Medical research during the last ten decades has brought succour to people suffering from diseases which were never considered curable. Only a few decades back there was no reliable cure for typhoid and tuberculosis. A number of compounds are now available in the market for these fatal diseases. Tuberculosis is now considered an ordinary ailment.
Moreover, formerly only lung T.B. was diagnosed as T.B. Although people suffered from the tuberculosis of bone, lungs and other parts of the body no one knew about them. They were treated otherwise and the treatment remained ineffective. Research has shown that the disease is infectious and is caused by ‘tubercle bacillus’. They can affect any organ of the body.
Because of a series of researches epidemics, in progressive countries have become just memories of by-gone days. In the countries of the third world like India where hygienic conditions are far from satisfactory some diseases still take an epidemic form. Still they are treated and cured.
Malaria was totally eradicated from the country. But it has come back with a vengeance. Although government reports are otherwise its incidence in rural India is very high. Nevertheless it is curable. Chloroquin and some other compounds of quinine are a sure cure.
Modern medicines have done away with the epidemics of plague throughout the world. Cholera too takes a great toll and still takes an epidemic form in rural India. It again is totally curable. Medical science has given a new dimension to the treatment of these diseases. Formerly the diseases, sometimes, proved fatal due to dehydration. Pharmacists have provided readily available saline and liquid glucose which can be intravenously administered. It has proved a life-saving device in acute cases.
While Tuberculosis is due to the formation of tubercles in the tissues, ulcer is generally due to the disintegration of the tissue. The two common ulcers i.e. of the skin and peptic ulcers of the stomach have been successfully cured by latest researches. Venereal diseases like syphillis and gonorrhoea too are perfectly curable.
Blame has been put on the modern medical science that due to it many new diseases have come into vogue. They were never heard of before. The reality is otherwise- The diseases existed, but were never diagnosed. Modern medical science has diagnosed them and has made efforts to find cure for them. A number of antibiotics and vaccines have come up for their cure.
The greatest march of medical science is in the field of surgery. It is a march beyond the invention of life-saving drugs, and is a special privilege of modern medical system. Never before, was surgery done on vital parts of the body like heart, lungs, brain, kidney, liver and intestine. Certain operations like that of appendicitis and hernia are now considered minor. The invention of a range of anesthetics has proved an angelic boon to the patient who is operated without pain. Acupuncture has added a new dimension in this field.
The modern surgeon can give another lease on life to a chronic heart or kidney patient by transplanting these organs. Blood transfusion is a common thing now. Blood Banks are found in almost all cities. The day is not far when heart banks, kidney banks and banks for other parts would be established. Synthetic parts may also be available. Dialysis machines have become common. Synthetic coronary conduits are already introduced to replace defective arteries of heart.
Orthopedics, the Science of bones, has given great relief to a man who is disabled due to accidents. Orthopedic surgeon, like a blacksmith, sets his bones right, stitches them and sometimes even replaces them or joins them with nails and synthetic plastic sheets or rods. Close in this range is the dental surgeon who sets the teeth right and replaces them. He stops their decay also.
A new horizon has been reached by the introduction of Orthodontics, a new branch of dentistry, to correct and prevent irregularities of teeth. Plastic surgery and orthodontics combine to enhance the facial beauty. They have added an emotional horizon to medical science.
Infantile mortality, Tonsillitis (disease of tonsils), nose disorders, deafness and blindness are major problems of health both among the rich and the poor Pediatrician. ENT specialist and Ophthalmologist come to the rescue of patients suffering from these diseases. Pediatrician does not simply cure child diseases. He associates himself with gynecologist to establish centers for the care of the child and the mother.
Medical science also checks the tyranny over women through family planning appliances. The nation too gains by a check on population made possible through these gifts. Medical researches have been assisting not simply the rich individuals but are ameliorating the health of the society and the world at large specially in the third world countries.
Radio-therapy that started long back has reached new heights today. It has been a boon to numberless people suffering from cancer. They are treated with X-ray. With the advent of atomic energy a new chapter has been added to radio-therapy. Radio-isotopes are now available for diagnosis and cure of many diseases. Serious efforts are being made to find a cure for AIDS which would claim at least two million lives in the USA alone.
According to a report scientists have claimed to have isolated the gene that is responsible for many allergies causing Asthma and respiratory problems. Some very important persons (recently Satyajit Ray) could not face the intricacies caused by respiratory problems. Scientists have claimed that they have come out with drug combinations that cure the gene. It has already been tested on rats and monkeys and is expected to be marketed soon.
Repairing, curing and changing certain genes have already come under genetic engineering. It is a question of time only, may be in the coming decade that most of the diseases would be treated through genetic engineering.