Con­tro­ver­sial Med­i­cal The­o­ries That Turned Out to Be True

Reader's Digest (India) - - Mednews -

The physi­cians on the hit syn­di­cated Amer­i­can TV show The Doc­tors note that much of to­day’s in­dis­putable knowl­edge was once pooh-poohed by the med­i­cal com­mu­nity.

As­pirin low­ers heart at­tack risk

A Cal­i­for­nia physi­cian named Lawrence Craven first pub­lished re­search show­ing as­pirin’s anti-clog­ging ef­fect back in 1950, but his prac­tice of pre­scrib­ing an as­pirin a day to keep heart disease away wasn’t widely adopted un­til about 40 years later.

Ra­di­a­tion can be harm­ful

Re­search link­ing X-rays to leukemia and other can­cers was pub­lished in 1911, but X-rays, used ev­ery­where from doc­tors’ of­fices to shoe stores (yes, re­ally!) were gen­er­ally con­sid­ered safe un­til the [US] Na­tional Academy of Sciences is­sued a re­port con­demn­ing th­ese prac­tices (in­clud­ing use in preg­nant women) in 1956.

Bac­te­ria pro­duce ul­cers

Aus­tralian physi­cians Robin War­ren and Barry Mar­shall iden­ti­fied the link be­tween Heli­cobac­ter py­lori and ul­cers in 1982, but the med­i­cal com­mu­nity main­tained that the causes were stress and/or diet un­til the mid-1990s when the [US] Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health ac­knowl­edged the con­nec­tion.

Smok­ing gives you lung can­cer

The first stud­ies con­nect­ing smok­ing to lung can­cer came out as early as 1939, but many doc­tors con­tended that can­cer was largely due to other fac­tors such as air pol­lu­tion un­til the early 1960s.

A virus causes cer­vi­cal can­cer

In the late 1970s, Ger­man vi­rol­o­gist Harald zur Hausen pub­lished re­search sug­gest­ing that the hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus (HPV) causes cer­vi­cal can­cer. Many sci­en­tists mocked his claim, but in 2008 he won the No­bel Prize for his re­search. Chil­dren to­day should be rou­tinely vac­ci­nated against HPV.

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