Thursday, February 9, 2012

The NASA Biocapsule: The Future of Medicine?

Imagine that you're an astronaut on the first mission to Mars, traveling with just your crew. There are no doctors to administer medication, and no way to save you from the radiation that would bombard you on the surface of Mars. With the creation of the NASA Biocapsule, the future of medicine is just an implant away. The NASA Biocapsules are innovative in that they are implanted under the skin, and will be able to treat astronauts before a problem can arise. Made of carbon nanotubes,  this device contains medicine that can be released when an imbalance in the body is detected. The amazing part about this implant is that it requires no activation on the human's part. It responds to the body's imbalances automatically. With a number of these implanted under the skin, a person could have a hospital inside them to administer drugs and other important bodily chemicals without the need for doctors. These biocapsules are also built to last, and can contain multiple doses that would be time released, which means they could last throughout the journey to Mars and back.

The NASA Biocapsule can be used for even more applications than just astronauts. Imagine never needing to get a shot, but instead having a biocapsule implanted that could release timed doses of chemicals like insulin for diabetes patients, or hormones to treat depression. The possibilities for this invention are almost limitless. Every human can have a "doctor" inside them to treat problems that arise. This capsule is an amazing breakthrough that could change how medicine is administered and how patients are treated.

But wait! There's more! The NASA Biocapsule is very easy to create, as organic nanotubes can already be synthesized easily, and cheaply. Not only is the NASA Biocapsule cheap and easy to make, but think of the money it would save on hospital visits and how it would save doctors time by not having to treat patients besides having to insert these biocapsules.

The NASA Biocapsule creatively answers the questions about not having medical care when it is needed the most:  when there is no doctor around to treat the problem. Dr. Loftus, one of the creators, thinks that the possibility of having these readily available for human use to be within the next few years. Testing will begin later this year to make sure this breakthrough in medical technology can withstand the test of time and change how humans receive treatment for ailments in space, or in their own homes.

This creative use of materials that exist and the use of them to create a product that could change the face of medicine is truly astounding. Health and science articles are hailing it as the "future of medicine" that could save millions of lives if implemented properly. It seems like an amazing breakthrough that creatively addresses problems in healthcare, and I cannot wait to see all the possibilities this tiny tube of potentially life saving chemicals has to offer.  

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