Brief History of Medicine from Ancient times to Today

History of medicine - is as important as the history of human race – on this World. In fact, many facts and things that happened in the past, were often connected, directly linked to - or occurred as a consequence of different medical problems and conditions. Many battle wars or even in the end the whole - wars were won or lost because of medical condition of the troops in the fields. (medieval ages – the plaque, cholera, dysentery; Napoleon campaign in Russia).
Many strong royal dynasties – disappeared, because of illnesses of the livings Kings. (Romanov; Jagiellonian, Stuart dynasties). The Polish Royal Family – Jagiellons – disappeared, because the King Zygmunt August – had syphilis and his wife couldn't give him a descendant – as the result – the whole country - soon after disintegrated.
Many discoveries, changes and technological progress were stimulated by medical problems – as well as natural human desire and instinct to live longer or better.
The history of the world, humanity –is, was and always will be closely linked to the history of medicine. Obviously general history of the world is divided to many stages in accordance with different periods of human development.

Below is the short history of human development and medicine.

Medicine of “Stone Ages” - before the Ancient Times

Medicine among Primitive Peoples

We know today, the first „craniotomies” - surgery of skull was performed even in the stone age. And they were not a result of wounds on the battlefields. Some adults had holes cut in their skulls, by wizards or charlatans. We know today - at least sometimes people survived the 'operation' because the bone grew back. We often don't know the purpose of those 'operation'. Perhaps it was performed on people with „permanent headaches” of head injuries - in order to release pressure on the brain. All we know - it was sometimes done and we have to conclude that medical skills and knowledge was there.
In the 19th -20th centuries many anthropologists studied medical skills of primitive societies. Treatment for different injuries and sickness was a mixture of past „secrets” experience, tradition, common sense and magic. People knew of course, that e.g. falls cause breaking the bones and different internal injuries and that fire causes burns. Animals like snakes or spiders bite. Predators, crocodiles or human weapons cause wounds and many types of injuries.
Primitive people had many simple, traditional treatments, using natural medicaments for those injuries and illnesses. e.g. Australian Aborigines covered broken arms and legs – in gray clay, which hardened in the hot sun. Today, for the same problems we use gypsum and in Australia we called it: “The Plaster of Paris”. Cuts were covered with animal fat or clay and were bound up with animal skins or e.g. leaves, bark. Today we use ointments, bandage –we try to make it clean, possibly sterile.
Obviously people in stone ages had no idea about etiology - or what caused illness. They usually assumed that all illnesses were caused by different evil spirits or magic performed by an enemy. All those people, then were in constant wars. The stronger or smarter had better chance to survive. The treatment and „cure” for everything - was a prayer and magic to drive out the evil spirit or break down all the enemies spells.

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

About 5000 years ago (3000 BC) Egyptian civilization was formed – as the form of the organized, „civilized” society, which had structures: ruler (Dynasty of Pharaoh), bureaucracy, clergy, armed forces and some people did certain specialized jobs.
One of these was the doctor.
The first doctor known to our history was Sekhet-eanach - the clergyman, who as the story goes 'healed the pharaoh's nostrils'. (We don't know what was wrong with them) The second doctor we know of was Imhotep (ca. 2,600 BC), who was vizier or prime minister to the pharaoh. He was also a good doctor and he was so famous that after his death he was worshiped as a God. The pyramid was build for his memorial.
In XIX-XX century, when pyramids were explored, many autopsies were performed on remains of people buried there. It was discovered, that ancient Egyptians suffered from many diseases of modern world – eg. arteriosclerosis, neo-plastic tumors etc.
Obviously much of Egyptian medicine still relied on their religious beliefs and magic. However, they – the Egyptians at least could write (hieroglyphs) and started to keep written records of which kind treatments was effective, worked and which did not. That was the beginning of modern knowledge. In this way medicine could advance.
The first, earliest known medical book was the famous „Ebers Papyrus”, written about 1500 BC.
Very interesting to note, is the fact that Egyptian doctors, who were usually also well educated priests used a huge range of drugs - obtained from fruits, herbs and minerals. They sometimes mixed them with dough to form a “pill”. Egyptian doctors also used ointments for wounds or skin problems and they treated different chest conditions or breathing problems by getting the patient to inhale steam. Wine or beer was also used for religious as well as medical problems.
It is not clear who and where the first autopsy was done, but the Egyptians doctors and priests were certainly doing that. They had good knowledge of anatomy from making mummies. They believed in life after death. To embalm a dead body they first removed all the principal organs, blood vessels - which would otherwise rot.
The Egyptians also believed that the human body was full of passages that acted like irrigation canals. The Egyptians knew that those irrigation canals sometimes became blocked. They reasoned that if the passages in a human body became blocked it might cause illness. To open those passages Egyptians used laxatives and induced vomiting. They also used an enemas for the treatment of constipations and cleaning of digestive tract.
Many of doctors, were beginning to seek a clear physical cause for most illnesses. The Egyptians did have some knowledge…on physiology, body functions. Moreover the Egyptians were clean people. They washed daily and changed their clothes on the regular basis, which must have helped their health.
Egyptian surgery was limited to such things as treating wounds and broken bones and dealing with boils and abscesses.
The Egyptians used clamps, sutures and cauterization. They had surgical instruments like probes, saws, forceps, scalpels and scissors. They cleaned them before use.
They also somehow discovered, that e.g. honey - helped to prevent wounds becoming inflamed and infected. (It is a natural antiseptic).
They also dressed wounds with clean willow bark, which has the same effect.
However the Egyptians were very religious people and always believed that spells would help the sick and they carried sacred amulets to ward off most diseases.
In fact the Egyptians were in many ways - the precursors of modern medicine.

Ancient Greek Medicine

The other roots of modern medicine were in ancient Greece. On the one hand most Greeks believed in different Gods and a god of healing was called Asclepius. People who were ill made sacrifices or offerings to this god. They then slept overnight in his temple. They believed that Asclepius or his assistances would visit them in their sleep (i.e. in their dreams) and - when they woke up they would be healed.
At the same time Greeks, were pragmatic people and philosophers and their doctors developed a rational theory of disease and sought effective cures…everywhere: - in religion and nature. However one could not replace the other. The cult of Asclepius and Greek medicine for many centuries - existed side by side.
Medical schools were formed in Greece and in Greek Islands/ colonies around the Mediterranean. As early as 500 BC a man named Alcamaeon - from Croton in Italy said that a human body was healthy, when and if - it had the right balance of hot and cold substance; wet and dry inside. If that balance was upset - the body became ill.
The most famous, known in history – Greek doctor was Hippocrates (C.460-377 BC). (Many historians now believe that he was much less famous in his own time, that was once thought. They also believe that many of the medical books ascribed to him were actually written by other men). This is the normal human story for any legendary man.
Hippocrates was the first doctor, who always stressed the importance of observation and physical examination of every patient. He taught, his followers, that every doctor should carefully observe the patients symptoms and take a written notes of them. Hippocrates also rejected all magic and he believed in herbal remedies.
He was an author of two famous medical proverbs – used commonly to date:
  1. “Primum – non nocere” – “Firstly – do not harm”

  2. “Medice cura te ipsum” – “ Physician heal thyself”

A number of Greeks doctors and philosophers speculated that the human body was made up of different elements. If they were properly balanced the person was healthy. However if they became unbalanced the person fell ill.
Finally, it was famous Aristotle (384-322 BC) who thought the body was made up of four humors or liquids. He specified them as: phlegm, blood, yellow bile & black bile. If any person had too much of one humor - they fell ill. For instance if a person had a high temperature (fever) - he must have too much blood. The treatment was to cut the patient - open his vein and let him bleed.
The Greeks also knew that good and proper life style – especially good diet and sport, exercise and keeping the body clean – were absolutely essential, important for health.
When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, in 332 BC he founded the city, named after him – Alexandria. Full of admiration for Egyptian medicine, he established great medical school there. Doctors in Alexandria dissected human bodies and this way, they gained a much better knowledge of human anatomy.

Despite of great progress in medicine in ancient Greece, very little progress was really made in understanding the etiology of different disease.


Medicine in Ancient Rome 

Then in history was The Roman Empire time. The Romans conquered Greece/Egypt and for centuries after that, most doctors in the Roman Empire were often Greeks or Egyptians. Many of them were slaves or at the best the barbers. Doctors had rather low status in Rome. However, there were also State paid - public doctors who treated the poor.
As the Romans were constantly at war as conquerors, they also build many hospitals in Rome and around the whole empire - called “valetudinarians” mainly for their wounded, sick soldiers. With time all other citizens were treated there as well.
Many centuries later in Roman times most famous doctor was Galen (130-200 AD). He started at first as a doctor, treating wounded gladiators, during Roman Games. As he gain experience and fame, in 169 AD - he was made a personal/private doctor to Commodus, the Roman Emperor's son.
Galen was also a prolific and influential writer and wrote many medical books. Not many survived his life but his teaching was passed around his followers for centuries. For centuries his writings dominated medicine.
Galen believed the theory of the four humors. He also believed in treating illness with specific, different opposites. E.g. if a patient had a cold - Galen gave him something hot – like, chilly pepper.
Galen was also very interested in anatomy and he performed autopsies “under cover”. Unfortunately later in his time dissecting human bodies was forbidden. So Galen had to also dissect animal bodies - including apes. However animal bodies are not the same as human bodies and so some of Galen's ideas were (as we know today) - quite wrong.
In the first century BC a Roman named Varro suggested that tiny animals caused disease. They were carried through the air and entered the body through the nose or the mouth. Unfortunately with no microscopes there was no way of testing his theory.
The Romans were also skilled engineers and they created a system of public health. The Romans noticed that people who lived near swamps often died of malaria. They did not know that mosquitoes in the swamps carried viruses of this disease - but they drained the swamps anyway. For Romans – logic and experince was more important – sometimes then knowledge and facts.
The Romans also knew that dirt and dust encourages disease and they appreciated the importance of cleanliness. They built few aqueducts to bring clean water into towns.
They also knew that sewage encourages disease.
The Romans built public lavatories and many baths in their towns. Streams running underneath them carried away sewage.

History of Medicine in the Middle (Dark) Ages

The Middle Ages are often called Dark Ages – as there was really little progress in science in general and medicine – in particular.
The eastern half of the Roman Empire continued for many centuries as Bizantine Empire until XV century - when it was conqured by Turks/Muslims. They took over knowledge of medicine from Romans. They however were followers not developers.
Earlier in the 9th century Hunain Ibn Ishaq traveled to Greece collecting all medical literature and knowledge. On his return home - to Baghdad, he translated all books into Arabic.
Later the same works were translated into Latin and passed back to western Europe.
In the Middle Ages learning the art of Greek/Roman medicine flourished in Europe.
One of the first schools of medicine was founded late in the11th century - in Salerno in Italy. What was interesting - women were allowed to study there as well as men. Soon after in the 12th century another medical University was founded at Montpellier - France. In the 13th century more medical schools were founded in Italy and France (Bologna, Padua Venice, Genua, Paris). Many students travel to study medicine in those universities – from all around Europe.
It was the time that Medicine became one of the most important profession, however there was almost none medical reaserch done at those times.
As usual, only rich and noble people could afford medical advice – poor and ordinary people could not afford doctors fees. Instead they took advices from 'wise men' or 'wise women', whose folk remedies were probably, at least sometimes, at the time - better than medicine! Real doctors were often treated by royalties as a “royalty”- most important person on the court.
During the time of Middle Ages medicine was dominated by the ideas of Galen and the theory of the four humors. Medieval doctors were also great believers in blood letting – as they treated this as “panacea”. Ill people had their veins open and allowed to bleed into a bowl. People believed that regular bleeding would keep you healthy. So monks were given regular blood letting sessions.
Medieval doctors also prescribed laxatives for purging. Enemas were given with a greased tube attached to a pigs bladder.

Enemas and blood letting were considered by most medieval doctors as “panaceum” -universal treatment - total body clean-up, as well as removal of bad energies - all vital for good health.
Doctors also often prescribed baths in scented water – for those who could afford it. They used different salves and ointments and not just for skin complaints. Doctors believed it was important when treating many illnesses to prevent heat or moisture escaping from the effected part of the body and they believed that ointments would do that.
Medieval doctors also examined a patient's urine. The color, smell and even taste of urine were important. Doctors also listen the hearts and stomachs of their patients and thus proper physical examination was important.
Astrology was also an important part of Medieval medicine. Doctors believed that people born under certain zodiacal signs were more susceptible to certain ailments.
In Europe and Middle East in the 13th century a new type of craftsmen emerged in towns. He (or she because not all were male) was the barber-surgeon. They did many things to their patients – not only cut their hair; they also pulled teeth and performed many simple operations such as amputations, cutting out the boils, ulcers and setting broken bones.
Royal Families and Noble and Rich – usually emplyed number of doctors and run “inhouse” clinics/hospitals
In the Middle Ages the church ran the hospitals for poor people. (Although often the only thing they could do was offer food and shelter). In many towns monks and nuns cared for the sick as best they could.
Outside many towns were located leper 'hospitals' – run also by church organizations - (really just hostels as nothing could be done for those patients). Leprosy was at that time dreadful, uncurable skin disease. Anyone who caught it was an outcast. They had to wear clothes that covered their whole body. They also had to ring a bell or a wooden clacker to warn people they were coming. Fortunately, after few centuries people acquired some immunity to this dreadfull disease and leprosy cases were less common in the 15th century and disappeared e.g. in Britain in the 16th century.
Obviously the Middle Ages - will be always remembered - in human history for the Black Death. One of the most dreadfull and devastating diseases, known to humans.
The one
of really pandemic proportions in human history. It spreads very quickly, cousing dreadful death in few days.
It is thought, that The Black Death in XIV century, have originated in the middle of Central Asia, where it then travelled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea peninsula by 1343. From there, it was most likely carried on merchant ships by oriental rat fleas living on the black rats (regular, always present ship passengers).
Spreading throughout the
Mediterranean and Europe, the Black Death is estimated to have killed 30–60% of Europe's total population. (deaths 75 to 200 million people).

It is believed that in total – the pandemic of The Black Death in 14th century reduced the world polulation from an estimated 450 million down to 350 million. The world population as a whole did not recover to pre-plague levels until the 17th century.
The plague (Black Death) recurred occasionally in Europe until the 19th century.

There were several competing theories as to the course and etiology of Black Death. Analysis of DNA from victims in northern and southern Europe published later in 2010 and 2011 indicates that the pathogen responsible was the bacterium called Yersinia pestise, - probably causing several forms of plague.
The plague created a series of religious, social, and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of history of Europe.
One of the main big problem in Dark (Middle) Ages was general sanitation, which for number of reasons -was totally inadequate. There was no acqaducts; sewage and dirty water from toilets was simply thrown-out on the street - straight through the windows of every household.
People simply were not educated and not aware about importance of general hygiene. People didn't wash their hair, bodies, hands before meals and all wear dirty clothing. In fact people believed that washing bodies is unhealthy.
One of the best known (those times) French manuals - was recommending total body bath – once, maximum twice a year – for women and men.!!!
In the Middle Ages only Royal Courts, Palaces and monasteries had some sanitation. Streams and rivers provided clean water. Dirty water was used to clear toilets, which were in a separate room - outside.
Only Monks had a room called a laver where they washed their hands before meals.
For most people, especially poor, lower class sanitation was practically non-existent.
Even in big castles the toilet was simply a long passage built into the thickness of the walls. Often it simply emptied into the castle moat.
Despite the lack of general public health, many towns had public bath-houses - were one could pay to have a bath. Unfortunately they were ussually poor quality and very rarely used.
From the mid-14th century the church allowed some dissections of human bodies at medical schools. However Galen's ideas continued to dominate medicine and surgery.

History of Medicine in the 16th Century

Era of Renaissance - the new ideas and thinking created by people like Leonardo da Vinci, brought some improvements to life styles of people and to medicine in general. People started to look differently – possibly through eyes of arts - on human bodies.
However, the main principles of medicine remained basically the same as in the times of Middle Ages. Medicine was still dominated by the theory of the four humors.
In year 1546 - doctor Girolamo Fracastoro published a book called “On Contagion”. In it, he suggested that infectious diseases were caused by 'disease seeds', which were carried by the wind or transmitted by breathing air or touch. Unfortunately there was no technology available or any other way of testing - proving his theory.
In year 1450 Johanes Gutenberg invented the printing technology and this discovery made all books including medical ones much cheaper, easily available to masses.
In 1478 a medical book by the Roman doctor Celsus was printed and quickly became a standard textbook.
Not for long - in the early 16th century a man named Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) who called himself Paracelsus (meaning beyond or surpassing Celsus) - denounced Celsus and all medical teaching not based on experiment and experience. Despite this, traditional ideas on medicine held sway for long afterwards.
In 16th Century the surgical knowledge and skills, did become a little more advanced, as the results of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) works, who dissected some human bodies and made accurate drawings of human body in accordance with what he saw.
The greatest, best known surgeon of the age was Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). He did many dissections and realized that many of Roman and Galen's ideas were wrong. In 1543 Vesalius published a new age book called “The Fabric of the Human Body”. It contained accurate diagrams of a human body. Vesalius's great contribution was to base anatomy of human body on study and clear observation - not on the authority of doctors like Galen.
One of the greatest surgeons of Renaissance was Ambroise Pare, by some considered the father of modern surgery. He was French - specialised in many types of surgery: general (invented forceps to stop bleeding during surgery). He worked out different technics e.g. operations of hernia). In orthopedic – Pare invented pulling devices.
In the 16th century most surgeons put hot oils or metal on wounds – as desinfectant. However in 1536, during the siege of Turin Pare warking as a surgeon ran out of oil. He made a mixture of egg whites, rose oil and turpentine and discovered it worked much better than oil. Pare also designed artificial limbs.
In 1513 doctor Eucharius Roslin published book about childbirth called Rosengarten, which was translated in 1540 to English, under the title: “The Birth of Mankind”.
It became a standard textbook although, there was no gynecologists as yet and all that role was done by midwives - only women.
One of the biggest and common problem in 16th century was Syphilis. Brought to Europe by Columbus - his sailors from newly discovered America. Syphillis between Indians – was a mild, sexually transmited disease. Almost all Indians were carrying it. It was a severe and acute illness for Europeans, who did not have any immunity to it. Many famous people died from this infections.
The standard treatment for it was mercury administered with a urethral syringe. The very strange alternative was...infecting people with malaria (very high temperature – kills bacteria responsible – Treponema Pallidum).
In the 16th century syringes were also used to irrigate wounds with alcohol/wine – for desinfection purposes.

Medicine in XVII- th Century

In XVII Century – era of Enlightenment - medicine continued to advance.
in a way - it was still handicapped by wrong ideas about human body. Most doctors still believed in the existance of four fluids or 'humors' in the body, such as: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Illness resulted when you had too much of one humor. Nevertheless during the 17th century a much more scientific approach to medicine emerged and some doctors began to question many traditional ideas.
Firstly the 17th century medicine was helped by the microscope, (invented at the end of the 16th century), but practicaly in use from 1620. Then in 1665 Robert Hooke was the first person to describe cells in his book Micrographia.
In1612 an Italian called Santorio invented the medical thermometer.
In year 1628 William Harvey published his discovery of how blood circulates around the body. Harvey realized that the heart is a pump. Each time it contracts it pumps out blood and when it relaxes - sucks the blood in. The blood circulates around the body. Harvey then estimated how much blood was being pumped each time.
In 1661 Robert Boyle published the bóok titled “Skeptical Chemist”, which laid most of the foundations of modern chemistry.
Apart from Harvey the most famous English doctor of the 17th century was Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689). He is sometimes called the English Hippocrates because he emphasized the importance of carefully observing patients and their symptoms.
Finally in 1683 Antoine van Leeuwenhock observed microorganisms. However he did not realise they caused disease.
In the early 17th century doctors also discovered how to treat malaria with bark from the cinchona tree (it contains quinine).
The Chinese invented the toothbrush. (It was first mentioned in 1498). Toothbrushes arrived in Europe in the 17th century. In the late 17th century they became popular with the wealthy in England.

Medicine in the 18th Century

During the 18th century medicine made slow but steady progress. Doctors still didn't know what caused disease. Some continued to believe in the four humors (although this theory declined in popularity very much, during the 18th century). Other doctors thought disease was caused by so called „miasmas” (odorless gases in the air). Almost every doctor and scientist started to stress the values as well as importance of hygine and sanitation.
In purely medical terms, surgery made substantial progress. The famous 18th century surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793) is sometimes called the Father of Modern Surgery. He invented few new procedures such as tracheotomy.
The 18th century were the times of continuous wars, and as a result of this - a number of hospitals were build – all over Europe. In year 1724 Guys Hospital in London was founded with a bequest from a merchant named Thomas Guy. Then The St Georges was founded in 1733 and Middlesex Hospital in 1745. Other hospitals were also build and founded in many British cities: Bristol in 1733, York in 1740, Exeter in 1741 and Liverpool in 1745.
The first hospital in America opened in
Philadelphia in 1751 and then in Boston.
In the late 18th century and early 19th century dispensaries were founded in many towns. They were charities were the poor could obtain free medicines.
In 18th century many sailors suffered from scurvy (coused by vitamin c deficiency). However a Scottish surgeon named James Lind discovered that citruses, fresh fruit or lemon juice could cure or prevent scurvy. He published his findings in a book written in 1753 as: “A Treatise on the Scurvy”.
In 1792 Italian doctor Luigi Galvani discovered that frogs legs twitch, when given an electric shock, showing that electricity plays a part in the nervous system.
A major medical problem and a real scourge of the 18th century was smallpox. However in 1796 a man named Edward Jenner (1749-1823) realized that milkmaids who caught cowpox were immune to smallpox. Trying to understand this he invented vaccination. (Its name is derived from the Latin word for cow, Vacca). The patient was cut then matter from a cowpox pustule was introduced. This way patient gained immunity to smallpox. Unfortunately nobody knew, yet - how vaccination worked.
The 18th century was the time of continuous Enlightement – so people became more realistic and pragmatic – the importance of superstition started to decline.
In year 1700 many people still believed that scrofula (a form of tubercular infection) could be healed by a monarch's touch. (Scrofula was called then - the Kings evil). Queen Anne (reigned 1702-1714) was the last British monarch to touch for scrofula.
Despite the decline of superstition there were still to many quacks in the 18th century, doing well. Limited medical knowledge meant many people were desperate for a cure One of the most common treatments, especially for the wealthy, was bathing in or drinking spa water, which they believed could cure all kinds of illness. Thus many spa centres (sanatoria) were developed – especially in Prussia (Baden-Baden).
However during the 18th century the mentally ill were not regarded as 'truly' human. It was thought that they did not have human feelings and were therefore confined in chains and isolation. People paid to visit asylums and see the insane as if they were animals in a zoo.
However in 1793 a doctor called Philippe Pinel argued that the insane should be released and treated humanely. As an experiment he was allowed to release some patients. The experiment worked and attitudes to the insane began to change.
In 1792 a Frenchman named Dominique-Jean Larrey created the first ambulance service for wounded men.

Medicine of the 19th Century

From the turn of this century, the science and technology started to develop faster and during the 19th century medicine also made rapid progress.
In 1816 a
Frenchman named Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope. At first he used a tube of paper. Later he used a wooden version.
In 1822 a trapper named Alexis St Martin was shot in the stomach. The wound healed leaving a hole into his stomach. A doctor named William Beaumont found out how a stomach works by looking through the hole.
During the 19th century there were several outbreaks of cholera in Britain. It struck few times between 1832 -1866. During the 1854 epidemic John Snow (1813-1858) showed that cholera was transmitted by water.
However doctors were
still not certain how this disease was transmitted to human.
Then Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) proved that microscopic organisms caused disease.

In the early 19th century many scientists believed in spontaneous generation i.e. that some living creatures/things spontaneously grew from non-living matter. To clarify this and in response a series of experiments between 1857 and 1863 were carried out by Pasteur, who proved beyond any doubt that - this was not the case.

Once doctors knew what caused disease they made rapid headway in finding cures or prevention.
In 1880 Lui Pasteur and a team of co-workers searched for a cure for chicken cholera. Pasteur and his team grew germs in sterile broth. One day Pasteur told his co-worker to inject chickens with the germs culture. However the man forgot to do it and went on holiday. The germs were left exposed to the air. Finally, when he returned the man injected chickens with the broth. However they did not die. So they were injected with a fresh culture. Still they did not die.
Pasteur realized the germs that had been left exposed to the air had been weakened. And...when the chickens were injected with the weakened germs they had developed immunity to the disease. This way a history was made.
Meanwhile in 1875 Robert Koch (1843-1910) isolated the germ that causes anthrax.
Pasteur and his team went on to create a vaccine for anthrax by keeping anthrax germs heated to 42-43 degrees centigrade for 8 days.
In 1882 they created a vaccine for rabies. A co-worker dried the spines of rabbits that had contracted the disease in glass jars. Pasteur tried giving a series of injections made from the dried spines to animals to test the remedy. Then, in 1885, Pasteur successfully used the vaccine on a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog.
Pasteur invented a way of sterilizing liquids by heating them to specified temperature (This is called pasteurization). It was first used for wine (in 1864) and later for milk.
In 1882 Koch isolated the germ that causes tuberculosis and in 1883 he isolated the germ that causes cholera in humans.
Meanwhile the organism that causes leprosy was discovered in 1879. The germ that causes typhoid was isolated in 1880. The germ that causes diphtheria was discovered in 1882 by Edwin Klebs. In 1884 the germs that cause tetanus and pneumonia were both discovered.
Immunization against diphtheria was invented in 1890. A vaccine for typhoid was invented in 1896.
Surgery was greatly improved by the discovery of Anesthetics. As early as 1799 the inventor Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) realized that inhaling ether relieved pain. Unfortunately decades passed before it was actually used in an operation in 1842.
Doctor James Simpson (1811-1870), who was Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University, began using chloroform for general anesthetics in operations in 1847.
In 1884 cocaine was used as a local anesthetic. From 1905 Novocain was used.
In 1865 Joseph Lister (1827-1912) discovered ways for antiseptic surgery, enabling surgeons to perform many more complicated operations. Lister prevented infection by spraying carbolic acid over the patient during surgery.
Then German surgeons developed a better method. The surgeons hands and clothes were sterilized before the operation and surgical instruments were sterilized with super heated steam.
Rubber gloves were first used in surgery in 1890. Anesthetics and antiseptics made surgery much safer. They allowed far more complicated operations.
In 1851 Herman von Helmholtz invented the ophthalmoscope.

In 1895 x-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen.

The same year – 1895 the aspirin – antyinflamatory drug was invented.
Nursing was greatly improved by two nurses, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) and Mary Seacole (1805-1881) - both nursed soldiers during the Crimean War 1854-56.
Meanwhile in the 19th century several more hospitals were build and founded in London including Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (1852).

In 1864 Jean Henri Dunant founded the international Red Cross.
During the 19th century the ancient practice of bloodletting substantially declined.
(It was still used in France, to treat pneumonia, until the 1920s)
Medicine in the 20th Century.
As we all know - Medicine made huge advances in the 20th century. Below are the most important discoweries listed:

The first non-direct blood transfusion was made in 1914.
Insulin was first used to treat a patient with diabetes in 1922.

The EEG machine was discovered and practically first used in 1929.

Meanwhile many new drugs were developed.
In 1910 the discovered salvarsan, a drug used to treat syphilis was discovered.
In 1935 prontosil was used to treat blood poisoning
Later it was discovered that the active ingredient of the dye was a chemical called sulphonamide, which was derived from coal tar. As a result in the late 1930s a range of drugs derived from sulphonamide effective in some infections were developed.
Antibiotics were discovered too.
Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by
Alexander Fleming - but it was not widely used till after year 1940.
Another antibiotic, streptomycin
- isolated in 1944. It was used to treat tuberculosis. They were followed by many others.
Meanwhile the iron lung was invented in 1928 and in 1943 Willem Kolf built the first artificial kidney machine. (The first kidney transplant was in 1963).
In Britain the health of ordinary people greatly improved when the National Health Service was founded in 1948.
In 1953 Dr Jonas Salk announced he had a vaccine for poliomyelitis.
A vaccine for measles was discovered in 1963.
Meanwhile surgery made great advances. The most difficult surgery was on the brain and the heart. Both of these developed rapidly in the 20th century.

The external pacemaker was invented by a Canadian doctor John Hopps in 1950.
The first implantable pacemaker was given to a patient in 1958.
The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard in Capetown – South Africa.
The first artificial heart was installed in 1982.
The first heart and lung transplant was performed in 1987.
The laser was invented in 1960. In 1964 it was used in eye surgery for the first time.
Meanwhile the invention of fiber optics in the 1950s made possible the development of endoscopes in the 1960s.
Treatment for infertility also improved in the late 20th century.

The first test tube baby was born in 1978.
In the late 20th century medicine continued to develop rapidly.
In 1980 the World Health Organisation announced that smallpox had been eradicated.
However in 1981 a terrible new disease called AIDS was isolated.
Meanwhile in 1975 Computerized Axial Scanning or CAT was introduced.
In 1983 Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI was introduced.
Synthetic skin was developed in 1986 and gene therapy was introduced in 1990.

MEDICINE of The 21st Century ???

In the early 21st century few new types of transplant were performed.
In 2005 the first face transplant took place.
Then in 2011 the first leg transplant was carried out.

Finally in 2012 the first womb transplant was carried out.
The science and technology in modern XXI century World continues to develop very fast indeed. In the fields of: electronics, computer, communications, cybertechnology, Quantum Physics – SKY IS THE LIMIT.

The questiuon remains –WHAT NEXT and what is in the Skies?Richard Opara