Science. It runs our lives and is advancing every day, almost faster than we can keep track of it. The relentless pursuit of progress spans all disciplines, and thankfully there are people who follow the latest and greatest.
Flea_Shooter asked: What are some recent scientific breakthroughs/discoveries that aren't getting enough attention?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
15. Science we desperately need.
Microfragmenting - the scientific creation of coral (usual 25-30 years) done in 3 years! Helping the ocean and planet survive!
The warehouse attached to my property is heavily invested in this. It's really cool seeing the coral laid out under the huge specialist lights they have in there. Very futuristic industrial vibe.
Also they figured out why Cuba's coral is thriving while other reefs in the Caribbean are dying, it's because Cuba doesn't use chemical fertilizers due to the Soviet Union collapse.
14. It's in the bones.
Schizophrenia may start in your bone marrow. One guy got cured of schizophrenia by getting a bone marrow transplanthttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/29/opinion/sunday/schizophrenia-psychiatric-disorders-immune-system.html
And another guy got schizophrenia from a bone marrow transplant from his schizophrenic brother. https://www.nature.com/articles/bmt2014221
Some studies claim that schizophrenia is caused by autoimune response to certain brain proteins which are not yet indentified. Most of their patients got better after immunosuppession therapy or plasmapheresis. By changing bone marrow, you actually change persons blood cells, including the ones of the immune system. So that's probbably the reason of reported shizophrenia in bone marrow transplantees.
13. Well, what are you wheating for?
There's a good chance there will be a cure for celiac disease within the next 10 years. There's currently an active and ongoing clinical trial where participants (with diagnosed celiac) are getting infusions that will ultimately reverse the autoimmune response a person with celiac has when they consume gluten. It's still far from complete, but we are closer than we've ever been to curing celiac disease.
**The clinical trial is taking place in Cleveland, Ohio. I was asked to be a part of it but unfortunately I just don't have the extra time. If anybody local wants more information please message me and I can get you in contact with one of the researchers!
It would be great if this could lead to cures for other autoimmune disorders. I'd rather not have my body attack my thyroid.
12. Mobile burn units.
Pretty recently they started doing tests for an extremely mobile skin grafting machine. It use a kind of hydrogel out of the patient's own skin, and scans the area of the burn then just prints out the skin.
11. Chemo with fewer side effects.
is coming came out with a drug that reduces the damage chemotherapy does to the body and helps regenerate blood cells faster, allowing for stronger doses to be administered and treatment scheduled to be reduced heavily.
This allows doctors to treat cancer more aggressively.
Due to this blowing up:
- I am not part of research, I just work here. For those that dug through my post history, it's not uncommon for people to get degrees but work in different fields.
- The drug is already on the market.
- No, coffee doesn't actually cure cancer.
10. Whatever it is, I want stuff made out of it.
Earlier this month, scientists were able tosuccessfully weld glass and metal together using ultrafast (on the order of picoseconds, which are such a short unit of time that compared to it, a full second might as well be 30,000 years) laser pulses. This hasn't been successfully done before due to the very different thermal properties of glass and metal. This is actually a pretty big breakthrough in manufacturing and could lead to stronger yet lighter materials.
9. Hopefully it won't be too late.
That we have figured out how to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and now, very recently, how to turn it into solid flakes of carbon again. And not just under higly specific and expensive lab conditions, this process is apparently scalable.https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/carbon-dioxide-into-coal
We still need to curb emissions but this does flip the equation quite a bit regarding global warming, allowing us to put some of the toothpaste back into the tube so to speak.
Coupled with wind and solar energy, I predict this will become a major industry by mid-century, and very pure carbon an abundant material.
8. He shall be mine, and he shall be my fluffy.
Don't know if anyone has pointed this one out... but pretty certain scientists have discovered a new species of orcas that live in sub-Antarctic waters. They are calling it the "Type-D Orca"... pretty cool looking animals. More rounded heads... smaller white eye patches... taller, narrower dorsal fins... being a soon to be marine biology grad, this excites me!
EDIT: A lot more attention than I expected, thank you guys! Here is a nat geo link for those who want to see pics or vids! Also, I do realize that these have been talked about and described for many years now... but this is the first time they have been videoed and sampled for DNA testing. "Type D" Orcas
7. Hubble's constant isn't so constant after all.
Astronomer here! Most of you have heard that the universe is expanding. Astrophysicists believe there is a relationship between the distance to faraway galaxies and how fast they are moving from us, called the Hubble constant. We use the Hubble constant for... just about everything in cosmology, to be honest.
This isn't crazy and has been accepted for many decades. What is crazy is, if you are paying attention, it appears the Hubble constant is different depending on what you use to measure it! Specifically, if you use the "standard candle" stars (Cepheids and Type Ia supernovae) to measure how fast galaxies are speeding away from us, you get ~73 +/- 1 km/s/Mpc. If you study the earliest radiation from the universe (the Cosmic Microwave Background) using the
Planck satellite , you get 67 +/- 1 km/s/Mpc. This is a LOT, and both methods have a lot of confidence in that measurement with no obvious errors.
To date, no one has come up with a satisfactory answer for why this might be, and in the past year or so it's actually a bit concerning. If they truly disagree, well, it frankly means there is some new, basic physics at play.
Exciting stuff! It's just so neat that whenever you think you know how the universe works, it can throw these new curveballs at you from the most unexpected places!
Edit: some are asking if dark energy which drives the acceleration of the universe might cause the discrepancy. In short, no. You can read this article to learn more about what's going on, and this article can tell you about the expansion of the universe. In short, we see that the universe is now accelerating faster than we expect even when accounting for dark energy. It's weird!
6. Esketamine, technically, but this is showing great promise.
The FDA just approved ketamine as an antidepressant for treatment-resistant depression in the form of esketamine as a nasal spray. It's of the few unique and hopeful approaches to treatment-resistant depression that we've seen in years—some stats put the rate of recovery as high as 80% (not full recovery, but alleviation at least).
5. There is so much lost history.
Göbekli Tepe - ruin discovered in Turkey that dates back to 11000 BCE, or further. This throws a massive wrench into our understanding of what people were capable of at that time, and hints at advanced civilizations having likely existed long before we thought they did. It has also only been about 10% excavated.
I've actually read some articles over the past few weeks about archaeologists using LIDAR technology to uncover Mayan ruins, and they've found that Mayan civilization was much more extensive than originally assumed; at its height, its now believed that its population may have numbered near 15 million citizens, and that they engaged in extensive trade with their neighbors to the North and South; these LIDAR scans have revealed evidence of vast cities, farmlands and roadways. And this was all without any pack animals or wheeled carts.
4. Popped a Molly now I'm better.
If the final trials go well (they are predicted to and the previous trials have done), MDMA-assisted psychotherapy will soon be an FDA-approved treatment for PTSD. It is administered in a couple of doses over a few weeks and has lifelong effects. The group doing this research got FDA Breakthrough Therapy status for it a few years ago and have been carrying out the phase 3 trials since early last year. They were doing research into the same thing in Israel and it just got approved for compassionate use for PTSD in Israel this month. Organization is called MAPS and they do some really interesting work.
ETA: They are still recruiting people for these trials if anybody is interested. Also clarified it's MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, i.e. psychotherapy and MDMA used together.
As well as for PTSD, it'd be excellent if they could find a way for MDMA to be used in therapy for anxiety and depression. As someone who struggles with both, MDMA has been the best thing I've ever tried.
If we found a way to safely administer, moderate and use MDMA as means of therapy and treatment, it would be absolutely revolutionary.
Already being done! MAPS researchers have been doing work in this area for a while, plus a few people I can think of in the UK. The capability for treatment is very much there, it's just quite difficult to obtain funding and resources for the scale that pharma production requires, in part due to the massive stigma about working with it.
I don't know if you've ever looked into the history of MDMA as a therapeutic drug, but it's utterly fascinating. I think a lot of people know that it was an experimental drug popular with psychoanalysts and the like, but it's lesser known just how many experts tried to stop the DEA scheduling it
so harshly. They really tried! The person who founded MAPS was involved in this expert backlash.
3. Wouldn't mind some bionic parts.
I would have to say prosthesis.
You can get hands and feet that are pretty close to the actual thing that operate by feeling the muscles that remain.
We will soon be long gone from the days of military style hooks and lumps of solid plastic.
2. Climate change, caused by humans, is decimating insect populations.
It isn't just the bee colonies that are dying, it's all our insects. Recent research and predictions are saying that our insect populations, particularly that of butterflies and moths are on track to extinction in 100 years due to pesticides and climate change. If our insects continue to decline we will see a cascade flow into other animals, birds etc including our own species.
Environmental scientists are saying we're at the beginning of a mass extinction event. Truly terrifying and very little is leaking to the public via mass media or being mocked as a conspiracy theory.
Well that's scary.
You want scary? In certain areas of the world insect numbers have already plummeted to next to nothing causing the animal life that relies on insects for food to also almost vanish.
1. It's even worse for marine life.
Pretty much all water and food we consume contains microplastics. Cool!
What does that mean for us?
What does that mean for us?
Constant exposure to particles that emit estrogenic compounds. The plastics are found lodged in mouse kidneys fed municipal tap water. The same is likely true for us. Its a particularly bad place to fuck with hormonally.
It may be the reason western men's sperm counts are catastrophically dropping. It may also contribute to obesity, heart disease, and cancer rates. Constant exposure to outside hormones is a bad thing.
You can filter the water with reverse osmosis to remove the plastic, but meat and esp seafoods are laden with it. Even most vegetable products are.
Most microplastics in our water supply (and that makes its way to the crops and oceans) come from fibers from clothing as it gets washed. We need to switch to natural fabrics immediately.
What's your favorite scienfitific discovery?