Disease and Infection

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  • Disease & Infection
    • Prehistoric
      • Nomadic, hunter/ gatherers, primitive
      • Illnesses such as food poison however obesity would not have occurred. Injuries such as infected wounds
      • No written evidence, just archaeological.
        • Problems with archaeological evidence - skeletons don not give answers to everything, bones may have been damaged in excavations.
      • Little healthcare
        • Illnesses such as food poison however obesity would not have occurred. Injuries such as infected wounds
      • No issues related to old age (people did not live very long)
        • Little healthcare
        • Treating disease
          • Spirits
            • If your spirit left your body you fell ill. If an evil spirit found its way into your body whilst you were asleep you fell ill.
          • Charms
            • Wore charms to ward off evil spirits.
              • Could be made from the seeds of a plant or part of the body.
          • Medicine Men
            • You would visit the 'Medicine Man' if it was believed that a spirit was causing a sickness.
              • Sang and chanted to the patient, massaged and asked evil spirit to leave.
          • Herbs
            • Used herbs and plants to treat sickness, the knowledge was passed down through generations.
      • Egyptian
        • Egypt - a wealthy country with powerful rulers.
          • The River Nile flooded every year and covered land with fertile soil resulting in rich harvests & good crops.
          • Wealth led to improvements in medicine. Doctors spent lots of time trying to improve understanding of medicine & health.
            • Improved writing.
          • Widespread trade links.
          • Religion helped medical knowledge - embalming.
            • Wealth led to improvements in medicine. Doctors spent lots of time trying to improve understanding of medicine & health.
              • Improved writing.
        • Embalming: RELIGIOUS PROCESS NOT DISSECTION
          • Expensive process
          • Artificially preserving a dead body to stop the decaying process - believed it was necessary in order to allow the soul to survive.
          • 70 days to embalm a body.
        • Sickness & Disease
          • Healers: master physicians, priest magicians, Irj - doctor to Pharaoh, Sekhmet, Bes, Imhotep.
          • The Theory of the Channels was a NATURAL EXPLANATION.
          • The Body
            • Could identify the heart, liver, brain, pulse, lungs & blood but they did not understand the roles of these parts.
          • Treating: praying, scarab beetle, foul smelling herbs to ward off evil spirits.
          • Medicine
            • Doctors as well as medicine men. Doctors looked for logical causes of disease, could identify some parts of body.
            • New herbs were used as medicines.
      • Greek
        • Asclepions
          • Greek god of healing: Asclepius
            • Daughters: Panacea (a cure for all ills) & Hygeia (hygiene).
          • Gymnasium - improved fitness, baths - cleanliness, temples - physiological.
          • Built in quiet & rural areas.
        • Cause of Illness
          • THE THEORY OF THE FOUR HUMOURS: phlegm, blood, yellow bile & black bile. NATURAL THEORY.
            • If the humours became unbalanced this could lead to illness.
            • HIPPOCRATES (born around 460BC)
              • Wrote a number of medical books advising doctors how to treat their patients - gave people confidence in doctors.
          • HIPPOCRATES (born around 460BC)
            • Wrote a number of medical books advising doctors how to treat their patients - gave people confidence in doctors.
      • Roman (similar to Greek)
        • Gods could cure illnesses & injuries.
        • Doctors observed patients & recorded symptoms.
        • Herbs were commonly used as treatments.
        • Doctors frequently recommended exercise and changes in diet.
        • Doctors successfully carried out simple operations
        • GALEN - more on surgery & anatomy
          • Ideas still being used up to 1400!
        • After collapse of Roman Empire, rapid decline followed by recovery.
      • Medieval
        • Most illnesses were treated with herbal remedies
        • 3 Arab Doctors
          • Ibn Sina /Avicenna (980AD): was able to tell the differences between similar diseases & understood that some were contagious.
          • Rhazes (10th Century): first to use animal gut for stitches & plaster of Paris for casts.
          • Ibn Nafis (13th Century): first described the pulmonary circulation of the blood.
        • Arab/Islamic medicine -v- Christian/ European medicine
          • Arab/Islamic
            • Developed ideas of Galen & other Greek doctors.
            • Used natural explanations of disease rather than supernatural.
            • Caring for sick - religious duty.
            • Forbidden to dissect human bodies.
          • Christian/ European
            • Both supernatural  and natural explanations.
            • Set up universities.
            • Caring for sick - religious duty.
        • THE BLACK DEATH/BUBONIC PLAGUE 1348
      • Renaissance
        • The King's Evil (Scrofula): TB of a gland. Bet. 1660-'82 Charles II cured over 92000 people.
        • THE GREAT PLAGUE 1665
          • Supernatural & natural explanations ie. spread by breath, sweat or smell of sores of sick person, position of planets, miasma...
          • Treatments include use of vinegar, public prayers, charms...
        • Licensed healers: physician, apothecary, surgeon, midwife.
        • Unlicensed healers: family, wise woman, lady of the manor, travelling quack.
        • Death of Charles II tells us that treatment remained the same as it was at the time of the Greeks & Romans - the ideas from Galen & theory of 4 humours were still used.
      • 19th Century
      • 20th Century

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