The History of Medicine

The history of medicine and major medical inventions

Scientist looking through microscope
Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images

By defintion, medicine is the science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and damage to the body or mind. A medical invention would be any instrument, machine, implant, or similar article that is useful in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, for example: the thermometer, artificial heart, or a home pregnancy test.


Ambulance, Antibody Labeling Agent, Antiseptics, Apgar Score, Artificial Heart, Aspirin


Band-Aids, Blood Bank


Cardiac Related, Cataract Laserphaco Probe, Catheter, Catscan, Cloning, Contact Lenses, Cortisone, CPR


Dentistry, Diabetes Related, Dialysis Machine, Disposable Diapers


EKG Electrocardiography, Fetal Monitor, Genetics, Glasses (Eye)


Heart Lung Machine, Hepatitis Vaccine, HIV Protease Inhibitors


Insulin Process, Laser Eye Surgery, Liposuction


Microbiology Related, Microscope, MRI


Nystatin, Oral Contraceptives


Pap Smear, Pasteurization, Penicillin, Pentothal, Polio Vaccine, Prosthetic, Prozac, Respirator


On June 5, 1984, the "Safety Cap for Medicine Bottle" (Child-Proof) was patented by Ronald Kay, Safety Pin, Smart Pill, Stethoscope, Syringe


Tagamet, Tampons, Tetracycline, Thermometer


Ultrasound, Vaccination Needle, Viagra, Vitamin Production


Wheelchairs, X-Ray

History of Medicine

The History of Medicine
A timeline of medical discoveries, inventions, advances, and events from prehistoric times to the present.
History of Medicine
A museum dedicated to collecting 20th century medical research instruments and computers at the National Institutes of Health.
Ancient Medicine: From Homer to Vesalius
An on-line exhibition prepared in conjunction with the Colloquium "Antiqua Medicina: Aspects in Ancient Medicine"
Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica, 1543
Modern medicine began in 1543 with the publication of the first complete textbook of human anatomy, "De Humanis Corporis Fabrica" by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564).

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "The History of Medicine." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 26). The History of Medicine. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The History of Medicine." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 26, 2021).