A great example of how nanotechnology is already playing in to medicine and health care.
I think nanotechnology will have a lot of positive and (hopefully fewer) negative health effects on people. There is lots of promising research focused on nanomedicine already underway. One really neat possibility that I can see having colossal impact on medicine, is targeted drug delivery. A lot of the time when people are sick they take drugs orally. While this treats the problem, it also floods your entire body with chemicals which can be really hard on your system. Some of the negative effects of medications are expressed as side effects. With the use of nanotechnology, and structures like buckyballs, there may be a real possibility that we could send drugs specifically to the locations in the body where they’re needed. This would drastically reduce the required dose and the negative side effects. I may make a video further detailing how that could work, and some other nanomedicine in the future.
In addition to positive health outcomes, it’s also important to note that increased use of nanotechnology could cause health problems down the line. Nanoparticles are very difficult to characterize, since they play by different rules then the big stuff. Normally health studies focus on factors like volume, but when it comes to nanoparticles, we’re still figuring out what is important to measure, let alone how to measure it. Surface area is a front runner, but particle shape, conglomeration (how much particles clump together) and functionalization are a few of dozens of other criteria that need to be consideered.
In summary, nanotechnology is driving innovation in the field of health care and we may see some revolutionary new medicines and procedures in the future, but there’s also a lack of reliable toxicology data for the nanoparticles we’re already producing and using in consumer products, which may lead to some new health problems that need to be solved.