About Bionic Medicine

Bionic medicine is defined as any portable electronic device that is integrated with the human body for the purpose of restoring a defective or enhancing a normal body function.

It is a term which refers to the integration of biology and engineering. Some dictionaries explain the word as being formed as a portmanteau from biology and electronics

Bionic medicine has been introduced long ago in the form of separate electronic devices used to treat damaged or malfunctioning organs, examples include pacemakers and implantable cochlear devices. Now, more sophisticated devices are used to restore the functions of major organs as the Novalung that exchanges gases like the natural lungs, or the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) that improves the performance of the damaged left or right ventricles. Wearable kidneys were developed to ease the excretion of body fluids instead of using renal dialysis. 

Since devices merely restore the function of an organ and do not regenerate it, we categorized devices with bionic medicine rather than regenerative medicine. How bionic medicine will evolve in the coming years is very unpredictable. The race between molecular biology and electronics will depend on how feasible either of the two systems can integrate with the body. While using biological methods might be more acceptable in traditional communities, electronics might seem more appealing, given their ability to enhance body functions. It would be hard for a patient who lost his vision to choose between stem cell therapy to regenerate his damaged retina, or having an implantable silicon retina that might give his eyes extra functions as night vision. We also might reach a point, when a patient with an amputated limb is given a choice between having a whole arm regenerated, or getting a bionic arm with enhanced functions. Exoskeletons made of wearable electronic suits can aid paraplegics in standing and walking again. It is a matter of time when the exoskeleton is commercialized and commonly used by patients.

Bionic medicine will not be applied only on patients, but also on normal persons seeking enhanced body functions. With the emergence of new abilities for the body, people will have the luxury of using bionic limbs, for example, instead of having to ride a bicycle.The exponential growth in nanotechnology and computer powers will provide new horizons that might sound strange today, but it is a matter of time when new inventions are adopted by the community.        

Link1: Walking again after spinal injury
Link 2: Bionic arm
Link 3: Silicon chip in eye
Link 4: Bionic Man
Link 5: Left Ventricular Assist Device

Link to EuroStemCell
Link to Cairo University