Baltimore’s Weirdest, Smartest, Most Life-Saving Research in 2015

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Every Friday, Baltimore Fishbowl recaps some of the most interesting research coming out of Maryland universities, hospitals, and other research institutes. Sometimes it involves psychedelic drugs; other times, prosthetic penises. Here are some of our favorite Baltimore-area research findings from 2015:

Hallucinogenic treatments have helped people quit smoking and get over their fear of death. Understanding that you don’t control your life may help you chill out. Astronomers observed a black hole eating a star and built a telescope powerful enough to look at the beginning of the universe. Second-hand marijuana smoke can get you high — but there has to be a whole lot of it. Our brains see colors, but don’t remember them.

Gun laws reduce gun suicides. Patients in hospitals have a hard time sleeping or eating. Painkiller abuse is a huge problem that’s getting worse. Most weight loss programs don’t work.

Diamonds may be much more common than expected (as long as you’re looking 90 miles below the surface of the earth). Prenatal stress is linked to anorexia later in life. Doctors created a mortality-predicting formula that can estimate when you’ll die. Drinking brown soda increases your risk for cancer.

Exercise keeps your brain young, and Johns Hopkins is studying a drug that may prevent Alzheimer’s. Studying mouse whiskers led to an autism breakthrough. The ice bucket challenge actually led to an ALS research breakthrough, blood samples were sent via drone, and epileptics used Apple Watches to study their own seizures.

“Hotness” is in the eye of the beholder. Johns Hopkins is developing prosthetic eyes and working on the first penis transplant.

Here’s to much more weird, useful, astounding, baffling, life-affirming, life-changing research in 2016!

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