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Entries in medicine (17)

Friday
Aug192011

This future was made in a facility that also processes peanuts (1982)

I've never thought of my allergies as a big deal. Sure, my peanut allergy has caused an emergency room visit here and there, and my dad used to pick me up from sleepovers because of my emphysema-like wheezing around cats. No big thing, right? But a few years back it seemed about time I went to see an allergy specialist and get a comprehensive list of the things my body hates.

I found myself shirtless, laying on my stomach in the doctor's exam room with twenty pricks in my back (which isn't nearly as scandalous as it sounds). A constant tingle ran through my body, but all I could think about was how comically small the exam room table appeared under my enormous body. I am most certainly not allergic to pizza and beer.

To administer an allergy test a nurse needs to prick your back with an assortment of allergens. Different types of trees, animal dander, molds and grasses were all made to come into contact with my delicate, nature-hating skin. After the pricks, it's a waiting game to see if your torso turns into a red, puffy Braille haiku. 

About twenty minutes later the nurse knocked on the door. I couldn't see the expression on her face, given my vulnerable position facing the corner like the bad kid being punished. But her inflection said it all. 

"Oh myyy!" the nurse said in that heavy Minnesota accent most Minnesotans don't think they have. "Well," she said with a pause, "you're allergic to everything!"

"Everything?" I ask, worried less about the consequences of allergies and more about the cocky "told you so" attitude my girlfriend at the time was sure to have upon hearing the news.

"Well, maybe not the... yes, yes, you're allergic to grass too."

I kind of guessed that one. My parents love to tell the story of when I was a kid and had just started to crawl. My dad spent a summer building a deck behind our house and he was able to leave me relatively unsupervised, as long as I was surrounded by grass. Sitting on a pastel pink blanket, I was content as all get-out not to traverse that sea of green, spiky irritants laid out before me. I've always been confused when someone appears pleasant while barefoot. I guess that's why I sometimes empathize with the wide-eyed technological visions of the 1950s. Their promise was one of control, of harnessing nature rather than being one with it. Domed cities, meal pills --science will have the answers.

And science did have the answers in the 1982 kids book World of Tomorrow: Health and Medicine by Neil Ardley. Ardley's book is filled with predictions about the future of health care, with an emphasis on self-assessement via computer. If WebMD and the rise of home genetic testing kits count, I'd say that this was a pretty accurate vision of the future.

Well, at least it was more accurate than the people who imagined hospitals in space.

 

By checking the genetic codes of parents and by caring for unborn babies, the children of tomorrow should be born in perfect health. A long life is lkely to lie ahead of them. But to remain healthy, everyone will have to look after themselves. As now, this will mean taking exercise, keeping clean and behaving sensibly to avoid danger. However, the world of tomorrow will bring other ways in which you can help to prevent yourself from getting ill.

Many people fall ill because they have an allergy. Something they eat or drink disagrees with them, or perhaps something in the air upsets them. Tiny particles of pollen blown by the wind give some people hay fever, for example. Others cannot eat food made from flour or shellfish without feeling ill. Often these people suffer for years before they find out what is wrong.

In the future you will be able to go to the doctor or a health complex to prepare yourself for a healthy life. Machines will take samples such as blood, saliva, hair and body wastes. They will measure them to find out exactly how your body reacts to food and drink and to substances in air and water. Then a computer will take the measurements and work out which things are likely to cause problems for you. It will produce a personal list of things to do and to avoid if you want to stay healthy and feel alert and full of energy. It is certain, for example to insist that you should never smoke. It may even recommend certain rules for making the best of your memory and intelligence. Following a list of rules might seem to make life a lot less fun. However, it would probably be no more trouble than taking care when crossing the road, for example.

Sunday
Aug092009

Hospitals in the Sky! (1958)

This "hospital in the sky," as imagined by Arthur Radebaugh in the May 11, 1958 edition of his comic Closer Than We Think, operates under the assumption that the "weightlessness, irradiation and low temperatures of outer space" would allow for more effective treatment of patients.

The American Rocket Society has reported to President Eisenhower that practical medical science could benefit importantly from the weightlessness, irradiation and low temperatures of outer space. So we may find that some of tomorrow's hospitals may actually be anchored in the heavens.

One of these hospitals might be shaped like a disc atop elevator tubes leading to the control section. The mushroom-like disc would contain weightless operating rooms for treating heart and other organic troubles as well as bone diseases. It would also serve as a nucleus for crystal balls which, orbiting slowly, would utilize concentrated sunrays to treat cancer, skin diseases and similar ailments. There would also be experimental areas for the study of low temperature therapy -- a challenging new field for medical investigation.

As always, thanks to Tom Z. for the full-color version of this Radebaugh panel.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Thursday
Jul022009

Medical Predictions for 1999 (1955)

Dr. Lowry H. McDaniel of Tyronza, Ark., was a very optimistic doctor, though his ideas were certainly in line with medical futurists' thinking of that era. The June 9, 1955 Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV) lays out his vision of the year 1999, which includes a 150 year life span, a cancer vaccine, and the complete eradication of infectious disease. You can read his 10 predictions for the year 1999 below:

  1. A man 90 years old will be considered "young," a man of 135 "more mature" and there will be "a minimum of senility because the heavy cholesterol which determines the age of our arteries will be absent."
  2. "Our women, thanks to proper hormone medication, would stay young, beautiful and shapely indefinitely."
  3. The Salk killed-virus vaccine "which is doing a tremendous job now" will be replaced in a few years by a living modified virus vaccine.
  4. All human infectious disease, including rheumatic heart disease and venereal disease, will be eradicated.
  5. Cancer will be "successfully treated by a virus vaccine or radioactive compounds."
  6. The common cold and "even the more serious respiratory virus infections will be only a memory."
  7. "Even greater victories await the highly-trained surgeon" of the future. Eye surgeons will restore vision to today's hopeless cases.
  8. Synthetic foodstuff will bring an end forever to famine and starvation.
  9. Electronic devices will enable deaf mutes to "speak." Initial research is underway by the Radio Corporation of America.
  10. Insulin will be given in tablet form for the control of diabetes. Medical science will discover an "effective treatment" against the blood, heart and degenerative diseases of old age.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Sunday
Aug102008

Bloodless Surgery, Closer Than We Think! (1959)


The November 15, 1959 edition of Closer Than We Think, (syndicated by the Chicago Tribune, written and illustrated by Arthur Radebaugh), predicted "bloodless surgery."

With the development of an "atomic knife," tomorrow's hospital operations may be as easy on the patient as relaxing in an easy chair - no incisions, no bleeding. The technique has already been used successfully in reducing hormone flow from the pituitary, in relieving depressed mental states by "cutting" brain segments, in treating certain cases of cancer.

 

Specialists at the University of California and in Uppsala, Sweden, have been able to destroy unwanted tissues by directing a proton beam toward them. Later, many researchers feel, the method may be used in any operation that doesn't require reconnecting of tissues.

Next week: Stop-and-Go Rockets


A special thanks to Tom Z. for today's scan.

 

Read More:
Our Friend the Atom (1956)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)

Friday
Apr182008

Drugs in 2000 A.D. (1970)

Stanley F. Yolles, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health wrote a piece which was published in the March 4, 1970 New Castle News (New Castle, PA) titled, "Drugs in 2000 A.D." An excerpt appears below.

At the turn of the century then, which is only 30 years from now, a nurse visiting a 75-year-old person may be engaged as part of her job in making sure that he is taking regularly several kinds of vitamin doses, a painkiller, a hypnotic dream regulator, an anti-depressant, a sedative or psychostimulant, and so on.


See also:
Future Shock - Electrical Stimulation (1972)
Health Care in 1994 (1973)
Computer Doctor (1982)

 

Thursday
Jan032008

Motorola's 2000 A.D. (1990)


We learned a lot from our look at the 1990 Motorola concept video 2000 A.D. Specifically, we learned that every concept video needs a businessman who must be bothered while on the beach. We learned about the politics of radio spectrum allocation. And we learned about moustaches, don't forget about the moustaches.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

 

See also:
2000 A.D. (Part 1, 1990)
2000 A.D. (Part 2, 1990)
2000 A.D. (Part 3, 1990)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
Flowers by Alice (1992)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)
Vision (Clip 1, 1993)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Vision (Clip 3, 1993)
Starfire (1994)
GTE's Classroom of the Future (1987)

Wednesday
Dec192007

2000 A.D. (Part 3, 1990)


Today, the thrilling conclusion to our Motorola saga of (paleo)future communications.


See also:
2000 A.D. (Part 1, 1990)
2000 A.D. (Part 2, 1990)