For generations, medicine struggled to treat infections such as pneumonia, blood poisoning, and gonorrhea. There was no effective treatment, although doctors were constantly trying to improve on the treatments that had been traditionally used.
One day in 1928, Alexander Fleming came home from a long holiday to find some mold growing in one of his petri dishes. Rather than throw it away, he began to research it, leading to the discovery of penicillin, an antibiotic we still use today to fight infections of all kinds.
Although Fleming’s discovery was accidental, there is something important to learn from it. Sometimes the best solution to a problem is not to improve on previous knowledge, but to take an entirely different approach.
Young Companies Draw Interest
Medical and health technology companies that are taking this approach are drawing droves of investors, among them tech giants like Apple and Google. These companies focus on new approaches to age-old problems, such as depression, obesity, and even allergies.
Companies in America have even drawn investors from as far as London, Reuters reports. Companies from Boston and California that are focused on testing and pursuing theoretical treatments have raised millions through public offerings on the London Stock Exchange.
Why is a company like Google, which has traditionally made money through investments in Internet services, suddenly shifting their sights to medical technology? In 2014, one-third of the money Google Ventures invested went to healthcare companies, a move that some people saw as out of character.
Google deals primarily in data, and as the amount of information on health issues expands, there is more and more data to sift through. Google also has an image as a company that finds logical, technological solutions to everyday problems.
Everyone needs healthcare – it’s a billion-dollar industry that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. It makes sense that a company like Google, which has gone from a simple search engine to a browser, phone provider, and more, would want to get involved in this ever-expanding, always-advancing industry.
A New Look At Medicine
These new healthcare companies are pursuing technologies and treatments that some might see as impractical or unrealistic. For example, is it really possible that a video game might help to treat depression?
It might sound strange, but according to some studies, it really does help. There are phone games designed to reduce stress and anxiety, and in 2012, researchers in New Zealand designed a game to help teens understand their depression. Many gamers report that social gaming helped them to find a sense of community and achievement.
Pursuing these radical treatments could be our moldy petri dish – the happy accident that changes our entire perception of medicine. After all, people thought Fleming was crazy when he said he wanted to put mold on their wounds, but his invention continues to save lives even today.