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As we're entering a new year, it's time to reflect on what happened in 2016. Besides the extremely polarizing events that have dominated the news, some crucial health breakthroughs were achieved that we can definitely all be proud of.

For many people across the globe, 2016 was a rough and extremely polarizing year — to the point that plenty of folks are more than happy to get it over and done with, already! In the field of health, however, some very important breakthroughs took place that have largely been overshadowed by news about key political events, and even the deaths of some of the world's most favorite musicians. 

 

As we enter a new year, what advances in health and healthcare should give us hope for the future?

 

The First New Antibiotic In Three Decades 

Everyone who keeps up-to-date with health news has gradually grown used to alarming articles about growing antibiotic resistance. While a post-antibiotic world is a dystopic future we all hope our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to avoid, the reality is that 23,000 people already lose their lives because of anbibiotic-resistant superbug infections, annually in the United States alone. 

In 2016, however, new hope came to light in the form of lugdunin, the name given to a new class of antibiotics isolated from nothing other than the human nose — its source the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis. 

 

Antibiotics were previously believed to come from soil bacteria and fungi alone, but 2016 has shown us that the human microbiome offers an exciting new source of potential antibiotics. lugdunin, a study published in the journal Nature showed, has already been proven to have the potential to fight MRSA superbug infections in mice. 

Is A Cure For HIV On The Horizon?

British clinicians and scientists made remarkable progress during what the director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infra­structure, Mike Samuels, deemed "one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV". The research combines traditional antiretroviral drugs for HIV with a medication to reactivate dormant HIV cells and a vaccine that triggers the body's immune system to destroy remaining copies of the virus.

 

While 50 HIV patients are participating in the trial, the first one to complete the treatment is showing no signs of HIV in his blood at the moment. 

 

This isn't the first time someone with HIV was reported "cured" only for subsequent tests to show otherwise, but if this novel treatment turns out to really work, 2016 will forever be marked as the year during which a cure for HIV was discovered. 

Stem-Cell Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man Regain Limb Mobility

Kristopher Boesen from California was left paralyzed from the neck down, and unable to breathe without assistance, after he was involved in a car accident in March 2016. He then went on to receive the very bad news that he may never be able to use his limbs again. As soon after as April, however, Kris became part of a clinical trial with AST-OPC1, a treatment derived derived from myelin-stimulating embryonic stem cells.

Two weeks later, Kris regained partial movement within his hands and arms, and went on to once again feed himself, write with a pen, and even hug his loved ones, making a treatment that would once have belonged squarely to the realm of science fiction a reality!

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