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Electronics: A Friend to Medical Science

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Posted by Jose Barreto on April 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Apart from being a very indispensable industry, medical industry plays a very key role in every individual’s life for maintenance of the most wonderful machine, the human body. The industry stands as insurance at call for a wealth asset – your health.

How electronics benefits medical science
Since time immemorial, there has been several constraints inhibiting the reach of people to the medical care and industry’s access to technology. An understanding of the human body has been limited and that limits its diagnostics in case of an ailment.

The electronics industry came to rescue the medical science domain in overcoming these challenges and is providing them with the necessary tools and cutting edge technology. So, the human race is being served in a better way.

ElectroCardiography (ECG)
ElectroCardiography (ECG) is a method to record the electrical activity of the heart by placing non-invasive electrodes over the skin. Although invasive points can also be used to record the electrical activity of the heart. It’s mostly used for detecting and treating heart abnormalities and heart based research.

Before the ECG entered into the picture, transthoracic interpretation over the time was used.

The ECG apparatus keeps track of heart’s conductivity system. The polarization and depolarization of the heart because of the pumping generates electrical impulses. These impulses are used by the ECG to represent them pictorially in a graph. These graphical traces can later be used to know about various parameters of heart such as regularity of heartbeats, size and position, and the effect of drugs and pacemakers.

The ECG has achieved significant and historical modifications due to very advanced and innovative measures like critical alarm systems and data storage benefits.

EEG (EelctroEnchephaloGraphy)
EEG refers to recording the electrical activity of the brain through multiple electrodes that are places on the scalp. These electrodes vary the voltages that are caused due to change in ionic current in the neurons of the brain. These signals of small magnitude are amplified and represented pictorially in a graphical form. This technology is widely used for for analyzing and diagnosing sleep disorders, coma, epilepsy, tumors and strokes, etc.

Apart from these, they are widely used for monitoring brain activity, to determine the levels of anesthesia, and testing by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) test.

EEG is extensively used in the study of fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, psychophysiology, etc. for research purpose.

With the advent of CT and MRI technologies, EEG may lose its significance as it traces only the exterior signals and has a limited spatial resolution. Therefore, they can not give access to the drug target areas of the brain. However, they are still better than CT and MRI when millisecond temporal resolution is needed, which of CT and MRI systems cannot do – it’s their drawback.

Pacemakers – an artificial heart
Human heart is furnished with a natural pacemaker that regulates the heart beat rate. In cases, when the pacemaker is not performing up to its expected level and there is an irregularity in heartbeats as in case of arrhythmia, an artificial pacemaker has to be inserted to correct the heart beat pattern.

A pacemaker generally consist of electrodes that are attached to heart for detecting the beats and regulating them. In some cases, they consist of several electrodes to synchronize the lower chambers of the heart as well. Modern Pacemakers are programmable in nature, which allows the cardiologist to adjust to the requirement of the case.

The pacemaker is inserted under skin. Therefore, frequent pacemaker checkups have to be exercised by the patient.

Procedural risk and infection is a possible threat and demerit of this approach.

Computed tomography
X-Ray based computed tomography is gaining popularity over the traditional ultrasound and x-ray technology. This method produces the tomographic images of the sections scanned with the help of computer processed X-rays. A number of such virtual slices are stacked together to get a holistic and 3D view of the inside of the target part without cutting it open. This is very helpful in diagnosis of many diseases and abnormalities in heart, lungs, brain abdominal and pelvic region.

The CT scan comes as an advantage over traditional 2D approaches as it eliminates unwanted details and provides better resolution. The final images can be viewed in different planes to simplify the diagnostics.

The exposure of body parts to excessive and prolonged doses can result in the threats of cancer. Therefore, due care has to taken while carrying out these procedures.

Transition
The diagnosis and treatment by “machine” has achieved new heights with the help of electronics industry coming in rescue to the medical field and mankind. This is likely to help medical silence experts invent reliable and economically viable methods that could fight diseases and boost life expectancy.

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