Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs Expected in 2012

Bionic limbs, a smart mouthguard to monitor athletes for concussions, and genetically modified mosquitoes designed to reduce disease are among the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2012 selected by a panel of Cleveland Clinic doctors and scientists during its annual Medical Innovation Summit.

Here’s a look at the amazing therapies and game-changing technologies expected to dramatically reshape healthcare—and save lives—this year: 

#10. Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and West Nile, kill more people than any other disease, and infect more than 700 million people. As a new tactic to fight these diseases, 3 million genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes were released in the Caymans in 2010 to mate with wild female mosquitoes, resulting in an 80 percent population drop.

In the future, scientists hope to create mosquitoes with a new genetic trait that prevents malaria transmission.

Read about the 10 worst outbreaks in U.S. history.

#9. A Paradigm Shift in Diabetes Treatment

Twenty-six million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes. A new class of drugs awaiting FDA approval called SGLT2 inhibitors works in a totally new way.

Instead of affecting the supply or use of insulin, as most current drugs do, the new drugs lower blood sugar by causing sugar to be excreted in urine. The resulting loss of calories helps diabetics, who tend to be overweight, lose weight.

Find out which supplements can help heal diabetes.

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