(Photo by practicalowl)So Women's Health magazine ran an article recently highlighting some of the "Next Big Things" on the horizon in terms of medical advances. You know, the stuff researchers are busy working away on and they're almost there and any minute now they'll have it all figured out?
And it's a great list, as far as it goes. Make sure to read all about it if you want to see where scientists are in terms of these health breakthroughs:
1. Male Birth Control
2. HIV vaccine
3. Condomless STD Prevention
4. Female Viagra
5. Needle-Free Blood Sugar Test
6. Easier Cancer Treatment
Hint: They ain't quite there yet. So keep your pants on (and we may mean that literally, if you're waiting for numbers 1, 2, or 3).
But since I have slightly different priorities, I'm afraid my personal Breakthrough Wish List wouldn't look much like this one.
For example, is it just me, or does it seem like instead of working so hard to develop female Viagra, they should just take away male Viagra so that older couples are back on the same page again? Then those elderly couples who'd rather watch 60 Minutes most nights could do so again, guilt free.
Because to be honest? All those high-pressure TV commercials with amorous geriatric couples just chomping at the bit to Do the Wild Thang Every Chance They Can Get after 50 years of marriage--well, they're scaring the crap out of me. You don't have to be constantly horny in your Golden Years, do you? Surely that can be optional?
So here's my Viagra-free personal list. Note that I'm also not including stuff like time travel or living forever or becoming invisible or enabling people to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Mine are all reasonable requests, ones that shouldn't be that hard--and some are WAY overdue.
1. Fake Low-Cal Foods That Don't Taste Like Crap and Won't Kill You
I know lots of you wouldn't touch a new Franken-food no matter how tasty it was or how many studies proved it was safe. It's the principle of the thing, right? Natural is always better! (Unless we're talking about our cell-phones or laptops or indoor plumbing).
But me? I don't care if a food is natural or if it's fake as long as it tastes good and won't eventually poison me. I like things that are sweet and greasy and would like to eat many more of them! I'd be perfectly happy eating lots of real, whole, natural foods to meet my nutritional needs--but then afterwards scarfing a bunch of fake no-cal fun food. Cupcakes and ice cream and brownies and cheeseburgers and nachos, hurrah!
The trouble is, the food industry spends way more time trying to sell stuff than actually testing it, and our government doesn't seem to give a rat's ass whether they poison us with carcinogens or not. Plus the fake stuff doesn't actually taste very good.
With all the money they pour into the quest for guilt-free fake food, why aren't they better at it yet?
2. Artificial Cartilage
I'm one of the many Baby Boomers who has trashed her joints through years of pavement-pounding but continues to run anyway. Yet the idea of an eventual knee replacement totally freaks me out. (Just the word "bone saw" is enough to make me want to barf). I've been reading about promising cartilage alternatives for what feels like decades, but where the hell are they already?
C'mon, with all the nano-particles and genetic engineering and other miracle medical inventions, why can't they do fake cartilage yet? I'd SO much rather add some extra cushion to what's there than chop the whole dang thing out.
3. Sunscreen in a Pill.
This has been "just around the corner" for a long time. I won't repeat my sunscreen tirade, but please, please, please hurry up on this one.
Or Instant-Aspirin or Instant-Tylenol, whatever. I'm a wimp when it comes to any kind of pain, and it just seems like they should have a quicker means than this old fashioned "wait 45 minutes for it to get digested and end up in your bloodstream" business. What if I have killer cramps NOW???
Lets get going with an inhaler or something you put under your tongue or even, God Forbid, a portable injection. I would seriously rather shoot up and hurt for a second or two than wait forever for the damn pills to work.
5. Virtual Colonoscopy
supposed to be here already. First I read they worked great and then I read maybe they didn't, and then I thought I saw a study that said yeah, they work just fine... but "bottom" line, I've never heard of anyone whose gotten a virtual one yet. Doctors always seem to insist on the real kind.
I'm a few years away from having to do my first one, but I'm already dreading it. I do NOT want to be drugged and then have someone snake a giant scope way up my ass and look all around. There's even supposed to be a kind on the way where you swallow a tiny camera that takes pictures all by itself on the way down. (Though I'm not sure how the retrieval process works... that can't be fun.)
6. But Before Any of The Rest of This Stuff:
How about we throw a few more resources into curing fatal and/or severely disabling diseases? I think it's sad that we have so much money going into developing pills to keep guys erect or creams to make women wrinkle-free or 9 zillion products to make our teeth white, when we still haven't figured out how to cure cancer or MS or AIDS or any number of awful diseases.
I might even trade my sunscreen pill for that.
So what would you guys put on your list of health breakthroughs you're tired of waiting for?