Here are the top 10 Health Breakthroughs of 2018:
10. Synthesized Antibiotics- There is a real concern regarding drug-resistant bacteria strains such as MRSA. Researchers in Britains University of Lincoln discovered a synthesized form of the antibiotic texiobactin that has already been used to treat infections in mice. The next step could be commercial drug use for humans to battle the growing epidemic of drug resistance.
9. Senescence Drugs- Some drugs are now being tested to kill old cells called “senolytics”. This will help extend our quality of life, not just our years.
8. Semiconductor technology- This can read the bodies vital signs on the skin. A thin plastic material laid over the skin can check heart rate, blood sugars and other readings that can be displayed on your Smart phone or sent directly to your medical professional.
7. CRISPR genome- Targeting the RNA of diseased cells has become more accurate and safe. Salk Institute scientists tested their technology against dementia which effectively restored healthy levels of proteins to the neurons affected by the disease.
6. Cancer vaccine. Human trials have been underway to treat patients with lymphoma which could present an all new treatment for the eradication of cancer.
5. Brain implants- A pacemaker for the human brain, or deep-brain stimulator, creates electrical impulses that could boost the memory of sufferers of epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Ingestible Sensors: Track your gut health. This ingestible sensor developed by Australia’s RMIT University can measure the gases in your intestine that could help to diagnose gastrointestinal issues way before patients are symptomatic.
3. Cloning Monkeys- It’s been over 20 years since researchers cloned Dolly the sheep. Now China has cloned 2 monkeys which is the first time this technique has been used in primates. DNA was taken from fetal cells into eggs that had had their DNA removed, stimulated the eggs to develop embryos, and implanted them in female surrogates. Two female identical-twin long-tailed macaques’s were born. This could revolutionize research on disease.
2. Treating Muscular Dystrophy- Scientists corrected a gene mutation behind a form of muscular dystrophy in dogs. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by a gene mutation that prevents the body from producing dystrophin, a protein required for strong muscle fibers. By using gene-editing technology we hope the same can be done in humans very soon.
1. Helping Paraplegics Walk- Having worked in the Neuro ICU treating para and quadriplegics, this is such a huge discovery! Researchers implanted tiny electrodes between patients’ vertebrae of paraplegics below the injury and delivered a weak electrical current to help amplify signals to the brain. After months of intensive physical therapy, one patient Jered Chinnock, could walk the length of a football field with assistance. “It feels,” he said, “like science fiction.”
Wishing all of you a Healthy and Joyful 2019!
References: The Week, December21/December 28, 2018. Pages 28-29.
Interesting Engineering.com. The 16 Most Remarkable Healthcare Innovations, April 7, 2018.