SAN FRANCISCO – When it comes to health care, seconds can mean the difference between brain damage and full recovery, between paralysis and a short stint in physical therapy, between life and death.

The heavy bandwidth pipe required for those speedy response times is slowly becoming reality. 5G, which is seen pushing many key technologies like self-driving cars in the future, is expected to serve as a key pillar in health care, enabling fast data rates, rapid-fire responsiveness and dependable connections.

The technology can eventually help doctors prevent neurological damage, save limbs and detect strokes. It will also allow health care to become more personalized and efficient. And with 5G, techniques like X-ray vision and robotic, remote surgeries — pipe dreams in medicine for years — can become a reality.

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