Theme: Urgency created by wars and epidemics combined with the can-do attitude of the twentieth century triggered medical advancements that extended American life expectancy and improved the overall quality of life for the American population.


Each of these medical advancements, along with many others, has significantly affected the life expectancy and quality of life of Americans. The byproduct of these medical advancements is that they have changed the social fabric of America. There is current debate over the quality of life of elder people, and how long people should continue to work in their elder years. As the baby boom generation grows older, it will be required to work longer because there will be less young citizens to support the influx of people with social security. Today it is common for people to follow second career paths, and sometimes work into their 70’s. This would have been impossible without the medical improvements of the twentieth century, and I believe it is a positive outcome because it gives people more purpose to be productive in their elder years. Scientists continue to research cures for diseases that weren’t as well-known earlier in the twentieth century such as cancer, which is the current second leading cause of death among adults over 65 in the United States following heart disease (Eure)(Leading). Because people no longer die of diseases that vaccines have been discovered for, cancer eventually kills many elders. If cancer were to be eradicated as polio had been, the life expectancy in the United States would continue to significantly increase.

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