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History of Medicine


Highlights in Medical History
Medicine in 1957Medicine in 1957
A new antiobiotic became available in 1957. A vaccine against the common cold virus was announced.
Edward JennerEdward Jenner
recognized that it was possible for a relatively mild disease of cows to confer immunity against smallpox to humans. He successfully tested his vaccination theory in 1796.
Medicine in 1958Medicine in 1958 Joseph ListerJoseph Lister
discovered that sterilizing surgical areas, instruments and surgeons' hands reduced post-surgical infection and death dramatically. He called the practice of such sterilization antiseptic surgery.
Medicine in 1959Medicine in 1959 Egas MonizEgas Moniz
was the developer of cerebral angiography, the use of radioactive tracers and x-rays to locate brain tumors. He also pioneered the prefontal lobotomy as a treatment for schizophrenia, paranoia, and other mental disorders. The latter work earned him a share of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine.
was the first to free medicine from its traditional link with magic and religion. He believed that every disease had a natural cause, rather than being some kind of "infliction from the gods."
believed in the treatment of the whole person and in nature's own healing tendencies. He also saw the importance of "mental power" as an element in the healing process.
Frederick BantingFrederick Banting
shared the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his role in isolating and mass-producing insulin, which was first tested on a human in 1922.
Ambroise PareAmbroise Paré
prefered to treat gunshot wounds with ointment and bandages rather than cauterization, and invented upper and lower extremity prostheses that were hundreds of years ahead of his time.
Emil Adolf von BehringEmil Adolf von Behring
spent his life in the study of immunity. In 1889 he produced an antitoxin against diphtheria, and in 1890 produced an antitoxin against tetanus. He was the receipient of the 1901 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.
Walter ReedWalter Reed
carried out research into a number of diseases, including cholera, typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever. In 1898-99 he determined that typhoid is spread by flies, and, in 1900, he led a team that determined that mosquitoes were the principal carriers and transmitters of yellow fever.
Elizabeth BlackwellElizabeth Blackwell
became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States in 1849. Despite facing many obstacles before and after earning her degree, she went on to gain great respect as a physician and to co-found a hospital for women and children and a women's medical college.
Albert Bruce SabinAlbert Bruce Sabin
was influenced to study polio by an epidemic of that disease that hit New York City in 1931. He began testing a live-virus vaccine in 1954, and by the 1970's that vaccine had succeeded in nearly eradicating polio from the world.
Paul EhrlichPaul Ehrlich
developed a method for staining bacteria for study that is still used today, formulated a theory that explained why antitoxins are effective, and was a pioneer in the field of chemotherapy. He was a co-recipient of the 1908 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Florence Rena SabinFlorence Rena Sabin
conducted research on the lymphatic system, blood, vlood vessels, and more. That work led to her becoming the first woman faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists, the first woman member of the National Academy of Sciences, etc.
Claudius GalenClaudius Galen
"preached" the importance of anatomical knowledge to any practice of medicine. He made many important discoveries regarding the movement of blood in the body, and was the first physician to use the pulse as an indicator of illness when compared to the normal pulse.
Bela SchickBéla Schick
developed the Schick Test, which involved injecting a small amount of diphtheria toxin under the skin; the extent of a child's immunity to the disease could be determined by the presence or absence of a reaction around the injection site.
John HunterJohn Hunter
was the first to suggest that blood is a living substance, speculated that the embryo in its development may go through various phases resembling more primitive creatures, and pioneered the art of tissue grafting.

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