Researchers have upped the ante in their exploration of blockchain technology use cases in planetary health, with the report showing glimpses of promise for widespread utility.

Planetary health is an emerging, multidisciplinary field focused on “the health of human civilization and the natural systems on which it depends.” The emerging research discipline concerns itself with challenges involving governance, research, and information and failing to account for the environmental consequences of human advancement.

While research into planetary health has gathered steam recently, experts are turning to blockchain technology for new solutions to protect the environment. The study, described as a scoping review, scoured through over 3,200 academic articles, eliminating a chunk based on their affiliation to planetary health and Web3.

After pruning the papers, the researchers settled on 23 articles for the final review, cutting across several issues, including population health, health financing, environmental health, and pandemics. Other issues addressed in the papers include the impacts of digital currency mining on human health, research, medicine use, and the well-being of vulnerable groups.

“Web3 has the potential to facilitate approaches towards planetary health, with the use of tools and applications that are underpinned by shared values,” read the abstract. “Further research, particularly primary research into blockchain for public goods and planetary health, will allow this hypothesis to be better tested.”

Regarding health financing, one paper explored the concept of raising funds through blockchain-based credit facilities, while another explored the idea of tokenized bonds. Other studies probed the utility of blockchain technology in mapping disease outbreaks, while others explored the technology’s utility in drug synthesis.

Scientists have long touted blockchain as a solution for healthcare data systems, given its privacy, transparency, efficiency, and non-reliance on third parties. Given the perks of decentralization, the study predicts an avalanche of future studies involving decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and smart contracts.

“Shared values that emerged include equity, decentralization, transparency and trust, and managing complexity,” according to the researchers.

Extending an arm to AI

Planetary health scientists extended the scope of their study to include artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. The researchers added studies bordering the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Machine Learning, and blockchain technology per the scoping review.

In recent months, industry stakeholders have carried out several AI-based research into drug manufacturing, cancer detection, and pandemic prevention. One study conducted by Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGLDeepMind showed proficiency in generating eco-friendly materials using AI, with over 600 new materials undergoing testing.

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