The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum


The BMJ have come up with a list of 15 "breakthroughs", which they believe have revolutionised medicine. But which do you think is the most significant?

Chlorpromazine (anti-schizophrenia drugs)
Computers and the Internet
DNA and molecular biology
Evidence Based Medicine
Germ Theory (bugs make people ill)
Imaging (x-rays and so on)
Immunology (how the immune system works)
Oral Rehydration Therapy (for diarrhoeal illnesses)
Oral Contraceptive Pill
The risks associated with smoking
Tissue culture
Something else (please state below)

Author Topic: What is the most important medical breakthrough of all time?  (Read 4973 times)

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5293
  • Thanked: 61 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Having voted, why did you choose the "breakthrough" that you did? Also, do you agree with the BMJ's list? If you voted for "Something else", what did you have in mind, and why?


Offline rosy

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1018
  • Chemistry
    • View Profile
I think probably germ theory... tho' I'm taking that to imply also some understanding of what these "germs" are.
Antibiotics (or at least modern ones), vaccination (again, modern ones), sanitation all depend on knowing what you're dealing with, I think.

Offline elegantlywasted

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 573
    • View Profile
    • Deviant Art
Insulin (and it's Canadian)

Offline DrN

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 815
    • View Profile
I put DNA and molecular biology. I went through the list and decided that sanitation is a public health issue rather than medicine per se, oral contraception had a massive social impact, but babies contine to be born, so I don't think its medically revolutionary. some of the others on the list make things easier and more pleasant, antibiotics just result in resistance, so may well day become useless anyway.

vaccines do prevent disease, but exposure has always caused resistance (if it didn't kill you first!) so its possibly not revolutionary, just a phenomenom that has been observed and harnessed.

Tissue culture was close, as it has made a tremendous amount of research into all kinds of disease and genetic disorder possible. there is of course now stem cell research.

However I chose DNA and molecular biology because it has also made a lot of research possible, including the identification of genetic disorders, understanding of inheritance, the ability to manipulate DNA, the production of generically modified organisms (including wheat, grain and other foods as well as cells and animals for research) and can be useful by itself as well as in combination with tissue culture.

Offline Lynda

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
I chose the germ theory as it really must have opened up loads of understanding about why illnesses occurred.   

It cannot have been pure superstition about it being bad luck if you put shoes on a kitchen table, for instance.   

If a medieval person had been walking down a grotty street, which had debris from toilet buckets thrown across the path, then they took their shoes off and put them on the the kitchen table there must have been loads of germs on that table!

Similarly, we must all, surely, know the origin of the nursery rhyme "Ring of Roses".

Offline WylieE

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 236
    • View Profile
I put something else, because I was thinking probably one of the smartest things we've ever done is "animal testing."  By this I mean anything from testing potential medications on other organisms (including bacteria) to watching what other animals eat and learning from them what to do (or not to do).  I guess sanitation would be my next vote.

Offline iko

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1626
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
If the "final hit", responsible for
genetic damage and dangerous mutations
leading to uncontrolled growth, is proven
infectious in most lymphomas, leukemias
and may be some solid tumors...
then the so called 'germ theory' will further
grow and surely become the most important.



Sanitation, antibiotics and vaccines
go together with that 'germ theory'.

Evidence Based Medicine is ok as far as it
does not turn into Empty Brains Medicine.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2007 14:55:15 by iko »

Offline drtcjraj

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
latest medicine promoting sex arousal in woman

The Naked Scientists Forum


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums