Evolution of medicine: a path supported by knowledge, technology and innovation
The evolution of medicine It has a long history with procedures carried out since ancient times such as the Paleolithic. In prehistory, medicine was immersed in magical rituals, where shamans and similar figures used preparations based on plants, animals, and minerals.
In the history of medicine, the Egyptians recorded an extensive study of diseases and treatments, going back to 3,000 BC Doctors at the service of the pharaohs and their instruments, have been reflected in tombs and temples.
The so called medical papyri (2040 to 1795 BC) include Egyptian diagnoses, treatments and medications. The Ebers papyrus stands out in this period for its details of recipes, ointments and instructions for treatments.
Next, we will learn how the historical evolution of medicine was enriched by the research of great philosophers.
Greece and hippocratic thought in the evolution of medicine
An important medical school flourished in Alexandria with exponents such as Herophilus, Erasistratus and Galen.These philosophers, among others, helped develop scientific and philosophical thought and the Hippocratic orientation of medicine.
Herophilus of Chalcedon (335 280 BC) developed the first comprehensive work on the anatomy and connections of the nervous system. Erasistratus of Ceos (304 250 BC) studied the brain, blood vessels and nerves.
Aelius Galen or Galen of Pergamon (128 200), studied medicine with followers of Hippocrates and was physician to several Roman emperors. He was a talented anatomist and also influenced his treatises in the definition of ethical aspects of medicine (Campohermoso, 2016).
Socrates and the ethics of medicine
Socrates the Greek (470 BC) has gone down in history as one of the most important classical philosophers. He stands out for his approaches to ethics and morals in patient care.
Socrates He carried out studies regarding the functioning of the mind and the understanding of the world. From his practices derive the maieutics and the Socratic method, still in use. He also studies the psyche, the development of the inductive method, and constructivism, among other areas.
The list of figures who contributed to the evolution of medicinesince antiquity and the Middle Ages is much broader, for now Let’s move further into the present.
Evolution of medicine: current advances in this field
The main medical advances of today have been possible thanks to the combination with technological innovation and research development. Here are three examples with important technological applications for the present and future of medicine.
1. Immune inhibitors and adoptive immune cells against cancer
Dr. Michael A. Teitell, Director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, highlights how Advances in immunotherapies have allowed the development of more effective treatments.
For some types of cancer, clinical studies are being carried out that mean important niches of evolution of medicine:
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors.
- Adaptive immune cell therapies.
- Selection of cells and more effective vaccines against types of cancer considered fatal until recently.
2. Monoclonal antibodies against Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the immune system attacks elements of nerve fibers (myelin sheaths). Causing gradual and progressive damage.
The most recent advances in MS immunotherapies include:
- New generation monoclonal antibody engineering.
- Creation of improved proteins from recombinant DNA technology.
- Therapies to selectively eliminate cells that generate damage that initiate the neurodegeneration seen in MS.
3. Greater access to telemedicine and new generation vaccines
The pandemic accelerated the application of existing technologies and innovation and adaptation of online healthcare approaches , in order to serve millions of people sheltered from contagion in their homes. An example of this is telemedicine. At the same time, we have seen how the development of vaccines has accelerated, seeking solutions to stop the advance of the pandemic or reduce its effects.
Technology once again shows its contributions to the evolution of medicine responding with innovations such as:
- Vaccines based on adenovirus or messenger RNA.
- Development of mobile applications for epidemiological analysis, prevention and identification of those infected.
- Biomedical and personal protection equipment.
- Equipment and robotics applied to disinfection.
Future expectations in the evolution of medicine
The main medical advances reviewed by Science magazine in its 2020 Breakthrough of the Year point to:
- Protein shape prediction supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Cell editing with CRISPR genome scissors applied to cancer treatment.
- Design of new proteins, including to neutralize SARS CoV 2.
- Development of drugs to prevent HIV infection, without the need for antiretroviral therapy.
Telecommunications technologies, big data analysis, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things support medical praxis, expanding the scope of telemedicine as is the case of Movistar health.
The combination between medicine and technology is inseparable, creating new approaches or improving existing ones. Therefore, the evolution of medicine will continue to amaze us, improving our life expectancies.
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