2016 has been a great year for science. Not only have amazing breakthroughs been made in medical technology, but thousands of studies have been published that provide new and amazing insights into the human body, mind, and the world around us. Here are a few of the scientific highlights of 2016.
Cannabis Remains a Potential Gold Mine
While one 2016 study found that marijuana use can accelerate memory loss, a lot of positive discoveries were made this year. According to a study published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, cannabis has neuroprotective properties that can reduce beta-amyloid levels. Beta-amyloid is the plaque that builds up in the brain and prevents nerve cells from sending messages. By reducing this plaque, the THC in marijuana can stop nerve cell death and protect the brain.
Closer to Winning the War on Cancer?
In June 2016, it was discovered that two molecules work together to help cancer cells survive metastasis. If these molecules were inhibited, the cancer cells might not be able to metastasize (divide and spread). Already, tests have begun to determine of medications that suppress the molecules are able to prevent the spread of cancer cells.
In an early 2016 study, it was discovered that a combination of trastuzumab and lapatinib yielded impressive results in cases of breast tumors. The study found that 11% of the women treated with these medications saw their tumors disappear within 11 days, and 17% of the women had minimal residual disease.
Sugar Is the Enemy
A study from January 2016 found that people who consume a lot of high-sugar beverages (or food) have a significantly higher chance of being obese or overweight than those who don’t. Consumption of sugary beverages increased visceral fat, the kind that is stubborn and hard to eliminate.
Get More Exercise
In October 2016, it was discovered that being fit (cardiorespiratory fitness) is the most effective way to prevent heart disease and age-related health conditions. Just doing exercise isn’t enough—you have to keep doing exercise to work on your fitness and eliminate excess body weight.
Another study found that exercise alone isn’t enough to make up for too many hours spent sitting down. It’s a start, but it’s vital for those who spend a lot of time sitting to move around more than just an hour or so a day. Don’t remain sitting for too long, but get up and take a walk every 30 to 60 minutes. It can help to prevent health problems that stem from a sedentary lifestyle.
1. Schubert, David et al., “Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids“, Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, doi:10.1038/npjamd.2016.12, published online 23 June 2016.
2. Kermorgant, Stéphanie et al., “Beta 1-integrin–c-Met cooperation reveals an inside-in survival signalling on autophagy-related endomembranes“, Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/ncomms11942, published online 23 June 2016.
3. Whiteman, Honor, “Sugary drinks may increase harmful body fat.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Jan. 2016, accessed 21 Dec. 2016.
4. Sandbakk, Silvana Bm et al., “Cardiovascular risk factor clustering in older adults – the Generation 100 Study“, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.07.020, published 20 July 2016.
5. Rohm Young, Deborah et al., “Sedentary behavior and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality: A science advisory from the American Heart Association“, Circulation, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000440, published 15 August 2015, abstract.