Disease and Infection


Pre historic and Egyptian ideas on disease and inf

The pre historians had no knowledgable ideas on disease and infection and their only cure or method of curing was thriphining.

In the Egyptian times they believed a specific evil spirit entered and blocked one of the bodies channels. They got the idea as farms used to die if the streams were blocked and prevented water from entering.

 This was a crucial breakthrough in the history of medicine, because it led doctors to abandon purely spiritual cures for illness, and instead to try practical cures designed simply to unblock the channel.

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Ancient Greece ideas on disease and infection

The Greeks started clinical observation, which is where they examined the patient from head to toe. This was started by Hippocrates in 430BC. 

The Greeks also had asklepions, which were places where ill people could appeal to gods and sleep and swim for the night. They would appeal to Asklepios,  the god of healing. 

In 430BC Hippocrates came up with a theory of the 4 humours. The Greeks also beleived that if the humours were inbalanced than that would cause illness. 

They would cure a cold by keeping the patient warm.

They would treat a fever (hot and wet) by keeping the patient cool and dry.

They used bleeding and purging - not, as the Egyptians, to unblock a channel, but in order to rebalance two of the humours - the blood and the black bile.

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Roman medicine and ideas on disease and infection

The Romans were not allowed to disect humans and this resulted Galen ( 130AD) to disect animals and basing humans on animals such as pigs. 

The only ideas they had about disease and medicine were completely irrational. Things such as stars, invisible creatures and smells.  

The Romans ignore alot of the Greek medicine but agreed with the theory of the 4 humours. Medicine in the Roman period did not progress, unlike it did with public health.

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Medicine in the Middle ages - 500 AD - 1500 AD

Further irrational ideas were explored. However, universities tried to challenge Galen and Hippocrates ideas. 

A big step was progressed as Rhazes in 900AD discovered the differance between small pox and measles. Rhazes also wrote many books in great detail. 

Overall the ideas about medicine and theories over disease and infection didnt really progress during this era. Its safe to say this era was a period of STAGNATION. 

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Disease and infection during the Renaissance - 150

At the start of the period there was the same attituted to disease and ifnection as the middle ages. However in 1796, Jenner discovered the vaccination for smallpox. This was a massive development and stopped small pox. This showed that the superstitious ideas were wrong and that you needed to fight the illness. 

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Disease and infection in the 19th century and 20th

In the 1840's Semmelweiss couldnt provide evidence for his discrovery, so his ideas were dismissed. In 1861, the germ theory came along and this gave Koch the idea of linking disease and germ theory. (Koch also invented agar jelly). In 1891 Behring produced the first cure using the germ theory as evidence. This changed the way doctors encountered disease and infection and medicine. 

In 1909, Ehrlich discovered various compounds which would help fight the microorganism in the body to cure the illness. He used chemistry to help in medicine and create compounds for malaria and syphilis. In 1928, Flemming, by chance, discovered penecilline. It killed pathogens and stopped them from growing without killing healthy human cells. Florey and Chain helped him get it into mass production just in time for WW2. It was used on the battle ground to prevent infections from wounds. 

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Key dates for disease and infection - 460 BC - 187

460 BC - Hippocrats releases his theory of the 4 humours and it is excpeted for hundereds of years

130 AD - Galen agrees with Hippocrates' theory, and therefore everyone in the Roman empire does

900 AD - Rhazes discovers the differance between small pox and measles

1796 - Jenner discovers the vaccination for small pox, using cow pox

1840 - Semmelwiess couldnt prove his ideas

1861 - Pastuer's germ theory

1870 - Koch uses germ theory to create a cure for anthrax and TB

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Key dates for disease and infection - 1870 - 1940

1891 - Behring developed anti toxin against diphtheria using germ theory

1909 - Ehrlich uses compunds to kill microorganisms. Cures for siphilis and malaria

1928 - Flemming, by chance, discovers penecilline. He could not get aross how important it was to mass produce the drug

1940 - Florey and Chain got penecilline mass produced just in time to help soldiers on the battle field in WW2.

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