If you like to read journals in your doctor’s waiting room, you will never find these journals there. These publications were released many years ago, but modern medicine would be impossible without them.
History knows many papers written by scientists. They were noting their methods of treatment, causes of certain diseases, and best drugs known at that time. Researchers shared their knowledge with each other, developing new medical approaches, and building health care system as we know it now.
Philosophical Transactions was the first journal of such a kind. First time, it was published more than 350 years ago, and it’s still produced, along with many other journals.
We decided to take a look at four most important journals that changed medicine forever, introducing new approaches to medical practice, and creating new conceptions of treatment.
Smallpox Prevention: James Jurin
Many people have died from smallpox during the 18th century.
The first idea of how we can cope with such a problem was introduced by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. She was the wife of the British ambassador in Turkey. In 1721, she suggested that inoculation could protect people from this deadly disease.
Shortly thereafter, an epidemic of smallpox spread to the Britain. In order to protect her daughter, Mary asked doctors to inoculate her. This idea was accepted by many medics, so this practice was used around the country, as the only known way to protect developing of the disease.
However, such a method raised controversy among people. Many patients thought that such a procedure will give them the disease, so they refused to accept treatment.
Given the importance of this topic at that time, editor of this journal, Sir James Jurin, started collecting records from all around the country, creating a research devoted to the issue of smallpox and inoculation.
According to Jurin’s research, which was published in 1723, most people would rather die from the disease, than receive inoculation.
Joseph Lister: Surviving Surgery
In 19th century, patients of hospitals could either die or live with equal chances.
The main reason for such statistics was the common belief that diseases pass only through the air, so surgeons didn’t even wash their hands before surgery procedures.
In 1867, Joseph Lister published his paper in a medical journal, explaining how carbolic acid can be used for disinfection.
He used carbolic acid in his own practice, washing wounds, and wrapping them in a specific blend of linseed oil, carbolic acid, and carbolic lime. He stated that such techniques help to destroy germs, and this approach helped many patients with bone fractures.
However, most medics didn’t believe that germs exist, since they couldn’t see them. Thus, this theory was accepted only many years later.
Richard Doll: Harms of Smoking
In 1940s, the number of death from cancer in the US, the UK, Japan, Turkey, and Canada increased significantly. Doctors started researching this issue, trying to find the reason for such sad statistics. Generally, they focused on two possible causes: smoking and air pollution.
In 1950, Richard Doll published his paper that included evidences of direct relation between smoking, and lung cancer.
Writing his paper, Richard Doll quit smoking. This article made a revolution in health care, revealing dangerous consequences of such a popular habit.
Frederick Banting: Insulin
Leonard Thompson was diagnosed with diabetes in 1932. Thanks to Frederick Banting, he was the first man in a history, who received treatment with insulin.
Banting described his method in the Canadian Medical Journal, which gave him the Nobel Prize in 1923.
New method of treatment introduced by Banting saved millions of lives, and even now treatment of diabetes is impossible without insulin.