Our Top Voted Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017


Scientists Develop New Method of Reviving Frozen Tissues

Earlier this year, a team of American Scientists discovered, and published in Science Translational Magazine, a breakthrough method of quickly rewarming significant samples of cryogenically-treated human and pig tissue without causing damage.

They found that using nanoparticles to heat the delicate matter enabled fragile tissues to be restored intact and the hope is that the procedure can be adapted to use on organs in the future to reduce organ transplant waiting lists and ultimately save countless human lives.

http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/379/eaah4586

Artificial Womb for Premature Babies Successful in Animal Trials

Lambs born at the equivalent human gestation of 23 weeks have been kept alive and developing ‘normally’ inside transparent plastic biobags. The discovery has exciting prospects for significantly reducing neonatal mortality and morbidity levels.

The study, published in Nature Communications, involved six premature lambs placed in artificial wombs after caesarean deliveries. Within minutes of birth, the lambs were sealed in the biobags and linked to a gas exchanger by their umbilical cord, allowing their blood oxygen to be replenished and nutrients to be infused.

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15112

“Super-Earth” Discovery

Space researchers have identified a celestial body, LHS 1140b, that they believe could be the most likely host for alien life ever found. It’s geometry means it can be studied from Earth and the Hubble Space Telescope.

LHS 1140b is a local (only 40 light years away) exoplanet that is about 1.4 times the size of Earth and seven times the mass. If initial investigations indicate there are signs of life on the planet, the next step would be to dispatch a probe (be aware, at the speed Voyager 1 is currently moving, it could take up to 700,000 years to get there!

Geologists Discover New Continent

Scientists have, earlier this year, presented evidence for a new continent in the southwest Pacific beneath New Zealand. Almost all of the landmass, named Zealandia, is underwater but Geologists argue it meets all of the important criteria to be recognized as Earth’s eighth continent. Unfortunately, as no scientific body formally recognises continents, there is doubt as to whether this will be formally recognised in any publications.

Scientists Reverse DNA Aging in Mice

Dr. David Sinclair, and colleagues from Harvard Medical School have discovered a way to protect mouse DNA from age-related damage and degradation. Their research centred around a compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and detailed how NAD+ works to keep cells young. When they added NAD+ to the drinking water of a group of mice, they observed within a couple of hours that their NAD+ levels started to rise - younger mice have more of it than older mice. Within a very short space of time, the scientists saw obvious age reversal in muscle and improvements in DNA repair.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6331/1312

Scientists Create New State of Matter

We all know from school that there are three forms of matter; solid, liquid and gas. Now, however, Scientists have successfully created a fourth state called “time crystals” or “space-time Crystals”. In these new crystals, atoms follow a repeating physical pattern such as any other, for example quartz and diamond, but also follow a repeating pattern in time. Because of this strange property, time crystals could one day have applications in technologies such as quantum computing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_crystal

First Human-Pig Chimera Embryos Created in Laboratory

In a highly controversial experiment, scientists announced earlier in the year that they successfully created the first successful human-animal hybrids, thus proving that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism and survive and grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. The discovery could lead to advancement in growing organs for transplantation.

http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31752-4

…and the weirdest scientific breakthrough of 2017, as voted for by the team has to be:

Scientist Claims Successful Human Head Transplant

In an 18 hour operation, Surgeon Sergio Canavero and his team claim to have successfully connected the spine, nerves and blood vessels of two corpses and are ready to do it on a living person.

Professor Canavero has gained fame and notoriety for his controversial claims about the procedure and has apparently signed up his first patient, a Russian man called Valery Spiridinov, who will have his head frozen and then grafted onto a new donor body, according to his doctor. It is worth noting at this point, that no concrete proof of the claim has been provided.

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