Nowadays medical breakthroughs are a dime a dozen but here are seven that kick ass

Nowadays medical breakthroughs are a dime a dozen but here are seven that kick ass

VicesOctober 12, 2012

Earthshaking technological advances surround us: the Internet, the electric car, the Fleshlight. Who could give it all up? Here are some medical breakthroughs to make sure you don’t have to.

Breathe—It’ll Be OK
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s brightest have made it as easy to get screened for cancer as it is to take a Breathalyzer. A new test makes it possible for patients to breathe into a specially designed container that is sent off to a lab where chemical sensors search for the organic compounds put off by a body with cancer. The test has been used to prescreen for both breast cancer and lung cancer. A similar study involving a slightly different rectal cancer test has received no volunteers nor any sponsoring institution nor any interest from anyone really.

Nano Gel Provides Non-STD Sensation
A new gel has been created that, when tested on mice, provides triple the protection as normal anti-herpes drugs. While the gel, which uses nano technology, was initially tested to protect against herpes, it could also be administered to protect against AIDS, HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The gel would be long lasting: just lather it on the lady parts, as early as a few hours before sexual interaction, and enjoy all the disease-free loving you can handle. Or you could just sleep with disease-free people. Either way.

Banana Shooters, Anyone?
Everyone loves bananas: tasty, nutritious, peels that make Bowser slide all over the place in Mario Kart. Now scientists are now genetically modifying our favorite suggestively shaped fruit to be an alternative to getting needle-stabbed at the doctor’s office. Apparently, when an altered form of a virus is shot into a young banana, the virus’ genetic makeup becomes part of the banana’s cells but the banana does not become infectious. Eating one of these bananas forces the body to build up antibodies just like a traditional vaccine. And thus was born the banana cream pie that immunizes against polio. And the needle fearers rejoiced.

Organs On Demand
Organs are a pain the ass. Your liver wishes you would avoid alcohol like the plague, your lungs turn black every time you try to try to burn through a pack of smokes, and if you ever need a new heart, you get put on a waiting list for hand-me-downs. Luckily, this is the age of toilets with different buttons for #1 and #2. We have options.
Enter the 3d Organ Printer: a device that can actually print working human organs that are then transplanted into working human bodies. The machine scans a 3D image of the organ and then uses living tissue from the patient to seed the printer. The new organ is printed one layer at a time until a full-functioning replacement is manufactured. Because the new organ is from the tissue of the patient, rejected transplants are a non-issue. Not that we recommend selling your kidney on the black market, but now might be a good time.

Regulate My Sugar, Baby
Successful testing has confirmed that an artificial pancreas can detect highs and lows in blood glucose levels and automatically administer insulin from a pump worn by an individual–which basically means diabetes that diabetes can be controlled with no human intervention. The researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital took it a step further: when they weren’t busy rooting for the Red Sox and beating off to Clam Chowder recipes, they developed a similar device complete with Bluetooth capability and a corresponding iPhone app. Have a debilitating disease? There’s an app for that.

Walk With Me
Via taxpayer dollars and the U.S. military, Ekso Bionics has produced a battery-powered exoskeleton that gives paralyzed patients the ability to strap-in and walk again. While a huge blow to the Murderball circuit, the development is great news for the millions of other people around the world that are permanently wheelchair-bound due to spinal injuries who don’t have the time or inclination to get involved with sports. The technology has been described by its “test pilots” as feeling natural and is so impressive that it has been licensed to Lockheed Martin for military use—presumably for good purposes that have nothing to do with dwindling resources, international terrorism or Avatar-inspired rare-element mining fantasies.

Titanium Foam Bones
When a bitchin’ neon green cast simply won’t do, doctors typically implant titanium rods to repair the damage. But solid titanium doesn’t do the trick quite like natural porous bone. To which Fraunhofer, a German medical research firm, said fuck that. The company has now developed a titanium “foam” that has a porous structure much like the bones it’s meant to replace. This unique material allows blood vessels, muscle, and existing bone cells to integrate themselves into the foam, essentially allowing the titanium to become part of the body. Airport security is going to be a pain in the ass, but you’ll suck it up because this stuff is pretty bitching shit. Whatever that means.