List of the Most Amazing Breakthroughs in Medicine
Every year, medical breakthroughs come along that change the way we treat a variety of conditions and diseases. While some of these treatments have been criticized by other doctors, many have become well-accepted over time.
One of these advances is the development of germ theory, a concept that explains how microorganisms cause disease. The discovery of this concept led to better treatments and prevention methods for millions of people worldwide.
1. The Germ Theory
The Germ Theory is a scientific theory that explains how diseases are caused by microorganisms. It was first popularized by Louis Pasteur in the 1800s and has led to the invention of antibiotics and vaccines.
In 1656, Athanasius Kircher was investigating the cause of bubonic plague in Rome and he discovered “little worms” that propagated disease, which he called “animalcules.”
These worm-like creatures could not be seen without a microscope, but Kircher believed they were the actual agents behind the plague outbreak. His discovery led to the germ theory and became the foundation for many medical practices today.
In the early 1800s, Louis Pasteur conducted experiments to prove that microorganisms were indeed the cause of disease. Pasteur observed that when broth was exposed to air in the room, it developed microscopic organisms.
2. The Invention of the Pill
The Pill was invented in 1960 and revolutionised women’s birth control methods. Its main ingredient is synthetic estrogen (Enovid) combined with progestin.
When the Pill was first developed it was a very expensive drug that required significant funding. Margaret Sanger persuaded private philanthropist Katharine McCormick to fund the project.
As the pill became available, women were able to delay marriage and motherhood and invest in their careers. Amalia Miller, a Harvard economist, used clever statistical techniques to show that this had a major impact on women’s earnings.
3. The Development of the Microscope
The microscope is a vital piece of technology used in medicine and research. It helps us explore the world’s tiniest organisms with unprecedented detail and allows scientists to see inside cells in real time.
The history of the microscope begins in the 16th century, when two Dutch spectacle makers – Hans and Zacharias Janssen – began experimenting with glass magnifying lenses. These early microscopes were simple and essentially nothing more than extraordinary magnifying glasses, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that improvements were made to these instruments, leading to major discoveries in a range of fields.
One of these developments was the discovery that electrons were more effective at imaging biological samples than light, which led to the invention of a powerful alternative to optical microscopes called the transmission electron microscope (TEM). These electron microscopes use beams of fast-moving electrons to create an image of a cell sample, allowing researchers to see details that could never be seen otherwise.
4. The Development of Vaccines
The development of vaccines has been a major achievement in the history of medicine. These vaccines are used by millions of people around the world every year to prevent a variety of diseases.
Vaccine development is an extensive process that requires many years of research and testing. It starts with basic laboratory research and involves identifying natural or synthetic antigens that can trigger an immune response.
Eventually, these antigens are tested in human clinical trials in three phases. In each of these stages, the candidate vaccine is evaluated for safety and efficacy to determine whether it can prevent disease.
5. The Invention of the Stem Cells
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can grow into a wide variety of different tissues and cell types. This allows them to become the cells that a person needs for their body to function properly.
Stem cell therapy uses these cells to help the body heal and replace lost or damaged tissue. These treatments have the potential to treat diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists are also using stem cells to research new drugs that may be able to treat some diseases that currently have no cure. These discoveries have the potential to lead to a world free of many diseases and ailments.