Essay about The Relationship between Medicine, Society and Technology.

Submitted By arund128
Words: 2611
Pages: 11

It is difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the medical practice, in regards to the relationship between medicine, society, and technology. One could begin with the first classical physicians, Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC– 379 BC) and Galen (ca. 129 AD–216 AD). [1] In the history of medicine, Galen is regarded as the “father of the practitioner”. [1] He had an abundance of anatomical knowledge but was also known for performing difficult surgical operations, including the first brain surgery. [1] Until the eighteen-century, Hippocrates’s and Galen’s ideas and notes were regarded as the basis for medical knowledge. [1] Another milestone in medicine could be traced to the nineteenth century, when science was combined with the industrialization of the modern world, and technology came into the forefront with the emergence of electricity. Other milestones include the discovery of penicillin or the groundbreaking discovery of DNA. All of these discoveries have improved the role of medicine in today’s society. Over the last 50 years, we have accomplished more towards the field of science, particularly in medicine, than we have in the last 200 years. The mapping of the Human Genome was one of the greatest advancements in medicine and fostered a new focus in modern medicine – personalized and customized treatments. All of these advances have one thing in common – the emergence of technology. In today’s ever-evolving world, the role of medicine is more important then ever. The world is closely connected; diseases travel faster than we can assess them, however simultaneously information travels quicker. With the emergence of new technology, the advancement of medicine is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and in turn improving the quality of care while reducing the overall cost.
Before a medical device or a drug can enter the market, there are strict rules and regulations that must be met. Prior to passed government regulations, adequate research must be completed in order to determine whether the product is viable in the industry. In the area of pharmaceuticals, thousands of compounds are identified, before one reaches the development stage. Furthermore, hundreds of medical devices are developed before one is produced for commercial use. The advancements that occur in the medical field are possible because of the numerous research grants that are funded by both the government and private entities. Over the last several years, scientific research and technological development has had powerful impact on the lives of many individuals and has changed the way medical services are provided to society. For example, new evidence in genetic research is changing the way we understand about risk of illnesses, kinship, and the ability to intervene in biological processes in order to alter physical or genetic characteristics. New techniques for visualizing interiors of the body (e.g. functional MRI/CT for body imaging) and sensing chemical changes inside the body (e.g. nanotechnology sensors) affect the way we classify and characterize "normal" function and behavior in the body. Another unique area of research in medicine is the ability to grow cells into whole tissues utilizing stem cells. All of the novel ideas have one aspect in common – research funding. Medicine is an ever-changing science, and as technology improves, more money will be applied to medical research to allow for better diagnostic tools as well as better drugs to treat and cure diseases. Most recent data from 2012 suggest that about 120 billion dollars were provided for biomedical research in the United States. [2] The National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies collectively contribute 33.6 billion dollars and 34.8 billion dollars, respectively, which constitute 28% and 29% of the total. Other significant contributors include biotechnology companies (22.8 billion dollars, 19% of total), medical device companies (12 billion dollars, 10% of total), as well as