Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s) are long-lasting passive birth control for women. Once inserted they work anywhere from ten years to life. IUD’s are the most common birth-control method in the world. Background IUD’s were first developed in 1909 by Richard Richter of Waldenburg, Germany. Ernst Gräfenberg also supported the devices. He is the doctor the “G-Spot” […]

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing identifies genetic patterns, including irregularities. In 2019, genetic testing is typically used to search for abnormalities and susceptibilities. However, new treatments under development target the specific traits of patients or disease. These treatments attack and cure at the genetic level. In addition, genetic testing is entertaining. People find unknown relatives or trace family […]

Sonography

Sonography is the process of using sound waves as an imaging device, typically for medical purposes. Background Indeed, the principles of sonography come from the natural world. For example, bats and whales are mammals that use sound waves for navigation. In 1794, after performing medical studies on bats, Lazzaro Spallanzani gained a basic understanding of […]

Heart-Lung Machine / Cardiopulmonary Bypass

Heart-Lung machines temporarily do the work of the heart and lungs allowing surgeons to operate on the heart or lungs. Despite the sci-fi nature, it was a husband-wife garage invention. Background In 1931, surgeon John Gibbon lost a patient he felt sure would have lived if he could temporarily keep blood circulating and oxygenated. He […]

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy refers to a group of drugs that fight cancer. Surgery and radiation were the two common anti-cancer therapies before the discovery of effective chemotherapy. Immunotherapy was also studied but showed little promise. Background In the 1800s, scientists thought drugs might be able to fight cancer. However, none of them worked well. In the 1910s, […]

Health Insurance

Background Germany has the oldest health insurance system, the Sickness Insurance Law of 1883. Employers paid one-third and employees two-thirds. The insurance covered both medical treatment and sick leave. In 1911, the UK created basic health insurance. Russia followed in 1912, nationalizing all healthcare after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Most countries rolled out some […]

Laparoscopy

For centuries surgeons have been purposefully cutting holes in people trying to heal them. Background Before anesthesia, antibiotics, and Lister’s germ theories surgery often meant a slow and painful death from infection. Putting things into perspective, more people died in the US Civil War from infection than from direct strike of a weapon. Purposefully cutting […]

Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is a process of working with highly trained professionals. Through discussions, doctors uncover and heal often forgotten events or disturbances. Freud was a neurologist who noticed that patients under hypnosis talked about disturbing events, oftentimes from their childhood. He theorized that speaking about these events would allow a person to confront, heal, and work […]

Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)

CRISPR is like a word processor for DNA. It allows easy and inexpensive gene editing. Edited genes are passed to future generations, making mutations permanent. Doudna and Charpentier Doudna and Charpentier worked on and invented the technology as a team. First, they worked on plants and, later, on animals. History becomes murkier with the involvement […]

Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project mapped the human genome, the DNA map of human life. It enables future genetic technologies that can cure disease, preemptively find problematic genes, or even allow genetic manipulation (designer babies). Francis Watson was the initial lead. He is the Nobel Prize winning co-discoverer of DNA sequencing. As the project gained in […]