Here are the Top 10 Health Breakthroughs of 2017:
10. We can Unlearn Chronic Pain- Two studies confirmed through brain imaging demonstrated that pain that persists long after a physical injury has healed, is a type of learned behavior. This behavior can be “unlearned” through a variety of non-medical interventions. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one such technique.
9. Gut Health and Degenerative Diseases- A growing body of evidence points to an intimate relationship between the gut and the brain. Researchers have discussed recent findings that support a link between the gut (microbiome) and the brain, specifically neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Gut microbes of mice with Alzheimer’s-like pathology and healthy controls found that diseased mice treated with probiotics had decreased gut inflammation and boosted memory performance.
8. Sugar is worse than you think. According to newly released historical documents, the sugar industry funded animal research in the 1960’s that looked at the effects of consuming sugar and the risk of heart disease. They then buried the data when it suggested that sugar could be harmful. We now know that sugar promotes obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We also know how addictive it is.
7. Cancer and the Microbiome- We are discovering how environmental factors influence the cross-talk between the gut microbes, intestinal epithelium and our immune system. This is especially true when cancer is present. Now we are manipulating this gut bacteria to improve the activity of anticancer drugs.
6. 3-D Spinal implants- These implants are made from titanium and their rough surfaces and porous structures help them integrate more completely into the body. This 3-D printing technology allows bone to hold onto an implant for people with spine deformities.
5. New Drug for Ovarian and Breast Cancer- The drug Zejula, is a new type of drug called a PARP inhibitor. It allows cancer cells that were damaged by chemotherapy to not be able to repair themselves to cause a reoccurrence. No new drug for ovarian cancer has been approved in the US since 2006.
4. Genetic Advances- Physicians can now find cancer in its earliest stages by detecting DNA from tumors in the blood, even before symptoms appear.
3. DNA Edits to Eliminate Disease- Scientists have successfully edited DNA in human embryos for the first time this year to remove a genetic mutation that causes death. This raises the possibility that families could soon prevent their children from developing life threatening inherited diseases such as Huntington’s, Tay Sach’s, and Cystic Fibrosis.
2. Bioelectronic Medicine-Electroceuticals (devices that use a current to treat ailments) are helping patients who haven’t responded to traditional treatments for epilepsy, Parkinson’s and more. It’s a battery powered device that could be embedded in the skull and connected to the part of the brain that is “glitchy”. For epilepsy, It would function as a cerebral pacemaker and stabilize the misfiring neural links that cause seizures.
1. Personal Robots- Health care robots are now available in patients’ homes to help people manage chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, late-stage kidney disease and congestive heart failure. This robot helps monitor medication use, motivates patients to follow doctors’ instructions and connect people with their doctors or pharmacists.
Wishing You a Health Happy New Year!