Medical Breakthroughs in 2015

You might not see it every day, but we live in a country that is continuously making medical history – way back from the first heart transplant to the very recent penis transplant When i became a novelist, Ied the text! South Africa is truly home to some of the world’s most brilliant people. But we’re not the only ones – here are some of the best medical breakthroughs that happened across the globe this year!

First Successful Penis transplant recipient loses baby

Earlier this year, we covered this ground-breaking story of the first successful penis transplant. It was a phenomenal medical breakthrough that even gave the man the ability to become a father. We were very saddened by the recent news that he, and his girlfriend, had lost their baby. The cause of the baby’s death is currently unknown. We send our condolences to the family, following this terrible tragedy.

A Potential Malaria Vaccine

Did you know that malaria is one of the deadliest diseases in Africa? It claims roughly 627, 000 lives each year, especially children under the age of 5. This disease, which is only spread by certain mosquitoes, is one of the deadliest and toughest to recover from. This year, a malaria vaccine has passed most clinical trials and has been given the green light for more testing! The first results show that it is best used in children between five and 17 months, provided that they go for all booster shots as well. However, before it can be made available the World Health Organisation still needs to approve it.

The Most Extensive Facial Transplant

In August this year Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter, underwent the biggest face transplant in history. In 2001 he burned his face, losing his eyelids, lips, ears, nose and his hair. The doctors involved took the face of a 26 year old organ donor which matched Hardison. The lead doctor, Dr Eduardo Rodriguez, a plastic surgeon, lead a team of 150 staff during this operation. According to Rodriguez, Patrick is recovering well and will hopefully begin talking in the next six months.

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The Three-Parent Baby

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, but that might not be the case in the future. It turns out that scientists have found a way to use a third person’s DNA during fertilisation. The main reason behind it is to help defeat certain conditions. It can only be done through IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), where the mother’s egg is combined with another egg and the father’s sperm is used to fertilise the new egg. Over more generations, bad genes might go away completely, leaving behind healthier genes.

The Discovery Of A Brand New Antibiotic

Penicillin changed the face of medicine back when it was discovered in 1928. Since then antibiotics have helped treat bacterial infections that have plagued people for centuries. With antibiotics, we can treat things like TB, tetanus and pneumonia.

However, many bacteria became resistant to all the antibiotics, leaving us defenseless against infections. The good news is, a new antibiotic, teixobactin, has been discovered and it’s very effective at beating drug-resistant bacteria. Trials have only been done in mice, but the outlook is very positive.

Here’s to the men and women in medicine, who keep moving us forward, finding cures and solutions to live longer and stronger. We’re looking forward to see what they will come up with in 2016, to make the world a better place!