Star Trek medical technology may seem to be as far off as those stars the Enterprise is constantly hopping between at warp speed. But is it possible that the idea represented by Star Trek could soon be seen in real life?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, it was recently announced that director J.J. Abrams was replaced for Star Trek 3 although not much else is known about the movie. But we also heard from physicists recently that a Star Trek teleportation device may really be possible thanks to a new experiment… which also happened to prove Albert Einstein wrong!
The most notable Star Trek medical device that everyone recalls is the medical tricorder, which allowed many a blue shirt to quickly diagnose injuries, diseases, and anything else that may be funny in the (not so) human body. Now that Star Trek device has become a reality thanks to a product called the Scanadu Scout which can help doctors diagnose their patients by “scanning various vital signs, including temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure and sending those readings to a smartphone.”
The inventor of this medical tricorder, Walter De Brouwer, says, “I’d always been interested in the combination of two sexy things: space and medicine.” But he also believes that if the average person owns their own Star Trek-like tricorder then it may help improve our health:
“Why shouldn’t we own our own medical devices? Why shouldn’t we give each other advice on our health? This is going to produce a new conversation with doctors.”
But this is not even the latest Star Trek medical technology to be proven usable in recent time. In the most recent Star Trek movie Dr. McCoy saves Captain Kirk by putting him into a state of suspended animation, which involves putting the patient’s body into a state where the cellular activity is greatly reduced and it gives doctors more time to figure out how to save them.
In the past, this has generally referred to crygoneically freezing, but Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, plans on doing a new approach which has the same result:
“We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction. So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”
This new technique differs a lot from Star Trek in that a patient’s blood is completely replaced with a cold saline solution. The doctors say this approach has worked 90 percent of the time in pigs and should be used on humans in situations where the normal survival rate is less than seven percent:
“If a patient comes to us two hours after dying you can’t bring them back to life. But if they’re dying and you suspend them, you have a chance to bring them back after their structural problems have been fixed.”
But there’s also other Star Trek medical technology coming down the pipeline. DNA nanorobots could potentially target diseases, and already heavily modified versions of the measles virus have been used to cure cancer. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that doctors even used 3D printers to create a splint to save a baby’s life, so it is possible in the future this technology could be modified to “print” 3D organic tissue.
[Image via Deviant Art]