1. Brain-Limb Connection

The goal of linking the brain to a robotic limb is to help paralyzed people survive. Previously, brain implants to help move these artificial limbs have had limited success because the person had to think about each action (open hands, close hands) in order to move the limb. But now, researchers are putting implants in the area of the brain that controls the intention to move, not just the physical movement itself. Its allows patients to fluidly guide a robotic limb.

2. Busting Brain Clots

Clot-dissolving drugs are the first line of treatment for the most common type of stroke. But when they don’t do the trick, physicians can now use a stent retriever to remove the small mass. A wire with a mesh-like tip is guided through the artery into the brain to grab the clot. When the wire is removed, the clot goes with it. The American Heart Association has given the device its strongest recommendation after studies found it improves the odds that certain patients will survive and function normally again.

3. Robotic Nurse Assistant

Many nurses get injured every year from having to move or lift patients in bed or after an emergency from a fall. RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) is the first robot that can lift up or set down a real human from or to a bed or wheelchair. RIBA does this using its very strong, human-like arms and high-accuracy tactile sensors with the help of novel tactile guidance methods. RIBA was developed by integrating RIKEN’s control, sensor and information processing and TRI’s material and structural design technologies.

4. Cancer Vaccines

Our body’s immune system fights off germs that cause infections — but could it be taught to fight off cancer cells? That’s the idea behind new immunotherapy cancer vaccines, which train the immune system to use its antiviral fighting response to destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has approved such vaccines for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and melanoma. Current research is focused on pairing new and old vaccines, including the tetanus vaccine with a newer cancer vaccine to treat glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Those who received the dual vaccine lived three to seven more years after treatment than those who received an injection without the tetanus portion. Among the most eagerly anticipated vaccines in 2016, renowned Dr. Michael Misialek says, is a lung cancer vaccine.

5. Wearable Sensors

Wearable health sensors could soon change the way people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, control and monitor their condition. Drug companies and researchers are looking into using wearable technology to monitor patients more accurately in clinical trials, and hospitals. Even outpatient clinics could use it to monitor patients after discharge. Devices, from stick-on sensors to wristbands and special clothing, can already be used to monitor respiratory and heart rates, including EKG readings, as well as body temperature and glucose level.

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