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Disease and Infection
Prehistoric Pre 3000 BC
No understanding of cause of disease
Magic, spiritual and religion used as explanations
Blame illness on evil spirits or gods
Had witch doctors, medicine men and women, shamans were credited
with ability to cure and inflict illness.
Made medicine from plants and herbs…

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Imhoteps was doctor in 2630 BC and then adopted as god of healing
Sekhmet was goddess of war and disease ­ caused it and cured it
Thoth was the god who gave doctors their ability to cure people.
Prevention and cures: charms, purging, bleeding, vomiting, cleanliness,
herbal remedies, simple surgery,…

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The Four Humour: four main substances in body, black bile, yellow bile,
blood and phlegm. An imbalance in either one causes disease. A
corresponding season for each humour.
Clinical observation: observe, record and diagnose (diagnosis,
prognosis, observation and treatment)
He also encouraged diet and exercise for fighting illness
Asclepion: Asclepios's…

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body after death. Alexandria became famous for study of surgery and
medicine. Trained
Thales of Miletus, founder of Greek philosophy thought water was
basis of life.
Anaximander said everything was made up of 4 elements: earth, air,
water and fire.

Ancient Rome 200 BC ­ 450 AD
Romans rejected many…

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withdrawn from provinces. The last Roman Emperor in West was
deposed by a German chieftain in AD 476. It led to very rapid collapse
of social organisation, technical skills and academic knowledge. The
knowledge of Greek and Roman eras migrated east and was lost, but
not irretrievably, from the western…

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around whipping themselves as they thought the Black Death was
god's punishment. The church only accepted Galen;s ideas.
In Arabic Empire, work of Galen and Hippocrates was translated.
Avicenna's Canon was translated to Latin and returned to Europe.
Avicenna wrote `A Book of Healing' and `A canon of Medicine'. He…

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Urine sample was used for diagnosis and used the colour and taste.
Relied heavily on astrology and making diagnoses and treatments.
Women in 10th century was allowed to be train as docs.

A lot of continuity
Arabists were keen on chemistry. Alchemy was the attempt to turn
base metals into…

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disease was contagious and the sick went to them for help. The Great
Fire of London wterilised large parts of it killing the plague bacteria.
Paracelsus, a famous German alchemist and surgeon of the period,
discovered that laudanum (a derivative of opium) was a painkiller that
could be used to…

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Then followed work of Robert Koch who in 18751878 developed
vaccine for anthrax. He began linking diseases to microbes. He
developed a solid medium to grow cultures and dyeing techniques to
colour microbes which he then viewed through microscopes. Used
daughter's pet to experiment with. He identified anthrax spores in…

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In 1932, the German scientist Gerhard Domagk discovered that a coal
tar product (a sulphonamide called prontosil) killed streptococci
bacteria. Other sulphonamides were discovered which could cure
pneumonia, meningitis and acnfloreye. He discovered that red dye
(prontosil) stopped the microbes that caused blood poisioning from
multiplying. His daughter had blood…


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