Complete History of Medicine Overview

Very detailed, got an A* from these notes - missing most of 19th Century though.

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  • Created on: 21-11-10 18:03
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What they thought caused illness
Natural included hunger, climate, accidents, parasites and wounds
Supernatural included spirits of the dead, planets, witches and magic
Trephining was a procedure that was thought to help illnesses such as broken skull, epilepsy and
headaches, although it was suggested that it was also to let out evil spirits.
Treatments and prevention
Because of beliefs they buried their excrement and hair, which consequently kept their living areas
cleaner and helped prevent the spread of disease.
They wore charms to ward off evil spirits
Used herbs and plants from their surroundings to treat surface wounds
Key ideas
Everyone contained a spirit and you became ill if your own spirit left you or if an evil spirit entered
Who treated disease?
Medicine men and women dealt with daily health and knew the healing properties of herbs
Main factors
Religion helped as they buried their excrement to prevent spirits from entering their body
Lifestyle / public health
Moved around a lot so didn't pollute water supply and pile up filth that attracted insects
Infections were uncommon, as organisms needed a mass of people living in the same vicinity
They didn't keep animals that spread disease to them
They ate a wide range of plants and animals, which gave them all necessary nutrients to be healthy
Although this began to change - Some disease was spread by mice
Caught malaria by mosquitoes and parasitic worms took residence inside humans giving them
diarrhoea and malnutrition
Groups started to become larger and airborne diseases spread by coughing and sneezing

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They kept more animals, which transferred disease to humans such as polio, typhoid and cholera
Over view
Some treatments were effective as mould from rotten bread were antibacterial so cleared wounds,
radishes, garlic and onion were fed to pyramid workers whose chemicals prevented dysentery,
typhoid and cholera.…read more

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Religion helped because they embalmed the dead, they gained some anatomical knowledge
although limited because only opened up areas that were necessary, tended to be aware of organs
like heart, liver, lungs etc but didn't know functions.
Hindered because couldn't experiment or research further because they thought the person would
need their body in afterlife.…read more

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Still mixed natural and supernatural
What they thought caused illness
They believed that the gods made you ill until the theory of the four humours came forward but they
were split between the ideas so believed that unbalanced humours caused illness.
Lung draining
Surface issues i.e.…read more

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Religion hindered as they had ideas and wanted to explore the body but religious beliefs and
leaders prevented body dissections so advances were prevented too. Also they believed visiting
Asclepius would heal them so didn't see a need to research further.
Individual genius helped as Hippocrates brought the oath, the writings, observations, recording
and natural treatments to society.…read more

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Public health included aqueducts, stone water channels; water cleaned via settling basins and
reservoirs which allowed the dirt to sink to the bottom, water was piped underground to street
fountains and to public baths and lavatories.…read more

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Religion helped as Galen believed that the body was designed by one god as the brain
controlled the body and everything worked together and so had the backing of Christian
Chance helped as Galen encouraged students to dissect bodies but it was rare to encounter
stray bodies so sometimes it was pure chance that a body came along allowing a student or
doctor to dissect and discover more.…read more

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In terms of Black Death - invisible creatures that entered body would emit poison or lay
poisonous eggs which went into the bloodstream and infected the person.
Illness were from god to punish sinners
Planet alignment and moon affected fluids in body
Common sense reasons for example bad smells
Wasn't taught in university, had to be anther's apprentice, had to have licenses and pass
tests, women could be too.
Limited due to effective anaesthetics, although alcohol and opium used they weren't very
effective.…read more

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Government hindered as there was no law and order and the church seemed to take over
and built up trust, so there weren't questioned as seen like saviours.
Money spent on war rather than public health schemes.
Religion as with government and also monasteries controlled education therefore doctors
were only taught Galen's ideas as they coincided with churches views, they didn't know
anything else / other ideas.
Anyone who came up with other ideas were hushed as ideas suggested doctors should do
own research.…read more

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What they thought caused illness
Imbalanced humours
Seeds of disease which settled in infected body parts ­ linked dirt and disease
Cauterising (not after ligatures invented)
Ligatures (and ointment)
Removal of weapons and bullets
Amputations by barber surgeons
Treatments and prevention
King's touch for Black Death
Locked up infected with watchmen
Some laws to clean up streets but no government money to enforce it
Key ideas
That surgery couldn't progress until the 3 main barriers were overcome: bleeding, pain and…read more


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