Interesting Engineering’s top 10 health articles in 2022

With findings ranging from the consequences of alcohol and marijuana consumption to new COVID variants, 2022 was one of a kind.
Mert Erdemir
3-Banner: COVID-19 vaccine, pills falling, doctors in a lab

2022 is almost over. What a year! In terms of health and medicine, it has been an unusual year with groundbreaking developments. As we partly left the anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic behind, scientists acquired the opportunity to shift their focus to other significant areas.

With findings ranging from the consequences of alcohol and marijuana consumption to the discovery of new COVID variants, 2022 was one of a kind.

Countdown of the top ten health stories from 2022

Now that we have come to the end of 2022, we have compiled for you Interesting Engineering's most-read news articles in the health section. Let's have a closer look at the summary of 2022 regarding the health section. Who knows? Maybe the clues about what kind of developments await us in the coming years are hidden in this year's developments.

10. The EPA approves plans to release billions of genetically modified mosquitos

Interesting Engineering’s top 10 health articles in 2022
A swarm of flying mosquitoes.

The report from March 11 states that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved plans from biotech company Oxitec to release 2.4 billion gene-altered mosquitos in Florida and California to fight mosquito-borne diseases. This was a surprising strategy with potential risks. Here's hoping we won't experience its negative consequences in 2023.

9. A drug once used to treat alcoholism may cure retinal degeneration

According to a press release published on March 18, a research team from the University of California, Berkeley, has found that a drug once widely used to treat alcoholism may help improve sight in people with vision disorders. Who would have thought? Science is full of surprises, and there's no doubt that it'll keep amazing us in 2023 as well.

8. A breakthrough in DNA sequencing hints at why most smokers don't get lung cancer

The chance of a non-smoker developing lung cancer is roughly one in 6,000, while the chances skyrocket to one in five or ten for a regular smoker. But still, most people who smoke won't develop lung cancer. In a small study published on April 11, researchers reported that smoking appears to drive a predictable increase in the number of cancer-causing mutations in lung cells — but only up to a point. The finding is significant for preventing lung cancer, which we hope will happen in 2023.

7. A new study suggests that alcohol consumption is detrimental for people under 40

New research reveals alcohol poses significant health risks and has no good effect on those under the age of 40, according to a press release published on July 14.

The study is the first to report alcohol risk by geographical region, age, sex, and year. The work took into account data for males and females aged between 15 and 95 years and older between 1990 and 2020 in 204 countries and territories. 

6. A breakthrough method may help Type 2 Diabetes patients to lose weight while asleep

University of Portsmouth researchers aim to recruit 15 volunteers for a trial that will test hypoxia — a state where the body does not receive sufficient amounts of oxygen — as an intervention for Type 2 diabetes.

As per the institutional press release, each volunteer will be provided with a sleeping tent in which they have to sleep for ten-day periods on two separate occasions.

5. Vitamin D overdose is possible and becoming more common, doctors warn

Interesting Engineering’s top 10 health articles in 2022
A person holding a bunch of vitamin D pills.

Vitamin D toxicity is a formerly known severe condition that occurs when excessive amounts of vitamin D are taken via supplements. It is caused by supplements only, not by diet or sun exposure, since the body cannot regulate the amount of vitamin D that is taken by supplements.

In a new case report published on July 6, doctors pointed out this problem after treating a hospitalized patient for excessive vitamin D intake. So, 2022 also taught us not to take vitamin D supplements irresponsibly. We should always take them in safe amounts and safe combinations.

4. A hidden immune feature may have spared unvaccinated people from COVID-19 infections

A team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg has just taken another step toward understanding how the immune system develops resistance against COVID-19.

Researchers investigated 156 employees who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 from five primary care health facilities. They eventually identified IgA (immunoglobulin A) in the respiratory tracts of several of those who didn't catch COVID-19, which could mean they had an antidote in their immune systems all this time.

3. A 'stealth' variant of Omicron is taking over COVID-19 infections

Another story about the discovery of a brand new COVID-19 variant reports that the recently-discovered substrain called 'Stealth Omicron' is even more transmissible than Omicron.

"The U.K. Health Security Agency has so far detected 426 cases of the "Stealth Omicron," the Independent reported, and has categorized it as a "variant under investigation" after it has been detected in over 40 countries, so far, including India, Sweden, Norway, Singapore to list a few," reads the story.

We hope that there'll be no more new variants in 2022 and that we will leave COVID-19 and its negative influences behind with the new year.

2. It's official. Smoking cannabis substantially alters the way you see

A team of researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) has found that smoking cannabis drastically alters vision, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

While a shockingly high number of cannabis users claimed to be able to see just fine, the new study has found the drug does the complete opposite by altering key visual functions like visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, the ability to focus, and more.

1. Scientists discovered a new molecule that kills even the deadliest cancer

Interesting Engineering’s top 10 health articles in 2022
Stock image of cancer cells under a microscope.

According to a study paper published on June 2, doctors at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center conducted a small-scale trial on a tiny group of people with rectal cancer and observed that after giving the subjects a drug called dostarlimab for six months, every single one of their tumors disappeared.

That was your lot of top ten most-read stories of IE's health section compilation. As you can see, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in 2020, were still perceivable in 2022. Apart from that, there were findings from a wide variety of fields that surprised us.

We wish 2023 to be full of new positive developments in medicine. There are still many diseases that lack a cure, and we rely on science to overcome them.

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