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Cultures have long believed gold has medicinal benefits. The Chinese thought gold could treat smallpox and measles, among other diseases. Early Indian and Egyptian cultures used gold when they made certain medicines. Many cultures, like early Europeans, attributed health benefits to gold merely because it was rare and beautiful.
Today, some alternative health practioners still believe gold has medicinal benefits. Gold salts have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory property. While these salts have been helpful for conditions such as arthritis, gold is actually unaffected by chemicals it finds in the human body and will pass out of the body unaltered.
In terms of medical devices, gold has offered many health benefits. Gold has been used for wires in pacemakers, artery stents and for implants. Gold has very good biocompatibility and doctors also find the metal easy to see on x-rays. Gold is resistant to bacteria, making the metal popular for implants in the body. Areas such as the inner ear can be prone to infections and the use of gold in implants alleviates some of the risk.
Other medical areas that may benefit from gold in the future are the treatment of cancer and HIV. Gold may also prove to be beneficial in drug delivery microchips. The microchips are implanted and allow different drugs to be dispensed by a doctor or biosensor at the appropriate time.
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