Medicine/ Prescription Medicine/ Alternatives
In the year 2014 the healthcare spending in the United States increased significantly by 5 percent. This is much higher than in the past five years where there has been more of a slower growth. Although this increase is due to more individuals having insurance and there being more jobs, it is thought that a large portion of this increase is due to the prices of medications (1). My research topic for the TED talks was Medicines/Prescription Medications/ Alternatives. I researched ten Ted Talks on medicine and tried to find talks on innovative ways where individuals can gain future prosperity despite what may seem like a rise in healthcare costs. The results follow below.
This TED talk was about a new innovative way to administer vaccines. Instead of a liquid vaccine administered through a needle and syringe, the vaccine is administered through a dry form called the Nanopatch. The Nanopatch is a patch that is smaller than a postage stamp, which has thousands of tiny projections where the vaccine is administered through. The Nanopatch helps prevent needle-stick injuries, gets rid of needle phobia, helps improve immune response to the vaccine, and eliminates the problem of having to keep the vaccine at a proper temperature until the vaccine is administered (the cold chain). During Mark Kendall's presentation, Kendall mentioned that you could take a vaccine that costs 10 dollars and with the Nanopatch it would only cost 10 cents (2).
This TED talk was about a faster and more efficient way to close bleeding wounds. The cells in your body are surrounded by extracellular matrix. The reformation of this extracellular matrix is responsible for wound healing. Joe Landolina came up with a gel that when administered to the wound it will reassemble and match the type of skin where it was administered causing the bleeding to stop. A serious bleed that would take 5 minutes to stop can now be stopped in 10 seconds (3).
William Li talked about angiogenesis and its relationship to cancer. Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, is what allows cancers to grow and spread throughout the body. Without the blood supply the cancer has no access to nutrients and oxygen and remains small and harmless. Li talked about how anti-angiogenesis cancer treatments have worked tremendously on cancer patients. Li also talked about natural anti-angiogenesis factors that are found in food like berries, tomatoes, and kale, and how they can help with the treatment and prevention of cancer (4).
Throughout this talk, Robert Gupta talks about a great musician who attended Julliard, and while attending got diagnosed with schizophrenia. This great musician ended up homeless and refused treatment for his illness. Gupta played the violin for this musician and noticed that that the musician's symptoms changed and he was brought back to reality. Gupta expressed his feelings that music can be medicine and can be sanity(5).
Lee Cronin focused his talk on a new innovative way to make medicine. Cronin's idea was to use a tttprinter to accomplish this. You can download the blueprint and the organic chemistry of the molecules that you want to make, and then you can print out your medicine with your tttprinter. Cronin talks about the future and how you could possibly use your stem cells in a way to personalize the medicine (6).
Molly Stevens explains a new way of growing bone to use throughout the body in order to avoid taking bone from the iliac crest. There is a layer of stem cells on the outside of our bones called periosteum. A gel is inserted in between the periosteum and bone. This creates a cavity where the stem cells can get in and create more bone. This process can also be demonstrated with cartilage as well (7).
This TED talk revolved around the topic of personalized medicine through pluripotent stem cells. You could take these pluripotent stem cells and grow any tissue you wanted and they would have your genes. You could then put this information onto a computer chip. If somebody has a disease, you can use these stem cells to grow tissue that would then resemble the disease in it. You could then do testing and see what medicines and treatments work or do not work on the tissue, thus finding out what treatments and medicines would work on you (8).
Anthony Atala explains in this TED talk how to regenerate organs. His method deals with taking a piece of the tissue or organ and taking the cells and growing the cells outside the body. A scaffold material is then used to make the new organs and tissues. The tissue is then exercised and then placed back into the patient. This is done with smart biomaterials, the patient's cells, or the patient's specific organs cells (9).
This TED talk discusses the problem in laparoscopic surgery, epidurals, and cranial surgeries where a puncture is necessary to begin the surgery. Surgeons have to be careful to not puncture too far and puncture the organs or blood vessels. Nikolai Begg came up with a design where once the device is punctured through, the blade is retracted into the device to prevent any damage to organs and vessels below (10).
Kevin Stone talks about a new way to replace damaged knees in a biological and natural way. Stone talks about using cow Achilles tendon to grow menisci in knees, and also using pig ligaments in order to replace damaged ligaments in human knees. Stone then talks about the future of replacing the whole knee by utilizing both stem cells and parts of the pig (11).