DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Technologies That Will Transform Medicine

Nov 12, 1999 -- Medicine is changing fast. The state of healthcare today will soon be outdated by new technologies. Tomorrow's issue of the British Medical Journal (the BMJ) is devoted to the subject of "The Impact of New Technologies in Medicine". Some of the major areas considered by the BMJ concern the technologies of the future, the hospitals of the future, the future of genetics, the impact of informatics on medicine, and the transfer of new technologies into the practice of medicine. Highlights of the technological developments and ethical issues raised include the following:

Technologies of the future?

Diabetic patients will soon be wearing a monitoring device on their wrist which checks glucose levels and raises an alarm when levels are too high or low.

Ultimately, diabetics will have a glucose monitoring sensor implanted under the skin and an internal insulin reservoir that automatically adjusts insulin doses.

New forms of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will detect dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia and manic depression.

Toilets will no longer be passive but will analyze urine (and perhaps stool) samples and, if necessary, automatically send a report to a user's doctor.

Radiosurgery, in the treatment of brain tumors, cerebral vascular malformations (aneurysms of the brain blood vessels), Parkinson's disease and epilepsy will be developed.