A History of Medicine, Second Edition by Lois N. Magner

By Lois N. Magner

Stressing significant topics within the historical past of medication, this moment version explores the occasions, methodologies, and theories that formed clinical practices in a long time previous and in sleek scientific perform. It highlights practices of civilizations world wide and study of pioneering scientists and physicians who contributed to our present knowing of well-being and ailment. New sections hide preventive and substitute medication, clinical schooling for girls, miasma and contagion theories, the specter of epidemic ailment, altering styles of morbidity and mortality, public wellbeing and fitness and sanitary reforms, the excessive rate of remedy, illnesses of affluence and getting older, and the emergence of latest ailments.

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A remarkable technique devised by surgeons in Africa, India, and the Americans depended on the use of particular species of termites or ants. The appropriate insect was brought into contact with the wound and stimulated to bite. When the insect’s body was broken off, the jaws remained as natural suture clamps. To combat bleeding, traditional surgeons used tourniquets or cauterization or simply packed the wound with absorbent materials and covered it with bandages. Masai surgeons, however, repaired torn blood vessels with suture thread made from tendons.

Perhaps there was some aesthetic obstacle to preserving a pharaoh like a pickle. A secret and mysterious procedure would surely provide a better passage to eternity. In place of hot, dry sand, or a vinegar brine, embalmers used natron, a naturally occurring mixture of salts, as a drying agent and removed the organs most susceptible to rapid decay. The heart, which was regarded as the ‘‘seat of the mind,’’ was left inside the body. Herodotus left the best known account of embalming, but his discussion contains much doubtful material and represents a late, possibly degenerate, state of the art.

Whether red or white, wine is a better antiseptic than 10 percent alcohol, but red wine seems to be the beverage of choice for fighting infection. According to the Mesopotamian legend known as the Gilgamesh Epic, human beings lost possession of the most powerful, life-giving herb in creation through the carelessness of Gilgamesh, a powerful hero-king who was two-thirds god and one-third human (by what genetic mechanism these ratios were generated is not clear). E. Some six hundred years after his death, legends about the life of Gilgamesh were collected in the form of an epic poem.

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