There have been many discoveries this year, from being able to re-build tooth enamel to tardigrades surviving on the moon. In this blog post are the most exciting scientific breakthroughs from 2019 as voted by our team!
In a clinical trial, a device that inundates the brain with electromagnetic waves has reversed loss of memory caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The neurodegenerative disease, which causes memory loss and cognitive decline, affects up to 24 million people worldwide.
Japanese scientists injected cellular fragments extracted from 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth remains into mouse cells and briefly “awoke” them. This study is an important step towards successfully replicating the mammoth and provides an essential tool to study the cells of other extinct species, it could even prevent the extinction of species alive today.
Bioprinting Bespoke Organs
The field of 3D bioprinting leaped forward this year. There were major breakthroughs in creating the networks of blood vessels needed to keep tissues alive. Tissue engineers managed to 3D print functional skin grafts using “bioink”. Bioink is made of living cells that can be fed into 3D printers to build organs.
Seeing the unseeable
The first-ever image of a black hole was a massive project involving around 200 international researchers. The black hole itself is unseeable, but the latest observations illuminate the horizon past which all known physical laws collapse. Also in 2019, scientists managed to capture the first images of quantum entanglement.
Scientists injected stem cells into lab mice to give them infrared vision, allowing them to see wavelengths that are not normally visible. A single injection lasted 10 weeks with no lasting side effects. The hope is that the technology can be developed to cure colour blindness along with “enabling human beings to see beyond our natural capabilities”.
Other discoveries of 2019 that didn’t quite make the cut include, the creation of 8 letter synthetic DNA, evidence of surface water on Mars and the plummeting bird populations around the world, what an amazing year!