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Biomedical Informatics – How have they helped the ailing?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 5/6/2008

Thanks to the advances made by Biomedical scientists using informatics, millions of people who are having ailments that earlier were not treatable, or not having a quality of life after disablement, are finding their lives better, because of this new topic Biomedical informatics.

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    Thanks to the advances made by Biomedical scientists using informatics, millions of people who are having ailments that earlier were not treatable, or not having a quality of life after disablement, are finding their lives better, because of this new topic Biomedical informatics.

    The field of Biomedical informatics is as yet vast open, and knows no boundaries. Yet, within what has become known, and what has been tried, many people who were disabled, and immovable, such as those with neural failures, and unable to move their torsos below their waists, can now use wheel chairs which are fitted with computing devices, and controlled by the people by a wireless or a microphone near their mouth to make the wheelchair move in the direction they want.

    Those who have had angina, a form of a heart attack, but less so, with dead tissue surrounding the heart muscle, which sends weak, instead of the normal strong signals to the heart, have had pacemakers installed which converts the weak, or even nonexistent electrical  signals to the heart to keep it beating!

    Take another example. We all know about kidney malfunctions. What is a dialysis machine? The human body itself used to flush the kidneys on their own, and maintain the kidneys in proper shape for excreting the wastes of the human body. When they failed, death was a certainty.  But today, having studied the kidney functioning, biomedical informatics helped engineer the dialysis machine, which a kidney patient uses in the hospital and returns after specific periods of time. Agreed that it is not failsafe or fail proof as yet, but still hope has been given to the patient and the family.

    One more example is that of replacing certain malfunctioning parts of the heart. A heart attack in the previous or earlier century was a certainty for either being bedridden, or certain death. That too has been brought into the core function of biomedical informatics which helped engineer the heart lung machine, by which the surgeons could operate upon the heart, and correct or install new valves where they required replacement, and also use non open surgeries like angiography, by introducing scopes in very less than hair-thin tubes with clippers and lights and use a monitor to see where they were going, and removing plaque or other material deposited inside the arteries and veins of the heart!

    There are neural limbs available by which even those who suffered complete detachment of their hands, or other limbs and had them reattached and are now functioning nearly normally.  How? This is again because of the knowledge that became available through the use of biomedical informatics, which in turn led to prosthetic engineering.

    There are many more examples. It only requires search and awareness. Behind all this is bioinformatics or better worded biomedical informatics.