Medicine Through Time Entire Course

From prehistoric to 20th century. Focuses on main five areas - causes, cure, anatomy, surgery, public health. Easy to understand bullet points. Section on the last page about answering a source based question. Enjoy! 

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  • Created on: 17-06-11 15:24
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Prehistoric Medicine
Know very little due to lack of written word but they had no understanding themselves.
- all down to spirits, demons, gods.
- a fit would mean they are possessed, if ill, their spirit has left you/been taken over.
- some natural methods. Herbal medicine found by chance, and handed down, could cure illness.
- anything they could not explain was put down to what they couldn't understand - gods.
-wore charms to keep evil spirits away, leave hair, excrement, nails buried by houses to prevent spirits form entering.
- if anyone was cured, it would be down to the medicine, but they would have thought it was the supernatural rituals that cured.
- may have seen what was inside the body, when they did rituals on them when someone was dead, so may have had a sort of
understanding about what was inside, but didn't understand what anything did.
- trepanning, supernatural not scientific. Otherwise, no understanding of what is inside the body. Issues with bleeding, no anaesthetic,
and not sterile. Not sure why they did it. If there was something they could explain, like a break, they could fix it. If not they'd turn to
Public Health
- people in these times were nomadic, moved around, and because they weren't settled they didn't have to set anything up. No
governments, country, maybe a leader in a tribe. To keep things clean as possible, they would maybe excrete away from camp. No other
Ancient Egyptians
Settled civilisation and written word meant that knowledge could now be passed on and developed, more time spent on
medicine than before as had money and leisure
- looking at the Papyrus Ebers and the Books of Thoth we see that Egyptians thought disease was caused by evil spirits.
-generally, only when they could not attribute it to anything else - which shows they didn't always rely on supernatural.
- scientific ideas were wrong - good try. Thought 40 channels flowed through body, likened them to the Nile, when blocked, due to rotting
food in stomach, made them ill.
- empirical, knew insects made them ill, so used nets.
- religion and medicine merged. Doctors would be priests.
- medicine was used, but would have had less or equal importance to spells. Thought some gods were healers, Ihmotep, would pray to
them. Wore amulets and charms, would fast.
- some empirical methods. Based on observation, not theory. If a treatment worked, they'd write it down, and it would be used again -
without understanding why it worked. Still better than supernatural medicine. Example, washing, knew it helped long term, didn't know
why, shave to stop lice.
- doctors grew specialised in certain areas, very modern.
- well trained as past knowledge down, Papyrus Library at Alexandria. Wrote down new ideas and worked out what worked, trial and
error. Trading led to new medicines.
- used plants - willow bark was an antiseptic. Swapping with China and having trade led to more developments in drugs.
- religion meant that they would have to embalm the body for the next life. This meant they would see inside and could make comparisons,
see what is normal.
- religion also held them back. Could not find out any more about the body by dissecting or probing as needed organs intact. Knew about
lungs, heart, brain.

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- craftsmen were now becoming skilled. This led to a new range of tools being used, some for surgery.
- did minor surgery that was purely scientific. Broken noses, etc.
Public Health
- if you were rich, you could have a doctor. No other help for you. Man of the house would deal with it.
Ancient Greece
Religion is beginning, slowly, to be challenged, but are two distinct groups: rational philosophers and the cult of
Asclepius.…read more

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Continuity from Hippocrates.
- had another more sensible idea, incorrect, but still better than superstition - balance of opposites. Like four humours, his varied slightly,
imbalances should be treated with the opposite.
-some popular treatments did work, alcohol on wounds, antiseptics.
- helping injured gladiators meant that Galen could see inside the human body.
- regress was that dissection was not allowed, but Galen found out about the body by using animals - pigs for spinal chord.…read more

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Public Health
- the church provided some of the only public health. They helped the sick and the poor by using hospitals, generally in monasteries.
- helpful to a certain extent as would provide peace and quiet and rest. But they'd also rely too much on faith healing and would give little
other treatment.
- since the Romans, no civilisation had the money/power to carry out drains, aqueducts etc. These got forgotten about. Sewage went in
rivers that were drank from.…read more

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Meant he saw a problem, blood loss, tried to fight it. Failed generally, but more skilful
than applying heat.
- without knowledge of what caused germs, infection still spread. Worked in theory but wasn't until later it worked.
War helped - battlefield surgery meant they could learn new things.
Chance helped - running out of ingredients, having to try a new method, worked better.
Public Health
- still little organisation. Doctors had to be properly trained, a step forward - Royal College of Physicians.…read more

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Koch, Germany, better doctor. Found that germs were linked to certain diseases.
- found the particular germs causing TB and cholera.
Tech helped - powerful microscopes and dyes to stain microbes.
War helped - between Germany and France, 1860s, rivalry led to more breakthroughs.
Communication helped - spread their ideas using telegrams, newspapers.
- little done in the way of curing someone when inside the body. Pasteur and Koch worked on prevention - later doctors, Erlich, worked on
cure.…read more

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Continuity has helped find cures - taking on each other's work. Swapping information, so communication, has also
- increased understanding, how to stop heart, tissue rejection, all work done by Barnard, began many years ago by William Harvey.
- doctors found that only blood from compatible blood groups should be used.
- red cross set up a blood donor scheme, the next problem was how to keep it fresh, eventually developments in freezing blood.…read more

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Whether a source is reliable.
- sources can be biased - but got to say why.
- because of who wrote the source, what they failed to say, wanted to keep hidden, may have exaggerated etc.
- primary are not always more reliable than secondary.
Why sources can say different things.
- once again, work out the impression given, the information the source gives, and what the author is trying to say, why the author says
what they do.…read more


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