We are deluged with bad news. Funny thing is, believe it or not, bad news is outdone by good news – you never hear. “Postman bit by dog” gets reported while 70,499 postmen not bit by dog go unrecognized. See what I mean? So, here is the good news: Ten major medical breakthroughs.
Despite Biden, the private sector slogs on – in magical, mesmerizing ways. One is pushing the envelope in science and medicine. Sometimes, it is worth stopping to recognize – for the entertaining political histrionics – serious good is happening.
So, here we go.
Number one. Not surprisingly, in the wake of COVID, we are seeing “next generation” vaccines. This is not about one disease of vaccine, but how vaccines are done. In the past year, we saw pioneering in mRNA vaccines. What that really means is, new options to address certain cancers and viruses like Zika, plus faster response.
Number two. A new targeted response to prostate cancer. Half of us are likely to get it, and while cures are there, PSMA is a biomarker – and what they just discovered, with FDA approval, is a way to combine existing technologies to better pinpoint location, which allows faster focused treatment of recurrence.
Number three. Very few escape a nodding acquaintance with high cholesterol. If you have escaped that issue, well done. If not, you are like me and have that to deal with – but there are also new developments every year, and we just got one. In short, the “bad” LDL cholesterol – which contributes to heart disease – is usually easily treated with statins. But some find statins top out or are not as effective over time. The new discovery that may help those who reach a “maximally tolerated dose,” and need another option. Looks like that is, to their benefit, on the horizon.
Number four. With an enormous part of the US population affected by diabetes, including type 2, advances are always welcome. Again, the last year produced one. A new potential therapy may be a once-a-week option for controlling blood sugar, now in phase III trials.
Number five. For women, postpartum depression is a real and often hard-to-manage event, one that can go undiagnosed and affect mental health, and over time family and friends. A novel therapy – a specific injection that treats the depression quickly – appears to modulate brain response to stress. Scientists consider it “ground-breaking.”
Number six. A condition known as “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” or “HCM” has long evaded an effective response, with many drugs showing “limited effectiveness.” That said, this condition – which involves reducing “abnormal contractions caused by genetic variants that put the heart into overdrive” – may be near. Three effects are reduced symptoms, better quality of life, and slowing disease progress.
Number seven. Apparently, a “new group of non-hormonal drugs, called NK3R antagonists” may offer a reliable option for those suffering effects of menopause. The duration of this transition can be years, and non-hormonal responses are both promising, and moderate effects. Science is fast advancing.
Number eight. Not much spoken about is the advent of paralysis. More than five million people have some form of it, and it tends to affect wider health concerns. Apparently, implanted technology is fast offering options “to recover lost motor control” with “digital devices.” This kind of advance is occurring across medicine but addressing severe paralysis can be lifechanging.
Number nine. Sepsis, an inflammatory response to infection, is global curse and often results in death. Early detection is lifesaving. Since “sepsis shock” is so dangerous, arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict and quickly diagnosis is a gamechanger.
Finally, number ten. The so-called “silent killer” of hypertension or high blood pressure is as serious an issue as ever, and that makes “predictive analysis” doubly important. According to updates, the key is not treatment but timely detection. Again, AI is proving invaluable. And as in so many areas, this advance is likely to have ripple effects.
Perhaps the biggest point is not the number of medical breakthroughs occurring, accelerating nature of private sector science, synergy with targeted government research, or individual advances, good news for those they help – and their families. It is this: The modern world delivers a steady diet of discouraging news, triumphant when they bring us low. Do not be brought low. Stay firm in your conviction that good news outpaces bad every day of the week, because it does. This is today’s!