The future has already come to healthcare and it goes on developing. A robot in the operation-room is already not surprising in many hospitals. The use of these extremely accurate machines makes it possible to minimize the risks for a doctor to make a mistake and for a patient to come through the operation with complications.
Robots became not only a part of the operational equipment, but they are also widely used in distant diagnostics, rehabilitation, and taking care of the patients staying in hospitals.
One of the best examples of robotics application in medicine is surgical robots. Thanks to these machines, surgeons can perform the manipulations with extreme accuracy. Such robots are commonly used in laparoscopic and minimally invasive operations, which give the possibility to make the patient’s postoperative period much easier and reduce the time for complete recovery.
Numerous researches on using robots for the rehabilitation of physically disabled people give hope for hundreds of thousands of people who have overlived strokes, got serious injuries in car accidents or got traumatized in some other situation and lost their ability to move.
Bionic extremities, for example, have already been successfully used in people who needed a prosthesis. Due to such technologies, they’ve got the possibility not only to eliminate an aesthetic defect but also get a comparatively functional hand or leg.
Another recent development of robotics in healthcare is an exoskeleton. Using the signals sent from the brain, it can help people who have been paralyzed or move with the help of wheelchairs to sit, stand, and even walk. Even though this technology is still being developed and is not yet available for everyone who needs it, the scientists are on the right track.
Robotics in the healthcare is progressing day by day and, who knows, maybe tomorrow we’ll be able to witness an invention of a new robot that will change our usual understanding of medicine.
Pain in any of its manifestations may do much harm to the sufferers. It interferes with the usual way of life, affects people’s physical and even mental condition. That’s why the researches on the ways of reducing this condition are being held for many years.
Some scientist question the effectiveness of the magnetic field for pain reduction. However, recent studies conducted by the bioengineers of the University of California, Los Angeles have proven that magnetic field has a significant impact on diminishing the pain sensations, especially in people suffering from chronic musculoskeletal system diseases.
They developed a special magnetic gel based on hyaluronic acid. Due to its structure, this material can help to transit and strengthen the signals from the magnetic field to the neurons. Such an impact slows down the speed of transferring pain signals from the peripheral nervous system to the brain. Thanks to this, the level of pain a person feels gets significantly lower.
What health problems may be solved with magnets?
It is considered that magnetic field:
Speeds up the regeneration processes within the cells;
Helps to diminish pain in individuals who have arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The magnetic field is applied in the treatment of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic abdominal pain, and fibromyalgia. Even though the use of the magnetic field cannot cure the pain completely, it can reduce the need for taking pain relievers, which is also good for the human body.
Of course, this issue still needs to be studied but as they say “A good beginning makes a good ending”. So, hopefully, in the nearest future people will be able to get rid of chronic pain without using any drugs.
A number of successful experiments claim that an ordinary blood test can be the ground for diagnosing depression. How is it possible: depression is not a physical but first of all a mental problem? The scientists believe that the levels of a special amino acid called acetyl-L-carnitine can show whether a person is depressed and how severe the disease is.
Nevertheless, a small number of studies doesn’t give grounds to confirm this statement for a hundred percent. Further delving into the issue can give more answers, yet the beginning is rather promising.
What is acetyl-L-carnitine?
Being a naturally secreted amino acid, acetyl-L-carnitine is present in each of us. This chemical is responsible for supporting a good metabolism in the human body. It has long been used as a dietary supplement to improve the brain and nerve function. It is also applied in the therapy of memory loss and nerve tissue restoration.
How can acetyl-L-carnitine levels prove depression?
In the studies performed on this matter, the amounts of acetyl-L-carnitine in the blood have been measured in people dealing with depression. The received results of the blood tests were compared with the quantities of this amino acid in mentally healthy people. The comparative analysis showed that individuals suffering from depression had significantly lower acetyl-L-carnitine levels than their healthy counterparts.
In addition, it has been noticed that the severity of depression could also be traced with the amounts of this amino acid. The severer the disease is – the lower the levels of acetyl-L-carnitine are.
Other ways of determining emotional issues with a blood test
Low mood and mood swings, which are characteristic of depression may also be the signs of some underlying health issues that may show through such a condition. For example, a lack of thyroid hormone may lead to poor mental state and make you feel apathetic and depressed.
By doing some blood tests, a doctor may determine whether the core of the issue is in the thyroid gland and then prescribe the needed treatment.
In case you have some worrying symptoms (weight gain concentrating around your face, acne, thin skin, and easy bruising), a blood testing is the only reliable method of finding out the core of the problem. By performing a cortisol blood test, your healthcare provider will be able to detect a number of serious health problems, which may need immediate treatment.
Cortisol. What is it?
Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. This process is triggered by the production of the adrenocorticotropic hormone in hypophysis (a gland in the human brain). Cortisol is widely known as a stress hormone. Its high quantities are released into the blood flow if a person feels stress. The chemical is also responsible for the fight-or-flight reaction.
This hormone is important for the proper functioning of the:
Besides, it is needed to keep the bones strong.
What levels of cortisol are considered to be normal?
The secretion of cortisol in different hours of the day is not the same. In the morning, its levels are the highest and during the day they gradually go down (of course if you are calm). A cortisol blood test is usually done between 6am and 8am.
In the norm, during the mentioned time period its amount should be within 10-20 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).
What does low cortisol mean?
Insufficient amounts of the hormone may mean that you are suffering from one of the following health conditions:
Hypopituitarism – a lack of pituitary hormones;
Severe liver disease (e.g. cirrhosis, hepatitis);
Adrenogenital syndrome – a hereditary metabolic disease, which affects the levels of male hormones in females;
Addison’s disease. That’s when your adrenal glands secret not enough of cortisol.
The amount of cortisol in your blood may also be lowered due to the intake of cortisol antagonist medications, for example, ketoconazole, barbiturates, dexamethasone, and some others.
What do high cortisol levels mean?
In case the results of the cortisol blood test have shown an excess of the hormone in the blood, you may need some additional examination procedures. High cortisol may signal about:
Tumor process in the brain, which affects pituitary gland;
Cushing’s syndrome – a complex of symptoms that evolve on the background of durable exposure to cortisol;
Polycystic ovary syndrome.
A new test based on a simple blood test, devised in the laboratories of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, could be able to diagnose prostate cancer without biopsy. The method was developed thanks to the collaboration between the Irccs Neuroimmunology Unit of the Santa Lucia Foundation and the Department of Urological Sciences of the Policlinico Umberto I of Rome and was applied on 240 samples, demonstrating 100% diagnostic accuracy of specificity (no false positive) and 96% sensitivity.
To date, the dosage of serum PSA, that is the dosage of prostate specific antigen, fails to effectively distinguish between malignant and benign diseases that often coexist in the same patient. Thanks to this new test, it is possible to diagnose the nature of the neoplasm thanks to the possibility of characterizing and quantifying the plasma levels of exosomes that express PSA.
Exosomes are extracellular nanoscale vesicles, released by most of the cells in our body. They are used to transport and exchange different types of molecules between cells, so that they are now considered the main source of disease biomarkers. In the case of prostate cancer they carry a PSA which in many respects is different from the classic soluble PSA present in serum.
Based on the results of the study, published in Cancers, 96 patients out of 100 may not need further diagnostic analysis and with the enlargement of the data base it will be possible, in a fairly short time, to decide when further invasive analyzes are really necessary. Comparing the values of serum PSA with those of EXO-PSA the study was able to demonstrate the high sensitivity and specificity of the test with respect to the inability of serum PSA to distinguish prostate cancer from all other conditions, including hyperplasia benign prostatic.
The first step for a correct diagnosis of erectile dysfunction is to exclude both metabolic and cardiovascular systemic disorders. It will therefore be obligatory to request, especially for the patient of intermediate age, a cardiological examination with exercise tests and to have routine blood tests performed.
From a more strictly specialized point of view, the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction must take advantage of the study of hormonal dosages, especially in the forms that are accompanied by a decrease in desire and libido. The main hormones to be studied include TSH, free and total testosterone, cortisol, prolactin, beta estradiol, homocysteine.
From a vascular point of view the main tests to be proposed to diagnose erectile dysfunction are:
The Rigiscan test, a nocturnal test that allows for three consecutive nights to measure the erections that physiologically occur during deep sleep, in the REM phase, in the absence of consciousness which, as we know in these cases, can interfere with the erectile response.
Another very valid vascular test is the basal and dynamic echocolordoppler of the corpora cavernosa, in which a substance called prostaglandin, which allows the corpus cavernosum to be artificially dilated, is then injected with a micro-needle, thus allowing the sonographer andrologist to verify the validity of arterial flow and venous outflow. What this test can highlight is a difficulty that the blood has in reaching the corpora cavernosa, therefore in arterial forms, or ease of venous outflow, a framework that is defined as venous leakage.
Once the problem is framed, it is necessary to propose an adequate therapeutic path. In the forms that see a hormonal interference it will therefore be essential to create a correct hormonal balance, sometimes with testosterone replacement therapies such as may be necessary in men in andropause, sometimes normalizing hypothyroidism or hyperprolactinemia, these latter diseases being also of competence of the endocrinologist.
In the forms that see the vascular component as the basis of the problem, the therapies to be proposed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are numerous, both on the basis of the extent of the problem and also on the patient’s ability to respond. The classic inhibitors of the PDE5i, in commerce since 1998, are the molecules that have clearly changed the therapeutic approach towards the patient suffering from erectile dysfunction and have also open numerous therapeutic windows. These molecules have the ability to inhibit an enzyme that is able to reduce the presence of nitric oxide in the corpora cavernosa with its activity. Nitric oxide is an indispensable molecule for maintaining vasodilation and therefore for erection; by blocking this enzyme, drugs like Viagra create more availability of nitric oxide in the corpora cavernosa.