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History of Medicine Timeline

Modern medicine, or medicine as we know it, started to emerge after the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. At this time, there was rapid growth in economic activity in Western Europe and the Americas.

During the 19th century, economic and industrial growth continued to develop, and people made many scientific discoveries and inventions.

Scientists made rapid progress in identifying and preventing illnesses and in understanding how bacteria and viruses work.

However, they still had a long way to go regarding the treatment and cures of infectious diseases.

  1. 2600 BC The Egyptian Imhotep describes the diagnosis and treatment of 200 diseases
  2. 500 BC Alcmaeon of Croton distinguished veins from arteries
  3. 460 BC Birth of Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine begins the scientific study of medicine and prescribes a form of aspirin
  4. 300 BC Diocles wrote the first known anatomy book
  5. 280 BC Herophilus studies the nervous system
  6. 130 AD Birth of Galen. Greek physician to gladiators and Roman emperors
  7. c60AD Pedanius Dioscorides writes De Materia Medica
  8. 910 Persian physician Rhazes identifies smallpox
  9. 1010 Avicenna writes The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine
  10. 1249 Roger Bacon invents spectacles
  11. 1489 Leonardo da Vinci dissects corpses
  12. 1543 Vesalius publishes findings on human anatomy in De Fabrica Corporis Humani
  13. 1590 Zacharius Jannssen invents the microscope
  14. 1628 William Harvey publishes An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals which forms the basis for future research on blood vessels, arteries and the heart
  15. 1656 Sir Christopher Wren experiments with canine blood transfusions
  16. 1670 Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers blood cells
  17. 1683 Anton van Leeuwenhoek observes bacteria
  18. 1701 Giacomo Pylarini gives the first smallpox inoculations
  19. 1747 James Lind publishes his Treatise of the Scurvy stating that citrus fruits prevent scurvy
  20. 1763 Claudius Aymand performs the first successful appendectomy
  21. 1796 Edward Jenner develops the process of vaccination for smallpox, the first vaccines for any disease
  22. 1800 Sir Humphry Davy discovers the anesthetics properties of nitrous oxide
  23. 1816 Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope
  24. 1818 James Blundell performs the first successful transfusion of human blood
  25. 1842 Crawford W. Long uses either as a general anesthetic
  26. 1844 Dr. Horace Wells uses nitrous oxide as an anesthetic
  27. 1846 William Morton, a dentist, is the first to publish the process of using anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide
  28. 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to gain a medical degree from Geneva Medical College in New York
  29. 1847 Ignaz Semmelweis discovers how to prevent the transmission of puerperal fever
  30. 1853 Charles Gabriel Pravaz and Alexander Wood develop the syringe
  31. 1857 Louis Pasteur identifies germs as clause of disease
  32. 1867 Joseph Lister develops the use of antiseptic surgical methods and publishes Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery
  33. 1870 Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur establish the germ theory of disease
  34. 1879 First vaccine developed for cholera
  35. 1881 First vaccine developed for anthrax by Louis Pasteur
  36. 1882 First vaccine for developed for rabies by Louis Pasteur
  37. Koch discovers the TB bacillus
  38. 1887 First contact lenses developed
  39. 1890 Emil von Behring discovers antitoxins and develops tetanus and diphtheria vaccines
  40. 1895 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers X-rays
  41. 1896 First vaccine developed for typhoid fever
  42. 1897 First vaccine developed for Bubonic plague
  43. 1899 Felix Hoffman develops aspirin
  44. 1901 Karl Landsteiner introduces the system to classify blood into A, B, AB, and O groups
  45. 1913 Dr. Paul Dudley White pioneers the use of the electrocardiograph – ECG
  46. 1921 Edward Mellanby discovers that lack of vitamin D in the diet causes rickets
  47. Earle Dickson invented the Band-Aid
  48. 1922 Insulin first used to treat diabetes
  49. 1923 First vaccine developed for diphtheria
  50. 1926 First vaccine developed for whooping cough
  51. 1927 First vaccine developed for tuberculosis
  52. First vaccine developed for tetanus
  53. 1928 Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin
  54. 1935 First vaccine developed for yellow fever
  55. Percy Lavon Julian synthesized the medicines physostigmine for glaucoma and cortisone for rheumatoid arthritis
  56. 1937 First vaccine developed for typhus
  57. Bernard Fantus pioneers the use of the first blood bank in Chicago
  58. 1942 Doctor Karl Theodore Dussik publishes the first paper on medical ultrasonic – ultrasound
  59. 1943 Selman A. Waksman discovers the antibiotic streptomycin
  60. 1945 First vaccine developed for influenza
  61. 1950 John Hopps invented the first cardiac pacemaker
  62. 1952 Paul Zoll develops the first cardiac pacemaker
  63. Jonas Salk develops the first polio vaccine
  64. Rosalind Franklin uses X-ray diffraction to study the structure of DNA
  65. 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick work on the structure of the DNA molecule
  66. 1954 Gertrude Elion patented a leukemia-fighting drug
  67. Dr. Joseph E. Murray performs the first kidney transplant
  68. 1955 Jonas Salk develops the first polio vaccine
  69. 1963 Thomas Fogarty invented the balloon embolectomy catheter
  70. 1964 First vaccine developed for measles
  71. 1967 First vaccine developed for mumps
  72. Dr. Christian Bernard performs the first human heart transplant
  73. 1970 First vaccine developed for rubella
  74. 1974 First vaccine developed for chicken pox
  75. 1975 Robert S. Ledley invents CAT-Scans
  76. 1977 First vaccine developed for pneumonia
  77. 1978 First test-tube baby is born
  78. First vaccine developed for meningitis
  79. 1980 Smallpox is eradicated
  80. 1981 First vaccine developed for hepatitis B
  81. 1983 HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is identified
  82. 1984 Alec Jeffreys devises a genetic fingerprinting method
  83. 1985 Willem J. Kolff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine
  84. 1992 First vaccine developed for hepatitis A
  85. 1996 Dolly the sheep becomes the first clone
  86. 2006 First vaccine to target a cause of cancer



  1. http://www.datesandevents.org/events-timelines/10-history-of-medicine-timeline.htm
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323538.php
  3. Image: https://zeenews.india.com/health/dispelling-myths-people-lived-well-past-40-before-modern-medicine-says-study-2072659

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