Top 5 Medical Inventions of the 20th Century
Despite the increasing cost of healthcare and the controversies surrounding health care reform and medical device taxes, medical technology companies are more focused than ever when it comes to developing products that will improve the quality of patient care. Here are the top five medical inventions of the 20th century according to leading industry pundits.
Development of Antibiotics
In the early 20th century, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. Ever since this discovery, antibiotics have played a major role in modern medicine. Diseases that once killed millions of people can now be controlled through the use of antibiotics. Post-surgery infections occur very infrequently due to the use of sterilizers and anti-bacterial soap.
Due to vitamin deficiency, many people in the early 20th century fell to diseases like scurvy and beriberi. In some cases, these diseases were difficult to treat due to shortages of certain foods. Fortunately, the creation of vitamin supplements largely eliminated this issue. Our ability to concentrate essential vitamins into the form of a pill has proved to be an excellent tool in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Vitamin supplements are easy and cheap to produce and do not spoil like the vast majority of foods.
Placebo Controlled, Randomized, Blinded Clinical Trials
While clinical trials have taken place since the 1700s, the first blinded, controlled, and randomized clinical trial took place in the early 20th century. Due to the use of placebos, randomization, and other tactics, clinical trials have become far more accurate and dependable. This innovation has allowed us to develop many life-saving techniques and drugs.
Development of X-Rays
Not only can x-rays be used to identify diseases of the bone, they can also detect diseases of the soft tissue. Some of these diseases include pneumonia, kidney stones, and lung cancer. In the 20th century, a more efficient vacuum tube was developed for the x-ray machine to make it more efficient.
Advances in Cancer Treatment
In the 20th century, both chemotherapy and radiotherapy were developed as treatments for cancer. Before the development of these treatments, the vast majority of people who developed cancer died of the disease without any hope of being cured.