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Gold is an important metal, not only in industry, but in medicine as well. In modern times, gold is used in drugs and implants. However, the use of gold for medicine is a practice that dates back thousands of years. For instance, the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt, and India used gold to treat various ailments; early Japanese civilizations used gold as a health supplement, and it was added to food and drink.
Today, gold is used directly in various medical devices. Gold is largely inert and does not affect the surrounding metals or ions into which it comes in contact. As a result, it can be used to manufacture pacemaker wires, as well as stents, which, when plated with gold, can be used to treat heart disease. Such stents have been used to prop up weakened blood vessels, and they are the stent of choice because they can easily be seen under x-rays.
Gold is also resistant to bacteria, so implants often have gold, especially if they are in exposed areas of the body. For instance, surgery of the ear involves gold materials. Gold can also be used in implants and pumps that provide self-administered medication, such as insulin pumps.
Gold also has pharmacological properties. In the early 20th century, gold began to be used to treat arthritis. Gold ampoules are used to combat inflammatory conditions as well as the various types of rheumatism.
Gold compounds have also recently been used to treat HIV and Cancer. At the moment, the more expensive platinum is being used to treat cancer, but platinum treatment also has many serious side effects.
In the medical laboratory, gold can be used to carry out rapid tests. With the help of membranes, medical technologists can test for the presence of compounds in liquid samples. Such tests would be applicable in fertility testing, searching for tumors, toxicology, and allergy testing. These tests can also be applied to food safety and crop disease studies, as well as test for biological and environmental contamination.
These are only a few uses of gold as a biomedical compound. With more research, there will certainly be more uses for this stable metal in the future.