How a few scientists transformed the way we think about disease – Tien Nguyen
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How a few scientists transformed the way we think about disease – Tien Nguyen


What if I told you that all illnesses, things like the cold,
the flu, strep throat, came from wandering
clouds of poisonous vapor? You’d probably think that absurd,
and, don’t worry, it’s completely wrong. Yet that’s actually what people thought
caused diseases for several centuries. They called it miasma theory, and everyone from the public
to the medical establishment accepted it. But by the 1840s, in the midst of
devastating cholera outbreaks in London, a small group of scientists
had grown skeptical. Early microscopes had revealed
the existence of tiny microorganisms, and they proposed that it was actually
these germs that cause diseases, hence the name germ theory. Though most people held
onto their assumptions and strongly resisted this theory, its supporters were determined
to prove them wrong by collecting compelling data. Leading the charge was a physician
named Dr. John Snow. Dr. Snow observed that
cholera-infected patients experienced severe vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms of the gut
as opposed to the lungs, and thought that perhaps the disease
was transmitted through food or drink, not the air. After investigating previous outbreaks, he became convinced that cholera was spread
through contaminated water sources. Then, late in the summer of 1854 when cholera suddenly struck
the Soho district, a neighborhood in London
very close to his own, Dr. Snow was hot on its trail. He requested the records for the deceased, and within the first week,
there had already been 83 deaths. He mapped out where each
of the deceased had lived and found that 73 of them resided
close to the water pump on Broad Street. Dr. Snow strongly recommended
shutting down the pump, and because he knew how unpopular
germ theory was, he suggested that cholera was spread
through a poison in the water instead of microorganisms, when presenting his case
to governmental officials. They were unconvinced, but agreed to shut down the pump
as an extra precaution. Almost immediately,
new cases of infection subsided. Bolstered by his success, Dr. Snow was determined to connect
the contaminated pump water to the disease. He found the story of a widow
who had died of cholera and lived far away from Soho, but had a servant bring her water
from the Broad Street pump daily because she liked the taste. He also discovered a workhouse located around the corner
from the Broad Street pump that housed hundreds of people,
but only a handful had become infected, which Dr. Snow attributed to the fact that the workhouse
had its own private well. Finally, Dr. Snow heard of an infant who may have been one
of the earliest victims of the outbreak. He learned that the child’s dirty diapers had been thrown into a cesspool right next to the public water pump
on Broad Street. Again, Dr. Snow presented his case, but even then,
city officials spurned his theory, not wanting to admit that there
was human waste in London’s water supply, or that they were wrong
about miasma theory, which was, after all,
hundreds of years old. It wasn’t until 1884
that Dr. Snow’s efforts were vindicated by Dr. Robert Koch, who isolated
the cholera-causing bacterium. Koch developed a technique
to grow pure cultures, and through a series of experiments, definitively proved
that a specific bacterium directly cause disease. Major contributions to germ theory also came from prolific scientist
Louis Pasteur, whose study of microorganisms led
to the development of the first vaccines. By challenging assumptions
with data-driven research, these scientists discredited
an age-old theory and sparked a revolution that was
incredibly beneficial to public health. But all of this raises the question, what are the widely held
scientific beliefs of today that our descendants will find ridiculous? And as any scientist would tell you, a question is an excellent place to start.

100 thoughts on “How a few scientists transformed the way we think about disease – Tien Nguyen

  1. So atheists, if it's a theory and not a fact why are you afraid to teach the controversy? All I'm saying is let the kids know that some people believe in germ THEORY (again, not germ FACT) and some believe in Intelligent Sickening and let them decide for themselves. Why aren't you willing to question science? Are you as dogmatic and closed-minded as you accuse Christians of being? I'm not saying Intelligent Sickening is definitely right but it takes more faith to be an atheist. Look at the trees!

  2. Antibacterial hand soaps are going to be the nest thing people find out are bad for us in the long term. Can we start a betting pool?

  3. John Snow: "LISTEN! There are microscopic organisms in that pump's water which are most likely the cause of this outbreak. We can save countless lives if we just…"

    Medical Establishment: "YOU KNOW NOTHING, JOHN SNOW!"

    John Snow (under his breath) :"Why do they always say that?"

  4. Vaccines were invented by Edward Jenner in 1790, not by Luis Pasteur. Pasteur invented the process of pasteurisation in which bacteria are killed when food from a recipient is sterilized by inserting in a hot stove for a while.

  5. This is the perfect video to show that no hypothesis is too absurd. If one has enough evidence for it, the hypothesis shouldn't be ignored or ridiculed. Yet it will probably still happen.

  6. OMG germs are being spread by microscopic germs! I really don't understand why it was so hard for people to understand that purple clouds spread every disease. Really! Just…jeez

  7. But wait… Clearly the American Military believed in germ theory before Snow, because that's why they gave the indians blankets contaminated with small pox to kill them.
    Or are the history revisionists caught in another lie?

  8. We are going backwards; now the doctors rather target the "non explained" pain to the "clouds", actually something worst, to the nothing. They call it " fibromyalgia. No matter all the scientific research about bacteria, virus, hormones, autoimmune diseases, etc. They don't want to waste time doing research, they rather target all patients pain, symptoms and signs with the modern "cloud" named fibromyalgia, and don't dare to talk against about it with them, they are going to hate you forever. I'm glad I didn't believe on it as a diagnosis, I'd be dead now.

  9. you might be surprised to know but rig veda have already stated about anti bodies, infections and viruses and also the herbs which help body fight them or cure them

  10. I keep thinking of new age method or something. For centuries, our way of research is way too rigid to the point that Tesla even said something like "if only science could take supernatural or spiritual things into account, we would be 100 years ahead in technology".

  11. Thank you Jon Snow and Robert koch, we owe you a lot.

    Sad thing is that we indians knew about microbes and shit, thousands of years back .. from the ancient texts "Vedas" ,written around 1200-1500 BC..

    still we rely on the western medicine and keep ayurveda aside.. haha.. No wonder british ruled our land for 200 years…
    may be, majority of us are dumb and minority are extremely gifted .. they go write about microbes 3500 years before this comment.. haha.. fck me..

  12. A doctor who believed in sanitizing doctors to stop the spread of germs was sent to an insane asylum in like the late 1800's. Just remember to accept the beliefs of others.

  13. What evidence was there for "Miasma" theory? You can't call something a theory without evidence. So why did they believe it in the first place?

  14. The first vaccine would have been Edward Jenner's invention, not Pasteur's. Though some quick research suggests that Pasteur made the term Jenner coined (vaccine) a universal one – for all the immunisations being developed at the time

  15. I will never come to believe that western practitioners are the ones who came about to discover many life changing things. They always seem to take the credit for many theories/evidences put forward to the society. It always seems like they are the one who excelled in everything be it science maths or astronomy, and that is highly unlikely. Surely there could be a few, but it' couldn't have been always THEM who came about to discover. Anyways for one to know the authenticity and the origins of such marvelous findings they should be very insightful in history!

  16. No germ has ever been observed causing a disease. The germ theory has not been proven with one hundred percent metaphysical certainty. It's just a theory. That's why it's not called the germ law of disease.

  17. Wandering clouds of poisonous gas. Hmmmmmmm? Sounds like a volcano to me………and that's exactly why both the Aztec and Roman Empires fell at exactly the same time. Don't listen to these nincompoops. They know nothing. See the Vaccination Liberation Website for the true story.

  18. Schmelweiss needs credit for germ theory also. He never gets his due. Schmelweiss discovered the correlation between not washing your hands and infections

  19. What the neglect to mention is that germs can be found in people who have no symptoms and suffer no disease from the pathogens. The reality I suspect is that if a person is stressed or whose body is for some reason not working at its optimum, will become affected by pathogens and suffer a disease. It is because their immune system is not working at its optimum.

  20. but for respriatory illnesses, the miasma theory is partly true, because they are spread via breathing in air contaminated by such micro organisms.

  21. lmao this fool believes germtheory, what a moron, do you not know there is a 10:1 ratio of bacteria to human cells? take a basic micro class you imbecile, and maybe you will understand that the terrain in which bacteria/viruses can thrive in crucial and often controllable – which shouldn't even be controversial. Stop making videos – you dont know anything about medicine or science fool.

  22. But aren't there certain areas of scientific knowledge that are 'untouchable'? How on earth do you even begin to challenge these if they are deemed unquestionably?

  23. If you liked this and want to know more about this and snow I highly suggest the extra history series by extra credits. It's my favorite series

  24. The narcissistic behavior of the city officials led to the suffering of many that's why you don't want people with this insidious trait to be in positions of power oh wait…..

  25. "Suffer for me!" "I'm better than you!" "Suffer for me!" "I"m better than you!" – you chose King Tut's level of salvation, with flying colors.

  26. Show some love to Dr. Semmelweis, who predated Dr. Snow by a decade, and had the same suspicions but was eventually thrown in an insane asylum. Also the Chinese had found some therapies 2,000 years earlier involving green tea therapy that could have been useful in combating cholera (especially thru hydration therapy). But there was a lot of racism towards Chinese back then so a lot of potential cures were ignored.

  27. germ theory of disease is a myth. the truth is micro nutrient deficiency theory of disease- deficiencies of essential micro nutrients such as the 7 b vitamins, vit c, ADEK, causes all disease- except genetic disease in the world. A germ theorist needs to explain why they don't think a deficiency of an ESSENTIAL nutrient- meaning we can not manufacture this chemical, and need to ingest it or processes in the body don't function correctly- doesn't cause disease.

  28. This edX course page debunks some myths associated with John Snow, some of which are propagated by this video: https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:HarvardX+SOC1.jsx+2016/courseware/4a33cf558be349d7baa804e0abc59200/bc1a0c39ef8b4730ba2cef87a64f5566/?child=first

  29. I’d recommend Extra History’s episode on the Broad Street Pump; same information, but way more entertaining.

  30. Germ theory is correct with respect to bacteria, but the mistaken belief of today is including viruses into the "germ" category. In reality, viruses don't cause disease but are actually created by our own cells for a specific purpose in restoring the health of the cells. So, while they are seen in sick people, they are NOT the cause of the sickness. They are part of the solution! Just as police cars are seen at crime scenes, but they did not cause the crime. So, since viruses are not the cause of disease, the entire theory of vaccination is false. It started as a rip-off of homeopathy which is to give a little bit of the thing that causes a disease in order to cure it. Totally unscientific. There is actually no proof that vaccines have ever cured or eliminated any disease. But by promoting fear of viruses, drug companies make $50 Billion/year selling vaccines which degrade public health, and then they make even more money selling the drugs to address the health problems caused by the vaccines. VaxNot.com

  31. pause 0:26 and think about the theories that we currently hold as true "science" which will be proven false in the future.

  32. This video is very unaccurate. Snow never believed or even knew of germ theory. He just thought that cholera spread through water. Also, the cholera outbreak was ending by the time the pump handel was removed, so the removal itself did not stop the out break. Other than that though, Snow was a great man. He just should not be seen as an advocate for germ theory which had yet to materialize.

  33. Love u guys. Very informative animation depicting real situation in a more understandable and awareness way.

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