After AD 400, the study and practice of medicine in the Western Roman Empire went into deep decline. Medical services were provided, especially for the poor, in the thousands of monastic hospitals that sprang up across Europe, but the care was rudimentary and mainly palliative. Most of the writings of Galen and Hippocrates were lost to the West, with the summaries and compendia of St. Isidore of Seville being the primary channel for transmitting Greek medical ideas. The Carolingian renaissance brought increased contact with Byzantium and a greater awareness of ancient medicine, but only with the twelfth-century renaissance and the new translations coming from Muslim and Jewish sources in Spain, and the fifteenth-century flood of resources after the fall of Constantinople did the West fully recover its acquaintance with classical antiquity.
When the Roman Empire split into the Western and Eastern Empires, the Western Empire, centered on Rome, went into a deep decline and the art of medicine slowly slipped away, with the physicians becoming pale shadows of their illustrious predecessors and generally causing more harm than good. Western Europe would not appear again in the history of medicine until long after the decline of Islam.
Mid-1960s: Many seriously mentally ill people are removed from institutions. In the United States they are directed toward local mental health homes and facilities. The number of institutionalized mentally ill people in the United States will drop from a peak of 560,000 to just over 130,000 in 1980. Many people suffering from mental illness become homeless because of inadequate housing and follow-up care.
In 1478 a book by the Roman doctor Celsus was printed. (The printing press made all books including medical ones much cheaper). The book by Celsus quickly became a standard textbook. However in the early 16th century a man named Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) called himself Paracelsus (meaning beyond or surpassing Celsus). He denounced all medical teaching not based on experiment and experience. However traditional ideas on medicine held sway for long afterwards.
The practice of medicine changed in the face of rapid advances in science, as well as new approaches by physicians. Hospital doctors began much more systematic analysis of patients' symptoms in diagnosis. Among the more powerful new techniques were anaesthesia, and the development of both antiseptic and aseptic operating theatres. Effective cures were developed for certain endemic infectious diseases. However the decline in many of the most lethal diseases was due more to improvements in public health and nutrition than to advances in medicine.
The History of Medicine Collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University is accepting applications for our travel grant program. https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/history-of-medicine/grants Research grants of up to $1,500 will be offered to researchers whose work would benefit from access to the historical medical collections at the Rubenstein Rare Book & […]
“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 underlying principle of most medieval medicine was Galen's theory of humours. This was derived from the ancient medical works, and dominated all western medicine until the 19th century. The theory stated that within every individual there were four humours, or principal fluids—black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood, these were produced by various organs in the body, and they had to be in balance for a person to remain healthy. Too much phlegm in the body, for example, caused lung problems; and the body tried to cough up the phlegm to restore a balance. The balance of humours in humans could be achieved by diet, medicines, and by blood-letting, using leeches. The four humours were also associated with the four seasons, black bile-autumn, yellow bile-summer, phlegm-winter and blood-spring.
During the 19th century medicine made rapid progress. In 1816 a man named Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope. At first he used a tube of paper. Later he used a wooden version. In 1822 a trapper named Alexis St Martin was shot in the stomach. The wound healed leaving a hole into his stomach. A doctor named William Beaumont found out how a stomach works by looking through the hole.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we welcome Gladys McGarey. At 97 years old, Galdys is a true pioneer in holistic and living medicine and we're absolutely thrilled to welcome her to the podcast. Dr. Gladys is internationally recognized as the Mother of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Gladys, as she is affectionately known, is board certified in Holistic and Integrated Medicine and has held a family practice for more than sixty years.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries anthropologists studied primitive societies. Among them treatment for injury and sickness was a mixture of common sense and magic. People knew, of course, that falls cause broken bones and fire causes burns. Animal bites or human weapons cause wounds. Primitive people had simple treatments for these things e.g. Australian Aborigines covered broken arms in clay, which hardened in the hot sun. Cuts were covered with fat or clay and bound up with animal skins or bark. However primitive people had no idea what caused illness. They assumed it was caused by evil spirits or magic performed by an enemy. The 'cure' was magic to drive out the evil spirit or break the enemies spell.
^ Cooter, R.J. (1976). "Phrenology and British alienists, c. 1825–1845. Part I: Converts to a doctrine". Medical History. 20 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1017/s0025727300021761. PMC 1081688. PMID 765647.; Cooter, R.J. (1976). "Phrenology and British alienists, c. 1825–1845. Part II: Doctrine and practice". Medical History. 20 (2): 135–51. doi:10.1017/s0025727300022195. PMC 1081733. PMID 781421.
Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we take a look back at a very special presentation from Dr. Leo Galland from our 2014 Evolution of Medicine Summit. Our next Functional Forum is entitled the "Evolution of Primary Care", which will address the most significant way functional medicine can impact medicine as a whole... as an updated operating system for primary care.
The Program in the History of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai explores the body and its cultural contexts from the early modern period to the present. The program’s faculty covers a range of subdisciplines, including visual culture, gender, history of the book and historical epistemology. A commitment to scholarly rigor and interdisciplinary experiment, as well as an ecumenical embrace of a wide variety of historical methods and evidence guide the program’s original scholarship.
The Evolution of Medicine provides step-by-step instruction for building a successful "community micropractice," one that engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership focused on the body as a whole rather than isolated symptoms. This invaluable handbook will awaken health professionals to exciting new career possibilities. At the same time, it will alleviate the fear of abandoning a conventional medical system that is bad for doctors, patients, and payers, as well as being ineffectual in the treatment of chronic ailments.
Antibiotics were discovered too. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming but it was not widely used till after 1940. Another antibiotic, streptomycin was isolated in 1944. It was used to treat tuberculosis. They were followed by many others. Meanwhile the iron lung was invented in 1928 and in 1943 Willem Kolff built the first artificial kidney machine. (The first kidney transplant was performed in 1950 by Richard Lawler).
The First Viennese School of Medicine, 1750–1800, was led by the Dutchman Gerard van Swieten (1700–1772), who aimed to put medicine on new scientific foundations—promoting unprejudiced clinical observation, botanical and chemical research, and introducing simple but powerful remedies. When the Vienna General Hospital opened in 1784, it at once became the world's largest hospital and physicians acquired a facility that gradually developed into the most important research centre. Progress ended with the Napoleonic wars and the government shutdown in 1819 of all liberal journals and schools; this caused a general return to traditionalism and eclecticism in medicine.