by Simone Cadwell

Future developments

Scientists aim to improve medical offerings

Science develop treatments for 2013
Future technology

Cancer has become a global concern and scientist the world over are in a rush to discover a cure. Even though cancer causes more deaths than HIV/Aids and TB combined, much has been done to minimise the statistics.

With an increase in the SPF levels of sunblock, the banning of cigarette advertising and the stricter policy of various food ingredients, the fight against cancer continues.

2013 sees an array of medical innovations including an almond-size device thats implemented in the mouth to relieve severe headaches.

The miniaturised device is implanted in the upper gum above the second molar to treat cluster headaches and migraine headaches. A lead tip of the implant is placed near specific nerves behind the bridge of the nose.

When the patient feels the headache coming on, a remote control device is placed on the outside of the cheek and the device delivers stimulation to those nerves, blocking headache pain.

Another item on the list is a hand-held scanner resembling a blow dryer that detects skin cancer. This device offers an objective look underneath the skin using a special spectrum of light. It compares moles and other things it finds on the patient's skin with a large database containing information on all types of melanoma. It also rates the risk.

Perhaps the most notable element to look forward to is the improvement of an old procedure due to the results of recent studies. Weight-loss surgery remains on the list of top medical innovations, mostly due to the ability it has to control Type 2 diabetes and less for the effect it has on obesity. Surgeons have realised that the procedure often rids obese patients of Type 2 diabetes, before their recuperation is completed.

Bariatric surgery has been around for a while. The reason it was chosen as the top innovation is because Medical aid providers have broadened its indication for payment. Many private insurance companies have started to cover it, so it's much more accessible.

The number of people affected by diabetes has tripled over the past 30 years, and more than 90% of the cases are Type 2.

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