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I have no scientific basis to substantiate this, but it seems that advances in healthcare during the next 10 years will surpass what has occurred during the past 100 years. Consumer devices such as the Fitbit are the tip of the iceberg that will lead to massive amounts of epidemiologic data being collected by consumers that will benefit them individually and the population at large. One of the many areas of technological advancement is occurring with nanotechnology.
I remember attending a conference 15 or so years ago where a presenter said that the day would come when we would be able to drink a “nanobot cocktail”. The nanorobots would then traverse our bodies and make “corrections or replacements” to things they found wrong. To most, it seemed unbelievable. Fast-forward to now and the announcement that engineers at the University of California, San Diego have invented a “nanosponge” that is capable of safely removing dangerous toxins from the bloodstream – including toxins produced by MRSA, E coli, and even poisonous snakes and bees. The nanosponges have already been studied in mice and have been found able to neutralize poor-forming toxins that destroy cells by poking holes in their cell membranes. The nanosponges look like red blood cells, and therefore serve as red blood cell decoys that can collect the toxins. The nanosponges absorb damaging toxins and divert them away from their cellular targets. After a half-life of 40 hours in the researchers’ experiments in mice, the liver safely metabolized both the nanosponges and the sequestered toxins. The liver incurred no discernible damage. This is not science fiction. In fact the researchers have a goal to translate their work into approved therapies. This would be a welcomed breakthrough in the treatment of MRSA, a dangerous and antibiotic-resistant bacteria that has been prevalent in hospitals.