2018 health review: from breakthroughs to surgeries

When it comes to health, we saw a lot of both encouraging and troubling headlines in 2018. From breakthroughs in cancer research to transformative surgeries, here's a look back at this year. 


We begin with a remarkable face transplants.

Almost two and a half years after Cameron Underwood attempted to end his life, the 26-year-old was given a second chance thanks in part to his face transplant team in New York. 

"I'm able to smile, to speak and to eat solid foods again," he said.

The September issue of National Geographic covered the transformation of Katie Stubblefield, a 21-year-old survivor of a suicide attempt who became the youngest person in the United States to undergo a face transplant. Stubblefield went through three years of reconstructive procedures and more than 15 hours on the operating table. 


When it comes to breast cancer, a new groundbreaking study found many women with early breast cancer do not benefit from chemotherapy. 

The new data showed that 70 percent of women with the most common type of breast cancer may not need chemotherapy, which would eliminate the harsh side effects associated with the toxic treatment. 


Have you heard of the juul? It was a huge trend this year. 

Juuls are a type of vape designed to be so discreet that most people don't know they're an e-cigarette. 

They're small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can be charged with a laptop computer, making it easy for students to charge them in class. 


The opioid epidemic continued to challenge all communities. 

From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the CDC.

This year president Donald Trump signed sweeping opioids legislation into law, which includes funding research to find new drugs for pain management. Also the goal is to increase access to treatment.  

"Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America. We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem," Trump said. 


Another problem we saw was synthetic marijuana, called K2, make headlines for causing dozens of overdoses and deaths. 

Synthetic marijuana, described as plant material sprayed with chemicals that mimic the high from real marijuana, can cause hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior in addition to all kinds of health problems like kidney failure and heart attacks. 


Meanwhile marijuana got all new respect from fans around the country, including Michigan. 

Recreactional marijuana is now legal for adults in Michigan along with nine other states and Washington, D.C.

In 2018 california became the largest legal pot market in the country. And 33 states now have legalized medical marijuana. 


Another big story that surfaced this past year is how we need to continue to treat mental health challenges and erase the stigma that surrounds them. 

Big sports stars and other celebrirites bravely revealed their battles with mental health issues, encouraging men and women to get help. They are high profile people who are helping to make a differnce.