In part one of this article, we talked about obesity and heart disease…two growing trends in America that will require new and innovative medical devices. You can read this article here Medical Device Trends Part One.
Today, we will look two more large-scale health issues that will require new technology, innovation and patents.
Medical Device Patents and Diabetes
Coming in as the seventh deadly killer in the U.S., Diabetes claims roughly 71,382 lives per year. 17.9 million Americans live with diabetes. And another 2.5% of the population does not know they have the disease.
In fact, since 1988 there has been an across the board increase of instances of diabetes regardless of age, sex or ethnicity.
Diabetes is up in Every Category (Click for larger view)
Diabetes leads to greater incidences of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy (disease of the nervous system) and even amputations.
And diabetes is a $175 billion per year (and growing) industry.
Surely, creative new patents and medical devices will need to be invented to fight this dreaded disease. What are some of the opportunities for inventors?
There are two types of diabetes. People are either born with type-1 diabetes, or they develop type-2 diabetes. Both versions result in the pancreas producing little or no insulin (a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy).
Traditionally, diabetics are treated with insulin injections to supplement the lower amounts in the bloodstream. Perhaps there is some invention-in-waiting that is less painful/intrusive than injections? Or maybe you could invent an "insulin pill" that slowly releases insulin over the day? An insulin patch?
Medical Device Patents and Antibiotics
Nearly 100,000 people a year die from antibiotic resistant infections in the United States alone. And doctors are fearing it's only going to become more common.
The reason? Antibiotics are losing their potency.
Here’s why, human beings are a vastly complex creature. We have multiple systems for pumping blood, breathing air and sending electrical systems back and forth. Bacteria are so primitive they don’t even have a nucleus.
Our complexity betrays us. The simple antibiotics we’ve used for the last half century have prompted bacteria to evolve. To develop biological countermeasures that are rendering antibiotics harmless. This wouldn’t be a problem if we were still discovering new antibiotics. But the vast majority of antibiotics were developed over twenty years ago.
What can inventors do?
Inventing new antibiotics is NOT the answer.
I think the more lucrative area for inventors is preventing bacterial infection in the first place (if you’ve seen the explosion in antibacterial products over the last twenty years, then you know what I’m talking about).
More and more people will be scared by news accounts of these new “super-bugs” and will look for different ways to protect themselves.
That’s it for part two of this article. In part three we will look at the growing threat of cancer, and where the most help is needed…and…why you might want to consider how to help seniors live out their golden years.