Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Weight loss drugs Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year for 2023

When I told my readers to "Stay tuned for this year's version of the top science story," I had no idea what it would be. Imagine my surprise to find out Science Magazine declared it was How these weight loss drugs offer benefits beyond the scale. Yes, Ozempic. Surprise!

Weight loss medications like Ozempic and Wegovy are examples of GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs. By mimicking a hormone produced in the body, this class of drugs has proven to be an effective way to treat diabetes and, more recently, obesity. This year, clinical trials revealed their beneficial effects on other chronic conditions that can be associated with obesity like heart failure and kidney disease. Despite their widespread and growing use, GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs were by no means an overnight success – decades of developments, unexpected discoveries, and some notable failures all paved the way to the 2023 Breakthrough of the Year.
On the one hand, I'm slightly disappointed. Wasn't there something more impressive among the runners-up? On the other, this is a scientific breakthrough that is improving the health of millions of people, possibly including me.* That is probably enough to justify its designation as Breakthrough of the Year.

Speaking of the runners-up, Science Magazine named nine of them for a top ten list of 2023's science breakthroughs:
  • Earth’s carbon pump is slowing
  • Hunt for natural hydrogen heats up
  • The AI weather forecaster arrives
  • New hope against malaria
  • At last, modest headway against Alzheimer’s
  • Early peopling of the Americas steps closer to acceptance
  • The din of giant black hole mergers overheard
  • Early-career scientists rise up
  • The dawn of exascale computing
Science also listed four breakdowns of 2023.
  • U.S. Antarctic meltdown
  • COVID-19 aftershocks
  • Superconductor claims hit resistance
  • Research on Twitter goes down the drain
Grouping the stories by area, that's four health stories, three business of science stories, two climate and weather stories, one energy story, one astronomy story, one physics story, one archeology story, and one technology story. I guess 2023 was a good year for health breakthroughs but not a great year for the business of science. I can accept that.

I plan on continuing the retrospectives covering the year about to end until New Year's Eve with this year's version of the year in space tomorrow. In the meantime, stay tuned for the final movie installment of my Saturn Award nominations series.

*I've been proscribed Ozempic and have completed my free sample. Now I have to convince my insurance company to cover it to continue. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Infidel753 for linking to this post in Link round-up for 31 December 2023 and welcome to all of you who came here after clicking his link! Also, welcome to all of my international readers from Germany, South Korea, Finland, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia (yes, even you), and the rest of the world. I appreciate all of you, especially my readers from Ireland, who contributed 185 page views this week!