Virtual Pathology


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This morning, I read this New York Times article  written by John Markoff titled "Laboratories Seek New Ways to Take a Look Inside".

In California, a microbiologist named Christopher Contag has been working in a bioengineering lab at Stanford University to research new ways for doctors to look inside the body. This new way is called "virtual" pathology, and will allow doctors to look into different parts of the body, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. It may also help doctors probe for cancer by being able to see underneath the skin.

While some doctors doubt Dr. Contag's new way, it seems to me that "virtual" pathology could make medicine more efficient. The writer also highlights some other new technologies in the medical field, which are made more possible by the "falling cost of computing, as well as the increasing availability of other miniaturization technologies".

I find advancements like "virtual" pathology exciting because it shows how mankind is still fighting to be able to cure those incurable diseases and help everyone as best they can.


What is your favorite recent technological medical advancement?

1 Comment

Being someone who has a lot of personal experiences in medicine, a lot of it being advanced medicine (I was considerably ill for a long while when I was 13 years old and have had to go under routine examinations and tests since then), I am often intrigued by new advances in medicine and what it can do for patients. However, a thing that concerns me, which this article points out, is that often, fancy new medical practices, instruments, and techniques are no more effective than what they replaced--they are only more expensive. For this reason, I sometimes question the purpose of some new advancements, as the time and energy spent of them could go to improving what is already available instead of starting from scratch. Also, a question that needs to be raised when it comes to medicine is are these new advances really safe? And by safe I mean scientifically proven (we've seen what can happen when science is not brought in from our lecture on when lack of science can actually kill people in medicine). Is it worth the risk to agree to try these new methods when the old methods are often just as good? One may think the risk of something going wrong with safety is so low that it isn't much of a concern, but when someone (like myself) undergoes a lot of medical procedures, is it really worth the risk to try the new techniques rather than stick to the old ones? Or is the benefit of advancement in how we cure people well worth the risk of possible dangers?

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