Ever wonder how long a medical treatment has been around? For instance, when did they start using Viagra?  What about Gamow Bags?  When did they start putting a tiny camera inside a pill? Read on to find out!

Note: These treatments were not available to help your grandparents. Here are 5 medical inventions that arrived during the 1990’s that had a profound effect on medical practice.

What about the 1990's. The 1990’s live on in memory on account of the rock and roll legends such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumkins, and Nirvana. But the medical advances set forth below are “rock stars” in the field of medicine and science.

Igor Gamow in a laboratory

1. 1990: Gamow bag (inflatable bag for treating altitude sickness)

Igor Gamow invented a pressurized chamber in the 1980's to help elite athletes train with the attributes of high altitude. Later he adjusted the device so that the pressurized space could be formed in a portable, soft bag that looks like an oversized sleeping bag. The bag version is now used as a safety device for mountain climbers who fall sick due to the lack of oxygen in the air at high altitudes. The air pressure is created by using a foot pump.  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamow_bag

2. 1992: Smart Pill (tiny camera on a pill)

This is used in gastrointesinal diagnostic procedures.

3. 1994: Radiosurgery (for epilepsy and malignant tumors) 

4. 1990: Human Genome Project (HGP)

An international scientific research project, HGP involves mapping of the physical genes that make up the human body. Funding in the US came from the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). By identifying and mapping all the genes that make us up, and by studying their structure and organization, the published results of the project aid science in further understanding the role of genes in human growth and development, and the process by which various disease advance. From the data developed it is hoped that new treatments for disease will be developed and made available. 

5. 1998: Viagra

viagra box The Viagra pill works to increase blood flow to assist men during intercourse. It addresses a common condition which affects as many as one half of all men over the age of 40. Prescription only, the active ingredient is Silenafil. Many men who have been diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes have been greatly aided by this invention, which prior to 1998 was not available.  It has been advertised widely on television, and currently generates over one billion dollars in sales each year for the Pfizer drug company. 

Think about it. If you were born earlier, and developed a condition before 1999, none of these devices or medications would have been available to you.

Medicine improves over time due to ongoing basic science research by scientists, trial and error clinical trials by doctors where research findings are applied to possible treatments, and through investments of non profit government funds and for profit private capital in both basic science research, long term population studies, and clinical trials. 

Know a friend who has a treatment with any of these medicines or devices?  Share this article with him on Facebook so he can get an idea how long the treatment has been available.

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