Health and Medicine

The Futurist, November-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Health and Medicine


* More than half of all baby boomers will live healthy lives beyond 100. So forecasts antiaging physician Ron Klatz. Research suggests that it may be possible to prevent the shortening of telomeres or possibly rejuvenate them. (A telomere is a region of the chromosome that protects it from deterioration.) If successful, this technique might increase life spans. --Verne Wheelwright, "Strategies for Living a Very Long Life," Nov-Dec 2010, p. 13

* Robotic surgical machines will build new organ tissue right in hospital wards. Several research centers are developing computerized instruments that will build living tissue layer by layer and implant it directly into human patients. The process, called bioprinting, could use the patient's own cells as a catalyst and thereby not only help alleviate demands for new organ donations, but also negate the resistance of many patients' bodies to transplanted organs. --Vladimir Mironov, "The Future of Medicine: Are Custom-Printed Organs on the Horizon?" Jan-Feb 2011, p. 21

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* More people than ever will need medical treatment for hearing loss. Society is noisier than ever, and ears everywhere are at risk of damage, warns author and journalist George Prochnik. In his latest book, The Pursuit of Silence, he notes that the ubiquity of background noise--traffic, portable music players, sound systems blaring music in restaurants and shopping malls--is contributing not only to damaged hearing, but also to memory loss, reading skills deficiencies, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressure, and cardiovascular disorders. Prochnik encourages listeners to adhere to the 60-60 rule: Turn the music down to 60% of the full volume or less, and listen for no more than 60 minutes a day.

-- World Trends & Forecasts, Nov-Dec 2010, p. 7

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* A future "Internet of bodies" will enable doctors to monitor patients remotely. As sensors and transmitters shrink in size and are embedded in our bodies, public health officials will be able to collect information and predict problems, so frail elderly and disabled individuals will be able to live more independently. …

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