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Top five discoveries in 2018 that can solve unmet medical needs

For those suffering from diabetes, pricking fingers may become a thing of the past very soon.

December 29, 2018 / 06:22 PM IST

Viswanath Pilla
Moneycontrol News

The year 2018 saw many several promising discoveries related to solving some of the unmet medical needs.

Here are some of the top medical discoveries:

Male birth control pill shows promising results

For years there hasn't been much progress beyond condom when it came to tackle birth control. In March, researchers at University of Washington, Seattle, announced success in a trial for male birth control pills.

The pill, chemically called dimethandrolone undecanoate or DMAU, works similar to women's birth control by combining a male hormone, like testosterone, and a progestin. Taken once a day, the pill was found to be safe halting sperm production, and reduce testosterone production.


This wasn't the only breakthrough. In December, scientists began a large clinical trial to test a gel-based male birth control. The gel applied to the back and shoulders once daily, contains a combination of a progestin compound and testosterone that is absorbed through the skin.

Smart contact lenses that can monitor blood glucose 

For those suffering from diabetes, pricking fingers may become a thing of the past very soon. In an attempt to reduce the inconvenience of pricking, a team of scientists at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology developed a new contact lens capable of detecting glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

The smart lens built with transparent nano materials use tears to monitor glucose levels. Besides, because the system uses a wireless antenna to read sensor information. So far, the lenses have only been tested on live rabbits and found to working fine.

Deep brain stimulation can help patients paralysed from a stroke to recover faster

Strokes leave their victims paralyzed, and could agonizing to both the patient and caretakers.  Cleveland Clinic researchers used deep brain stimulation (DBS) on a 59-year-old woman who experienced paralysis after having an ischemic stroke.  The researchers saw significant improvement in her motor functions five months after she had a DBS electrode surgically implanted in her cerebellum. The procedure is undergoing further clinical work, before it gets to the patient.

For the first time, a baby was born via a uterus transplant from a deceased donor

In a news that raises hope among women who are unable to get pregnant due to either born without uteruses or lost them for medical reasons, early this month researchers reported that for the first time, a woman gave birth after receiving a uterus transplant from a deceased donor.

Although a transplant from a live donor was successfully implanted in 2014, this was the first case of a live birth via a deceased donor's uterus.

In the case report, published in the Lancet, a 32-year-old woman with congenital uterine absence underwent uterine transplantation in University of Sao Paulo hospital in Brazil, from a donor who died of a rare type of stroke. Doctors transferred an embryo made via IVF into her womb just seven months after the transplantation. The woman's pregnancy was normal, and doctors performed a Caesarean section to deliver the baby girl on December 15, 2017.

Now an injection a month can prevent migraine 

The USFDA in May announced approval of Aimovig, a preventive treatment for migraines. The treatment is administered once a month via injection and is the first drug approved that works by blocking the activity of calcitonin gene-related peptide, a molecule that is involved in migraine attacks. The effectiveness of Aimovig for the preventive treatment of migraines was evaluated in three clinical trials and was found to reduce the frequency of patients' migraines in each study.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Dec 29, 2018 06:18 pm