Medicine in Ancient Civilization

Early man, like the animals, was subject to illness and death. Life was uncomfortable, dangerous and hard. If the man

Medicine in Ancient Civilization


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Vitebsk State Medical g University













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Early man, like the animals, was subject to illness and death. Life was uncomfortable, dangerous and hard. If the man had a wound, his instinctive action was to suck or lick this wound. He knew that bleeding very often eased the pain of a wound. Instinctive medical actions soon became ceremonial rituals which became very important in the. life of a primitive man. Medicine progressed slowly. The medicine-man practiced magic to help the man who was ill or had a wound. As the centuries passed, man came to know anatomy from the animals ht killed. The medicine-man became the central figure of the tribe. Between 7000 and 4000 B.C. new civilization developed from the early tribes. Ancient Egyptians were the earliest civilized people in the world. They studied the human body. Magic still played an important part when the medicine-man treated ill people but Egyptians also developed practical methods of treatment. Homer wrote that Egyptian doctors were the best in his time. The early Indians in Mexico used narcotics in the treatment of diseases. In Peru and India surgery was very developed. Amputations were very common in these countries.Medicine in China began about 2600 B.C. The Chinese used acupuncture very often. The Chinese also discovered about two thousand medicinal substances. the period of 5000 В.C. the medical knowledge from Egypt spread to Greece where it was further developed. The Greeks knew how to stop bleeding. Such great philosophers as Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were all connected with the development of science and medicine in Greece. The Greeks could diagnose illness. The Greeks also credited many gods and goddesses as they could cure diseases and bring health. Apollo was the god of disease and healing. At a later date his mythical son Asclepius with his daughter Hygeia replaced Apollo. Hygeia was the Greek goddess of health, The cup of Asclepius, entwined with a serpent , is still the symbol of medicine. The cult of Asclepius was the most famous religious-medical cult in history.Hippocrates symbolized the greatness of the creative and classical period of history. He is called "the father of scientific medicine". Hippocrates was the first who spoke about the natural causes of diseases. He also established fundamental principles of observation and treatment that are used to this day.tried to protect health during the Middle Ages. Certain important health methods were used during this period. Epidemics of diphtheria, tytphoid, fever, leprosy, influenza, bubonic plague and other diseases took millions of lives. Leprosy was spread for hundreds of years. This disease was controlled not by medical means. Poor lepers lived in special colonies, away from other people. This was a very important advance in public health during this period.During the Middle Ages plague killed many millions of people in Europe. In 1348 the Black Death struck Britain: nobody knew how to fight with the disease. The doctors advised people to run away from the affected areas. Everybody agreed that plague was god's punishment for the sins of man.very important development during the Middle Ages was the hospital. Hospitals appeared in Ceylon early in the fifth century В.C. and in India in 260 В.C. Hospitals were founded during the Middle Ages in Italy, France, England, Spain and other European countries.The number of hospital beds was not always an indication of hospital size, as usually great beds were used, and four or six patients were put on one bed.Hospitals were founded to treat the sick people. Another development during the Middle Ages was the foundation of Universities. Many of the great European, Universities were founded during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Biological sciences were taught in the, universities. Students also studied the human body and some diseases. Even in Roman times, people were afraid of dead bodies. Dissection, that is the cutting open of bodies to learn more about the various parts and how they work, was banned by religion and the law. This delayed the study of anatomy for over a thousand years.It is strange that the first effort to study the human body was made by Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo wished to draw the body with more realism. So he carefully examined the shape of bones and muscles. He also dissected over thirty dead bodies and drew pictures of many internal organs, the veins and arteries. the sixteenth century a doctor named Andreas Vesalius studied anatomy on dead bodies. He used corpses for his examinations. Vesalius was born in Brussels, got his education as a doctor in Paris. Later he moved to Padua University where he became Professor of anatomy. In 1543 he published an illustrated book - "The Working of the Human Body".the era of the fourteenth through seventeenth century the foundations of science and medicine were established. The art of surgery was improved by Ambroise Рare. Parecelsus became the father of twentieth-century chemotherapy. Andreas Vesalius made the study of anatomy a science based on direct observations. William Harvey, the English physician to King James I, discovered the circulation of the blood and his countryman Thomas Sydenham developed the science of internal medicine.1675 Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch brewer invented the microscope and observed bacteria and protozoa. He also described microscopic organisms. Other important discoveries were made in the seventeenth century. These discoveries helped to understand and study the human body, especially the various digestive glands, blood circulation, sensory nerve endings, the structure and function of the ear, salivary glands and the structure of bones. eighteenth century was a period during which steady-progress was made in the health-related sciences. New discoveries were made in physics, chemistry, anatomy, biology, physiology, bacteriology and other sciences.beginning of new theories of disease was stimulated by the first great pathologist Giovanni Battista Morgagni who explained the connection of the symptoms of disease in the living body with anatomical findings at autopsy. The English naval surgeon James Lind discovered the ways to treat scurvy. The great anatomist John Hunter became known as the founder of scientific surgery. The French physician Rene Laennec, with his invention of the stethoscope, extended the development of physical diagnosis, begun by Leopold Auenbrugger.At the end of the century immunology was introduced in the field of health conservation.In 1776 the vaccination for smallpox was discovered in England by Edward Jenner. With slight modification the same method is still used to provide smallpox immunity today.In 1799 Sir Humphry Davy discovered that nitrous oxide or "laughing gas", helped to relieve pain when breathed into the lung and could make people temporarily unconscious. Fort years later Michael Faraday found that ether had the same effect, and in 1846 a famous American surgeon of the time, John Warren, carried out a successive operation on a patient's throat us ether as an an aesthetic. In the following year it was found that chloroform could relieve pain during childbirth.discoveries were made in the nineteenth century. One of them was the discovery of cocaine, which was very effective as a local anaesthetic. Surgeons could inject cocaine into a certain part of the body and deaden the pain in that part during the operation.When the problem of pain was solved, surgeons could carry out long and complicated operations.very important discovery was made by the French chemist, physicist and bacteriologist Louis Pasteur. We know him as the originator of the "germ theory" of disease. He discovered fermentation and developed the process of pasteurization. Louis Pasteur produced the theory that disease and infection were caused by germs and he proved that they were spread through the air. He found that germs could be killed in the liquids by heat and the term "pasteurization" was given to this process. Milk is treated in this way today to make it safe to drink. Virchov became known for his work in cellular pathology, and Herman von Helmholtz for his invention of the ophthalmoscope in 1850. Lord Joseph Lister introduced antiseptic surgery in 1867, and Wilhelm K. Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895. He placed his hand in front of the apparatus and saw that the rays passed through the hand and cast a shadow of bones on the screen. Because he did not know what the rays were he called them X-rays.the first seventy years of the twentieth century many discoveries were made in the treatment and prevention of disease. In 1901 Karl Landsteiner discovered the blood groups.Some diseases are not caused by germs or infections but by the lack of certain substances in our food. The discovery of vitamins in 1912 was very important to provide people with a properly balanced diet.1922 Sir Frederick Banting found that insulin is very effective against diabetes mellitus. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Dr. Alexander Fleming who became the founder of the modern science of anitibiosis. Penicillin was used in hospitals to reduce infections in wounds I during the Second World War. Streptomycin and a series of anti-infection drugs were discovered I after penicillin. All these /drugs I are known as antibiotics.drug known as sulphanilamide was discovered in 1935. It became the first of the "miracle" drugs which gave immediate and amazing results in the treatment of many infectious diseases including pneumonia.the two world wars, great advances were made in

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