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Top 5 Medical Advances Of The Past 10 Years

Jul 2, 2008
The world of medicine moves along at a rate that is hardly comprehensible to the average person. Researchers in labs all over the world are constantly experimenting and working on theories to improve medicine. In the past 10 years, there have been many medical advances. They might not have been as influential as, say, the discovery of penicillin. But, they are important nonetheless, and have had huge influences on the way we live today.

It wasn't until the late 90's that the true potential for defibrillators was realized. When someone suffers from cardiac arrest and they are shocked by a defibrillator soon enough, they have a phenomenally higher chance of surviving. Some companies have recognized this, and begun producing automatic emergency defibrillators that can be easily stored in businesses, gyms, offices, and many other places. This makes it a lot easier for someone having a heart attack to get rapid and effective treatment, and increase their chance of survival.

The popular morning-after pill of the brand "Plan B" was approved in 1999. It has revolutionized emergency contraceptives. Previously they were less effective, and more likely to cause unwanted side effects. The Plan B pill fixes both of these problems, and it also requires a smaller dose. Other contraceptives cause nausea and various side effects, but Plan B alleviates both of these. It has become the standard brand for usage by rape victims, and is somewhat popular commercially as well.

A huge breakthrough for cancer treatment came in 2007, when researchers discovered the possibilities of angiogenesis as a method of making a tumor harmless. The basic concept of tumor angiogenesis is that the tumor has its vessels blocked, thereby reducing the amount of blood and nutrients that would contribute towards growth. This theory has been around for ages, but the breakthrough came when it was discovered that the enzyme PKG can encourage angiogenesis. While we're still far from a cure, the usefulness of PKG will likely play a large role in the final obliteration of cancer.

Although ocular surgery has been around for longer than 10 years, LASIK has recently revolutionized it by making it quick, effective, and affordable for a large portion of the population. It has a quick recovery, minimal pain, and fixes eyesight permanently in most cases. Though some complications can arise, overall laser eye surgery has been extremely well-received.

Genetic research has had its own major breakthroughs. In 2003, a scientist named Craig Mello discovered a system that allows our bodies to interface with genes in order to build our bodies. Along with this, biological research has lead to the discovery of countless genes that contribute towards predisposition to diseases and unwanted traits such as obesity. If these two areas of research can be combined, we could be looking at the end of genetically inherited diseases and disorders. In fact, the first drugs based on this system are in production right now.

When we look back at medical advances of the past, it helps us look forward to the future more brightly. Some of humanity's biggest medical problems have been solved in the past. With progressive mindsets, hopefully we can look forward to solving the ones that plague us currently.
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