Table_1_Technological Improvement Rates and Evolution of Energy-Based Therapeutics.DOCX
This paper examines the field of energy-based medical therapies based on the analysis of patents. We define the field as the use of external stimuli to achieve biomedical modifications to treat disease and to increase health. Based upon distinct sets of patents, the field is subdivided into sub-domains for each energy category used to achieve the stimulation: electrical, magnetic, microwave, ultrasound, and optical. Previously developed techniques are used to retrieve the relevant patents for each of the stimulation modes and to determine main paths along the trajectory followed by each sub-domain. The patent sets are analyzed to determine key assignees, number of patents, and dates of emergence of the sub-domains. The sub-domains are found to be largely independent as to patent assignees. Electrical and magnetic stimulation patents emerged earliest in the 1970s and microwave most recently around 1990. The annual rate of improvement of all sub-domains (12–85%) is found to be significantly higher than one we find for an aggregate pharmaceutical domain (5%). Overall, the results suggest an increasingly important role for energy-based therapies in the future of medicine.