not going to take my chances just so I can smoke crack or something.
I know what your saying, I was just saying, that you dont really have to worry about any major illness in the future, not that you can be completely neglegent.
 

Boogeyman

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On the idea of regeneration of limbs, suposedly, long ago, mammals had the ability to regenerate limbs. But we traded that in for an immune system that could better fight off cancer.
Just cancer? I'm pretty sure Cancer isn't a disease...
 

skinnypuppy

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I'm pretty sure Cancer isn't a disease...
Well, the definition of "disease" is usually wide enough to include most forms of cancer. Note: there are LOTS of different varieties, and the researchers usually focus on one or a small group.

One has to wonder why some individuals have resistance to cancer(s) and some get it so easily. It might be genetic or it might be immune-system related.

Stem cell research may have some relevance to some strains of cancer, but there seems to be more interest in the tissue-regeneration area.

:dunno:

:educate:
 
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Darkfinn

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I have absolutely no confidence in the future of medicine and medical care as long as it remains in the hands of private companies that want nothing but money money money.

As it stands right now... we can treat debilitating diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and arthritis yet we cannot cure them. Modern medicine can extend your life... but it cannot make the quality of it that much better. Look at the side effects lists of today's drugs... most of them are a mile long and some of the things they may cause are actually worse than the condition that the drug is trying to treat in the first place.

What really saddens me is that stem cell research and cloning research, the two keys to future medical treatment, have been put on hold for the past 10 years while the religious types debate the ethics of it.

Until we can get over these hurdles, let work resume, let technology advance, and stop drug manufacturers from profiteering I don't see medicine progressing anywhere.
 

Dawes

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I absolutely agree, there are so many aspects that I could never talk about in one thread, and you make some great points. There are so many kinks that need to be worked out, but dont you think its possible that in thirty or so years, the average human life span, could be 110 years?
I definitey think that there have been some advancements made to help promote longevity of our physical life, but very few of them have been of a medical type. We are a society (in America, at least) who are obsessed with beauty and youth, and there are doubtlessly people trying to tap into that concept and ride it through their scientific research ... but the one question I have...

... what will be the importance of living 110 years or more if, as we see so commonly, our minds aren't reaping that same youthful benefit? No matter how old our bodies get, our minds are fragile things. The human brain tires out; our mental health won't be nearly as easy to expand as our physical health.

Senility -- which can be caused by a thousand-and-one different things -- sets in commonly between the ages of seventy and eighty-five, affecting different people in entirely different ways. What has been proven is that the brain, in some regard, gradually deteriorates in our older years. Personally, I don't believe that we're meant to live too far beyond our time now. We already see people with bodies that outlive their brains.
 

satyrical

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Great topic, definitely one that needs more than just a message board-discussion to fully assess. I think that the future of medicine will be "more of the same"- small advances in finding cures for cancer, new surgical methods, further development in prevention medicine, etc. But I don't think that we're going to find any sort of "superman" drugs that can instantly heal a body or regain limbs, and I'd like to know where you got the info in your OP, Connor.

Even if we could, though, I don't know if it would ultimately be beneficial. Reminds me of last night's Heroes episode (Spoiler alert): it shows a future in which a formula that can give anyone super powers has been developed and distributed, causing everyone to have some sort of superpower. This causes the crime rate to skyrocket, among other consequences, as people abuse their powers. Similarly, if we created a medicine that allowed for instant healing and near-eternal life, what would stop us from abusing it?
 
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But I don't think that we're going to find any sort of "superman" drugs that can instantly heal a body or regain limbs, and I'd like to know where you got the info in your OP, Connor.
Ah, my friends, feast your eyes!!
CGS : MATRIX RELOADED: Doctors Try New Techniques To Regrow Human Tissue
Salamander-inspired therapy may aid injured vets - CNN.com
Powder Could Help Wounded Regrow Limbs - Science & Health news | Newser: Know More. Search Less.
PAXALLES: Lee Spievack Given His Finger Back With Pixie Dust

So, have at it! And the one we specifically talked about in class was the last one about Lee Spievack. I have the article sitting right here, but came seem to find it on the internet, but these will do fine.
 
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