23 January 2007


The British Medical Journal has published a list of fifteen medical milestones. Readers were asked to vote on which is the most important. Here is the list, in alphabetical order.
Anaesthesia, Antibiotics, Chlorpromazine (thorazine), Computers, Discovery of DNA structure, Evidence-based medicine, Germ theory, Immunology, Medical imaging (x-rays, etc.), Oral contraceptive pill, Oral rehydration therapy, Risks of smoking, Sanitation (clean water and sewage disposal), Tissue culture, and Vaccines.

And the winner was, Sanitation, with 15.8 percent of the vote. Second place went to Antibiotics, and third was Anaesthesia.

Over 11,000 readers participated in the poll. Physicians made up nearly 29 percent of the voters; almost 22 percent were members of the public; students and researchers were also well represented; only 1.7 percent of the voters were librarians. Not surprisingly, most of the readers voting were from the UK (37.7 percent) and the USA (20.0 percent).

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