10 astonishing medical advances made in 2018

Advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we communicate, travel, and do business. But they’ve also had a profound effect on our health. Many people complain about video game, smartphone, and Internet addictions as well as the increasing isolation fueled by our reliance on communication methods that let us avoid ever coming face-to-face with another human being.
Ironically, this same technology has also turned our globe into the information equivalent of a small city or village. With all the sharing of medical data and the improvements in powerful equipment to make and keep us well, advances in medicine are occurring faster than ever.
Designer genetics, reversing the aging process, and a cure for the common cold all sound like futuristic medicine. But considerable progress was made on all these things and more during the past year. Here are 10 recent medical breakthroughs and how they will impact the future.

These advances in medical feild which give a successfull path to us are:

  • Successful Artificial Womb
  • First Human-Pig Hybrid
  • Flu-Fighting Frog Slime
  • New Melanoma Treatment
  • Bad Memory Eraser
  • Spider Venom Stroke Treatments
  • Human Trials Of Antiaging Treatment
  • Early Detection Cancer Tracking
  • A Cure For The Common Cold

● Successful Artificial Womb:

Among modern medicine’s achievements, one of the most dramatic has been a steep reduction in infant mortality. Yet, even today, there are exceptions. Babies born prematurely often have to battle to stay alive. Our best technology isn’t enough.
Scientists recently took a small step towards changing that. A team of doctors from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was successfully able to bring eight premature lambs to full term in an artificial womb outside their mother’s body. Researchers dubbed the fake womb a “Biobag,” a good term to describe what’s basically a big plastic bag equipped with a circulation system and filled with a liquid that mimics amniotic fluid.
After being born at just over half their gestation period—the equivalent for a human baby would be 22 weeks—the lambs spent up to four weeks in Biobags before being transferred to ventilators.
According to the researchers’ paper, which was published this week in Nature Communications, extreme prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal mortality in the developed world—more than a third of infant deaths in the US are due to prematurity. Even when preemies survive, they often end up battling complications related to underdeveloped organs.
More specifically, premature babies most often have respiratory problems related to their lungs being forced to transition from liquid to air ventilation before they’re ready. An artificial womb like the Biobag allows the lungs and other organs to continue developing more closely to the way they would inside a mother’s body.
Obviously, though, a plastic bag is a far cry from a uterus, no matter how many advanced systems it’s outfitted with. During pregnancy, a mother’s blood flows to her baby, giving the baby oxygen and clearing its lungs of carbon dioxide. This isn’t an easy process to re-create, not least because the blood pressure has to stay within a narrow range to avoid damaging the baby’s heart.
To clear these significant hurdles, researchers connected the lamb fetus’s umbilical blood vessels to an apparatus that oxygenated them. The baby’s heartbeat was able to power blood flow, eliminating the need for an external pump.
Besides the oxygenator, the Biobags have two other crucial components: continuous fluid exchange and an umbilical cord connection. Each Biobag is a single-use, closed, sterile environment, with liquid continuously flowing out of the bag to be purified—just as a mother’s kidneys would do during pregnancy.
Finally, the research team developed a new technique to connect umbilical cord vessels to an external nutrient source.
Biobag system design. Image Credit: Nature Communications
The baby lambs that spent several weeks in the Biobags were compared to lambs born by C-section at full term, and the differences in crucial organs like lungs and brain were minimal.

“These results are superior to all previous attempts at extracorporeal support of the extreme premature fetus in both duration and physiologic well-being,” according to the paper.
Lambs and humans are, of course, not the same, and this project’s success doesn’t mean Biobags will necessarily work for human babies. But that’s the direction the team is planning to take their research.

Successful Artificial Womb:

“We believe that the animal data that we have reported in this manuscript really supports translating our system into a clinical therapy for human babies,” according to Emily Partridge, a researcher Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Besides helping bring preemies to full term in a way that’s healthier for them, Biobag-type technology could be used to treat babies whose mothers have an insufficient placenta or to correct congenital heart or lung issues. In general, the technology offers a way to help premature babies without causing additional health risks to mothers.
It doesn’t end there, though. The authors of the paper state that their system “offers an intriguing experimental model for addressing fundamental questions regarding the role of the mother and placenta in fetal development.”
Could the mother one day be removed from the equation altogether (after providing an egg, that is)? Is that a desirable scenario, or would it render one of the most intimate parts of life too sterile and impersonal?
It will be years or even decades before we find out, but women who have had complicated pregnancies or agonizing deliveries—or those who simply didn’t enjoy being pregnant—will welcome advancements in a technology that would free them from being nature’s vessel of life. It would pack a serious punch to gender equality, too.

●First human-pig hybird:

This year, researchers successfully created a human-pig hybrid, something scientifically referred to as a chimera. A chimera is an organism that contains cells from two different species.
One way to create a chimera is to introduce the organ of one animal into the body of another, but this carries a high risk of the host body rejecting the foreign organ. The other way to create a chimera is to begin at the embryonic level, introducing the cells of one animal into the embryo of another and allowing them to develop together.
Early chimera experiments resulted in the successful growth of rat cells inside a mouse embryo. Mouse embryos genetically modified to produce a rat’s pancreas, eyes, and heart had all developed normally. The promising results led to experiments with human cells.
Pig organs are quite similar to human organs, which is why the animal was chosen as a host. Human cells were injected into early stage pig embryos. The hybrid embryos were then implanted in surrogate sows and allowed to develop through the first trimester before being removed and examined. The result was 186 chimeric embryos that contained the beginning stages of important organs such as the heart and liver.
Being able to produce human organs and tissue inside another species is a big step toward the ultimate goal of lab-grown human organs, which have the potential to save thousands of lives. Currently, 22 people die every day while awaiting an organ transplant.

●Flu fighting frog slime:

Flu-Fighting Frog Slime

A frog species that was recently discovered in southern India has flu-fighting slime. The secretions on a frog’s skin contain short chains of amino acids, or peptides, which act as a guard against bacteria. Scientists tested the peptides of the Indian frog and discovered that one of them, urumin, is capable of protecting against the flu.
Each strain of the flu contains two surface proteins, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Flu strains are named for the variation of each protein they contain. For example, H1N1 has the H1 version of hemagglutinin and the N1 version of neuraminidase.
The most common strains of seasonal flu viruses contain H1. Urumin has effectively killed every type of H1 flu strain tested, even strains that have developed a resistance to current antiviral treatments.
Current medications that treat the flu target the neuraminidase protein of the virus, which mutates more often than the hemagglutinin. A drug that specifically targets the hemagglutinin would be effective against more strains of the flu and could provide the basis for a universal vaccine.
● New Melanoma Treatment

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has discovered a potential drug that could drastically reduce the mortality rate of melanoma. This is the deadliest form of skin cancer primarily because the disease can quickly metastasize (spread through the body and affect organs such as the lungs and brain). This happens through a transcription process in which our genes produce RNA molecules and certain proteins in melanoma tumors that allow the cancer cells to spread.
A new chemical compound has shown success in interrupting this cycle. The compound shuts down the transcription process, which prevents the cancer from being able to spread so aggressively. In lab studies of its effect on melanoma cells, the compound was successful in reducing the spread of the cancer by 90 percent.
The potential drug is still a few years away from human trials, but researchers are optimistic about the possibilities. In addition to treating melanoma, the compound will also be tested for its ability to halt the spread of other types of cancer.

● Bad Memory Eraser

People who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other trauma-related anxiety attacks could one day have the ability to simply erase their bad memories.
Scientists have been studying this for years. Recently, a pair of researchers at the University of California–Riverside (UCR) experienced a breakthrough when examining the effects of memory. They specifically looked at the pathways that create memories and allow us to access them.
When a traumatic event occurs, the brain’s pathway to that memory is stronger than pathways to memories that are not associated with trauma. This is why a person can remember every detail of a horrific event that happened years earlier but fail to recall what he ate for breakfast that morning.
To test traumatized mice, the UCR researchers played a high-pitched noise and shocked the mice at the same time. Predictably, playing the sound again caused the mice to freeze in fear.
Using a technique called optogenetics, the researchers were able to weaken the connections between the neurons associated with the pathway of the high-pitched noise. The mice were once again exposed to that sound but no longer showed any signs of fear. Their memory of the traumatic event had been effectively erased.
An important aspect of the technique is that only targeted memories are affected, so trauma sufferers would be able to forget their painful experience without forgetting how to tie their shoes.

● Spider Venom Stroke Treatments

You would not want to get bitten by an Australian Darling Downs funnel web spiders Their venom can kill a human in 15 minutes. But it also contains an ingredient that can protect brain cells from the damage inflicted during a stroke.
When someone has a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which starves the brain of oxygen. The brain reacts by functioning in an abnormal way that produces acid. This acid causes brain cells to die.
Hi1a, a particular molecule found in the Australian spider’s venom, has been shown to protect brain cells from stroke-related damage. When Hi1a was administered to rats two hours after an induced stroke, the extent of brain damage was reduced by 80 percent. When researchers waited until eight hours after a stroke to administer Hi1a, the amount of brain damage was still 65 percent less than what was seen in untreated rats.
There are currently no medications that protect stroke victims from brain damage. Some treatments will break up blood clots in the brain or control hemorrhaging to reduce injury to the brain. But nothing is available at this time to reverse brain damage from a stroke. If Hi1a proves successful in human trials, it would drastically improve the outcome for stroke victims.

● Human Trials Of Antiaging Treatment

An antiaging treatment is one step closer to hitting the market. After animal trials showed incredible success in reversing the aging process of cells, human trials are currently underway.
Our cells are capable of repairing themselves, but their ability to do so declines as we get older. A certain metabolite called NAD+ is present in every cell and crucial to the repair process.
A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales conducted trials involving NMN, which makes up half of an NAD+ molecule. After NMN was given to elderly mice, they exhibited an increased ability to repair damaged cells. After just one week, the cells of older mice that had been treated with NMN were functioning just as well as the cells of younger mice.
A final step in the trial included exposing mice to radiation. Mice that had been pretreated with NMN showed lower levels of cell damage than ones that had not. Even mice treated with NMN after exposure exhibited less cell damage.
An effective antiaging treatment would not be limited to use in elderly patients. Astronouts experience accelerated aging when they are exposed to cosmic radiation. People who travel on airplanes or undergo X-rays are also exposed to radiation, albeit a much smaller amount. And childhood cancer survivors experience accelerated cell aging, which leads many to suffer from a chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s before they reach age 45.

●Early Detection Cancer Tracking

Scientists from Rutgers University discovered a way to successfully track micrometastases, tiny tumors in the body that are too small to be detected by current screening methods. This new technique involves injecting tiny glow sticks into the bloodstream and waiting to see where they land.
The Rutgers team used nanoparticles that emit shortwave infrared light. The nanoparticles are designed to stick to cancer cells as they move throughout the body. In early studies, a test done on mice showed that the nanoparticles accurately tracked breast cancer cells as they spread to various locations in the critter’s legs and adrenal glands.
The nanoparticle method is capable of detecting a tumor months before MRI scans would be able to. Researchers believe the technique will be used for human cancer screenings within the next five years.

● A Cure For The Common Cold

For centuries, humans have been trying to find a cure for the common cold. An Egyptian medical document dated 1550 BC instructs someone suffering from a cold to recite “in association with the administration of milk of one who has borne a male child, and fragrant gum” to cure themselves.
Today’s treatments are about as effective. Vitamin C tablets, Echinacea teas, and various over-the-counter medications fail to work against the common-cold.
But that may be about to change. While many viruses are responsible for causing the common cold, rhinovirus is the most prevalent, causing up to 75 percent of infections. A team of researchers at Edinburgh Napier University found success earlier this year when testing certain antimicrobial peptides.
The team synthesized peptides found in pigs and sheep. Then the researchers tested the peptides against lung cells that had been infected with rhinovirus. The peptides were successful in killing the virus.
Researchers are working to modify the peptides to be even more effective against the rhinovirus before developing them into a drug capable of curing the common cold.

●Embryonic DNA Repair

For the first time, scientists have successfully edited the DNA in a human embryo without causing any unintended harmful mutations.
An international team of scientists conducted an experiment using a powerful new gene-editing technique. Sperm was obtained from a donor carrying a genetic mutation that causes cardiomyopathy, a disorder that weakens the heart and causes irregular heartbeats, heart valve problems, and heart failure.
The sperm was used to fertilize donor eggs, and then the gene-editing tool was used to alter the mutation. Scientists described it as a microscopic surgery in which they administered a precise cut to the mutated gene.
When the gene was cut, the embryo was triggered to repair the defective gene on its own. The technique was used on 58 embryos, and the gene mutation was successfully corrected in 70 percent of them. Most importantly, the correction did not result in unintended defects in other areas of the DNA, as was the case in earlier experiments.
The embryos were not used to create babies. More testing is required before that would be possible.
Critics of genetic modification in embryos are concerned about a few factors. Changes made to the DNA of an embryo would be passed down in future generations, so any mistakes made in the gene-editing process could ultimately result in new genetic diseases. There are also concerns that the research could lead to “designer babies,” where parents pick and choose the traits of their children before birth, effectively crafting a child with certain physical aspects and abilities.
Scientists researching embryonic genetic modification state that their work is only aimed at preventing genetic diseases, not creating made-to-order offspring. Diseases that could be prevented with embryonic gene editing include Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and cases of breast and ovarian cancer caused by mutations in the BRCA gene.

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