Bodywork: Top 5 medicine and health trends for 2013

Great advances in medical research and treatment will be in the works for 2013.
BY STEPHEN PRESCOTT AND ADAM COHEN Published: January 1, 2013
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Adam's Journal

Get out your tea leaves. Dust off your Tarot cards. Or just flip through that big stack of medical journals and periodicals you've been dog-earing all year for precisely this moment.

Because it's time to give us the skinny on what the next year in health and medicine is going to look like.

Dr. Prescott prescribes

I usually save the crystal ball for presidential races and stock tips. But with election done and the looming fiscal cliff making any investment decision feel like a game of chicken, why not take a shot at medicine and health?

5. Bionics: Although it took $6 million and a top-secret military program to rebuild Col. Steve Austin, staggering advances in engineering and neurobiology have made affordable, highly functional technology available to anyone unfortunate enough to lose a limb. Coming soon: big leaps in bionic technology to restore hearing and sight.

4. Adult stem cells: Forget the controversy over “embryonic” stem cells. Researchers are moving full-speed ahead in the quest to transform malleable cells from our own immune systems into individualized first-aid kits for each of us. In 2013, expect big breakthroughs in the lab — and, perhaps, even in human clinical trials.

3. The $1,000 genome: When the federal government completed the first sequence of the entire human genome in 2003, it cost taxpayers nearly $3 billion. In the decade since, technological advances have made 2013 the year when any one of us will be able to spit in a tube, pay $1,000 (or less), and then learn the precise order of the 6 billion base pairs that make us who we are. Still, that doesn't mean this information will do us much good … yet. We may have to wait until 2023 before researchers figure out how to use these data to lengthen lives and more effectively prevent and treat disease.

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