We live in a fascinating world that is undoubtedly obsessed with technology. We all depend on the internet, the latest smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, medical equipment such as hearing amplifiers and other devices that make our lives more organized, safer, easier and more interesting. From our homes to places of work, hospitals, learning institutions, and many other places, technology plays a very important role and keeps evolving very fast.
There is no industry that hasn’t embraced the use of modern technology. In the manufacturing, hospitality, commerce, transport and communication sectors, application of technology helps to minimize operational costs and increase efficiency. In medicine, the use of modern technology continues to play a pivotal role in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases. It also has made it easier to learn and understand medicine through online learning. To better understand where we currently are, it is important to find out where it all started and how the journey has evolved to the fast-paced tech world of today.
How medical technology has evolved over the years
The first magnifying glass was developed in 1250 by Roger Bacon. Even though the magnifying capacity of crystal chips had been discovered hundreds of years before, Roger’s creation was the first lens developed for scientific use. About 30 years later, similar lenses were used by patients with farsightedness. Today, these pieces of medical equipment are very important during surgical procedures.
In 1752, Benjamin Franklin developed the first flexible catheter. His brother had bladder stones, so the device made using hinged metal parts made his life and the lives of many other patients with similar conditions more bearable. Before then, catheters consisted of hard tubes that were passed through the urethra into patients’ bladders.
In 1851, a French physician by the name Rene Laennec came up with the first stethoscope when he needed to examine an extremely fat woman, but he could not listen to her heartbeats by placing his keen ears close to the lady’s chest. Essentially, it was a wooden tube that resembled a trumpet.
In 1841, Doctor Crawford Long carried out the first surgical procedure using anesthesia. The surgeon dipped a towel into a bowl of diethyl ether and pressed it against the face, which made the patient unconscious and oblivious of pain for a while. He then removed a tumor from the patient’s neck. The whole procedure set the lucky patient back by $2, which included the cost of anesthesia.
In 1874, a British scientist by the name Richard Caton used a galvanometer to detect electrical impulses in the brains of animals. This played an important role in the development of EEG, a piece of medical equipment that is commonly used by physicians today.
Fast forward to the 20th century, a period when medical technology evolved even faster than it did in previous years.
In 1903, for instance, Dr. W. Einthoven, a scientist who was born and lived in the Netherlands, developed the first electrocardiogram. The medical equipment weighed about 600 pounds and needed at least five operators. It had gigantic electromagnets that were cooled by a complex water cooling system. In 1924, the doctor was awarded a Nobel Prize for his incredible invention.
In 1910, a Swedish internist by the name Dr. Christian Jacobaeus carried out the first laparoscopy. The innovative doctor used cocaine as anesthesia to puncture holes in the abdomens of 17 patients. He went ahead to obtain fluid samples from the 17 abdomens and used a cystoscopy to examine the cavities.
The first Computed Tomography (CT) scanner was designed by Dr. G. Hounsfield. That was in 1971, and the first beneficiary was a patient admitted to a London hospital. Eight years later, he received a Nobel Prize for his fascinating invention.
In 1978, Dr. Raymond Damadian formally announced his patenting of a technique that made use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to differentiate between normal tissue and cancerous tissue. The cancer diagnosis and treatment industry has come a long way, established on different therapies, such as pills, and chemo and radiotherapy
However, although the treatment therapy has come a long way, scientists have failed to come up with ways that suppress these treatments’ side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, and especially hair-loss, which tends to psychologically burden the patients the most. Low Dose Naltrexone therapy however, appears to not result in hair loss.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, great strides have been made in medical technology. Just like in previous centuries, scientists have channeled significant resources in the research and development of medical equipment.
In the year 2000, for instance, scientists used sophisticated medical equipment to conduct research on the human genome. The first draft was formally announced in the same year. It was officially completed in 2003.
In 2004, Ossur Corporation developed the first prosthetic joint. The artificial knee made of plastic could (and still can) easily adapt to changes in terrain as well as walking styles of users.
In 2006, Nico Forraz and Colin McGucklin, two doctors based at Newcastle University, used stem cells to develop a liver. Even though it could not possibly be implanted in any patient because of its minute size, the development laid a strong foundation for the treatment and management of liver conditions.
Last but not least;“ Developments in medical technology have greatly transformed medical education, in terms of the different technological equipment that leave little to the students’ imagination, and therefore are able to get thoroughly acquainted with different aspects of medicine.” say representatives from Osmosis.
There is no doubt that medical technology has undergone tremendous evolution over the years. With the rapid technological advancements and increased focus on medical care, the medical sector will undergo even greater evolution in the future.