The history of medical research and its relevance to modern medicine, and the quality of life we all enjoy as a result, was entertainingly presented at the September edition of the Wellington Business Network.
Who would have thought that Ambroise Paré a French battle medic in the 16th century became one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine, especially in the treatment of wounds. It was Paré who ran a historical ‘clinical trial’ and observed that the traditional method for treating wounds with boiling oil was a hopeless substitute compared with a mixture of common egg yolk and turps.
And so it was down through history that observations and rudimentary trial-and-error gradually gave way to more rigorous research and better outcomes. There was the Royal Navy’s James Lind in the 18th century who conducted clinical trials to show that citrus fruit could help prevent scurvy.
Professor Nacey cited numerous other examples, including advances in data and computing technology in the late 1950s, as paving the way to contemporary medical research, simply because complex data could then be collected and modeled to illustrate pathways to success, or otherwise.
Professor John Nacey is President and Chairman of Research For Life (the Wellington Medical Research Foundation). The Wellington organisation is 60 years old and is conducting its first Annual Fundraising Appeal in the week starting 17 October 2016. We hope you support this great cause. Donations can be made here at any time.