Owing to the large amount of information that computers can process, they are playing an increasingly larger role in medicine. They are used to analyze data and to keep track of and communicate diagnostic information about individuals and statistical information on the distribution and spread of various maladies in populations.
Learning Goal 2
Almost all body substances and functions have daily or longer cycles. These cycles often need to be taken into account in interpreting normal ranges for body measurements, detecting disease, and planning treatment of illness. Computers aid in detecting, analyzing, and monitoring these cycles.
Learning Goal 3
Knowledge of genetics is opening whole new fields of health care. In diagnosis, mapping of genetic instructions in cells makes it possible to detect defective genes that may lead to poor health. In treatment, substances from genetically engineered organisms may reduce the cost and side effects of replacing missing body chemicals.
Learning Goal 4
Inoculations use weakened germs (or parts of them) to stimulate the body's immune system to react. This reaction prepares the body to fight subsequent invasions by actual germs of that type. Some inoculations last for life.
Learning Goal 5
Knowledge of molecular structure and interactions aids in synthesizing new drugs and predicting their effects.
Learning Goal 6
Techniques for detecting and diagnosing mental disorders include observation of behavior, in-depth interviews, and measurements of brain activity. Treatments for mental disorders range from conversation with the patient to treating the brain with chemicals, electric shock, or surgery.
Learning Goal 7
Biotechnology has contributed to health improvement in many ways, but its cost and application have led to a variety of controversial social and ethical issues.
Learning Goal 8
The incorrect use of any given antibacterial drug can lead, by means of natural selection, to the spread of bacteria that are not affected by it.
Learning Goal 9
Computer controlled devices that emit and detect sound waves, magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, or nuclear radiation are used to produce still or moving images of the body in two or three dimensions. Devices that involve the same basic technologies as advanced detection equipment, but using higher intensities, provide alternatives to surgery.