Wednesday, May 31, 2023

How the use of virtual twins has allowed advances in medicine

What has been common in other fields for many years is becoming more and more of a problem in healthcare: simulation and modeling in virtual worlds. The use of so-called “virtual twins” allows valuable information to be obtained for the advancement of medicine, research and patient care.

Improving healthcare with virtual worlds

The use of 3D modeling and simulation for the development and testing of new products has already proven its usefulness in many industries. In the automotive industry, for example, physical crash tests are rarely performed, as they are now largely performed in a virtual environment. In medicine, however, it is still common to work with 2D images that do not present a complete view of the patient’s condition. As the data is already available in digital format, the transition to 3D would allow the application of a technology that is already at work in other industries: virtual twins. This approach – that is, digital mapping of real objects and processes – allows, for example, to virtually analyze parts of the body, individual organs or the entire human body. Furthermore, by training the models with data from real patients, results can be simulated under conditions similar to real counterparts. One medical discipline that may particularly benefit from the use of virtual twins is cardiology. In this context, the World Health Organization confirms that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Modern methods of treatment and prevention are important pillars for improving patient care. To adapt the technology of virtual twins to the human body, the Living Heart Project (the first realistic 3D simulation of an entire beating heart using a software solution) was initiated.

A significant contribution to research, health centers and industry

Science and research has dealt with the complex conditions of the human heart for decades, something that contributes significantly to the success of the Living Heart Project. For example, the Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine has spent years researching to better understand the human heart. Of particular interest are interactions with other organs, drugs and methods of treatment. Researchers are making a significant contribution to being able to virtually map the entire heart. Despite advances, many questions remain: (congenital) heart defects, especially complex ones, and their behavior in interaction with medical devices and potential replacement tissues require intensive investigation.

Companies in the medical technology industry already use modeling during the development phase. Through simulations they can test new applications and devices directly on live heart models. Results obtained in virtual test laboratories reduce costly and time-consuming prototyping and animal testing. Unlike animal models, the virtual heart can incorporate clinical data to more accurately represent the human heart over time as it is used. This allows for a faster development and approval process, helping to speed time to market for new medical devices.

already used in practice

Thanks to all the agents involved, the Living Heart Project has already achieved many successes. Personalized cardiac models are already used to support clinical treatments, for example, in operations to correct severe heart defects in newborns. Here a number of virtual operations can be performed under the guidance of a doctor to determine the best approach. Medical students and hospital staff, and even patients, benefit from the Living Heart: for example, virtual twins of the heart are used in health care education and training to train surgical procedures around the world. May go. In addition, the development cycle and test suite can be accelerated and optimized for simulation. For example, with the help of a virtual heart it is possible to better adapt artificial heart valves to the pathological conditions of groups or individual patients. In this way, many physiological tests on animals or models carried out in laboratories are no longer necessary.

Next Step: Virtual Human Body

What is being researched today may contribute to a new level of patient care and drug development or medical technology in the future. Work is already underway on other organs such as living lungs and living brains. For example, the living brain is currently used to investigate neuronal disorders such as epilepsy. Furthermore, in this case, brain activity can be simulated from individual patient data, helping to understand the disease, predict seizures, or classify seizure types.

Virtual models of these complex organs are already so advanced that it is possible to think one step further: combining different individual models and thus simulating the entire human body. This use of virtual twins paves the way for further progress in the development of personalized medicine. Thus each patient has the opportunity to receive exactly the treatment that best suits his body, his genes and his metabolism.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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