Science's Accidental Successes
From Viagra and saccharine to penicillin and x-rays, science and serendipity often go hand in hand. Here are seven accidental discoveries that changed the world.
Medicine is science applied to the human body - and medical experiments are so complex and varied that things frequently don't turn out as hoped. And, just to add a touch of comedy, accidents in this field are often crotch-oriented. The most famous below-the-belt invention of modern times was Viagra. The drug was meant to help patients with angina, a painful heart condition in which the circulatory system constricts and does not get enough oxygenated blood to the heart. Although the medication failed to treat the disease, it had a side effect of increasing blood flow elsewhere.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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