Contributions to prevention and therapy
People are much more health-conscious, eat a balanced diet and spend higher amounts on healthcare – all of which leads to a steadily increasing life expectancy: Centenarians are no longer an exception, and former patients are now clients and health-conscious consumers. Health and healthcare are lifestyle products, and hygiene forms the cornerstone of comprehensive, sustainable healthcare systems. Intelligent filter systems, functionally coated surfaces in homes, work environments or clothes as well as changes in people’s habits and behaviour have caused pathogens and allergens to recede. Preventive measures have lastingly improved the health standard and physical condition of people. Revolutionary therapies combined with proactive ambient assisted living systems enable people to live healthily and independently into old age.
Premises for 2050
- Health sector has changed from a regulated supply-driven into a highly diversified demand-driven market: former patients are now health-conscious clients; health has become a consumer good and lifestyle product.
- Core issues related to ageing societies: ageing healthily, staying mobile, curing chronic diseases, regenerating tissue and organs, growing demand for therapeutic and nursing services.
- Functional filter systems provide clean drinking water and air (e.g. rainwater and sewage purification, fine particle filters)
- Inexpensive diagnostic systems are widely available.
- Implantology and tissue engineering are mainly based on bio-fibres.
- Artificial organs or replacement parts produced in the laboratory have become state of the art in transplantation medicine since rejection is no longer an issue.
Ideas directly related to paper until 2030
- Biobased filters: made from renewable raw materials, recyclable in closed loops, protect against infectious diseases and pathogens, remove bioactive substances from liquids, gases and air; used in healthcare and analytics, to ensure the adequate supply of clean drinking water or breathing air in cities, regions or entire nations.
- Faster curing: reduced treatment times and costs through smart fibre-based dressing materials with integrated indicator function; colour change in the dressing informs about the healing progress or possible inflammations without having to be removed; dressing material contains active pharmaceutical ingredients and releases them systematically.
- Functionalised sheets, covers and bedticks: antibacterial, absorbent and made of fibre-based, decomposable materials, for hospitals and nursing homes; hygienic supply, use and disposal.
- Detection of diseases: fibre-based substrates for diagnostic systems and flash tests – inexpensive, easy to use, tests can be done on skin, in respiratory air or urine to detect diseases early for immediate therapy.
- Radiation protection: functionally coated fibre-based surfaces protect against laser or electromagnetic pollution in homes and at work; absorbent/reflective surfaces (nonwovens, wall papers, lining materials in clothes.
Ideas indirectly related to paper
- Growing organs: bone, sinew, skin or other implants are obtained from cell cultures grown on biocompatible substrates made from natural fibres.
- Drug design: microorganisms serve as raw material and/or growth stimulants; pharmaceutical industry uses bacteria for drug design and production.
- Bacteria scavengers: patients swallow scavengers that assimilate pathogens in the body and excrete them afterwards to avoid complicated surgery.