By the thirteenth century, the medical school at Montpellier began to eclipse the Salernitan school. In the 12th century, universities were founded in Italy, France, and England, which soon developed schools of medicine. The University of Montpellier in France and Italy's University of Padua and University of Bologna were leading schools. Nearly all the learning was from lectures and readings in Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, and Aristotle.
At the same time Greek doctors developed a rational theory of disease and sought cures. However one did not replace the other. The cult of Asclepius and Greek medicine existed side by side. Medical schools were formed in Greece and in Greek colonies around the Mediterranean. As early as 500 BC a man named Alcmaeon from Croton in Italy said that a body was healthy if it had the right balance of hot and cold, wet and dry. It the balance was upset the body grew ill. However the most famous Greek doctor is Hippocrates (C.460-377 BC). (Although historians now believe that he was much less famous in his own time that was once thought. It is believed that many of the medical books ascribed to him were actually written by other men). Hippocrates stressed that doctors should carefully observe the patients symptoms and take note of them. Hippocrates also rejected all magic and he believed in herbal remedies.
The Islamic civilization rose to primacy in medical science as its physicians contributed significantly to the field of medicine, including anatomy, ophthalmology, pharmacology, pharmacy, physiology, surgery, and the pharmaceutical sciences. The Arabs were influenced by ancient Indian, Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine medical practices, and helped them develop further. Galen & Hippocrates were pre-eminent authorities. The translation of 129 of Galen's works into Arabic by the Nestorian Christian Hunayn ibn Ishaq and his assistants, and in particular Galen's insistence on a rational systematic approach to medicine, set the template for Islamic medicine, which rapidly spread throughout the Arab Empire. while Europe was in its Dark Ages, Islam expanded in West Asia and enjoyed a golden age. Its most famous physicians included the Persian polymaths Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi and Avicenna, who wrote more than 40 works on health, medicine, and well-being. Taking leads from Greece and Rome, Islamic scholars kept both the art and science of medicine alive and moving forward.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, that’s great. The summit, it seems there’s so many great speakers, so many good topics. I love that there’s a doctor practitioner track. And I really encourage anyone who’s listening to this to check it out, because there’s a wealth of information there. It’s really representative of what the future of medicine is going to be. And there’s a lot of really practical, actionable information that you can use right now to improve your health. So if you want to check it out, go to ChrisKresser.com/evomed. That’s E-V-O-M-E-D, ChrisKresser.com/evomed. And you can register for free for this summit. You can watch all the talks for free, which is about as good as it gets. And, yeah, go over there and sign up, and they’ll send you the schedule.
Much of the Egyptian knowledge of physiology undoubtedly derived from their practice of embalming the dead, which allowed them to study the structure of the body. They made some accurate observations about which part of the body was responsible for certain tasks and, despite some inaccuracies due to the limitations of their equipment, they were fine physicians and were unrivalled until the Islamic Golden Age. Ancient Egyptian medicine outstripped both the Romans and Greeks in the level of knowledge and sophistication.
Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. Modern medical research and practice have focused on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying health and disease, while evolutionary medicine focuses on the question of why evolution has shaped these mechanisms in ways that may leave us susceptible to disease. The evolutionary approach has driven important advances in our understanding of cancer, autoimmune disease, and anatomy. Medical schools have been slower to integrate evolutionary approaches because of limitations on what can be added to existing medical curricula.
Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.
Later Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) proved that microscopic organisms caused disease. In the early 19th century many scientists believed in spontaneous generation i.e. that some living things spontaneously grew from non-living matter. In a series of experiments between 1857 and 1863 Pasteur proved this was not so. Once doctors knew what caused disease they made rapid headway in finding cures or prevention.
Medicine embraced skills such as acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, laryngology, ophthalmology, and treatment of rheumatism and paralysis. The demand for improved technology, aided by certain concerns of the Neo-Confucian philosophy, helped to promote numerous investigations that approached the use of scientific methods. Literacy spread with printing,…
Hippocrates and his followers were first to describe many diseases and medical conditions. Though humorism (humoralism) as a medical system predates 5th-century Greek medicine, Hippocrates and his students systemetized the thinking that illness can be explained by an imbalance of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Hippocrates is given credit for the first description of clubbing of the fingers, an important diagnostic sign in chronic suppurative lung disease, lung cancer and cyanotic heart disease. For this reason, clubbed fingers are sometimes referred to as "Hippocratic fingers". Hippocrates was also the first physician to describe the Hippocratic face in Prognosis. Shakespeare famously alludes to this description when writing of Falstaff's death in Act II, Scene iii. of Henry V.
1899 Felix Hoffman develops aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid). The juice from willow tree bark had been used as early as 400 BC to relieve pain. 19th century scientists knew that it was the salicylic acid in the willow that made it work, but it irritated the lining of the mouth and stomach. Hoffman synthesizes acetyl salicylic acid, developing what is now the most widely used medicine in the world.
Many contemporary humans engage in little physical exercise compared to the physically active lifestyles of ancestral hunter-gatherers. Prolonged periods of inactivity may have only occurred in early humans following illness or injury, so a modern sedentary lifestyle may continuously cue the body to trigger life preserving metabolic and stress-related responses such as inflammation, and some theorize that this causes chronic diseases.
In this episode, we followed on from last week's Functional Forum and talked about the role of education in the future of medicine, and particularly the role of delivery of content. Danny introduces us to a great resource for practitioners who are interested in creating dynamic content. The book is available for download May 4th through May 8th at goevomed.com/teach. If you're listening to this podcast between May 4th and May 8th, go get it right now. We had a great half-an-hour discussion. Send us your thoughts and feedback!
Magic and religion played a large part in the medicine of prehistoric or early human society. Administration of a vegetable drug or remedy by mouth was accompanied by incantations, dancing, grimaces, and all the tricks of the magician. Therefore, the first doctors, or “medicine men,” were witch doctors or sorcerers. The use of charms and talismans, still prevalent in modern times, is of ancient origin.
The development of modern neurology began in the 16th century in Italy and France with Niccolò Massa, Jean Fernel, Jacques Dubois and Andreas Vesalius. Vesalius described in detail the anatomy of the brain and other organs; he had little knowledge of the brain's function, thinking that it resided mainly in the ventricles. Over his lifetime he corrected over 200 of Galen's mistakes. Understanding of medical sciences and diagnosis improved, but with little direct benefit to health care. Few effective drugs existed, beyond opium and quinine. Folklore cures and potentially poisonous metal-based compounds were popular treatments. Independently from Ibn al-Nafis, Michael Servetus rediscovered the pulmonary circulation, but this discovery did not reach the public because it was written down for the first time in the "Manuscript of Paris" in 1546, and later published in the theological work which he paid with his life in 1553. Later this was perfected by Renaldus Columbus and Andrea Cesalpino. Later William Harvey correctly described the circulatory system. The most useful tomes in medicine used both by students and expert physicians were De Materia Medica and Pharmacopoeia.
This week’s podcast features: Daniel Schmachtenburger, co-founder and director of research and development at Neurohacker Collective, in Complexity Medicine: The Basis for a Functional Standard of Care. Daniel is a deep thinker and researcher on how human regulatory systems function, how they break down and how they can be supported to function with greater resilience.