Top 10 Health Innovations of 2009

Advancements in health offerings have been plentiful in 2009, but 10 in particular stood out from the crowd, according to CNN Health. The top 10 list encompassed many areas of health care, but each of the products shared a common theme of improving patients’ lives.

1. Swine Flu Vaccine

Less than 5 months after the first cases of H1N1 were documented in March, a vaccine for the virus was developed. Produced by growing the virus inside chicken eggs, vaccine production is slated to be around 3 billion doses annually.

2. Electric Eye

The electric eye, currently under development by researches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consists of a microchip that will receive signals from a tiny camera implanted in a pair of eyeglasses. The eye restores partial vision to patients with blindness.

3. Lyric Hearing Aid

Through its placement deep within the ear canal—where it stays for months at a time—the Lyric hearing aid side-steps the typical hassles that come along with older hearing devices. Made by InSound Medical, the Lyric can claim 3500 users and counting.

4. Wooden Bones

Italian researchers developed a way to use certain types of wood as a means of helping to repair broken bones. Human trials are slated for the near future.

5. TMS Therapy

Short for transcranial magnetic stimulation, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy System uses pulsing magnetic fields to a patient’s prefrontal cortex, stimulating neurons to create additional mood-enhancing chemicals to fight depression.

6. Antiviral BioMask

The Rolls-Royce of face masks, the BioMask traps and eradicates pathogens and chemicals in the air before they are breathed in. Developed by Filligent, a Hong Kong—based biotech company, the mask is approved in several countries, but is awaiting US FDA approval.

7. Antimicrobial Paint

Scientists at the University of South Dakota have developed a germ-killing molecule that can be used in paint or on cloth. A new N-halamine monomer, called Cl-TMPM, the antimicrobial has the capability of fighting hospitals’ killer “superbugs.” The developers are looking to partner with commercial paint brands.

8. Electronic Stethoscope

Using Bluetooth technology to transmit patient information to a computer, the 3M Littman Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 is the first of its kind.

9. JaipurKnee

With its $20 price tag, the JaipurKnee is the most inexpensive replacement knee joint on the market. It was developed by a group of Stanford University engineering students, who are aiming to produce 100,000 units over the next 3 years. They also want to lower the price even farther, making the joints more accessible to a larger population.

10. Warm Organ Perfusion Device

Developed by TransMedics, the Organ Care System has stretched the period an organ can be safely stored before transplant from approximately 5 hours to nearly 12 hours.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Americans Living Longer Thanks to Better Health

Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Grows

Iowa Rx Board to Take Input on Medical Marijuana