Medicine Through Time - Complete set of notes (Prehistoric - Impact of the NHS)

Complete set of notes written by myself for GCSE History course 'Medicine Through Time' for exam board OCR. Topics cover:

  • Prehistoric and Aboriginal Medicine
  • Ancient Egyptian and Greek Medicine
  • The Four Humours
  • Roman Medicine and Galen
  • Collapse of the Roman Empire and Galen
  • Medieval Medicine
  • The Black Death
  • The Renaissance and Surgery in the Middle Ages
  • Ambroise Pare
  • William Harvey
  • 18th Century Medicine and Inoculation
  • Edward Jenner and Vaccination
  • Discovering the Cause of Disease and Spontaneous Generation
  • Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur
  • Magic Bullets
  • Penicillin
  • Surgery Before 19th Century and Anaestetics
  • Antiseptic and Aseptic Surgery
  • How did World War 1 Improve Surgery
  • Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole
  • Women Doctors in the 1800s
  • The Stages of Women Entering the Medical Profession
  • Public Health
  • Edwin Chadwich and William Farr
  • John Snow and Cholera
  • Why Public Health Was Finally Improved
  • Liberal Reforms
  • The Impact of War on the Government
  • The NHS
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  • Created by: Erika
  • Created on: 15-08-12 21:47
Preview of Medicine Through Time - Complete set of notes (Prehistoric - Impact of the NHS)

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Prehistoric and Aboriginal Medicine
Prehistoric people were:
Nomads ­ meaning that they had no fixed home and they moved around
They were huntergatherers ­ they got all their food without farming
They lived in small groups without complicated political arrangements
They had very simple levels of technology ­ spears, bows and arrows, axes,
knives and scrapers all made from wood, bone and stone.
They had no system of writing so nothing was recorded ­ most of what we know
of prehistoric people comes from skeletons.
Trephening was a process where circles in the skull were removed. We do not know
why this occurred but there are four theories why:
The holes were made so the skulls could be used as drinking vessels ­ unlikely
as the liquid would come out of the eyes
They were cut into children's skulls and those who survived were thought to have
great magic power. When the person died the bits of skull were used as charms
­ Wrong, no children's skulls were found with evidence of trephening.
Used to people who had skull injuries, epilepsy or headaches likely as
operations are still done today where bits of the skull is removed if the brain is
To release evil spirits from the body ­ likely as prehistoric people believed in
spirits and the supernatural.
To understand Prehistoric people, we can study Australian Aborigines. This is because
their huntergatherer, nomadic way of life was seen to be similar to how prehistoric
people would have lived.
Aborigines had little technology and they did not know how to read or write and still used
spirits, gods and myths to explain the world that they did not understand. This meant that
Aborigines had two ways of healing or treating sick or injured people:
Spiritual ways: They believed in bad and good spirits and danced and chanted
to them to protect their tribes and look after the sick. If the patient did not get
better, the medicine man was not blamed but the patient was blamed for
upsetting the spirits.
Common sense ways: They recognised that some things could be cured using
nature e.g. broken arms were set in clay, burns treated with sap from trees,
stomach pains dealt with by chewing orchid bulbs and cuts were covered in
animal fat and kangaroo skin.

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Egyptian Medicine
How did life in Egypt affect medicine?
The rich could afford doctors to look after them. These doctors spent much of
their lives trying to improve their understanding of medicine and health
The rich also employed specialist craftsmen like metal workers to make tools or
jewellery. They also made fine bronze instruments for doctors so Egyptian
doctors worked with more sophisticated tools.
Egyptians had wide spread trade links therefore they could get new herbs and
plants from Africa, India and China.…read more

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Public Health in Ancient Greece
In Ancient Greece the idea of having a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy body was
very popular. The Greeks believed that eating and drinking well helped to keep your
body healthy and exercise was also an important part of people's routine.
Alexandria is a city in Egypt. It is an important city in the history of medicine because:
There was a great library which was built with the intention of collecting all the
knowledge in the world.…read more

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The main change of ideas in Greek people was that they began to think of more natural
causes for disease, more rational explanations instead of only the fault of the gods and
The Four Humours
The theory of the four humours was first put forward by Aristotle but was later
developed by Hippocrates.…read more

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Roman Medicine
Public health is the measures taken by a government to look after the health of its
The Romans built:
Aqueducts ­ they transported water to buildings
Bathhouses ­ they were cheap to visit and encouraged personal hygiene
Public toilets ­ they were flushed clean with running water
Drainage systems ­ they carried sewage and waste away from the cities
The Romans believed that the following things were the causes of disease:
Bad smells or bad air
Bad water
Swamps and marshes
Being…read more

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The collapse of the Roman Empire
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe was plunged into chaos
Medical libraries were destroyed
Rulers spent money on armies and defences rather than public health
There was less travel ­ less sharing of knowledge
Training of doctors was abandoned
Galen's books were hidden for safety
When the Roman Empire collapsed the Catholic Church was the only strong
organisation to survive.…read more

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Medieval Medicine
Medieval towns were very dirty places
Water supplies were often contaminated
Sewage ran freely in the streets
The government did not see why they had to pay for public health and so they
There were only two groups of people that could live fairly clean lives: the rich and
monks and nuns
Monasteries had their own drainage and water supply systems
Many were located next to rivers and so piped their water from there and
purified it
This water was used to…read more

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The Black Death
The black death came to Britain in 1348 and killed between a third and a half of
the population
The disease manifested itself through fever, vomiting, headaches and buboes in
the armpit or groin
After a few days the victim either recovered or developed dark bruising all over
the body and died
We now know that there are two types of plague:
Pneumonic plague ­ spread by sneezing
Bubonic plague ­ spread by fleas
People thought that the plague was caused by:…read more

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The Renaissance
Renaissance means `The rebirth' It was the beginning of old idea's being
Advances in printing and art meant that doctors were better able to produce
records of their work and make books for others to be able to learn from.…read more

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Surgery performed in the Middle Ages was limited, painful and often fatal
Two different groups of people performed surgery at the time:
BarberSurgeons were barbers who cut people's hair and also performed
some surgery. They learnt surgery as a trade and so had no medical training
at all but were the only kind of surgeon that poor people could afford
Surgeons who had medical training from the great universities of Europe.
However the job of a surgeon was hard work, messy an often unsuccessful.…read more


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