Friday, 11 June 2021

So far to go

Medicine has come a long way in protecting our health and well-being and extending our lives. It has given us vaccines, antibiotics, keyhole surgery, heart by-passes and all sorts of new treatments that didn't exist in previous centuries.

But there's much further to go. There are still many debilitating physical ailments that cause pain and distress to millions. There are still medical conditions that are a total mystery after many years of research.

I wonder what medical advances we will have made in 100 years' time? Or 200 or 300? Won't it be great when:

  • We have joints that never wear out but can rejuvenate themselves.
  • We have effective painkillers for every type of pain, however severe.
  • We have no drop in energy levels as we age.
  • We have a pill that dissolves all unwanted fat.
  • We get older without looking old. So we always look like a twenty something.
  • We have a cure for cancer.
  • We have perfect photographic memories.
  • We can reverse short-sightedness and long-sightedness.
  • We can sleep soundly for eight hours every night.
  • We all have huge IQs.
Of course we of the 2020s will all be gone by then so we won't be able to enjoy the onward march of medical skill. And just as we often take for granted the advances of the last few centuries, so the children of the future will take tomorrow's medical miracles for granted and have no idea that people were once in constant pain or needing replacement hips and knees.

Personally I'd love to have perfect eyesight without the need for glasses. And I'd love to have a perfect memory without the constant fumbling for recollection. One day it will be possible. But I'll be a long-scattered pile of ash before that day arrives.

24 comments:

  1. I'm not sanguine about the future as you are...I think there will be a lot of scrambling just to stay alive and it will be a rough ride for humanity. I hope I'm wrong, but you and I will never know.

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    1. Jean: You may be right. With climate breakdown and the increasing scramble for scarce resources, humanity may be on the way out.

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  2. I get excited when I read medical journal articles on possible cures for various cancers. And did you see the latest news on Alzheimer’s?

    What would be even more amazing is if the medical community focused on prevention, starting in pediatrics so that obesity/diabetes, etc. is not so prevalent, rather than treatment,

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    1. Bijoux: I agree about prevention and paediatrics. So many kids today eat badly and don't get enough exercise. The level of child obesity is shocking.

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  3. Scads of money to be made on the opposite of your laundry list Nick. Cancer is the big bugaroo for me. Billions of dollars raised. An industry unto itself.

    And then the artificial joint biz. Every second person my age clatters around (and not very well) on them. Why I ask myself internally. I see no change.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. www: My mother was very fortunate joint-wise. At 96 she had never needed either hip or knee replacements. She was very slow-moving though!

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  4. I'd really be happy for the lack of joint pain, and migraines.

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    1. Susan: Yes, migraines have been around for many years but a cure has yet to be found. Luckily headaches and migraines are something I'm not prone to.

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  5. Hard to imagine what the future holds. I agree that there will be so much in store to make people have healthier bodies. I don't enjoy getting older. It would be lovely to stay a twenty something. Sort of that adage of having your life experiences with your youth returned.

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    1. Ann: I hope I don't live as long as my 96-year-old mother. By the time she died her quality of life was very poor indeed.

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    2. I feel the same Nick. No one wants to die; but no one wants the misery age can give you.

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    3. Ann: What I dread is a long lingering painful death, in a country (the UK) that still forbids euthanasia. I hope I die very quickly, preferably while I'm asleep.

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  6. As someone with replaced and revised hip joints, I can relate to the first hope and only go wistful on the rest.

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    1. Ramana: Medicine is making such huge advances it's impossible to imagine what medical treatment will look like a century hence. Hopefully some very common ailments will long be ancient history.

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  7. I would not put perfect photographic memory on that list since so many people have memories they'd just as soon forget.

    But, I am very happy with my knee replacements--no more pain with every step.

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    1. Linda: Yes, that's one disadvantage of photographic memory. My father had one and he was full of long festering grudges about things he recalled all too clearly. I also remember miserable experiences, but not with any vividness or intensity.

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  8. One of the things which enthuses me about Costa Rica is the emphasis on preventative medicine.
    I suspect that in the future people will regard what are now standard treatments for cancers as appalling as we now see treatments for the plague...

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    1. Fly: It's hard to see how cancer could be prevented when we still don't know exactly what causes it. And the list of possible causes is huge.

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  9. With as much money as the pharmaceutical industry makes doing "research" for cures, I won't hold out much hope of a lot of medical advancement anytime soon. I can hope but I doubt it.

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    1. Mary: But surely if they find a cure, then we're really talking big money? Big money for decades and decades.

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  10. We've got to deal with the antibiotic problem first - we'll all be buggered if they stop working.
    Sx

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    1. Ms Scarlet: I think I've only used antibiotics three times in my life. So there are plenty of alternatives left for me to try. But if you've been taking antibiotics like sweeties....

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    2. I don't think it works quite like that, Nick!!! I wish!! And no, I haven't taken them like sweeties - I was doing well, having not had any since I was 16 for an appendicitis, and then the flipping dentist prescribed them for something I didn't have. Ack. Anyhow, it's the bacteria that becomes immune to the antibiotics - it doesn't matter how many antibiotics you've personally consumed!
      Sx

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    3. Ms Scarlet: Okay, I bow to your superior wisdom! And hopefully I won't need to think about all those now-useless antibiotics. Though I don't hear about thousands of people dying because of dud antibiotics. Are the deaths being hushed up?

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