Greatest Medical Advance: Sanitation

Posted on January 21, 2007
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From WebMD. BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) readers voted for the top medical advances since 1840. Sanitation ranked first, highlighting the importance of clean drinking water and adequate waste disposal, which are still unavailable to billions of people worldwide. Vaccines ranked fourth; the first was Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccine of 1796. We’ve had vaccinations for two-hundred years, but we still haven’t found a way to help everyone in the world out of living in squalid conditions, which is obviously more of a socioeconomic issue than a medical one in this day and age. Other innovations include “oral rehydration therapy” – essentially, fluid replacement by drinking. Sigh; seems like we’re a long way from nanites and medical tricorders.
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