This past year has led to a great degree of progress and advancement in a wide variety of medical fields, despite many social issues and public disputes around issues of medicine. In 2018, the world saw an increase in available treatments and scientific knowledge, while also seeing certain barriers to accessing medical treatment increase.
Increases In Understanding To Help Millions
This past year showed many promising moments for medical advancement and increased understanding through new discoveries and more available education. Scientists were even able to create one of the first RNA interference therapeutics this past year, as well as making large strides in the understanding and application of CRISPR gene-editing technology.
Mental health also featured prominently in public discussions this year, with issues of depression featuring heavily in public media. This allows the high percentage of people suffering from depression to, hopefully, be informed enough to access the care they need. Mental health problems are shockingly common; about 20% of women experience some form of depression during menopause, with millions more suffering in other demographic categories.
Technological Advancements Further Medical Progress
In addition to a growing base of knowledge for medical practitioners to draw from, treatments are being produced and simplified due to improved manufacturing methods and reduced manufacturing costs. Some industries are able to cut production costs by as much as 35% with the right contract manufacturer, and the medical industry has been no exception to this fact in 2018.
In addition to improvements in manufacturing, technological advances have allowed for new treatment options to become more viable and practical, from surgery to medical equipment to pharmaceuticals. Improvements in artificial intelligence have simplified diagnostic processes for doctors worldwide, despite some complications and general skepticism within the scientific community about the ability of an AI being able to return helpful diagnostic information.
Beyond diagnostic tools, the ever popular technological advancement of blockchain could have a wide variety of medical applications moving into the new year. Blockchain technology offers features that could be useful within the pharmaceutical industry for tracking returns of various medications, potentially saving the pharmaceutical industry up to $10 billion annually if implemented. However, this number is still theoretical, and the full implementation of this type of technology still leaves many questions unanswered.
Despite Progress, Barriers To Treatment
While progress has been made across the board in 2018, there are still several barriers that must be addressed within the new year. Much of the general population worldwide still lack access to many forms of basic treatment for disease and preventative care. Studies show that an estimated 19.5 million children under one year old did not receive DTP3 vaccines, reflecting the overall need for increased preventative care for many. For many worldwide, prices of medication and treatments have been increasing dramatically, causing a barrier to entry for those who cannot afford their care.
Overall, 2018 has been a year of great scientific advancement for the world of medicine. While much has been done within the previous twelve months to improve the lives of many, there are still significant strides that need to be made within the coming year in the medical industry at large.