Breakthrough! Ten major medical advances you’re likely to see in the coming year

January 26, 2004 | Source: Wall Street Journal

Medical breakthroughs expected in 2004:

  • New, faster CT machines that can take clear pictures of a beating heart without a catheter, sedation or hospitalization, combined with MRI to show blood vessels, blood flow, scar tissue and the workings of the heart muscle and valves plus plaque buildup.
  • International efforts to regulate food marketing, pricing and production to prevent obesity.
  • 24-hour blood-pressure recording to diagnose hypertension and increased use of home blood-pressure readings to provide doctors with more accurate, regular monitoring of patients.
  • An over-the-counter “morning after” birth-control pill.
  • A new oral anticoagulant called Exanta that promises to make blood-clot prevention far less complicated than warfarin.
  • Results of an NIH-funded independent assessment of cholesterol-lowering statin use showing a higher rate of cognitive side effects than previously reported.
  • New targeted cancer therapies, including two new drugs for colon cancer that attack cancer on various fronts, without the toxic and debilitating side effects triggered by traditional chemotherapy.
  • Better cancer prediction, including new molecular-imaging machines to find out far sooner whether a particular cancer treatment is working, a simple blood test called CellSearch capable of detecting minuscule amounts of tumor cells circulating in the blood, and “molecular profiling” — using genes and proteins associated with cancer to better predict just how aggressive the tumors will be.
  • Insurance-paid weight loss based on trying the diet and lifestyle program created by Dean Ornish.
  • FDA regulatory changes to precisely define use of the term “low-carb” in food packaging.