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Prehistoric Medicine (slow development)

Nomadic = didn't settle in one place     Hunter gatherers = hunted for food and didn't farm      No writing, so no written evidence apart from drawings and paintings

We can look at the Aborigines of the 20th century to get an idea of how they lived because they live similar lifestyles

Supernatural ideas about disease  and belief that everything in life was controlled by spirits but some practical treatments. No scientific ideas about why things happened

Broken bones were often covered in mud to help them heal and it was often successful and some knowledge of plant and herbs as medicines

Trephining was used to release severe headaches or ease pressure of swelling after skull injuries. It was thought to let out evil spirits. Only found in adult skulls. Piece of cut skull often worn around the neck. Evidence to show some survived

Believed that if a spirit left your body you would fall ill and they could enter during sleep

Medicine Man= thought to be able to understand and deal with spirits. If you came to him: he would chant you into a trance, massage the sore area, ask the evil spirit to leave, caught the evil spirit in the quartz crystal and displayed it. Patient did sometimes recover (maybe from sheer relief)   The pointing bone could be pointed by the medicine man at the victim and chants were sung. The spirit was thought to be absorbed onto the bone and was then planted into the ground

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Egyptian Medicine A

Trade: -widespread trade links, merchants from as far as China, Africa and India brought new herbs and plants with them, many of which were used as herbal remedies

They were able to farm food rather than hunting and were not nomadic. Had a more organised society with a pharoh

They were skilled mathematicians which meant they could weigh dosages

They were wealthy because of the Nile. When it flooded soils became fertile and good crop was harvested

Specialist doctors existed that spent their lives trying to improve their understanding of medicine. However they were often priests and believed in supernatural elements

Improved materials such as fine bronze were available and doctors worked with much better materials

Improved writing :-development of papyrus and hierogylphics = doctors can write down and pass on ideas

The Nile and Farming: Channel Thoery inspired by the Nile (which was very important to them because of farmland) =if irrigation channels got blocked, flooding would occur. The idea that the body had channels was developed and if one channel became blocked, a person would become unwell


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Egyptian Medicine B (around 3000BC)

-Still great believers in Gods and spirits. Sekhmet, the godess of war, was thougth to cause epidemics. Many things were still explained by the use of Gods, eg: day and night are the Gods moving across the sky

-Religion helped because of embalming(used chemistry and herbs). Parts of the body, such as the liver were taken out and they learned a little about anatomy and learnt about heart, pulse liver, brain etc. Everything had to be kept so no investigation into what was wrong. Dissection was forbidden and this limited progress

-Channel Theory... River Nile is highly respected because it makes their crops grow; Irrigation channels were dug from Nile to fields to transport water and if the channels became blocked crop would die; applied this to the body and thought a person was made up of 40 channels carrying air and water and if blocked person would become ill                  Cure= unblock the channels by purging, bleeding (bleeding cup- bad) and vomitting  (practical treatment)

Not correct theory but first natural theory which moved away from supernatural and encouraged others to

Very clean society but for religious reasons   "cleanliness is next to godliness"  washed and changed regualrly


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Egyptian Medicine C

Dissection was forbidden and this limited progress

Priests often communicated with the gods that were thought to have caused disease so were regarded as doctors. Disease could be prevented by wearing charms such as the scarab beetle

Organised  and settled society meant they had time to look at the world and develop ideas eg: look at Nile

Observed their patients, made diagnosis and treated  which is still used today

Religion: believed in the afterlife and that bodies would be needed for it so they embalmed them. Parts of the body were taken out and preserved

Channel theory promoted by doctors (medicine men no longer exist) so people believe it

Channel theory believed because Nile was so central to life

Channel Theory accepted because during embalming they would have seen all the veins and thought that they were channels

Bleeding was very dangerous

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Greek Medicine A

-Greeks were civilised people and built cities and were great traders (improved ressources they worked with) and developed democracy. They were wealthy and had enought money to develop things. They were also settled (time)

-Travelled to Egypt and were influenced by Egyptian ideas

-Still explained things with references to the Gods eg: storms=poseidon 

-Asclepius=god of healing powers and assisted by his two daughter hygeia and panacea

Asclepeia=temples in honour of Asclepius where people went hoping to find a cure for their illness. When they slept they believed that Asc. and daughters healed them. They also bathed, exercised, rested and prayed whilst there. They were located in peaceful areas and people were also given herbal remedies. Often they would be healed, "mind over matter"?

-Started to develop philosophy and they tried to explain things with logic over gods. They concluded that everything was made from the 4 elements (fire, water, air and earth) and everything is balanced =NATURAL

Used theory of four humours to explain illness: Blood, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile. Healthy=balanced humours. This theory related to the elements eg: water=phlegm=sneezing and colds

Incorrect theory but important to move away from supernatural-encouraged moderation (exercise/eating)

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Greek Medicine B

-Still prayed to Gods and visited Asclepeia for cures

-Doctors reccomended treatments to preserve balance of the four humours eg vomiting, purging or bleeding...they prefered to preserve health than treat disease

-Athletics and sport was a big part of life

-Poorer Greeks (many) would not have access/funds for medicine and couldn't take time away from work to rest

-Development of even better materials such as iron and steel allowed more precise surgery. Craftsmen also had time to develop good instruments

-Treatments becoming more complex such as setting bone and amputation

-Alexandria was one of the leading centres for medical research and important medical proceedures were carried out there...vivisection and dissection

-Hipocrates was a key individual in Greek times

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Roman Medicine A (500BC)

-very wealthy and very powerful with a large effective army allowing them to conquer many lands

-admired Greek ideas and developed the Greek idea of staying healthy. They didn't develop ideas about treatment and investigation of disease much further. Took a more practical approach

-though that the main reasons for bad health were bad sewage and water

-Made a vast pubic health system well ahead of their years and tried to keep Rome clean because they were very proud 

-Wherever they went and conquered, they introduced good ideas about public health and kept their army healthy.They built military hospitals for the army even though treatments were fairly basic

-build their settlements in places away from swaps (knew mosqitoes were there)

-Developed complex tunnels and aqueducts to supply clean water. 200 million gallons of fresh water to city every day

-built public baths which were available to all people because entrance fee was very cheap. Believe bathing was healthy

-developed latrines which flushes and built a complex drainage system that required difficult engineering

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Roman B

-more surgical instruments developed to enable operations to be performed, however, made little further contribution to the work of Hippocrates

-Galen influenced many medical ideas. He was greek but taken over by roman empire

-Medical care for ordinary people was still a matter for the family even though healthcare accessible to poor

-Did: the aqueduct, sanitation, straight roads, irrigation, medicine, education(shows organised government), wine as an antiseptic, public baths (1quadran per entry), water flowed along conduits at a slow/even pace (built on a gentle slope)

-Vast empire helps spread ideas and learn new ones                       -anyone could call themselves a doctor

-desire to spread superiority of Roman empire

-Latin and straigh roads led to excellent communications                              -still supernatural and superstitious 

-Miasma was thought to be the cause of disease

-strong centralised government introduced taxes which enabled them to built the system


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Medieval Medicine... Middle Ages/Dark Ages A

-Collapse of Roman Empire AD500 = no more strong organised government (no funding for PH because no taxes), many wars, breakdown in communications,

-Catholic Church= VERY powerful from 500-1500AD (1000 yrs)

-Many believe that God cured disease and therefore only he could fix it so nobody looked for practical solutions and all solutions were supernatural and there was a strong belief in the devil

-Kings were thought to have divine power because they were sent from God and a touch from him could cure somebody from the skin disease scrofula

-Regress=Public health and medical learning=limited

-Unorganised governments don't see the importance of hygeine

-Feudle system means general population tied to farm work and not educated and cannot read

-Knowledge from Roman and Greek times mostly lost and only Monks were educated

-Monasetries were exceptions to the rule because they were centres of learning and knowledge . They treated some patients, had good public health and were iscolated from society. Monks usually survived the Black Death

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Middle Ages B

-From about 1000AD there was improvement in the High Middle Ages

-Doctors were expected to be trained properly

-Women still carried out most everyday medical activity but could not go to university

-Europe was more peaceful and trade expanded and wealth was created. Some wealth was used to improve education and this included medical schools

ISLAMIC WORLD=developing in 17th century

-Islam taught that it was a religious duty to look after the sick

-Did not allow human dissection

-Islamic scholars translated the works of Galen and Hippocrates

-However, they thought it was wrong to question Galen even though he was wrong in many ways

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