10 Cures Discovered By Accident

10 Cures That Were Discovered By Accident 10 Penicillin The discovery of Penicillin it’s probably the most famous among all accidental discovery, The discovery of Penicillin it’s probably the most famous among all accidental discovery, right? So, what a better way to start our 10s? This world-changing discovery was made in 1928 by pathologist Alexander Flemming, Professor of Bacteriology at St Mary’s Hospital in London

The scientist had just returned from a month-long vacation when he noticed he had forgotten to close a discarded culture dish The dish had been subjected to external elements for a whole month, which caused an unintentional, yet new, development to his research At the time, Fleming was studying the dangerous Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that causes boils, sore throats and abscesses The dish he had left open had become contaminated with an air-bone mould – a fungus Amazingly, the growth of the bacteria had stopped in the proximity of the fungus

Proceeding in his analysis, Fleming discovered that the mould “juice” was capable of killing a wide range of bacteria such, such as Streptococcus, Meningococcus, and Diphtheria Bacillus He had accidentally discovered the first antibiotic: the Penicillin, widely used to treat many infections 9 Warfarin Animals are extremely important for medical researches Thanks to them, scientists have been able to understand a lot about the human body and its conditions

Anti-coagulant drug Warfarin, for example, is one of those The medicine is now used to prevent and treat deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism But, do you know to whom we owe its discovery? Well, first of all, the animals In 1940, after six years of work, biochemist Karl Link and his team discovered the active compound that caused the outbreak of an unusual disease in Northern USA and Canada, during the previous years The disease was characterised by fatal bleeding in farm animals

Link established that it was a natural substance called coumarin to cause the bleeding But that’s not all In 1945, Link developed a strong rodenticide derived from the substance; he produced it with the name of Warfarin, in 1948 Then, in 1951, a US Army inductee attempted suicide with the poison but he didn’t die Following studies revealed that Warfarin was a perfect anti-coagulant, making it available for human use, in 1954

8 Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty A complicated name for a complicated, yet accidental, surgical procedure So, let’s try to explain it in the easiest way we can Radiologist Charles Dotter was an incredible luminary One of his greatest contributions in radiology was the interventional catheter or Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty

Before this procedure, all vascular procedures were done as open surgeries, involving anaesthesia, several days of hospitalization and possible complications associated with the surgical wound for the patient Dotter pioneered the “dottering” technique for the first time in 1963 He accidentally recanalized an occluded artery by introducing a catheter through the occlusion to perform a different procedure – an abdominal aortogram, if you’re really interested – on a patient with renal artery stenosis The radiologist was so amazed by his discovery that he reported it at the Czechoslovak Radiological Congress of that same year He immediately convinced many of his colleagues and, eventually, he paved the way for physician Andreas Gruentzig’s work in coronary angioplasty and the growth of interventional cardiovascular techniques

7 Valium A remarkable discovery, that has been helping entire generations to handle everyday anxiety, and so much more The entry-level benzodiazepine, or more commonly known as Valium was developed by a Polish immigrant in the US, in 1959 But it wasn’t easy, and not even planned, for medical chemist Leo Sternbach Everything started in 1953 when Wallace Pharmaceuticals commercialized an anti-anxiety drug that was said to have no side effects

– Eventually, it turned out there were side effects, and how! But that’s another story… So, Roche Pharmaceuticals commissioned Sternbach a replica of their competitor’s drug The goal was to modify the compound enough to bypass Wallace’s patents However, the scientist wasn’t so into plagiarism and decided, instead, to focus his attention on some compounds he had studied as potential dyes years earlier The dyes turned out to be a failure However, one sample appeared to have extraordinary tranquillizing characteristics

And so, within three years, Sternbach and his team brought out Valium The medicine quickly became the most popular prescription drug in the US, and today it is used to treat central nervous system disorders, such as anxiety and epilepsy 6 Heart Pacemaker Discovering the implant of a HEART Pacemaker sounds everything but accidental I mean, the heart is one of our most important organs, if not THE most important organ

Yet, mistakes and accidents can happen – to anybody, really – But I’m wrangling too much, again Actually, New York engineer Wilson Greatbatch didn’t discover the heart pacemaker while on surgery Thank God, it would have been weird, unprofessional and extremely dangerous Instead, he was working to build a device capable of recording heartbeats when, in 1956, he accidentally installed the wrong type of resistor into his prototype The appliance began to emit regular electrical pulses, which reminded Greatbatch of the electrical activity of the human heartbeat

And just like that, there it was: a flash of genius He spent the following years in perfecting the device and its design and, finally, in 1960, his invention was patented and soon went into production The heart pacemaker has now improved and keeps improving the lives of millions of patients every year 5 Viagra Like Valium, Viagra has improved the lives of millions of people all over the world, but in a different way… But before we go through its history, did you know that Viagra was born pretty recently if compared to the other cures in this list? It all started in the 1990s, with drug company Pfizer trying to synthesize a new treatment for angina, a heart condition that constricts the vessels that supply the heart with blood

Pfizer’s goal was to discover a compound able to relax those blood vessels However, the trials on people weren’t going anywhere In fact, they were about to shut the whole project down when the volunteers of the trial started coming back, reporting a peculiar side effect: lots of erections And so, after a few more trials – just to be sure – the miraculous medicine was released in 1998 Fun fact: in 2007 a team three Argentinian scientists decided to study the effect of Viagra on hamsters – who knows why – and discovered it helped the animals recover faster from jet-lag

Useful, really 4 Quinine Quinine is an antimalarial drug that’s obtained by the cinchona tree bark Today we usually find this compound in tonic water, but it took time before it became so common Quinine is definitely the longest-running among the list, its discovery is believed to be the most serendipitous of the 17th century! Accounts of its existence can be found with different names – such as Jesuits’ bark, Cardinal’s bark and Sacred bark – in 1600s reports by Jesuit missionaries in South America

The legend goes that missionaries first heard about the curative function of the plant by the native Andean population There was once an indigenous man who got lost in the jungle Thirty and weakened by malaria, he reached a pool of stagnant water at the base of a cinchona tree and opted for drinking it The water taste was bitter, which made him think it might have been poisoned and prepared for the worst But he didn’t die, on the contrary, his fever soon abated and, once he finally made it home he shared his story with his villagers

The rest – as they say – it’s history 3 Insulin I know, I knowInsulin function is not that of CURING Still, its discovery represents an authentic breakthrough for the scientific community that has revolutionized both the therapy and the prognosis of diabetes It all started in 1889 when the two doctors Oscar Minkowski and Josef von Mering of the University of Strasbourg were studying pancreas effects on digestion The team removed the organ from a healthy dog and, a few days later, noticed some flies swarming around the pet’s urine They tested it and discovered a huge amount of sugar in it

All that sugar wasn’t supposed to be there By removing the pancreas they had given the dog diabetes However, Minkowski and von Mering never understood what pancreas does or produces to regular the levels of sugar in the blood But it was just a matter of time In 1920 a team of researchers at the University of Toronto tried to figure it out

They conducted a series of experiments and, in just a couple of years, the team was able to isolate a pancreatic secretion: the insulin 2 Iproniazid One of the world’s first anti-depressants was first synthesized in 1951, in an attempt to improve tuberculosis treatments The scientific community noticed that the compound presented three unexpected antidepressant actions: inhibiting, sedating and the psychostimulatory of the brain-neurotransmitters Which means that patients treated with the drug exhibited euphoria and hyperactive behaviour

The drug was soon employed as an antidepressant but, despite its initial success, it was later found out that iproniazid caused major liver damage It was the end of iproniazid, that was withdrawn from sale, but the beginning of antidepressant therapy Experts started to study members of the monoamine-oxidase inhibitor series and the tricyclic antidepressants drugs, which turned out to have less severe side effects 1 Smallpox Vaccines The discovery of Smallpox vaccines was not only a breakthrough in Medical History, but it marked a revolutionary changing in World History too

Not much is known about the origin of Smallpox It is believed to date back to ancient Egyptians, during the 3rd century BCE But the global spread of smallpox arose with the growth of civilizations, exploration, and expanding trade routes – The magic of globalization And so, for many centuries, smallpox devastated populations all over the world

But then, something happened… In the 1700s, Edward Jenner, an English country doctor from Gloucestershire, noticed that milkmaids who had previously appeared to be immune from smallpox Luckily, cowpox symptoms were mild and a full recovery was usually possible Dr Jenner started working on material taken from cowpox sores and, by the end of the century, he had reached the breakthrough He inoculated an 8-year-old boy with a sample of the cowpox disease Risky, but worth it because, several months later, he inoculated the same boy with a dose of smallpox and discovered that he was immune

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