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Is modern technology able to save lives?

Valentine’s Day is upon us…Pink and red hearts are plastered everywhere through crafty marketing campaigns, spreading love and surrounding us all at this time of year.

The heart has been associated with love since ancient Greek poetry, as philosophers agreed that the heart was linked to a human’s strongest emotions, with love being a significant one. Even Plato and Aristotle drew the connection between the two, and the ancient Romans built upon this idea with Cupid (son of Venus, the Goddess of Love) shooting darts at human hearts.

Although Celine Dion’s heart will go on, if you speak to any physician, a healthy heart is imperative for human wellbeing, but for many, heart problems can go unnoticed for weeks, months and potentially years without being picked up on.

Having recently purchased an Apple Watch, it is amazing to see that not only can the 40mm x 34mm device pay for my groceries, remind me to wash my hands and even detect when I fall, but it also has the ability to monitor my heart rate and take an Electrocardiogram (ECG) reading. The evolution of modern technology truly is not only life changing, but also has the potential to be life saving. It has been reported that a lady in Kansas was alerted through the watch’s high heart rate notification systems that her heart rate was above 120 beats per minute, although to her, the rate was normal. As a precaution, she was taken to the urgent care clinic, and was later diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which would have otherwise gone undetected.

Developments within modern technology truly are fascinating – with further growth within this space, who knows where the future will take us. Examples of this are currently being seen in both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) allowing medical students to better prepare for real life operations through a digital representation of human anatomy. Alongside this, the FDA-cleared ‘BioSticker’ from BioIntelliSense, is a slim device with the ability to measure respiratory rate, sleep status, gait, body position, heart rate, temperature and more. This is a small example showing us that there are no limits to what we could next see developed by experts working in this field. Within pharmaceuticals, modern technology has the potential to revolutionise the drug development process, which currently is 1) time-consuming and 2) costly. Turbine, Recursion Pharmaceuticals and Deep Genomics are just a few examples of companies that are using Artificial Intelligence to create new drug candidates and therapeutic solutions in just a fraction of the time and cost of what it would traditionally involve. In addition to this, personalised computer simulations are used in in-silico drug trials, where digital simulations of patient groups are used to evaluate an intervention. These trials help increase the rate of production and screening of drug candidates based on the analysis of calculated properties and prediction models for drug therapeutic targets and identification of safety liabilities.

There clearly are no limits to the future of modern technology and human health. We live in a world where modern advancements can only revolutionise the way in which diseases are detected, treated and cured. We are heart in for the development of technological improvements in our field, and we look forward to the bright, healthy and hearty future we are building together.