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5 new specialisations in medicine you need to check out

Medical science is always evolving. To keep up with the latest advancements in the said field, Braingain Magazine brings to you 5 Emerging disciplines in the field of medical science.
BY Cherryy Chauhan |   31-08-2018

Palaeopathology
A practitioner of Palaeopathology at the University of Durham. Photo courtesy: University of Durham

A career in medical science is a rigorous one. Your contributions have a tangible effect on the lives of the people and make a difference to the world. With continuous evaluation of scientific conjectures and theories, there is always scope for the foundation of newer fields or sub-fields. Today, with the advent of technology, medical science has witnessed the growth of diverse multi-disciplinary branches. Here are five emerging disciplines that are quickly gaining traction:

Epigenetics
If your DNA is words and letters on a page, your epigenetics is the marks you might make on that”, is how Kate Giles from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research defines epigenetics for the uninitiated[1]. While Genetics is based on the studying of genes and variations in inherited characteristics, epigenetics is the study of changes in the active functions of the genes rather than in the genes themselves. This emerging new field is likely to play an important role in diagnosing and curing a variety of human disorders and fatal diseases such as cancer.

Keele University offers an MPhil and PhD in Genetics, Epigenetics and Epidemiology.


Proteomics
A proteome is a set of proteins produced in an organism or system. Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins. The subject is concerned with the systematic approach to how proteins behave in a cell or an organism. This sub-field of molecular biology helps in identification of the functions of newly discovered genes, show where drugs bind to proteins, and where proteins interact with each other. Proteomics begins with the functionally modified protein, and works back to the gene responsible for its production. Proteomics is expected to offer promising markers in curing illnesses such as cancer, immune rejection after transplantation, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

Being a cutting-edge discipline, proteomics is not yet offered as a degree. However, courses are offered by the European Bioinformatics Institute, the University of York, as well as the Online Courses.


Bioinformatics
"These tools let us peek in the dark corners and under the rug of the genome that other methods do not", says Aaron Quinlan, Associate Professor of Human Genetics and of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah, on the development of high-tech tools to uncover biological data (EIEE)[2]. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field based on a combination of biology, computer science, mathematics and statistics.

Bioinformatics is concerned with the studying and understanding the information our biologies provide. This subject is critical for developing and understanding of the genetic basis of a disease, its unique adaptations, as well as complex reactions in the human body.

You can explore degree options in bioinformatics at the universities of Adelaide, Glasgow, Queensland, New South Wales, as well as George Mason University, Queen’s University Belfast, and Australian National University.
 
Nanomedicine
Nanomedicine is the concept of using nanotechnology (science, engineering, and technology conducted on the nanometre scale) toimprove the action of drugs and medicines used in treatment. The analysis of drugs through nanomedicine helps in covering gaps between the target of the drug and its impact. It is also expected to help further other medical developments such as monitoring internal chemistry of the body, pulse, brain-wave activity, and other functions. In fact, implanted nanotechnology devices could dispense drugs or hormones as needed, in people with chronic imbalance or deficiency states, thus reducing chronic disorders.

For courses in nanomedicine, check out University of Swansea and the University of South Australia.


Palaeopathography
The latest addition to the branch of bioarchaeology, palaeopathography (also known as palaeopathology) is a subfield of medical history and employs the modern knowledge of medical science for the analysis of ancient histories, novels, and artwork to solve diagnostic mysteries.

Palaeopathography has also proven useful to provide insights about the information that can be learnt from skeleton and mummies. It is also expected to provide an understanding of the symptoms of certain diseases in the past, and a comparison with the current clinical setting to obtain vital medical information which can aid prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The universities of Durham and Bradford offer postgraduate courses in palaeopathology.



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[1]http://epialliance.org.au/what-is-epi/
[2]https://healthcare.utah.edu/publicaffairs/news/2018/08/pr-eiee.php
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