Evolution of Medical Technology: Glimpse into the history of Medical Technology



Today the medical technology has come a long way from eliciting of physical signs and symptoms to evidence based medicine which allows us to extend our vision to deepest of viscera and the most complex of genes and molecules. 

There has been continuous change in our understanding of the human body and disease which has progressed from early and sacred theories of disease to contemporary modern theories.

The first medical diagnoses made by humans were based on what ancient physicians could observe with their eyes and ears, which sometimes also included the examination of human specimens. 

With the discovery of microscopy and the science of the small, the doctors were able to get the understanding of what eyes cannot see. This lead to renunciation of ancient theories of disease, thus paving way for the germ theory. 

This helped in developing treatments for some of the most dreaded diseases to humanity. More sophisticated diagnostic tools and techniques such as the thermometer for measuring temperature and the stethoscope for measuring heart rate were not in widespread use until the end of the 19th century. The clinical laboratory gained popularity only at the beginning of the 20th century.

Following is the timeline for the inventions of some of the path breaking technologies:
·         1816 – Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope
·         1895 – Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers medical use of X-rays in medical imaging
·         1903 – Willem Einthoven discovers electrocardiography (ECG/EKG)
·         1910 – Hans Christian Jacobeus performs the first laparoscopy on humans
·         1927 –  First modern practical respirator
·         1943 – Willem Kolff build the first dialysis machine
·         1957 – William Grey Walter invents the brain EEG topography (toposcope)
·         1960 – Invention of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
·         1963 –  Laser treatments to prevent blindness
·         1965 – Frank Pantridge installs the first portable defibrillator
·         1965 – First commercial ultrasound
·         1971 – Sir Godfrey Hounsfield invents the first commercial CT scanner
·         1970s (Late) – Arthroscope introduced
·         1980 – Raymond Damadian builds first commercial MRI scanner
·         1980s – Controlled drug delivery technology developed
·         1982 –  First permanent artificial heart implant
·         1987 –  First laser surgery on a human cornea
·         1990 –  Human Genome Project
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