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There is no short answer to this question, except to say that truly stunning advances have been made in the last half century. Here are a few areas to look at when considering this question:
1) Pharmaceutical Research - Consider the changes in chemotherapy and the addition of targeted radiation, both with far fewer side effects and greater success rates. With almost every type of cancer, huge improvements in survival rates have taken place. We also invented AIDS treatment drugs which, where they are available, have greatly reduced the mortality rate and extended the life span of those who are HIV positive. Hundreds more drugs have been put into the pipeline that affect both treatment and quality of life.
2) Immunizations - Worldwide, the number of immunizations has grown exponentially. Diseases such as small pox have been eradicated, and the suffering from malaria, diphtheria and meningitis greatly reduced, especially in the developing world.
3) Physicians - As scientific and medical knowledge advanced, so did the quality and ability of doctors. This translates into better direct patient care, and longer life spans, not to mention more effective preventive medicine.
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