Medicine’s new frontiers

Advances offer a healthier future for all, but putting them into practice will not be easy, writes Liam Donaldson

The World Today Updated 26 November 2020 Published 2 August 2016 4 minute READ

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson

Former Associate Fellow, Global Health Programme

Will the babies born in 2017, as they move through their adult years, be the first generation in which the ageing process is slowed down by medical intervention? Will they be the first generation to benefit from cancer being a curable disease? Will they see their memories being transferred from their brain and become video-clips on a computer? Or will it be their children or their grandchildren who are the beneficiaries? Such changes and more will surely come; it is a matter of when, not whether.

Imagining transformations like these that are over the horizon and, so, not yet on a visible path to realization, is one way of thinking about health futures. Another way is to delve more deeply into the consequences of the scientific and technological advances that are already infusing our world. They are little understood by the public and those who have already become patients.

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