Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dum dum dum dummm! Technology to the Rescue!

Long ago, when our ancestors were still young, one word about common illnesses, like a cold, caught everyone’s attention. With no medicine to take, it was strong enough to wipe out a whole population since people didn’t have much knowledge on how to cure it. As the years went by, technology in medication improved greatly. Even if someone got cancer, it would be more possible to cure. Doctors would be able to discover the type of cancer and then will be able to treat the patient. Of course, the sooner the disease is discovered, the higher chance of survival.

One of the greatest Canadian inventions of all time is insulin invented by Dr. Fredrick Banting and Dr. Charles Best . Insulin is a hormone located in the pancreas which removes and uses the glucose from the blood. It is used to treat patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when insulin is no longer produced by the pancreas while type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body doesn’t use the insulin they produced properly. By using insulin, it helps increase the ability to take the glucose of the cells and reduces the long – term complications of diabetes.

People with diabetes would use the insulin injection to control the blood sugar.

Another Canadian invention would be the inhaler, which is used to treat asthma. It was invented by H.R. Shepperd. It is a very common illness where it is a “chronic inflammatory disease of the airway” that causes people with asthma to have a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and/or wheezing. This is where the inhaler comes in. From the mouth, it releases a certain amount of medication in aerosol form. It settles onto the walls of the airways of the lungs, relaxing the muscles to open them up which gives the user a short term relief. 

Someone using an inhaler.

On the left, it shows a normal bronchiole. On the right, it shows an asthmatic bronchiole.
Last but not least, another Canadian contribution to medical technology would be the artificial heart pacemaker. It was invented by John Hopps, designed to do two things; regulate the frequency of the heartbeat so that it beats efficiently; and to correct the bradycardias (slow arrhythmias), which can cause weakness, fatigue or even death. The pacemaker sends tiny precisely – timed electrical signals to the heart whenever the rhythm is slow. Check out the video below to learn more about the pacemaker.