Technology has become an intrinsic part of a human being’s life and has transcended the borders and limitations that were once considered insurmountable. It has achieved the unachievable, mastered the unfathomable and penetrated the impenetrable. However, in the recent years, several patterns are discernable that indicate the furthering of technology, first for entertainment and leisure, followed by what is really necessary to improve – the quality of life. IDA and LGDK’s research paper on ‘Technology and the welfare system’ states that the needs of the elderly, disabled and people with chronic diseases have been left behind by technology to facilitate the desires and wishes of the younger demographic, bringing them things like the home theatre system instead of making any significant progress in healthcare before that.
However, over a few years, technology is paving a path to bettering the standard of living in human beings. Slowly, but surely. Women’s health care used to be one of those unexplored territories that is now gaining major traction over the past few years. Companies like Ava, Glow, PMS Bites, Prelude, and many more have captured this industry over the past few years and have considerably improved the lives women lead. The future looks no different. Technology seems to be making up for the years of neglect by steam-rolling research and aid to this sector to make strides that will revolutionise women’s health further in the coming years.
A pill that can detect breast cancer
Breast cancer is exceptionally common, with one in eight women likely to contract it at some stage in their life. Mammography is a method used to detect this cancer, although it is awfully antiquated. The method misses approximately one in five cancers, with numerous occurrences of false positives in women that screen themselves regularly. Mammography is edging towards being outdated owing to its inability to being able to detect if the cancer is slow-growing or aggressive.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have found a way around this old-fashioned system. They are developing a pill, which when swallowed, will illuminate the tumour when exposed to infrared light. The pill can also help identify the nature of the cancer (aggressive or slow) as it reveals information on the types of molecules present in the tumour. The specific technology used to do this is still under development. The research was led by Greg Thurber, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering. Thurber and his team are now focusing on diversifying the pill’s utility by developing methods to make it identify different kinds of tumours as well. His method could do away with the discomfort and inconvenience a mammography entails and could, possibly, entirely replace it to become the primary method of breast cancer detection.
Using acupressure to relieve menstrual cramps
Cramps, headaches and other discomforts are profusely common ailments faced by women of different age groups during menstruation. The usual ways to treat this, including antibiotics and hormonal contraceptives, can have harsh side-effects.
A recent study indicates that acupressure can largely relieve these symptoms faced by women during their periods. The study showed that an app-guided acupressure treatment, with 221 women participants, showed colossal signs of relief in these participants. Dr Claudia Witt from Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine in Switzerland led the study. She found that the majority of women undergoing these symptoms are between the ages of 18-35, these women already extensively use their smartphones throughout the day. The app for guided acupressure to relieve periods, called AKUD, would easily fit into their daily schedules and would provide them with the much-needed self-assistance to ease their pain. Most women noted a 50% or higher reduction in the symptoms of menstruation that they faced earlier. Caroline Smith, an acupressure researcher at Western Sydney University in Australia is currently developing an app that integrates the nuances of the study for mass distribution.
App to detect health complications in pregnant women
Researchers at Purdue University are working towards developing an app and a wearable device that can successfully detect a serious health complication in pregnant women which could lead to harmful conditions in their unborn child or themselves. The condition being sought out by the app and wearable’s sensors is preeclampsia, a complication caused by high blood pressure that can cause grave problems like organ failure or premature birth. Craig Goergen, assistant professor at Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering is leading this research. He believes that this invention could radically reduce the number of premature births and prevent further complications in expecting mothers and their children.
The researchers have gained much acclaim and have received support and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. WHO has estimated that almost 10% of all maternal deaths in Asia and Africa and 25% in Latin America are associated with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. They believe that these deaths can be easily avoided altogether with prevention and early detection. Currently, the Purdue researchers are on the hunt for companies with technological expertise, who they can partner with to further enhance and perfect the technology.
Technology has geared up to change the face of healthcare and human well-being. Women, especially in the remote areas of the world, require all the assistance that can be dispensed. Technology is a powerful entity that can reach the unseen, the unknown and the needy. With progressive innovations encasing all fragments of human life, technology could very well revolutionise the course of women’s healthcare around the world.