If your medicine cabinet is anything like mine, there’s a lot of unused stuff in there: the last few squeezes of the latest face cream, expired prescriptions, assorted pain relievers, bandages, and other odds and ends. But if researchers are correct, the medicine cabinet of the future—say, the next ten years or so—will look a lot different.
Many of the advances in medicine—including products designed for use at home—will evolve into individualized solutions based on gene research. According to “futurology” website Gizmodo, genome sequencing and an improved understanding of the interplay between medicines and genomes, in combination with the rapidly evolving field of nanotechnology and microscopic materials engineering, will combine to produce medicines and therapeutics that are uniquely suited to the person being treated. In other words, the medicine cabinets of the future could be more reflective of the most basic attributes of each user’s genetic makeup.
According to the US National Laboratory of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, “genomic information is increasingly influencing decisions around patient care” in ways that go even beyond early detection of genetic predisposition to such conditions as ovarian and breast cancers. Advances in genetic sequencing technology have made it possible for information to be collected on patients in much shorter timeframes than before, making the use of a patient’s genetic background practical in clinical settings, as opposed to previous years, when such information required months or even years to obtain. The same technology can be applied to the genetic makeup of the germs that make us sick. In fact, one result of this technology could be pills that are specifically designed to attack the precise pathogens causing an infection, rather than the current “broad spectrum” approach that destroys all the bacteria in the body, including the beneficial ones. This could be especially effective against viruses such as those that cause the common cold—or COVID.
Also, at some point, medical solutions could be delivered using nanotechnology—cell-sized “robots” that could monitor conditions like blood pressure, cholesterol, presence of pathogens, and other disease-causing and potentially life-threatening events. Other technologies could lead to therapeutic, individualized delivery of medication to relieve the symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental and emotional conditions.
Even that everyday staple of parents with toddlers and pre-teens—the adhesive bandage—is likely to come in for some surprising developments. Researchers at the University of Singapore are working on a way to design bandages that aid blood clotting without sticking to the wound. (Could the expression, “ripping off the Band-aid” become an anachronism?) Other projects are looking at ways to deliver medication through bandages or to produce bandages that promote the regrowth of skin for more rapid healing. There might even be bandages comprised of artificially grown skin cells that would be used to heal traumatic injuries with very little scarring.
Whatever the future holds, your financial plan will continue to be central in affording access to the latest developments in healthcare and other vital areas of life. As a fiduciary, independent financial planner and wealth manager, I specialize in developing individualized plans for women in transition, based on your “financial DNA.” If you would like a no-obligation second opinion on your current financial or investment strategy, please click here to get more information.
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