A History of Medicine by Lois N. Magner

By Lois N. Magner

Stressing significant subject matters within the historical past of drugs, this moment version stimulates additional exploration of the occasions, methodologies, and theories that formed scientific practices in many years previous and in glossy scientific practice-highlighting the practices of civilizations world wide, in addition to the examine of pioneering scientists and physicians who contributed to our present knowing of future health and affliction.

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Long after the vogue of ‘‘mummy powder’’ had passed, William Konrad Roentgen’s (1845–1923) discovery of X-rays revived Western interest in Egyptian antiquities. During the initial wave of excitement, some eight thousand mummies were studied in a rather crude and hurried manner. At the School of Medicine in Cairo, the formidable trio composed of Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (1871–1937), anatomist, Sir Marc Armand Ruffer (1859–1917), bacteriologist, and Alfred Lucas (1867–1945), chemist, pioneered methods of analyzing mummified tissues and experimented with mummification methods.

Paleopathological Diagnosis and Interpretation: Bone Diseases in Ancient Human Populations. Springfield, IL: Thomas. Ubelaker, D. H. (1999). Human Skeletal Remains: Excavation, Analysis, Interpretation, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Taraxacum. Waldron, T. (1994). Counting the Dead: The Epidemiology of Skeletal Populations. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 2 Ì Medicine in Ancient Civilizations: Mesopotamia and Egypt INTRODUCTION The Greeks thought it easy to define ‘‘civilization’’: it referred to the qualities of citizens—free men living in cities.

Chemists were able to compare their cedar wood preparation with surviving samples of unused embalming material. The cedar wood preparation prevented the growth of bacteria and was quite effective in preserving animal tissues. One of the most peculiar uses of Egyptian mummies was the medieval practice of grinding mummies into a powder used as a remedy for wounds and bruises. By the end of the sixteenth century, ‘‘mummy powder’’ could be found in every apothecary shop in Europe. The irony of making medicines by destroying remains meant to secure eternal life was noted by English physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), author of Religio Medici (1642), who observed that mummies spared by time and previous conquerors ‘‘avarice now consumeth.

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