news The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018  

Ranker Science
January 4, 2018 3.9k views 20 items Embed

Scientific breakthroughs happen across the globe each year as the world's top researchers make innovative discoveries that alter life on earth and change our perception of reality. The greatest scientific discoveries are an inspiring testament to the profound capabilities of the human mind. Each year, scientists make incredible discoveries.

In 2017, scientists learned how to pull water out of thin air and edit a human embryo. The latest breakthroughs from 2018 are just as impressive. If you haven't already learned about these recent scientific advances, now is the time. 

This list of 2018 scientific discoveries features informative works that span a wide range of disciplines. Some discoveries brought about a more rich understanding of our past. The last wild horses may not truly have wild ancestors and a lost Native American tribe gave us a more complex look at our earliest ancestors. Other discoveries may mean huge leaps for medical science. From blood tests to detect cancer to the potential to grow human organs for donations, these breakthroughs will give you hope for the future even in bleak times.  

The latest in science news is inspirational for a new generation of thinkers who will continue to push the boundaries of human capability. What were the biggest discoveries of 2018? Read on to find out. 

An Innovative Stem Cell Treatment Helps "Re-Boot" Blood And Bone Marrow For MS Patients

An Innovative Stem Cell Treatm... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  Robert M. Hunt/WikiMedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and immune system - resulting in debilitating symptoms that severely interfere with the lives of sufferers. MS is notoriously difficult to treat, but doctors identified an experimental stem cell treatment that shows promise. In the treatment, patients are given chemotherapy to destroy the immune system. Then, doctors repair the immune system using stem cells, essentially re-booting the blood and bone marrow. 

Over 100 people participated in a study that tested out the treatment. Only one person given the treatment relapsed. In the control group - where patients were treated via conventional means - 39 people relapsed. While further studies are needed, the results give doctors and sufferers hope a more effective MS cure is on the way. 

Scientists Restored The Sight Of Two Blind Patients - Which Could Mean An Eventual Cure For Blindness

Scientists Restored The Sight ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  BBC News/YouTube

Two patents with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the most common cause of blindness, received an experimental stem cell therapy and the treatment proved successful. Both patients had been gradually losing their sight for awhile, to the point they could no longer read. Scientists implanted a patch of stem cells over the damaged portions of the eyes, restoring vision. The patients regained their ability to read and see faces after treatment. 

The results are incredibly promising and may mean a virtual cure for blindness caused by ADM. Further studies and trials are needed to ensure there are no adverse affects of the procedure. However, researchers are optimistic. If trials continue to run successfully, the procedure could some day be as common and affordable as cataract surgery. 

Male Birth Control Could Be Available Soon

Male Birth Control Could Be Av... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo: WikiMedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0 FR

In March 2018, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle announced they may have finally created an effective male birth control pill. Known as dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), the male pill contains a combination of hormones that suppress sperm production and is taken once a day. In addition to blood work indicating the pill was working effectively, research subjects who took the pill reported minimal side effects. While further studies are necessary before the pill becomes widely available, the news is promising. 

For years, researchers have attempted to create a male birth control pill, but have run into a number of common problems. Testosterone used in past male birth control pills could cause liver problems. In addition to this, pills previously tested had to be taken twice daily to work effectively. While the new pill causes mild cholesterol issues, it so far seems to have avoided many of the major problems associated with male birth control in the past. 

Scientists Determined The Origin Of Sickle Cell Anemia

Scientists Determined The Orig... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  fudgefoundation/YouTube

In March 2018, an article in the American Journal of Human Genetics announced scientists have determined the origin of sickle cell anemia. The genetic condition affects the shape of red blood cells and can lead to serious complications like blood clots, infections, and blood loss. Via analyzing historical records and genomes of over 3,000 people with genetic histories of sickle cell anemia, scientists pinpointed the time and place of the disease's origin. Sickle cell anemia likely likely began about 7,300 years ago in West-Central Africa. The original mutation was likely passed on for hundreds of years until one child was born with two copies of the mutated gene and developed the disease. 

What are the implications for the study? Researchers hope more information regarding the disease and its origins can lead to better medical care.