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The Medical Miracle Headlines of the Future (from 1951)

Illustration for article titled The Medical Miracle Headlines of the Future (from 1951)

On January 2, 1951, the Rex Morgan, M.D. comic strip featured a New Year's greeting insisting to readers that time is measured by progress instead of simply by years. And it's not a bad thought! But looking at the "headlines of the future" from 1951, one can't help but be a little bummed out.


Miracle Drug Cures Multiple Sclerosis! Cancer Cure Found! Polio Vaccine Discovered!

1.) No. 2.) Not really. And 3.) Sure, but we could legitimately see a resurgence of polio if we're not careful. Over half a century later, we're still waiting on so many of these predictions to come true.


On the other hand, we have pretty much licked Hansen's Disease (otherwise known as leprosy) in the United States. And our antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis is pretty damn good. But I guess "great strides" in fighting heart disease is certainly open to interpretation.

Life expectancy is certainly better than it was in 1951. But there's nothing quite like old, optimistic predictions for the future to remind you just how far humanity has yet to go.

Image: From the January 2, 1951 issue of the News-Palladium in Michigan


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Cancer Cure Found!

Well, to our credit, we do now realize there will be no "cancer cure", in that cancer is not a single disease but a spectrum of diseases with a multitude of causes, and most likely a multitude of "cures". And we've made many strides, take childhood Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma:

Dramatic improvements in survival have been achieved for children and adolescents with cancer.[1] Between 1975 and 2002, childhood cancer mortality has decreased by more than 50%. For non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the 5-year survival rate has increased over the same time period from 45% to 88% in children younger than 15 years and from 47% to 77% for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.