The significance of rare metals is recognized in manufacturing innovative gadgets for defense, space, green, and other consumer technologies. It is undeniably compelling and innovative that new metals advance new medicines and clinical innovations to grab global recognition and attention. Additionally, new medical technology advancement is expected to increase medical products like magnetic resonance imaging, surgical lasers, and other devices in the healthcare industry.
Although metals can be helpful to make everyday items like household or kitchen appliances, they play a vital role in the human body. Some metals are known to be effective for wound treatment and diseases and add additional value to diets. Humans need metals to create new cells and activate enzymes for survival and function.
Metals that are good for the body
According to researchers, a combination of a few metals are used in producing drugs and medical devices, and therapies used to support medical professionals in healthcare delivery. Metal developments in orthodox and alternative medicines offer a wide range of physical benefits from treating back pains, headaches, etc. Typical metals used in the making over the counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin include;
Rare earth metals for medicinal use
- Rare Earth Elements (REE) in medicines
While an estimated 45% of REEs are crucial for compounds, alloys, and ceramic components, around 55% are utilized to produce catalysts like batteries. Many REEs are utilized for manufacturing highly advanced medical gadgets and life saving medications. For instance, lanthanum is active for human metabolism, managing cholesterol levels, blood coagulation, hypertension, and appetite. On the other hand, Yttrium is helpful for cancer treatment in two ways; hampering blood flow to the cancer tissues or directing fighting cancer cells. Another REE, Samarium, is a palliative bone pain treatment linked with osteoblastic metastatic bone lesions.
- Medical implants
Advancing ceramic technology use in medical products is evident with electronic device development like implants. Few manufacturers and companies are advancing the use of neurostimulators to test nerves and treat medical conditions that rely on ceramic composition. Common metals and alloys for the production of metal implants include titanium, cobalt-chrome alloy, stainless steel, and nitinol.
Gold, platinum, iridium, silver, and tungsten are other common metals used in making several medical devices.
- Lasers, x-rays, etc.
Rare Earth Elements are particularly valued for their properties, making them perfect contrast agents and dominant magnets in medical equipment technology. For instance, Terbium is used for electronic gadgets and green phosphor in electronic displays. It is also utilized in improving medical x-ray safety by permitting the production of similar quality images in a considerably shorter period. A small parts manufacturer uses a small amount of ytterbium, neodymium, erbium, chromium, and other metals into ceramics, glasses, or transparent crystals to produce an active medium for lasers.
Several material types, including metals, ceramics, and polymers, are generally used in medical devices with regular human contact for long periods. While a few of these metals are remarkable advancements in the medical field, there is significant demand for their use in other industries.