science news The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018  

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January 4, 2018 7.8k views 27 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. 

Scientists Erased Damage Caused By Alzheimer's Disease In A Human Brain Cell


Scientists Erased Damage Cause... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  Alzheimer Universal/YouTube

While the precise implications may not be clear for years, it's possible scientists at Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco made a major breakthrough in terms of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. The researchers extracted stem cells from Alzheimer's patients and healthy volunteers and used these cells to create neurons (brain cells). The Alzheimer's patients all had two copies of the apoE4 gene - which greatly increases one's risk for developing Alzheimer's. Scientists studied the neurons of both healthy individuals and individuals affected by Alzheimer's. By doing so, they discovered the apoE4 gene causes Alzheimer's via the increased production of a neuron-damaging protein. 

Once the researchers figured out the protein promoted Alzheimer's Disease, they developed a method that allowed them to change its structure. By doing so, they erased any evidence of Alzheimer's in the damaged neurons and the cells became healthier and lived longer. 

The research is very promising, but does not necessarily mean there will be a cure for Alzheimer's in the near future. Researchers still need to find a way to alter neurons in human patients, which could take considerable more time and research. Nevertheless, the study marks a major breakthrough in terms of understanding the root cause of Alzheimer's Disease. 

Scientists Harvested Vegetables In A Greenhouse In Antarctica


Scientists Harvested Vegetable... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  Newscom/YouTube

Without the help of earth or daylight, scientists managed to harvest vegetables on a greenhouse in Antarctica. German researchers operating out of the Neumayer Station III announced in April 2018 they harvested salad greens, cucumbers, and radishes in a high tech greenhouse. Outside, temperatures often dropped below -4 degrees Fahrenheit, but inside the researchers created an environment hospitable to plant growth. The project's intent is to one day help astronauts grow food while navigating planets like Mars. 

A Stem Cell Transplant Successfully Cured Sickle Cell Anemia


A Stem Cell Transplant Success... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  OpenStax College/WikiMedia Commons /CC BY 3.0

In April 2018, 26 year old Revée Agyepong was declared sickle cell free after receiving a stem cell transplant months prior. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease that affects the structure of blood cells, causing organ damage and severe pain. The average life expectancy ranges from 40 to 60 years. Prior to the surgery, Agyepong had to receive extensive treatments every eight weeks and suffered from health ailments like a non-functioning spleen. After the transplant, Agyepong's overall health improved greatly and she was eventually declared sickle cell free. Researchers and doctors hope this will result in patients receiving similar treatments in the future. 

Scientists May Have Discovered An Entirely New Organ


Scientists May Have Discovered... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2018
Photo:  inside human body/YouTube

In March 2018, new research from the journal Scientific Reports emerged that could have major implications on how we think about the human body. New York University School of Medicine researchers believe they've discovered, or rather classified, a new organ. How could doctors miss an organ for so long? The interstitium was previously thought to be a dense layer of tissues, but the NYU researchers believe it's a tiny channel that connects to the lymphatic system. For a discovery like this, firm scientific consensus is necessary. Peer review and further research are needed to officially classify the interstitium as an organ. 

If the findings are verified, this has pretty major implications for modern medicine. The interstitium may be how cancer cells spread. As the interstitium is made up of fluid-filled channels, cancer cells could easily slide through and invade the rest of the body. As better understanding of cancer cells can help create effective treatments, this has the potential to be a major game changer for modern medicine.