Gold prices are poised to take off in 2018 thanks in part to rising demand. And there are some unusual uses for gold that are boosting demand that many investors may not be aware of...
Since Dec. 12, the price of gold has already climbed 7.24%, from $1,242 to $1,332 today (Jan. 18).
This hardly comes as a surprise.
Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth has been pounding the table for months with his $1,500 gold price target for 2018. That would be another 12.6% gain from current levels.
But gold isn't just a safe-haven asset offering investors an excellent profit opportunity.
There are also important uses for gold that many people have never considered...
For instance, you probably know that gold is used in almost all consumer electronics, because it conducts electricity very well.
But did you also know that gold is used in pacemakers because of its resistance to bacteria and deterioration?
And that's not even the most interesting use for gold we've found.
Here are three more unusual uses for gold you've probably never considered...
Unusual Uses for Gold, No. 3: Treatment of Lagophthalmos
Lagophthalmos is the inability to close the eyelids completely. This is dangerous because blinking covers the eye with tears, which is critical for proper eye health. If left untreated, the condition could lead to infection and blindness.
The primary treatment for Lagophthalmos is a surgical procedure to insert gold plates into the patient's upper eyelids to weigh them down. Gravity does the rest.
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We love simple solutions, don't you? The key to this treatment method goes back to the fact that gold is resistant to bacteria and deterioration.
While having gold in your eyelids could make for an interesting cocktail conversation, as you might imagine, there are some downsides as well.
Weighing down the upper eyelids can cause the lower eyelids to weaken, requiring another surgery to raise the lower eyelids.
Next, let's take a break from medical maladies and look at how NASA uses gold...[mmpazkzone name="in-story" network="9794" site="307044" id="137008" type="4"]
Unusual Uses for Gold No. 2: Space Suits and Spacecraft
To protect astronauts and multibillion-dollar spacecraft, aerospace engineers layer microscopically thin gold layers on equipment to reflect dangerous infrared and UV radiation.
According to Curiousity.com, gold is the preferred metal for this application, since it reflects as much infrared and UV radiation as more common metals like silver or aluminum but also absorbs significantly more visible light.
The iconic solar arrays on the Hubble Telescope, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong's space suits, and the 18 hexagonal mirrors on NASA's James Webb Telescope to be launched this year are all coated in thin layers of gold.
After more than 40 years of space voyages, gold remains the aerospace engineers' reflective coating of choice.
Next up is a medical procedure using gold that could treat the 1.5 million people suffering from this disorder...
Unusual Uses for Gold No. 1: Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
For more than 75 years, gold salts - specifically, gold sodium thiomalate - have been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The treatment typically requires three to six months' worth of gold salt injections.
According to Everydayhealth.com, these gold salts are part of a class of RA drugs called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). This class of drugs not only treats the joint pain and swelling symptoms of RA, but it can also prevent joint damage and disability.
For more than 50 years, gold salt injections were the primary treatment method for patients with RA. However, over the last 20 years there's been a steep decline in gold injection treatments in favor of newer DMARDs.
The reason for the decline is that gold injections don't work for everyone, and they can be very painful and cause severe side effects.
At the same time, newer DMARDs are much better at slowing down the course of RA and have less severe side effects, according to Dr. Jinoos Yazdany.
Dr. Yazdany cited a 2009 survey of 7,000 Medicare recipients using drugs to treat RA and found only one person was receiving gold therapy.
She went on to say that gold salt injections may still be appropriate for patients showing progress after many years of using newer DMARDs.
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