Human BrainSurvey says: When asked which biggest breakthrough they would like to see by 2050, the second-highest answer was genetic testing to predict disease.

When alumni were asked about the future, their top answers were all about health. The number one answer: “People will live longer.” Number three: “People will be healthier.”

But alumni went much further than that. They want to see a cure for cancer, surgeries performed by computer, genetic testing to predict disease and a better way to access key health information.

Faculty and alumni experts shared their reactions to the survey results and their insights into the future. Their big predictions are all about technology and how it will drastically change medicine, from diagnosis to recovery.

Focus on Health

  • Technology and our bodies: When asked whether most surgeries will be performed by computers in 2050, most medical school graduates said no, while most computing and engineering graduates said yes. UMKC professors Faisal Khan, Ph.D., and Masud Chowdhury, Ph.D. are on the “yes” side. Their research focuses on radio networks inside the body, nano-sized antibiotics, and how technology could save millions of lives.
  • A cure for Alzheimer’s: More than a third of alumni polled said a cure for Alzheimer’s is one of the top breakthroughs we will see by 2050. UMKC graduate Richard Isaacson (M.D. ’01) wants a cure, too. In fact, he has dedicated his entire career to it. Isaacson is the director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.  The key to a cure, he says, doesn’t just involve elderly patients. It will also require young people to tackle the disease years — and sometimes decades — before they show symptoms.
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