Serendipity in Medicine: Unintended Discoveries that Revolutionized Healthcare
You might find this article interesting & thought provoking … maybe even drill into some of the references..☺️
Serendipitous discoveries have played a significant role in shaping the medical landscape. This article discusses 10 such unintentional discoveries in medical treatment, highlighting the physicians or organizations credited with the discovery, as well as any resistance or challenges faced in the acceptance of these breakthroughs.
- Minoxidil and Hair Growth (Chidsey et al., 1969)
Minoxidil, initially developed as a blood pressure medication, was found to have the unexpected side effect of promoting hair growth. Upjohn (now part of Pfizer) attempted to suppress this information, but the secret eventually became public knowledge, leading to the development of hair loss treatments (1).
- Chidsey CA, Harrison DC, Braunwald E. Minoxidil. JAMA. 1969;207(8):1534-1536.
- Cowpox, Milkmaids, and Smallpox Immunity (Jenner, 1798)
Edward Jenner observed that milkmaids who had been infected with cowpox were immune to smallpox. This led to the development of the smallpox vaccine and laid the foundation for modern immunization practices (2).
2. Jenner E. An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae. London: Sampson Low; 1798.
- H. pylori and Stomach Ulcers (Marshall & Warren, 1984)
Barry Marshall and Robin Warren discovered that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori caused most persistent stomach ulcers, challenging the prevailing belief that stress and genetics were the primary causes. Despite initial resistance, their findings ultimately revolutionized ulcer treatment (3).
3. Marshall BJ, Warren JR. Unidentified curved bacilli in the stomach of patients with gastritis and peptic ulceration. Lancet. 1984;1(8390):1311-1315.
- P. Gingivalis and Autoimmune Disease (Potempa et al., 2017)
Research has shown that treating Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium associated with gum disease, can have beneficial effects on certain autoimmune diseases caused by the citrullination process. This has led to new treatment strategies for autoimmune conditions (4).
4. Potempa J, Mydel P, Koziel J. The case for periodontitis in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2017;13(10):606-620.
- Hydroxychloroquine for Rheumatoid Arthritis (Page & McCarty, 1951)
Soldiers returning from war found that their anti-malarial medication, hydroxychloroquine, alleviated their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. This discovery led to the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for autoimmune diseases (5).
5. Page F, McCarty DJ. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with a new antimalarial compound. J Lab Clin Med. 1951;37(5):716-722.
- Iproniazid and Antidepressant Effects (Kline, 1958)
Iproniazid, initially developed as a treatment for tuberculosis, was found to have mood-elevating effects. Nathan Kline recognized its potential as an antidepressant, paving the way for the development of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (6).
6. Kline NS. Clinical experience with iproniazid (Marsilid). J Clin Exp Psychopathol. 1958;19(2):72-78
- All Categories
- 2.3K Welcome
- 17 How to use your online community
- 30 Help, Guidelines and Get in Touch
- 40.4K Our Community
- 669 Chat to our Helpline Team
- 8.7K Living with arthritis
- 2 Want to Get Involved?
- 53 Hints and Tips
- 220 Work and financial support
- 390 Young people's community
- 7 Parents of Children with Arthritis
- 40 My Triumphs
- 132 Let's Move
- 24 Sports and Hobbies
- 13 Food and Diet
- 256 Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- 16 Community Feedback and ideas
- 333 Chat and News
- 29 Val's Cafe
- 269 Chit chat
- 11 News
- 4 Tails From The Cafe