Medicine through time - prehistory and Egyptian medicine

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  • Medicine
    • Prehistory
      • no record of treatment, progress=slow
      • trephining - drilled holes into skull to release evil spirits = some died, some survived
      • cave paintings - shows their belief in the spiritual world
      • mostly hunter gatherers
      • evacuation of buriels shows attitude to human remains
      • fine and delicate stone has been found = surgery was feasible
      • any explanation of illnesses was based on evil spirits
      • new theories about disease, vomiting with laxatives recommended to clear blockages
      • use of common sense ideas such as mosquito nests and splints for fractures
      • codes of hygiene for the priests (shaving body, washing daily)
    • Egyptian
      • Able to write and collect findings, test and make notes whether it had been a medical success - changed the way surgery and medicine worked
      • believed that their gods controlled illnesses
      • shared the belief with prehistoric period that diseases were caused by evil spirits
      • a mixture of old and new ideas
      • supernatural explanations and magical remedies
      • Doctors and priests beginning to see illnesses in a different way
      • new discoveries about physiology and anatomy resulting from embalming the head
      • dissection still officially forbidden
      • examination and diagnosis recommended by some
      • herbs and drugs used widely - many imported from abroad
      • simple surgery practised (removal of cysts and lumps
      • to cure them they would use charms, magic and turning to the gods for help
      • mummification process advanced them
      • Embalmed dead bodies in order to preserve them
        • involved cutting out the organs that would rot inside the body
      • further dissection of the body wasn't allowed = understanding of anatomy was limited by the religion
      • the  papyri that archaeologists have discovered (Papyrus Edwin Smith) suggests that they had good knowledge of anatomy to perform minor surgery


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