The future of healthcare will finally see an end to all permanent and preventable physical injuries and mental disorders.
It sounds crazy today given the current state of our healthcare system. It's bureaucratic. It's under-resourced. It's reactive. It struggles to employ the latest technology. And it does a poor job of fully understanding the patient's needs.
But as you’ll see over the course of this series, a range of disciplines within science and technology are now converging to a point where real breakthroughs are being achieved to advance human health.
Innovations that will save millions
Just so you get a taste of these coming breakthroughs, consider these three examples:
Blood. Putting aside the obvious vampire jokes, there's a consistently high demand for human blood throughout the world. Whether it's people suffering from rare blood disorders to people involved in life-threatening accidents, those needing blood transfusions are almost always in a life or death situation.
The problem is the demand for blood regularly eclipses the supply. There are either not enough donors or not enough donors with specific blood types.
Luckily, a breakthrough is now in the testing stages: artificial blood. Sometimes called, synthetic blood, this blood will be mass produced in a lab, compatible with all blood types, and (some versions) can be stored at room temperature for up to two years. Once approved for wide-scale human use, this artificial blood could be stockpiled in ambulances, hospitals, and emergency zones around the world to save those in desperate need.
Exercise. It’s widely known that improved cardiovascular performance through exercise has a direct, positive impact on one’s overall health. Yet those suffering from mobility issues due to obesity, diabetes, or old age often aren’t able to engage in most forms of exercise and are thus left out of these health benefits. Left unchecked, this lack of exercise or cardiovascular conditioning could lead to dangerous health side effects, heart disease chief among them.
For these people (roughly a quarter of the world population), new pharmaceutical drugs are now being tested that’s billed as 'exercise in a pill.' Far more than your average weight loss pill, these drugs stimulate the enzymes charged with regulating metabolism and endurance, encouraging a rapid burning of stored fat and overall cardiovascular conditioning. Once approved for wide-scale human use, this pill could help millions lose weight and achieve improved overall health.
(Oh, and yes, we’re glossing over the large percentage of the population who are just too lazy to exercise.)
Cancer. Incidents of cancer have declined worldwide by one percent a year since 1990 and shows no sign of stopping. Better radiological technologies, faster diagnosis, even falling smoking rates are all contributing to this gradual decline.
But once diagnosed, there too cancer is beginning to find whole new enemies in a variety of groundbreaking drug treatments through tailor-made cancer vaccines and immunotherapy. Most promising is a new technique (already approved for human use and recently profiled on by VICE), where devastating viruses like herpes and HIV are re-engineered to target and kill cancer cells, while also training the body’s immune system to attack the cancer.
As these therapies continue to develop, it’s predicted that cancer deaths will be largely eliminated by 2050 (earlier if the abovementioned drug treatments take off).
Expect magic from your healthcare
By reading this Future of Health series, you’re about to plunge head first into the revolutions currently underway that will change how you experience healthcare. And who knows, these advances may one day save your life. We’ll discuss:
The growing global threat of antibiotic resistance and the initiatives planned to combat future deadly epidemics and pandemics;
Why the number of new drug discoveries have halved every decade for much of this century and the new approaches in drug research, testing, and production that hope to break this trend;
How our newfound ability to read and edit the genome will one day produce drugs and treatments tailored to your unique DNA;
The technological vs the biological tools doctors will use to cure all physical injuries and disabilities;
Our quest to understand the brain and how carefully erasing memories could spell the end to a variety of mental disorders;
The transition from the current centralized to a decentralized healthcare system; and finally,
How you, the individual, will experience healthcare during this new golden age.
Overall, this series will focus on the future of bringing you back to (and helping you maintain) perfect health. Expect some surprises and expect to feel more hopeful about your health by the end of it.
(By the way, if you’re more interested in how the abovementioned innovations we’ll help you become superhuman, then you’ll have to check out our Future of Human Evolution series.)