Medicine in medieval England Paper 1


Causes of disease c1250-c1500

Many believed disease was punishment by god or test from god.

Theory of four humours was very popular-stated imbalance in humours cause illness.

Others thought causes of disease included miasma (bad air) or misalignment in planets/stars.

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Prevention and Treatments

Religious Treatments - prayer , fasting , pilgrimages.

Supernatural Treatments - spells , carrying amulets discoraged by church

Large number treatments aimed rebalancing humours  - by eating specific food, taking herbal remedies , purging body, make patient vomit/go toilet.

No guaranteed treatments, medieval people advised avoid getting ill by living healthy lifestyle/keeping clean.

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Black Death

Causes thought 2 b supernatural - result alignemnt of planets,punishment from god - caused by maisma (bad air)

Treatments - prayer, strong smelling herbs + remedies.

Physicians tried bleeding/purging but made patients worse.

Prevention better than treatment-once caught very likely you'd die.

People avoid catching black death avioding infected family members/leaving infected areas.

Town authorities / local goverments tried act by quarantining people.

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Causes Medical Renaissance c1500-c1700

Very little change in medical practise. Methods of diagnosing illess remained similar to medieval times.

New ideas of cause disease/illness started appear, slow impact on patients. 

By end 17th century, most doctors still refered to theory of four humours.

Thomas Sydenham promoted carefully oberserving / believing what you saw over what you read.

Invention of printing press making easier for physicians 2 share work.

From middle 17th century Royal Society promoted specific experimentation, funded research/provided hub for sharing ideas/discoveries.

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Prevention and Treatment

Methods of treatment stayed between 1500 - 1700 - Bleeding, Purging / herbal remeides still common. 

New herbal remedies appeared, exploration in New World meant new plants available. 

New focus on chemical cures - new interest in minerals / chemicals in society.

People still elieved importance of cleanliness / treid 2 avoid miasmata.

By 1700, physicians studied anatomy/botany alongside traditional medical cures.

Vesalius corrected Galens mistakes + encouraged physicians 2 carry out own dissections.

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William Harvey

Discovered blood circulated around body, instead of being made in liver/absorbed into body

Proved that heart acted as pump, propelling blood around bInspired other scientists carry out further experiments, buidling on his discoveries about blood/circulation.

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Great Plague 1665

Causes -thought 2 b supernatural( either planets or punishment from God.

Most people recognised plague was spread from person to person.

Prevention methods often involved creating strong smell 2 ward off miasma (bad air)

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Medicine 18th + 19th century

In 18th + 19th century scientists started theorise    about germs produced by decaying matter.

In 1861 Louis Pasteur published 'Germ Theory'- proved microbes in air caused decay in substances (vinagar + wine)

Pasteur work picked up in Britain, where Joseph Lister began attempting 2 remove microbes from his operating theatre.

Robert  Koch began looking for specific microbes that caused disease. Identifying lots including microbe caused cholera.

By c1900 more people understood Germ Theory but not everybody believed solution.

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Prevention and Treatment

By c1900 this had changed, due to improved understanding of what cause of disease. More hospitals built, making treatments more available.

Hospitals cleaner/built to provide space for recovery, thanks to work of Florence Nightingale.

Herbal/patent remedies were popular for common illness as few treatments been develped.

Surgical procedures became more effective method of treatment,as result develpment of anaesthetics/antiseptics.But blood loss was still problem, surgeons had work quickly.

In 19th century, government began take action improve public health in cities, as result better understanding of link between dirty conditions/disease led 2 healthier population.

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Edward Jenner and Cholera

Scientists developed method for vaccinating people against disease/ had begun develop vaccines for particular illnesses.

One disease (small pox) - Edward Jenner proved that catching cowpox prevented people from catching small pox.

Cholera first appeared in Britain 1831.

John Snow thought Cholera spread by water. During 1854 epidemic, he mapped cholera fatalities around Golden Square in Soho. Evidence suggested outbreak suggested to Broad Street Pump.Snow presented finding to government, but not take action instantly.

By 1858 governemnt took action to provide clean water for population, reduced outbreaks significantly.

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Causes Medicine Modern Britain c1900-Present

After 1900 understanding about cause of disease/illness progressed rapidly.

By end of 20th century, doctors recognised many factors caused disease.

Structure of gene discorvered by Watson/Crick 1953. Also human genome mapped by 2000.

Lifestyle factors- smoking, poor diet, drinking alcohol can all contribute 2 illness/disease.

New technology-enabled doctors 2 carry out more detailed diagnoses of their patients.

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Prevention and Treatment

Penicillin discovered/ develped intto useable treatment for varietyy of diseases.

New technology - helped improve way medicence given 2 patients.

Governements established NHS 1948. Made free medical care available 2 everybody.

High-Tech treatments-organ transplants/radiotherapy, helped doctors tackle diseases.

Goverment sponsered campaigns encouraged people lead healthier lives in order 2 prevent disease.

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Penicillin and Lung Cancer

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident 1928/research went unoticed until 1938 when developed by Howard Florey/Ernest Chain.

Florey/Chain able 2 create usable drug from mould which they tested on mice then human.

WW2 break out, Florey able secure funding from US government 2 mass produce drug.

Lung Cancer became more common disease after 1900.

In 1950 scientists proved that smoking linked lung cancer.Lung cancer patients diagnosed using combination of scans/analysis of cells from lung.

Since 1950s governement taken more action 2 combat smoking.

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