Human health timeline: 1990s



First reported in 1981, AIDS was quickly shown to be a mysterious epidemic which spread with no known cause. An extensive population study the following year suggested that the epidemic had already spread globally.

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Meningitis vaccines

1992_1.jpgVaccines for several types of meningitis have been developed in mice and have resulted in a huge fall in the disease. Previously many victims died or had amputations or organ damage.

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Haemophilus influenzae bacteria cultured on a blood agar plate
© CDC/W.A. Clark

Better medicines for depression

Drugs developed to treat depression act by increasing the amount of certain chemicals in our brains. These neurotransmitters communicate between nerve cells. Our brains contain many different neurotransmitters, but the two that are particularly important in depression are serotonin and noradrenaline.

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Medicines for breast and prostate cancer

More than 42,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, making it the most common cancer in women after non-melanoma skin cancer. Animal studies contributed to the development of tamoxifen, one of the most successful treatments.

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Medicines for type 2 diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose level as normal as possible and to control your symptoms to prevent health problems developing later in life.

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New medicines for asthma

Asthma is the most common serious childhood illness and still causes about 2,000 deaths a year in the UK. Animal research was used to develop the medicines in the inhalers used by many people, including children, today.

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Statins to lower cholesterol

2000px-Atorvastatin.svg.pngStatins are cholesterol-lowering medicines. They may be used to treat: hypercholesterolaemia, a high level of cholesterol in the blood. Statins may also be used to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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