REPORT THE WELLNESS
NEW FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE
I may be speaking for myself, but I really do love this time of year. After closing out 2018, we have the prospect of an entire new year upon us. This is so exciting for me, as I find every new year brings countless amounts of “new.” With four children under 10, each year is another milestone be to reached. From a first Christmas to first steps, or even a first time in the sand or surf, every new year is an adventure in our house. Professionally, I’m equally excited about the new advances in technology another year will bring. Today, we use technology and equipment that was not even thought of yet just a few years ago. Below, you can read more directly from the Cleveland Clinic about some of the advances coming to medicine in the new year that I find most exciting. I hope it comes as a welcome break from all the articles about more sleep and exercise, less fried food, and the annual cost of a coffee habit! I wish each of you a very happy new year full of health, wellness, and prosperity! –Dr. Jones The opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency. Today, chronic pain is the leading cause of opioid prescriptions. Though several clinically validated alternative therapies for chronic pain exist, none have curtailed the crisis. Now, innovation and a potential for hope are possible by way of pharmacogenomic testing, which uses a patient’s genetic makeup to predict their individual metabolism of drugs, including some opiate-based drugs. Pharmacogenomic testing can be used to avoid adverse reactions, eliminate unnecessary and ineffective prescriptions, and replace them with more effective medications. Pharmacogenomics can also predict who may have little or no pain relief from some opiate- based analgesics. Without these predictions, such patients might finish Alternative Therapy for Pain: Fighting the Opioid Crisis
their prescription quickly and return for a new one
earlier than expected. Pharmacogenomics can reduce or eliminate the stigma of “drug-seeking” that might
be unfairly ascribed to such patients while providing the opportunity to tailor medication therapy. In 2019, with increased access to genetic testing, pharmacogenomics is poised to make significant progress in precision medicine and potentially put an end to the crisis.
The Advent of AI in Healthcare
Once thought of as a futuristic threat to humankind, artificial intelligence (AI) is now a part of everyday life. In healthcare, AI is changing the game with its applications in decision support, image analysis, and patient triage. Today, AI is helping physicians make smarter decisions at the point of care, improving the ease and accuracy of viewing patient scans, and reducing physician burnout. For instance, machine learning algorithms have the ability to highlight problem areas on images, aiding in the screening process and quickly making sense of the mountains of data within a physician’s EMR system. With AI’s continued integration into healthcare, caring for patients has become a matter of working smarter, not harder.
Advances in Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment
Cancer immunotherapy, or biologic therapy, is a technique that uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. While immunotherapies for cancer have existed for some time, the worldwide work toward a cure for cancer continues to highlight new and novel immunotherapeutic targets. Scientists are creating life-changing new cancer treatments
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