From time immemorial doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been focused in advancing medicine and medical technology to help people live longer, enjoy a better life and improve health care over the world. Some discoveries and inventions have stood the test of time and are being used to this day in various situations for the betterment of humans. Some of them are:

  1. DNA

Who: Francis Crick and James Watson

When: 1953

Living organisms have a code – a specific network that carries genetic instructions which enable organisms to function, grow and develop. Essential for all life forms, DNA dictates our physical form and what makes us who we are. From the color of our eyes to the varying diseases that we are susceptible to, we are able to identify these because of our genetic disposition.

  1. Insulin

Who: Frederick Banting

When: 1920

In the days prior to the discovery of insulin, diabetes was just another cause for a slow and painful death. There was no way to control sugar levels in the body. Today we have a lifesaving hormone that can keep our sugar levels in check and that can give diabetics a chance at a normal life.

  1. Penicillin

Who: Alexander Fleming

When: 1928

History tells us about amputations of body parts when they got infected. The other choice was death. The finding of Alexander Fleming has brought about the revolutionary development of antibiotics. Today any infection can be treated through medicines that can kill specific disease causing bacteria so as to avoid any type of infection in the body.

  1. Anesthetic

Previously: History records ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese using general anesthesia in varying forms

Who: Joseph Priestley

When: 1772

Imagine a person biting into a piece of wood or a rope, with a shot of alcohol, screaming in pain while a doctor tries to amputate his leg. Yes, that was not a figment of imagination but the truth for people who lived before Anesthesia was discovered. Today we can go into an operation theatre with the serene thought that there will be temporarily induced state of no pain while operating procedures go on. Anesthetics transformed every aspect of undergoing an operation.

  1. Germ Theory

Who: John Snow

When: 1854

The discovery of germs was monumental to the world. Before that people assumed that bad air or pollution was the cause of many diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death. They were told to carry around things that smelt bad in order to ward off this air or pollution.  That’s when John Snow connected an outbreak of cholera to a specific water pump in Broad Street, London. His analyzes showed that contaminated water was the reason behind the outbreak cholera and it wasn’t the bad air or pollution as people believed. But his findings were discarded and it wasn‘t until Louis Pasteur proved germ theory in laboratory settings that people understood reality. The work of both men has been an eye opener to the world and has resulted in better sanitation and lower levels of diseases.

  1. X-Ray

Who: German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen

When: 1895

The ability to penetrate through skin and body tissues to observer the structure of human bones was a crucial discovery especially when it came to identifying breaks and fractures. That was just the beginning! Today X rays are used not only in the medical field by dentists and doctors but also in the field of astronomy, for security checks/scans, in industries, in scientific research, and much more.


Countless other discoveries have revolutionized our world today. The field of Medicine is rapidly growing with discoveries and new technology being created each day. You could be the next person to discover something that can change the world. Does The Field of Medicine fascinate you? Try www.aaumed.org to gain your MBBS and MD to make your mark in the world.