Medical milestone. What next?

Prevention magazine looks at the most notable events, medical and otherwise, of the past five decades 1950s

Medical Milestones

• The first issue of Prevention goes on sale; the entire issue is devoted to a discussion of the polio epidemic, which is about to end.
• Fernand Lamaze, MD, introduces his Lamaze method, which stresses relaxation, breathing techniques, and support from the husband during childbirth.
• Dr. Jonas Salk develops the polio vaccine. Mass inoculations begin in 1954.
• Virginia Apgar, MD, develops the Apgar score, a method for evaluating the health of newborns.
• James Watson, PhD, and Francis Crick, PhD, discover the molecular structure of DNA.
• Ernest Wynder, MD, and Evarts Graham, MD, show that tobacco tars cause cancer in mice.
• The first open-heart surgery using the heart/lung machine is performed by John Gibbon Jr., MD, in Philadelphia.
• The first successful kidney transplant is performed.
• The modern tonometer-a device for detecting the eye disease glaucoma-is introduced; it's still in use today.
• Amniocentesis is first developed, which leads to testing for genetic disorders in 1966.
• The first human cells are cloned in a test tube.
• Crest introduces the first fluoridated toothpaste.
• Selenium is shown to be a trace element, essential for life. (Chromium follows in 1959.)
• The term "behavior therapy" is coined by psychologist Arnold Lazarus, PhD.
• Ian Donald, MD, is the first to use ultrasound to examine babies in the womb.
• The American Cancer Society launches its first cancer prevention study.
Medical Milestones
• The first pacemaker, a device to normalize heart rhythm, is successfully implanted.
• Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a method of basic life support, is introduced.
• "The Pill"-the first oral contraceptive-is approved by the FDA.
• The first total joint replacement becomes a reality.
• The Framingham Heart Study--a long-term research project focusing on residents of Framingham, MA--finds the first connection between cholesterol levels and heart disease.
• Frank Horsfall Jr., MD, announces that all forms of cancer result from changes in the genetic coding (DNA) of cells.
• The intrauterine device (IUD) is introduced for birth control.
• Lasers are used in eye surgery for the first time.
• Valium is introduced.
• The first lung transplant is performed.
• The first liver transplant is performed.
• The measles vaccine is introduced.
• General Nutrition Centers (GNC) starts expanding outside of Pittsburgh, bringing vitamins to more and more Americans.
• The Sexuality Information and Education Council is founded by Mary Steichen Calderone. The Council became an early and untiring advocate for sex education at home and in school.
• The Surgeon General releases a report on the health risks of smoking.
• Congress passes a law requiring cigarette packages to include a health warning: "Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health."
• The first successful pancreas transplant is performed.
A 20-year study in Evanston, IL, links fluoridation of water to cavity reduction.
Masters & Johnson publish their landmark study, Human Sexual Response, opening what may be the first public dialogue on sex.
The first successful heart transplant is performed by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard, MD.
The coronary bypass operation is developed by Rene Favaloro, MD.
The first study of hormone replacement therapy shows that it eases menopausal symptoms.


Seat belts become standard for cars in the US.

Mammography for detecting breast cancer is introduced.
A vaccine for German measles (rubella) is approved.
The first successful in vitro fertilization of human eggs is performed by British doctors, Robert Edwards, PhD, and Patrick Steptoe, MD, who later produce the first test-tube baby in 1978.
Celestial Seasonings sells its first blend of handpicked herbal tea.
Medical Milestones
• The first cancer-causing gene, or oncogene, is identified.
• Linus Pauling, PhD, advocates the use of vitamin C to prevent the common cold.
• The Environmental Protection Agency is established to protect the nation's environment and health.
• The Boston Women's Health Book Collective publishes Our Bodies, Ourselves.
• First Earth Day celebrated (April 22).
• Soft contact lenses are introduced.
• Congress passes Title IX, forcing schools to allocate equal funds for women's sports programs.
• Acupuncture is first used as anesthesia in a US hospital.
• The Heimlich maneuver to treat choking is introduced by Cincinnati surgeon Henry Heimlich, MD.
• Computed tomography (CT) scanning, or CAT scanning, is developed to examine the brain-a breakthrough for stroke diagnosis. It would later be used to investigate tumors, organ damage, and infections.
• Meyer Friedman, MD, and Ray Rosenman, MD, first describe the type A behavior pattern, connecting it to cardiac risk and mental stress.
• Endorphins-the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals-are discovered.
• Recombinant DNA technology is developed as a way to make copies of genes in the laboratory.
• The Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is developed to reveal the metabolic activity levels of the brain and heart.
• The Harvard Nurses' Health Study begins.
• The first Great American Smokeout is launched to help Americans kick their cigarette habit.
• Behavioral medicine is defined as a way of integrating medicine, psychiatry, and other disciplines to study health.
• Balloon angioplasty is developed as a method for unclogging arteries.
• The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, is born in England.
• The fiber content of various foods is determined for the first time.
• Lyme disease is discovered to be carried by ticks.
• Insulin is created by recombinant DNA.
• The World Health Organization pronounces smallpox eradicated.
Medical Milestones 1980

The American Cancer Society releases early detection guidelines for breast cancer and screening guidelines for prostate cancer.
Congress passes the Infant Formula Act, establishing safety and nutritional guidelines for baby formula.
The first AIDS cases are reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Self-monitoring of blood glucose becomes standard care for people with diabetes.
First JogBra developed when Hinda Miller, in collaboration with runner Lisa Lindahl, sewed together two jock straps.
The Physicians' Health Study, a study of more than 22,000 doctors, is launched at Harvard.
The first liposuction procedure is performed.
The first artificial heart is implanted by William DeVries, MD.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology-which shows more details than x-rays-is approved by the FDA.
The FDA approves an AIDS test for all blood donations to protect patients against infected donors.
Transparent orthodontic braces are introduced.
Moderate, regular exercise is linked to an increased life expectancy.
Tretinoin (Retin-A), an acne medicine, is shown to reduce skin wrinkles.
The Physicians' Health Study finds that aspirin taken every other day reduces the risk of subsequent heart attacks.
The first commercial DEXA scanner for bone-density testing is introduced.
Prozac debuts. The antidepressant from Eli Lilly paves the way for a new breed of antidepressants with fewer side effects.
Medical Milestones 1990

The Human Genome Project starts. Its goal: Create a map of all human genes.
The Food Pyramid is created by the FDA to replace the traditional "four food groups."
The National Cancer Institute begins studying the effects of phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) on cancer.
The US General Accounting Office stuns a Congressional panel by revealing that women have been left out of most major-and minor-medical studies. According to testimony, research scientists even preferred to use male rats. The National Institutes of Health springs into action, creating the Office for Research on Women's Health.
The National Woman's Health Initiative is launched to help fill in the gaps created by the lack of clinical research studies on women.
The Office of Alternative Medicine is established by Congress.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men 50 and older be screened yearly for prostate cancer with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is shown to be the cause of most peptic ulcers.
New food labels, providing comprehensive nutritional information, are introduced by the FDA.
A pig heart is transplanted to a baboon. (The baboon was fine, but the pig had trouble adjusting.)
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland clone Dolly the sheep.
The American Cancer Society releases guidelines on diet, nutrition, and cancer.
Dr. Andrew Weil establishes his integrative medical program at the University of Arizona.
The use of t-pa is approved by the FDA as the first treatment for stroke.
Gene therapy is used to grow new blood vessels, which may eventually be a boon to heart attack patients.
The DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes) replace the RDAs (first set in 1941) as nutritional guidelines. They represent a change in thinking: The RDAs were established to prevent nutrient deficiencies; the DRIs are designed to prevent disease and promote good health.
The drug raloxifene is approved for preventing osteoporosis.
The FDA approves Viagra as a treatment for impotence.
Researchers find proof that the brain can grow new cells, raising new hope for treating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
The US Department of Agriculture approves the first certification program for organic meat, poultry, and eggs.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): A hint of trends to come? Ricky may have been the breadwinner, but Lucy was never satisfied being a stay-at-home wife. (I Love Lucy first aired in 1951.)

PHOTO (COLOR): The origin of the couch potato: TV dinners let Americans enjoy Technicolor food while watching black-and-white television.

PHOTO (COLOR): Cold War tensions added an undercurrent of apprehension to a prosperous decade. Americans began to learn that nuclear war can be dangerous to your health.

PHOTO (COLOR): Deconstructing nature's architecture: Once scientists finally found the blueprints for DNA, would remodeling be far behind?

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): With video games decades away, '50s kids actually had to move around to entertain themselves.

PHOTO (COLOR): Maybe you've heard of this man? His swiveling hips and charisma propelled an entire nation of teenagers to dance.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Russia's launch of Sputnik triggered the space race, provoking a boom in new scientific and medical technology.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Pantyhose, invented in 1959, would become a welcome convenience for the increasing number of women entering the workplace.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Hula hoops were no longer needed: Chubby Checker's twist let you swing your hips at will.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: He taught the Beatles to meditate and piqued the public's interest in the healing traditions of India and the East.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Not just the star of Green Acres, Eddie Albert spoke out on television against DDT in 1969 and was among the first celebrities to support the environmental and organic gardening movements.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel prize for peace in 1964. His efforts forced America to confront its racial injustices.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): In 1966, Masters & Johnson released their landmark Human Sexual Response study. Suddenly, sex didn't seem so alien. (Jane Fonda in Barbarella, 1968)

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): The uber-icon of the '60s, hippie culture popularized ideas that are still with us today, such as environmentalism, activism, and Volkswagen Beetles.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Health took a backseat to swank as the Rat Pack smoked, drank, and crooned their way to the top of the entertainment food chain.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): 1969: Just 12 years after Sputnik was lobbed into orbit, human beings were walking n the moon.

PHOTO (COLOR): The gas shortages of the '70s made America's dependence on fossil fuels painfully obvious.

PHOTO (COLOR): A popular form of exercise in any decade: jumping around in trendy clothes. (Saturday Night Fever premiered in 1977.)

PHOTO (COLOR): In 1974, psychiatry first defined the type A personality: driven, impatient, and stressed. Was Richard Nixon its poster child?

PHOTO (COLOR): Fighting crime wasn't just for men anymore . . . though it wasn't the Angels' detective skills that most male viewers tuned in to see.

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Thanks to the baby boomers, running took off, well, running. (Yes, they're tube socks. Don't ask; you had to be there.)

PHOTO (COLOR): Champion ice-skater, Dorothy Hamill, and her haircut became models for young girls (not to mention their hairdressers).

PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Arnold Schwarzenegger became weight lifting's biggest ambassador with his first film success, Pumping Iron, in 1977. Later, we learned that weight training could help us lose weight, prevent osteoporosis, and fight aging, even if we never looked like Arnold.

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