Read e-book online A History of Medicine, Second Edition PDF

By Lois N. Magner

ISBN-10: 0824740742

ISBN-13: 9780824740740

Stressing significant issues within the heritage of drugs, this moment variation explores the occasions, methodologies, and theories that formed scientific practices in a long time prior and in sleek medical perform. It highlights practices of civilizations worldwide and examine of pioneering scientists and physicians who contributed to our present figuring out of wellbeing and fitness and illness. New sections hide preventive and replacement drugs, clinical schooling for girls, miasma and contagion theories, the specter of epidemic disorder, altering styles of morbidity and mortality, public well-being and sanitary reforms, the excessive rate of therapy, illnesses of affluence and getting older, and the emergence of latest illnesses.

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Medications are said to have been tested or discovered by unimpeachable authorities, such as sages and experts. Some remedies were praised for their antiquity or exclusivity. Of special interest is a small cuneiform 28 A History of Medicine tablet containing about a dozen recipes recorded by a Sumerian physician about four thousand years ago. This tablet appears to be the oldest written collection of prescriptions. The separation of magical and empirical aspects of medicine is a very recent development.

For example, a plant remedy for jaundice might sport yellow flowers and remedies for heart disease might be found in plants with heart-shaped leaves. Many folk remedies require the parts and products of animals. Selection of the appropriate remedy may be guided by either the principle of opposites or the principle of similars. For example, if roasted rabbit brains failed to cure excessive timidity, courage might be found in the blood of a ferocious beast. Lowly animals such as mice and moles were used in remedies for warts, coughs, fevers, fits, and bedwetting, but no creature has served the healing art as diligently as the leech.

By the end of the sixteenth century, ‘‘mummy powder’’ could be found in every apothecary shop in Europe. The irony of making medicines by destroying remains meant to secure eternal life was noted by English physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), author of Religio Medici (1642), who observed that mummies spared by time and previous conquerors ‘‘avarice now consumeth. Mummy is become merchandise . . ’’ Long after the vogue of ‘‘mummy powder’’ had passed, William Konrad Roentgen’s (1845–1923) discovery of X-rays revived Western interest in Egyptian antiquities.

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A History of Medicine, Second Edition by Lois N. Magner


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