GCSE Edexcel History B Unit 1A: Medicine Through Time

GCSE Edexcel History B Unit 1A: Medicine Through Time notes

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  • Created on: 09-01-12 12:44
Preview of GCSE Edexcel History B Unit 1A: Medicine Through Time

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In pre-historic times, there was a lack of government which meant that there was no planning
intervention or funding of medicine.
The used primitive tools, such as; flints and arrow heads.
There was no education, no written language, no records of any prior knowledge of medicine and
skills and ideas were passed down by word of mouth.
Religion influenced medicine because they believed that bad spirits caused illnesses and because of
a strong belief in the afterlife, there was no reason for people to search for any other reasons,
meaning that they were restricted to supernatural cures, such as; chants from the Medicine Man,
charms and amulets. They used trephanny, which is where a hole would be drilled into the person
head to release the bad spirits.
In Ancient Egypt, religion relied heavily on a belief in the afterlife and in the Gods. The Goddess
Sekhmet was believed to be able cause and cure epidemics. This belief lead to mummification and
therefore they did not dissect anyone. They had a variety of ideas, natural: herbs, purging, mosquito
nets, covering wounds with honey and the use of bronze surgical equipment; supernatural: Gods,
charms, spells, chanting and sacrifices.
Priest physicians cleaned and shaved frequently to be pure for the Gods. They also observed,
examined and recorded the treatments on papyrus. This meant that they could document their
medical findings and people could learn from them.
The Egyptians had trade links with various different countries to help them trade herbs and plants
that were helpful to medicine.
As a result of their wealth they were able to make developments in tools etc.
They believed that the body contained channels like the Nile and people became if they were
blocked. The annual flood also meant that farming boomed and trade was good.

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Priest Physicians, Priest Magicians, Women, Specialist Doctors treated the sick, few Peseshets,
women doctors, were known.
They had some knowledge of the heart, liver, lungs, brain, pulse and blood.
They believed that the body contained channels and blockages caused illnesses but they didn't know
how the parts of the body worked.
They used herbs, potions and charms to prevent illnesses; they washed regularly and cleaned things
regularly. They used mosquito nets and bathed in holy water.…read more

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In Ancient Rome Galen expanded on Hippocrates and came up with the Theory of Opposites. He said
that if someone is ill in spring they must remove some blood because they have too much inside
The living conditions improved during the latter half of the Middle Ages. Over-population was still a
problem. Public Health measures were not put into action.
In London between 1300-1400. Butchers selling bad meat were punished and in 1343 animals were
killed away from towns.…read more

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Galen and Hippocrates, did not have a cure for the Black Death; the differences
include: they had good libraries, more hospitals and caring for the sick was an important part of their
faith. Avicenna is a well-known individual who wrote many books on medicine which were used in
universities as late as the 1650s. His most important books were called "The Book of Healing" and
"The Canon of Medicine."
The word renaissance is Latin for rebirth.…read more

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Paré (1510-1590) worked as an army surgeon and published books. His oil supply ran out so he had
to come up with another way to cauterise wounds ­ he used a combination of egg yolk, oil of roses
and turpentine. He decided to tie up arteries (ligatures) and bandage wounds.
Harvey (1578-1657) proved the circulation of blood and that it was pumped around the body by the
heart and not created and used up by the liver, as stated by Galen.…read more

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During WWII, the National Blood Transfusions Service was set up. The immediate effect was that
thousands of soldiers received blood on the battlefield
In 1798, Edward Jenner developed a vaccine for smallpox by using cowpox; because of this a way
had been found to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Inoculations were used by people
before Jenner to try to stop people from developing smallpox. Jenner's treatment was known as
vaccination. He realised that cowpox doses could be used to prevent smallpox.…read more

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Liverpool, and best for
upper/middle classes in the country. He realised that if they were healthier, they would be more
In 1842, the report on sanitary conditions of the labouring population produced.
In 1848, Public Health Act passed which encouraged local councils to improve living conditions in
inner-city areas.
In 1854 and 1865, Cholera returned.
In 1875, Public Health Act passed which made improving living conditions compulsory.…read more

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In 1847, Simpson discovered that chloroform was very effective for child birth; however, he faced
huge opposition.
In 1848 Hannah Greener, a 15 year-old girl, died as result of chloroform.
In 1853, the opposition was overcome when Queen Victoria used it when giving birth to Prince
Many surgeons didn't like anaesthetics as they said that to be a skilled surgeon, you must be able to
do operations quickly, with minimal pain.…read more

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In the 1870s, designated rooms were now used for surgeries (theatres), a small audience was
allowed. Surgeons started wear rubber gloves, hats and masks.
In 1890, William Halstead recommended that rubber gloves were to be worn during surgery; this
was the beginning of aseptic surgery.
In the 1890s, Koch believed that bacteria on surgeon's hands could cause infection. He grew bacteria
from the hands of surgeons and proved that the germs on surgeon's hands matched those in the
patients.…read more

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Urbanisation meant that cities and town were overcrowded. There was a lack of sewage system,
fresh water supply and drainage in towns. The government did not help or develop Public Health
because they did not believe it was their duty to (laissez-faire) and they were reluctant to spend rate
payers' money.
The 1848 Public Health Act was passed because public health was deteriorating and the rate of
diseases was increasing.…read more


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