The Top Five Medical Breakthroughs in History

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Throughout the history of mankind, humans have been searching for the secret to living a longer life. While people continue to search for the fountain of youth, quicker results in life expectancy have come from advances in the medical field. Many of these medical breakthroughs have occurred in the last century and have been huge leaps for the world of healthcare. In this blog, we take a look at what we think have been the five biggest medical breakthroughs in history.

1. Germ Theory Inventor

The oldest medical breakthrough on our list might be one of the most important and that was the invention of the germ theory. For the majority of time, humans did not understand how sickness and diseases were spread.  The concept of germs, viruses, and bacteria was non-existent, and any illness or infection that someone had some other explanation for the root cause.

The germ theory of disease finally gave a scientific explanation to many of these diseases. This theory stated living microorganisms and pathogens were actually the cause of many diseases. According to the Science Encyclopedia website, this idea was initially proposed in the year 1025 and then later again in the mid 1500s and 1700s. However, it wasn’t until the work of Louis Pasteur in the 1850s when this theory really gained traction. Finally, a scientist named Robert Koch truly solidified this theory with the use of a microscope. Because of these gentlemen, the medical world can now perform safe surgeries, administer vaccines, and eliminate minor infections that would otherwise be fatal.

2. First Organ Transplant

Ever since the 18th century, scientists have experimented with organ transplants on animals and even humans. However, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it wasn’t until 1954 that the first-ever transplant of a kidney was done successfully. Now with today’s modern technology in tissue typing and immunosuppressant drugs; livers, hearts, lungs, kidneys, and several other organs are routinely and safely transplanted to those in need.

3. Antibiotic Invention History

Antibiotics are used every day across the globe to fight off bacterial infections. The most interesting thing about antibiotics was they were created as a result of a scientific accident according to Microbiology Society. A scientist named Alexander Fleming had discovered a fungus growing in a petri dish of Staphylococcus bacteria in 1928. He observed that everywhere the fungus existed, the bacteria could not. This fungus was named Penicillin, a now extremely commonplace antibiotic that treats an array of bacterial infections. Before the invention of antibiotics, common infections caused by bacteria were often fatal, such as strep throat, pneumonia, whooping cough, and more.

4. First MRI Machine Invented

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that is used to generate images of organs inside the body. The MRI was developed in the 1970s and it wasn’t until 1977 that the first full-body MRI was developed by Dr. Raymond Damadian, according to GE Healthcare. The reason that its invention was so important is the ability MRIs have to diagnose a patient in a non-invasive manner. MRIs are now widely used in medical facilities and hospitals across the country and are not only used in the diagnosing process but also to see if patients are on a healthy path of recovery.

5. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) used to sound like something out of a science-fiction movie but now it is closer to reality. AI, also known as machine learning, is when a machine has intelligence that is not natural to that displayed in humans. While the world of medicine hasn’t fully tapped into the potential capabilities of AI, the possible applications and uses could drastically change the field as we know it. Daniel Greenfield, an author for Harvard University states, “AI algorithms are great for automating arduous tasks, and sometimes can outperform humans in the tasks they’re trained to do.” AI would have the ability to look through hundreds of thousands of medical records to find patterns that can help with the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

While there has been an array of different medical breakthroughs over the years that have made outstanding improvements to the healthcare standard, we believe these are extremely important innovations. If you are in the world of healthcare and are looking to find your next job, search through our thousands of openings through the button below!

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Sources:

  1. https://microbiologysociety.org/members-outreach-resources/outreach-resources/antibiotics-unearthed/antibiotics-and-antibiotic-resistance/the-history-of-antibiotics.html
  2. https://microbiologysociety.org/members-outreach-resources/outreach-resources/antibiotics-unearthed/antibiotics-and-antibiotic-resistance/the-history-of-antibiotics.html
  3. https://microbiologysociety.org/members-outreach-resources/outreach-resources/antibiotics-unearthed/antibiotics-and-antibiotic-resistance/the-history-of-antibiotics.html
  4. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2019/artificial-intelligence-in-medicine-applications-implications-and-limitations/
  5. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2019/artificial-intelligence-in-medicine-applications-implications-and-limitations/

 

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