Medical Science Or Science Fiction?

By  //  June 30, 2013


ABOVE VIDEOA research team led by Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, of Brown University developed an electrode device that was implanted into the motor cortex of the brain of two stroke victims with quadriplegia. Using an investigational neural interface system called BrainGate, the quadriplegics were able to direct robotic arms to touch and grab foam balls, and one of the patients was able to grab a bottle of coffee and drink through a straw.

As reported by SpaceCoastDaily in May of 2012, controlling robotic limbs with neural impulses appears possible for patients with no functional control of their arms after a brainstem stroke, and holds promise for the many people suffering from paralyzing spinal cord injuries or strokes. (Video by NatureVideo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This slide-show highlights a dozen extraordinary innovative advances in medicine, some of which are now being put into practice and others on the precipice of implementation in the foreseeable future. From genomic sequencing to point of care cyber-medicine to brain mapping and thought control of bionic devices, advances in digital and biomedical technology are accelerating at an astonishing rate that is changing the face of healthcare.

fig1MEDSCAPE.COM — When Watson, Crick, and Wilkins published their descriptions of the structure of DNA in 1953, the idea of sequencing a patient’s entire genome to quantify their risk of developing a particular disease and select treatments based on specific genetic vulnerabilities was largely science fiction.

Today, whole-genome sequencing costs a few thousand dollars and is changing the practice of medicine. In addition to genomic insights, other biomedical advances once reserved for sci-fi B-movies are becoming reality. Clinicians are using new techniques and technologies to generate organs, perform virtual surgery, and perhaps one day transplant a living human brain.

Based in part on Medscape News coverage, we’ve highlighted several cutting-edge areas of research on the frontiers of medicine that are putting the science in science fiction.

CLICK HERE  to view the entire slide-show on