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There are some really cool advances happening in the medical world. Here's one of them.

This is some really cool technology, and it's becoming more and more practical.

There are some really cool advances happening in the medical world. Here's one of them.

You might have seen this video making its way around the Internet over the past few days, featuring a grape being sewn back together by some tiny surgical instruments.

While the video isn't exactly new (it was first posted in September 2014), it's gotten some attention recently. And for good reason, too. It's a really impressive look at technology in the field of medicine.


Image by da Vinci Surgery.

The particular robot shown in the video is a da Vinci Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver.

It's a tool so delicate and precise that not only can it stitch a grape back together, but it can also fold origami cranes smaller than a dime. To put that in perspective, think about folding a normal origami crane and then imagine doing it with a piece of paper the size of large confetti.

Imagine someone trying to make these tiny paper cranes with their bare hands. Image by da Vinci Surgery.

Basically, the da Vinci robot is capable of doing delicate work that's too small for human hands.

But let's talk about what really matters: What could this technology mean for patients?

Because let's face it — most of us won't find ourselves in a grape-peeling accident that requires emergency stitching. ( On a side note, if a grape dies in a tragic peeling accident, does it become a raisin, wine, or just a mangled grape?)

According to da Vinci, these tiny tools have been used in more than 1.5 million procedures since 2000.

It means that surgery will (hopefully) continue to get less and less invasive over time.

Recently, "minimally invasive" endoscopic surgeries have become increasingly common. These are procedures where (generally speaking) a surgeon goes in through one or several small incisions as opposed to large ones.

Some examples of these surgeries include gallbladder removals, hysterectomies, and appendectomies, which used to require larger cuts but can now be done using smaller, more precise tools. These types of procedures can also be used to treat some forms of cancer.

Improved methods mean faster recovery.

Last year, I underwent a surgery that for a long time involved really invasive work and a very lengthy recovery time. Mine, however, was an endoscopic procedure. This resulted in smaller scars, shorter recovery, and, for me, a better experience. (Thanks, technology!)

With many surgical procedures, recovery has more to do with healing the (necessary) damage that surgery itself causes. As technology improves, so will recovery. With every advance in the medical field, we should hope that risks of infection and complications diminish.

Hopefully, there will come a day where the sort of delicate precision this grape enjoys is the standard surgical treatment all humans can access.

The whole thing is really cool. You can check out the full demo here:



Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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