by Justin Crockett
“I’m doing health!!”
There are certain things in medicine that are just permanent, like, it’s not going to change. You’re afflicted, and will stay afflicted. But these examples didn’t get that email, they said fuck science.
#6. Multiple Sclerosis
MS has long been a life sentence for its sufferers. Affecting 2.5 million people, the disease causes slow, degenerative nerve damage, prompting painful brain and body breakdowns. There has never even been a whiff of a cure, until Paolo Zamboni, a doctor in Italy, had a hunch that it was caused by a blockage of pathways that remove excess iron buildups from the brain. He developed a procedure that cleared them up, and 2 years after the surgery, 73 percent of the patients had no symptoms whatsoever.
#5. Addiction Vaccines
Addicts can tell you that the effects of nicotine, heroin, alcohol, etc., are not something that just goes away. It is a lifelong struggle. That’s why scientists are hard at work on vaccines that would produce antibodies that fight the substance that the person is putting in their body, thereby making the drug itself ineffective. Failures at taking on this scientific task have been basically fruitless until recent years.
Last year, researchers were able to administer a vaccine to lab rats that effectively zeroed out the effects of heroin. The vaccine worked by making the immune system create antibodies that bind to the addictive compounds of heroin, keeping them from entering the brain and doing their heroin-y thing.
#4. The Blind See Again
Blind for 20 years, an English man, Chris James is one of the world’s first to receive a bionic eye implant. A chip put behind his retina sends images directly to his brain, where it forms the information into images. Doctors believe he will be able to recognize faces very soon. And he’s not the only one.
In Germany, a 46 year old blind man, received a similar procedure, and is now able to read the alphabet and clock faces.
#3. Paraplegics Walk Again
Rob Summers was a hit and run victim, paralyzed from the waist down after the accident. Doctors implanted electrodes in his lower spine, which resulted in him regaining movement in his legs, being able to progressively walk more without aid, and even walk a treadmill. The ability to do so comes not from his brain, but from his spinal cord working with the muscles in his legs and feet.
Agnes Fejerdy was also paralyzed from an accident, but she took another route to get walking again: an exoskeleton robot walking suit. The suit allows a person to stand up, walk around, and even climb stairs.
Northwestern University has even developed a device that can send signals directly from the brain to paralyzed muscles, enabling rhesus monkeys that were given a temporary paralyzing anesthetic to actually use their disabled arms.
#2. Man Cured Of HIV
In 1995, Timothy Brown tested positive for HIV. During his treatment, Brown received stem cells from a donor who was immune to HIV, which about 1 percent of Caucasians are. He has since stopped taking his HIV medication, and the virus has completely vanished from his body.
#1. Waking From Brain Death
A 59 year old West Virginia woman had no pulse and was not breathing one morning, when her family called the paramedics. Without a heartbeat, and no oxygen for 15 minutes, she was put on a respirator upon arrival at the hospital. The outlook was dire, and the family started discussing options for organ donation. Meanwhile, while an artificial breathing machine was chugging away, she started displaying rigor mortis, and not one brain wave was detected for 17 hours. The decision was made to stop life support, until ten minutes later, the woman awoke and began speaking to nurses.
Zack Dunlap was an ATV crash victim, airlifted to a Texas hospital. 36 hours later, a scan of the brain revealed no brain activity, as well as no blood flow at all to the brain itself. 4 hours after being declared legally dead, a nurse noticed that he did not appear as dead as previously thought. Reflex tests confirmed it. Within 5 days, he opened his eyes, and a month and a half after the accident, he walked out of the hospital.