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8 Scientific Facts That Prove We're Basically Living In A Sci-Fi Universe

Thanks to these guys, looks like we'll officially live long and prosper.

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1. Personalized medicine is being utilized to help create potential custom cancer treatments.

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Cancer is one of the main causes of death in America, and personalized medicine is already being meaningfully used to help determine which treatments may be most effective against cancer for different individuals. Personalized medicine involves examining a specific person's genetic information. Then, depending on their different genetic factors, doctors seek to make more informed recommendations about which therapies and treatments may be most worth pursuing. This might lead not only to longer lives for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, but also, in some cases, to less-invasive treatments.

2. Human organs-on-chips are being investigated for their incredible potential in eventual personalized medicinal applications.

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Organs-on-chips are microchips containing living human-tissue cells. The way the chips are designed will allow scientists to observe the way that human organ tissues function when they’re diseased and how they might respond to potential treatments. This is particularly exciting because the chips are more biologically similar to an actual human than cells in a dish.

3. Genome editing shows exciting potential for fighting genetic diseases.

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Technology now exists that allows scientists to modify genomic sequences in human embryos, potentially preventing them from having genetic diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Friedreich ataxia.

4. Epigenetic research is changing our understanding of the nature vs. nurture debate.

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While our genetic makeup is pretty set in stone, we now understand that how our cells read those genes is not, thanks to the study of epigenetics. In other words, things like exercise, stress, toxins, and nutrition may affect how our genes get expressed. This new understanding of the interwoven relationship between nature and nurture has already led to interesting research on topics such as slowing down the aging process, predicting mortality, and multigenerational "memories."

5. Paleogenetics is being used to bring ancient genetic materials back to life.

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Paleogeneticists use futuristic recombinant DNA technology to bring ancient genetic material back to life (like those taken from Neanderthals) in order to learn about our past. Some of the fascinating findings include determining when primates began drinking alcohol and proof that Homo sapiens at one point mated with Neanderthals.

6. Nanosensors inserted into the body may be used for crucial early detection of infection and disease.

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By the time many medical problems become apparent, they may be past the point of easy treatment. To combat this problem, tiny nanosensors are being put inside people's bodies in order to detect problematic cell growth. Artificial hip implants are a good example of this, where nanosensors are put on the implant in order to detect potential infection and harmful scar-tissue buildup before they're too far along. Without these nanosensors, patients tend only to notice infection when it's so far along that the hip implant needs to be entirely removed and replaced. In the future, scientists hope to use similar nanotechnologies not only for detection but also for maneuvering inside of cells to treat disease.

7. 3D brain tissue is being grown with stem cells.

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By allowing neural stem-cell tissue to self-organize, researchers have been able to get 3D brain tissue to grow outside the body. This could be tremendously useful for learning more about how the brain works, studying and observing brain diseases like Parkinson's, and better understanding how to treat traumatic brain injuries and degenerative disorders.

8. The first true 2D substance, graphene, is being heavily researched for its game-changing potential in fields such as health, technology, and energy.

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To date, it's the thinnest material discovered (a million times thinner than a human hair), more electrically conductive than silicon, more pliable than rubber, impermeable to gas, incredibly light, and the strongest material known to humankind. Research all over the world is being conducted on the wonder material, and it has shown promise in countless applications, from helicopter blades to energy production to electronics and even health care.

OK, once THESE are taken care of, we'd like teleportation devices, intergalactic concerts, and robot baes too, please. Because thanks to innovative scientists everywhere focusing on a better future, it seems like pretty much anything is possible.

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