Great advancements have been made in the area of human medicine and health, no doubt. Gone are those days when ordinary insect bites can send one 6 feet under the ground, not anymore and all credits go to science and technology.
Ill-healths that affect humans are of two types generally:
Pathogenic illness: These are caused by pathogens, also known as disease-causing organisms. They are mostly microbes in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, and so on. Due to being caused by microbes that have the capacity to move from one place to another, pathogenic illnesses are also referred to as transmissible illnesses. This is because they can be transferred from affected persons to unaffected persons through different media. Examples include the trending covid19 virus, sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, herpes, etc, and malaria.
Non-pathogenic illnesses: These are caused by other means apart from microbes. They could be due to issues with the environment, nutrition, body metabolism, and so on. The human body is made of different systems and small processes working together to form a unit. These processes are carefully controlled by the brain and any slight fault in one might put the entire body in distress.
While advancement in the area of molecular biology, microscopy, and cell culture now makes it possible to identify the causative organisms in virtually all pathogenic diseases, the same cannot be said for diseases that are not caused by pathogens. Despite all the available technology, many non-pathogenic diseases remains largely unraveled and their cuases remain speculative at best. Here are my top 3 diseases whose causes remains a major mystery to the science world:
The growth of the body and the repair/replacement of damaged or worn-out tissues or cells happens as a result of cell division. The process of cell division is highly regulated one in nature so that cells do not just divide inadequately or more than required. When regulation fails and cells start dividing uncontrollably, such cells result in what is known as cancer cells. The cells multiply and invade nearby cells, tissues, or even organs.
What causes cell division regulation to fail? One would ask. This is the same question that scientists in the medical world have been trying to answer for decades. Different causes have been attributed to cancer but none has been proven beyond reasonable doubts. In reality, scientists believe that cancer cannot be attributed to a single cause but a host of factors which include genetic, environmental, lifestyle, etc. Research are still ongoing to unravel the mystery behind this disease that has claimed millions of lives worldwide and continues to do so at a rather faster pace. Hopefully, there will be a breakthrough soon.
Even though the function of the appendix of human remains a source of debate among scientists with some believing it to be a vestigial organ while others argue that it serves as a store of beneficial bacteria, what causes the inflammation of the organ - appendicitis - remains a major medical mystery. Many have argued that inflammation occur as a result of blockage of the appendix by poop or foreign objects while some also say that inflammation happens as a result of infection.
While growing up, the general belief then was that eating the seeds of guava causes appendicitis but that has been dispelled with knowledge acquisition as I grow up. Even if there is a concensus among scientists that the blockage of the appendix causes its inflammation, what are the things that can trigger the blockage? If it is due to infection, how does it happen? Perhaps some of these questions will be answered in the nearest future.
Several plausible theories, or should I call it hypotheses, have been formulated as to what could cause sores to develop in the digestive tract of man. While many hold the view that the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, is the causative organism of ulcer, some believe that long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, etc. remains the primary reason sores develop in the digestive tracts.
Maybe ulcer cannot be classified as a medical mystery after all, but whatever the case may be, the fact remains that there are no consensus among scientists as to the primary cause. Perhaps more convincing evidence would emerge as research progresses along that line.