The Roman contribution to the history of medicine is often overlooked, with only Galen, of Greek origin, believed to be notable of mention. However, this does the Romans a great disservice and they put their excellent engineering skills to use in preventative medicine. The Romans understood the role of dirt and poor hygiene in spreading disease and created aqueducts to ensure that the inhabitants of a city received clean water. The Roman engineers also installed elaborate sewage systems to carry away waste. This is something that Europeans did not fully understand until the 19th Century; before this period, sewage was still discharged close to drinking water.
Their ideas may be gaining ground. This past summer, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) published a joint report, titled Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians. The report calls for ambitious changes in the science content in the premedical curriculum and on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), including increased emphasis on evolution. “For the first time, the AAMC and HHMI are recommending that evolution be one of the basic sciences students learn before they come to medical school,” Nesse explained.
“Rescaling Colonial Life From the Indigenous to the Alien: The Late 20th Century Search for Human Biological Futures,“ follows the reach of colonial practices of natural history through genomics and into outer space. The article centers around biochemist and medical anthropologist Baruch Blumberg, who began his career collecting samples from colonial subjects in Surinam and ended it as head of the NASA program in Astrobiology. Joanna Radin’s history traces entwinements of colonial natural history, space exploration, and inductive methods in postwar biological science.
The authors also provide examples of how evolutionary principles can direct future research. They reference new research looking into the role of intestinal parasites and autoimmune diseases. The research is based upon the premise that humans co-evolved not only with our intestinal flora, but with certain parasites, such as intestinal worms. Now we live in a largely hygienic environment, and have even taken steps to eliminate parasites. This may have unintentionally deprived our immune systems of needed stimulation, resulting in poor immune regulation, and subsequent increase in auto-immune diseases like asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Scientists, led by Deborah Hung in the HMS Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology and at Mass General and Brigham and Women’s, show that a detailed RNA signature of specific pathogens can identify a broad spectrum of infectious agents, forming the basis of a diagnostic platform to earlier determine the best treatment option for infectious diseases.
In East Semitic cultures, the main medicinal authority was a kind of exorcist-healer known as an āšipu.[8][9][10] The profession was generally passed down from father to son[8] and was held in extremely high regard.[8] Of less frequent recourse was another kind of healer known as an asu, who corresponds more closely to a modern physician[7] and treated physical symptoms using primarily folk remedies composed of various herbs, animal products, and minerals, as well as potions, enemas, and ointments or poultices.[7] These physicians, who could be either male or female, also dressed wounds, set limbs, and performed simple surgeries.[7] The ancient Mesopotamians also practiced prophylaxis[7] and took measures to prevent the spread of disease.[7]
^ Jump up to: a b Askitopoulou, H.; Konsolaki, E.; Ramoutsaki, I.; Anastassaki, E. (2002). Surgical cures by sleep induction as the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. The history of anesthesia: proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium, by José Carlos Diz, Avelino Franco, Douglas R. Bacon, J. Rupreht, Julián Alvarez. Elsevier Science B.V., International Congress Series 1242. pp. 11–17. ISBN 978-0444512932.
Unfortunately in the 17th century medicine was still handicapped by wrong ideas about the human body. Most doctors still thought that there were four fluids or 'humors' in the body, blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Illness resulted when you had too much of one humor. Nevertheless during the 17th century a more scientific approach to medicine emerged and some doctors began to question traditional ideas. Apart from Harvey the most famous English doctor of the 17th century was Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689). He is sometimes called the English Hippocrates because he emphasized the importance of carefully observing patients and their symptoms.
Great overview of what it takes to learn and run a Functional Medicine (science-based, systems biology, Integrative) medical practice. I started a Functional Medicine practice in 2009. I wish this book was and approach was available then. There were a lot of growing pains, many of which may have been avoided with the best practices approach outlined in this book. We started out in a fully insurance based practice and at 5 years we were very successful. However, we were also very burnt out. We had talked about creating a model that could be used to help providers make the switch. The bottom line in my experience is that most people can't do that when they're in the trenches seeing patients and learning by trial and error. We never advertised after the initial announcement that we were opening. From there it is was all word of mouth.
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