How past diseases are helping modern science

They were horrors of the past world; smallpox, the bubonic plague, yellow fever, scurvy. All of them killed thousands back in their prime, destroying entire civilizations and changing the course of the world. They were destroyed by modern medicine and no longer exist in the world, but their stories are inspiring modern medical treatments across the world.

The historical value of these sicknesses helps modern medical doctors as they seek to understand what let these plagues run free across the world, as well as how they were eventually stopped and contained, in order to gain more knowledge about the plagues like cancer that affect our modern world.

Understanding DNA

Scientists are able to put names to phenomena that medieval doctors had no idea about, such as how diseased like the black death moved from flies to rats and then to humans while cutting a disease ridden swathe through Europe.

However, the people of the ancient times did know a few things that are helping the modern doctor out. In 1950, two doctors investigated several lung cancer cases that were coming up near one another, and while pollution and car fumes were considered, smoking was also a possibility and later was the culprit.

The only reason why smoking was considered was because of a recorded phrase spoken by King James I in the 17th century, which warned of tobacco’s dangerous effect on the lungs.

In addition, Mad Cow disease’s link to humans was discovered when a new protein called prion was discovered to have infected the brain and severed neurons and proteins, which has been revisited as Alzheimer’s and Dementia began to have more serious cases.

Finally, the flu pandemics of bird, swine, and Spanish flu are being understood by doctors and historians to prevent them from happening again. Spanish flu still hasn’t been entirely understood, and the pandemic it caused devastated the entire world.

You can breathe easy

For every past disease scientists are using to understand a modern pandemic, even more have been destroyed by modern vaccines so you can breathe nice and easy. Diseases like yellow fever have vaccines for them and only exist in the developing world, while others like smallpox have been completely destroyed.

The threat of a global pandemic is still possible, but it is severely lessoned, and as the studies of how past pandemics existed and spread are further studied we’ll be able to prevent them from happening again. By using common sense such as quarantining the infected and using proper hygiene, the chances of a worldwide infection go down.

The vaccinations are still important, especially for trips to the developing world where the sicknesses still run rampant, and knowing the history, signs, and symptoms of the disease can also help if you are in that area and could be with people who are unvaccinated.

With all the studying that is happening worldwide, the chances of a worldwide infection on the scale of those that happened in the past is about as low as it can get, so thank goodness for that!

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