Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Life From More Technology

Throughout history, a number of great innovators have worked endlessly to fight pain and suffering, combat disease, and prolong life through the creation of new medical technologies. The technology that has been developed over the past century has now become a staple part of our society. It is very unusual to see a doctor without a stethoscope because the world we live in today has undergone a dramatic change in terms of various technologies. Today, we can find sphygmomanometers in nearly every drugstore and we take technologies such as x-rays and microscopes for granted because we encounter them constantly. These technologies are important in understanding a variety of internal body systems. Without them, our medical experts wouldn’t be able to perform their everyday tasks, essential for the health of all patients.
A woman taking her blood pressure... in a drug store!

Before the 19th century, doctors typically used manual techniques to diagnose their patients. The invention of the Hutchinson’s device or the spirometer kicked the new wave of healthcare into gear. It was used to measure the amount of air passing through the lungs. For something so seemingly simple, it can provide a lot of information of a patient’s condition, and help diagnose respiratory diseases. After this, physicians spent more time on the improvement of technological devices to understand the body without having to perform surgery. This period pushed for the creation of thermometers, stethoscopes, ophthalmoscopes, and x-ray. With these medical devices, doctors were able to see and hear internal body parts such as lungs, and hearts. Since the early 20th century, an array of new medical technologies has emerged, changing the face of healthcare forever.
A group of doctors in the 1800s.

A recent technological innovation in healthcare is the Cardiac Catheterization, a method of diagnosing coronary distress. The pioneer of this procedure was Claude Bernard, for in 1844 he injected a needle using a mercury thermometer into the heart of a horse to measure its temperature.  For the next forty years he used similar techniques to find the horse’s blood and soon, others followed in Bernard’s footsteps to increase the experiment’s efficiency. In modern procedures, a small thin tube (catheter) is passed into a leg vein as a dye travels through the catheter and to the heart, shown by an x-ray. The dye reveals areas of blockage in the heart.  . A doctor performing this procedure can get a much better understanding of the patient’s problem without performing surgery.
The internal flow of cardiac catheterization throughout the body

Heart conditions can also be diagnosed by electrocardiographs (ECG), used to map electrical fields throughout the heart. ECGs are very common are commonly seen in television or in movies. Without an ECG, a doctor would have a very difficult time accurately assessing one’s heartbeat. Canadian doctors have researched the heart to try and create new innovations such as the artificial heart, as well. An Ottawa doctor, Tofy Mussivand, has looked over the process of creating an artificial heart for patients with heart disease. Dr. Mussivand’s dream can give a good idea of how much technology has truly changed.
The results of a Electrocardiograph

Even though there are critics of technology in the healthcare industry (stating it is the reason for rising medical costs), there is no denying that is has let us achieve much more than expected. Technology not only gives us a deeper understanding of the human anatomy, but has added more years to live for the entire population. 
Who knows what the future has in store for medical technology!


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  1. Nice blog Kendra! I agree that technology is a staple part of our society today and it is used everywhere. By developing various types of technology, surgery did not need to be performed to understand what was going on inside one's body. With x-rays, CT scans, and MRI's, very detailed images are created. I found it interesting reading about the cardiac catheterization as it is something I have never heard of before. Technology can defiantly change lives as artificial hearts can be created for patients with heart disease. Technology does improve our knowledge of the human body which does come back to help us.

  2. Yes Kendra! Good blog :) Technology not only gives us a deeper understanding of the human anatomy, but has added more years to live for the entire population. I totally agree with you. I personally don`t know how I would be able to live without technology. Technology has the potential to improve the quality of life and provide many benefits to others. Like for example, finding out about diseases through X-Rays or treating diseases like chemotherapy for cancer. I`m really glad to have medical technology around right now because it makes me more aware of my internal body systems.

  3. Kendra! Nice blog! I agree with the idea that a number of great innovators have worked endlessly to fight pain and suffering, combat disease, and prolong life through the creation of new medical technologies; just like you said. It's great that you pointed out Cardiac Catheterization, it is something that I was not familiar with and have now gained knowledge on it. With x-rays, and MRI's and such scans, it's really cool how everything is seen in such great details, and they are able to help doctors diagnose a health issue before it gets to extreme conditions, and help the patient recover from this condition. Technology is such an important part of our life, saving millions of lives!

  4. Great blog Kendra! Your blog was very informative and gave me a deeper understanding about the development of technology. I can't believe how far technology has come through the past years. It has made so many things possible, working to improve medical care and treatment more quickly and efficiently. It is amazing to acknowledge the different types of medical technologies which allow us to witness and diagnose the internal body organs. I can't even imagine the amount of lives that have been saved thanks to the use of advanced medical technology. I cannot further emphasize the importance of Technology! It is simply amazing.

  5. TREMENDOUS!! Your blog was very informative and helped me understand the development of technology. With the use of technology, we're now able to see the condition of different internal organs and systems much easier. It's a much easier and safer way to examine; there is no surgery involved. Because of this new technology, there have been thousands, if not, millions of people saved. Your blog has helped me understand the conditions and the ways a heart can be diagnosed. Great blog.

  6. Good Blog Kendra!
    I liked this post! I didn't know about how Catheterization was invented but it is a really useful process and hopefully advances will keep being made to benefit people with Heart related diseases. ECG's are another vital way of telling heart issues and this leaves much room for future advances for the health care system.

    Bolis I

  7. Great blog, Kendra! Your blog definitely gave me a good insight on other technologies that can help with internal body systems and diagnosing possible health problems. ECG is definitely a pivotal way of understanding heart issues, and I'm glad you covered that in your blog!

  8. Kendra, I really enjoyed reading this blog. I didn't realize how many different types of new machies there were. I was especially interested in the Cardiac Catheterization! Your blog was very informatvie. Great job!