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5 ways the National Institutes of Health is changing the medicine world

Posted on 12-28-15 in Health and Wellness

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Medicine and health are continually advancing. Technology and research are needed to make new innovations and improve current treatment. The National Institutes of Health recently released its new health care goals in its strategic plan for 2016 through 2020. The goal is for this plain to aid in making the world a safer and healthier place. Below are some of the important new goals.

Vaccine against RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus affects the youngest of humans: infants. This is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children and results in approximately 60,000 pediatric hospitalizations each year in the United States. There is currently no vaccine against this virus, and treatment is mainly supportive. One of the NIH goals is to develop a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, which will provide a promising preventive cure for the leading cause of pneumonia in the pediatric population.

Prevent drunk driving

Drunk driving automobile accidents affect millions of people. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 30 people are killed in alcohol-related automobile accidents every day. Although breathalyzers are available, many are not accurate and result in false hope in people who should not be driving. To prevent drunk driving accidents, the NIH states that it is developing a “wearable biosensor for monitoring blood-alcohol levels in real time.”

A cure for diabetes

Diabetes can be a lethal disease that affects children and adults alike. Complications include diabetic neuropathy, foot infections and ulcers, retinopathy, and cardiac manifestations. Insulin therapy can be expensive, rigorous and a nuisance. The pancreas regulates insulin production and release, and is the sole organ responsible for diabetes. “Research on the artificial pancreas will lead to advanced trials showing significantly better management of diabetes, without the dangers of hypoglycemia,” the NIH reports.

A vaccine for HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus affects millions of people worldwide including infants, children and adults. This blood-borne disease can be prevented with the proper education and safety precautions. Although there are medications known as antiretrovirals that decrease the viral load in HIV, there is no cure. Preventing HIV by providing a vaccination is a step in the right direction. “A pivotal efficacy trial of a novel HIV vaccine, expected to begin in the Republic of South Africa in 2016, will confer at least 50 percent protection against the acquisition of HIV,” the NIH projects.

Universal influenza vaccine

Every year pediatric and elderly patients die of influenza. Although there is an annual vaccine available, it does not protect against all the strains of influenza as many strains mutate each year. Developing a universal influenza vaccine will be nothing short of a miracle. “A candidate vaccine that induces a broad antibody-binding response to multiple strains of the influenza virus will be in clinical trials — a critical step toward a universal flu vaccine,” the NIH reports.

Many more great advances in technology and health care are proposed by the NIH. The Sovereign Health Group firmly believes in treating the whole patient and not just the specific mental health or substance use disorder. With new innovative contributions from the NIH, we all can live a healthier lifestyle. To learn more about our programs please contact us through our 24/7 helpline.

Written by Kristen Fuller, M.D., Sovereign Health Group writer