Sunday, October 25, 2009

What are the most important discoveries in the history of medicine?

or just the most important discovery
I suppose it depends on who you ask.In terms of years of life added, the most significant discoveries (so to speak) are soap, sewers and square meals. Allow me to elaborate...SOAP: Good personal hygeine. Prescribed by physicians for centuries, it successfully reduced many infectious issues, especially things like hepatitis that are spread by fecal-oral transmission by improperly cleaned hands preparing food.SEWERS: Good civic hygeine. Again, prescribed by physicians of an earlier era, the proper handling of human waste and proper preparation of potable water, control of vectors (like rats, some insects, etc) reduced the major killers of the day (infectious diseases) dramatically; if you'll accept proper use of quarantine for some infectious diseases, I can honestly say this almost had tuberculosis controlled before the institution of antitubercular antibiotics.SQUARE MEALS: This is still being prescribed by physicians, under the name of proper nutrition. If you don't think it's still going on, listen to people go on about the sodium in their diet, the cholesterol and trans fats in their diet, etc...Not the usual answers, and people have forgotten that these are all things that were, at one time, physician driven... but still surprisingly good. Those three broad things have added about as much to the average human lifespan as all of the rest of the medical complex developed since 1945 put together--and for a whole lot less money!!!OK, I'll go peacefully...
In my humble opinion, it was the discovery of micro-organisms - germs. It led to the general knowledge of not only how we work, but how important sanitation is when performing medical procedures.
I go with germ theory; it has made all the difference.
The discovery that micro-organisms cause diseases was very important.
Also, was the - not so much discovery, but invention - of penicillin.
there are so many. i would say theres 3 on the top o the list.
1. DNA undersanding
2. Artificial penisillin
3. germs... mircroorganisms
Gandalf- Nurses pushed for handwashing. When doctors where going from autopsy to delivering babies, millions of women died from childbed fever. When midwives were delivering babies and washing their hands, the instances of death decreased. Back to the question. Germ theory and penicillin are the most important discoveries.

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