Oct 14, 2013 - Medical    No Comments

Nanobots to the Rescue

How will history view our current state of medical care?  My thought is they will stare in open mouthed disbelief at pictures of surgeries which to them will seem nothing short of barbaric.  I would imagine a conversation a few hundred years from now might go something like this, “They actually cut into people?!”  Would they be so wrong?  Don’t we essentially use sharpened pieces of metal to cut people open and then literally sew them back together?  Have you seen a hip replacement lately?  They literally use a drill to auger out the bone.  It’s all very medieval looking.

So what is the answer?  Well for starters I think we will see a huge move toward the use of some type of nanobots.  Imagine finding out you have lets say cancer.  Your doctor has already mapped out your specific body chemistry and physiology.  He then orders a custom designed injection filled with millions of nanobots.  These nanobots are programmed to find and attack any cancerous cells.  Once finished the nanohealers would simply be deactivated or die off after a set period of time and the body would absorb them.

The possibilities are almost endless when you think about it.  How many lives would be saved if these micromedics could clean out clogged arteries, do minor repairs to blood vessels, heart valves, etc.  On that note, imagine they could be injected with small electrical receptors, encapsulate someone’s heart and if needed provide a small electrical charge to keep it pumping correctly.  This would be much more effective that a modern pacemaker.  Replacing them every six months or so could be as simple as another injection.  Better yet, what if they recharged themselves from the beating of the heart or by some sort of heat transference thing?

Of course this same principle could be used for something like for instance appendicitis.  A surgeon would use a device no bigger than my smartphone to guide the nanobots to the inflamed appendix where they would perform set routines to remove/repair it.

What about something simple like broken bones?  How about the same nanobots weave a mesh like covering over the bones and position them back in place and then hold them there while they heal?  On their way there they might also release a substance directly into the nervous system to temporarily numb the limb.  These repair bots could be simply programmed with your bodies physiology from before the injury and then be directed to put the pieces back in place.

Take the whole concept a step further and have nanobots positioned throughout the body to monitor key system functions like heart, lungs, kidney, etc.  When they noticed a fluctuation, they could alert your doctor directly or save the information and relay it to your doctor at the next visit to establish a pattern of say impending renal failure.

How small could they be and still provide a service?  If they were small enough, could they for instance provide an electrical bridge across a damaged portion of the brain to restore certain synaptic function?

I can just see it now, the body might start developing a resistance to the nanobots and you could only have a certain percentage of your total body mass that could be nanobots.  I’m sorry patient X but you already have .001 saturation of nannites and your body can’t host more.

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!