The year of 2014 has seen some promising advances in the health arena. Some of these breakthroughs are new and revolutionary. Others continue to build on past accomplishments. A few take our previous "wisdom" and turn it on its head.
Take a look at our sampling of medical breakthroughs that occurred during 2014.
1) Alzheimer's Blood Test
A blood test that tracks 10 biomarkers has been found to have a 90 percent accuracy rate in predicting a person's risk for Alzheimer's disease or other type of decline in cognition within a three-year period. Research was performed at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington.
In other research from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany, a turmeric compound may hold promise for the development of a Alzheimer's drug that could increase brain stem cell production.
2) DNA test Diagnoses Infectious Diseases
It takes only a matter of minutes for the diagnostic computer software to sort through millions of bacteria DNA fragments, searching for multiple diseases simultaneously. The usual blood tests can take days or weeks for diagnosis. The new software's computer analysis takes minutes.
Charles Chiu, M.D., professor of laboratory medicine and of medicine, infectious diseases, at the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues have helped in the development of the software.
3) Dead Heart Transplant
A breakthrough technique brings hearts that have stopped beating for as long as 20 minutes back to life for transplantation. This could mean that hearts for transplant won't only need to come from brain-dead donors whose hearts are still beating. It could mean that substantially more hearts can be transplanted.
The new treatment was developed by surgeons in Australia.
Is the e-cigarette a good thing or a bad thing? Time will tell. An analysis by Virginia Commonwealth University indicates that there are more benefits to using a nicotine-delivery system that is not a traditional cigarette. More study is needed in this area.
5) Fecal Transplant