National Doctors Day is a national tradition now in the middle of its 8th decade. The first was held March 9, 1933 in Georgia. Eudora Brown Almond, whose husband was a doctor, organized the day of recognition and chose March 9 because it was the anniversary of the first time that anesthesia was used in 1842. George H.W. Bush designated that March 30 would be an annual national holiday in 1990.
The very first Doctors Day called attention to an important medical breakthrough that continues to benefit millions of people every year: the use of anesthesia. In the 175 years since then, the medical field has made countless more advancements that have saved lives and improved quality of life for many people.
Some recent medical advancements include:
A brand new antibiotic
For the first time in three decades, researchers have found a new antibiotic that has shown to be effective in defending against illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia, according to Reader’s Digest Asia. Researchers with the University of Bonn in Germany and Northeastern University in Boston explained that the drug, teixobactin, is especially important now, when tuberculosis seems to becoming prevalent in many countries across the world, particularly in Eastern Europe. The drug is expected to be approved in the next five years.
An artificial pancreas
For type 1 diabetics, measuring insulin levels is a constant concern. They need to measure their blood sugar levels several times throughout the day and administer the correct amount of insulin to prevent hypoglycemia. This routine can be forever changed with the introduction of Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, an artificial pancreas approved in September 2016 for type 1 diabetics over the age of 14, according to The Motley Fool. The device measures the patient’s blood glucose every five minutes through a sensor and delivers insulin as needed through a device worn on the abdomen.
Blood tests that predict health complications
For certain medical conditions, an early diagnosis can make a significant difference in survival rates and quality of life after the diagnosis. New understandings of the information gathered through blood tests is giving doctors new insight into patients’ potential health complications.
Researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London developed a blood test that measures antibodies in your bloodstream, according to Reader’s Digest. The fewer antibodies a person has, the more likely he or she has of having a heart attack or stroke in the following five years. This discovery can allow patients to take a proactive approach to heart health and potentially avoid a heart attack.
Teams of researchers at Rowan University in New Jersey, as well as at the Universities of Ruhr Bochum and Gottingen, Germany, have separately developed blood tests to detect whether an elderly person’s cognitive problems are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease or another ailment. Determining this early on can help doctors create a care plan to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, or to conduct tests to determine the actual cause.