March 11, 2021

Life Wouldn't be the Same Without these Women-discovered Medical Marvels

Celebrate the superhuman powers of women.

Women from all walks of life have accomplished the most amazing things. We recognize and celebrate the superhuman powers that women possess every day, but their achievements are especially highlighted in March during Women's History Month.

Thanks to the courage and perseverance of some extremely brilliant women, we get to live longer, healthier lives.

So many women deserve recognition for their work in making life better for every human. Thanks to the courage and perseverance of some extremely brilliant women, we get to live longer, healthier lives. Some of the medical marvels we recognize as ordinary today were once nonexistent or considered abnormal. Today we recognize five women that have undoubtedly shaped healthcare and the practice of medicine.

Gertrude Elion

Gertrude Elion played a big role in the discovery of many important drug therapies. Back in the day, drug research was done mainly by trial and error. Dr. Elion and her partner believed there to be a more logical way, later creating a more rational drug development approach. With this approach, Dr.Elion discovered many drugs that continue to treat millions of people today. Some of her most prominent discoveries are hallmark treatments for leukemia, AIDS, and many types of infections.

Mary-Claire King

A geneticist, Mary-Claire King had a theory that breast cancer could be inherited. Some scientists thought her theory was preposterous. Dr.King later proved them wrong and made one of the greatest discoveries for women’s health: breast cancer can be inherited via a mutation in a gene, which she called BRCA1.
breast-cancer-pink-ribbon

Dr.King discovered the BRCA1 gene and corresponding mutations linked to breast cancer. Photo credit.

Her studies in human genetics have also contributed to research advancements in ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and HIV.

Patricia Goldman-Rakic

Patricia Goldman-Rakic was a genius in neuroscience and neurology. As a professor and scientist, her research revolved around the workings of the brain. Her work contributes to the current understanding of neurological disorders like schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, attention deficit disorder, and dementia. She was also one of the first to study one of our favorite neurochemicals: dopamine.

Marie Curie

A very popular woman, Marie Curie is known for many firsts: the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (and the first to win two!), the first woman to receive a Doctor of Science degree in France, and the first female professor at the Sorbonne. Her work in chemistry centered around her discovery of polonium (named after Poland) and radium. Radium, a critical component of radiotherapy, has significantly advanced therapies for cancer.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger had many identities: a nurse, educator, and activist. She coined the phrase “birth control” and had a strong belief that contraception should be more widely available to women.
birth-control-pills

Margaret Sanger coined the term "birth control" and established the first birth control clinic.

Because she fought for years for a woman’s right to family planning, contraception is not as controversial today as it was in the early 1900s. Margaret Sanger established the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916. Over time, this movement morphed into Planned Parenthood, an essential service centered around women's reproductive and sexual health.
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