Health & Medical Medicine

The Origin of Medicine

In the West, the history of medicine started with Hippocrates, a physician who lived with the 4thand 5th centuries BC.
For centuries his ideas were extremely influential and some of his work is referenced even today, for example we often talk of people being hot headed, a phrase relating to his ideas.
He is thought of as the father of medicine and throughout history doctors have followed a set of guidelines relating to conduct, better known as the Hippocratic Oath.
Over time, the Oath has changed quite considerably however the meaning has never changed, doctors must agree to work for the good of their patients.
Galen was another extremely important figure of ancient times, he came from a wealthy family and learnt his trade in Alexandria in Egypt.
Galen carried a lot of experiments and made the discovery of the cause of paralysis.
His other work focused on the structure and form of the human body and his findings formed an important reference for doctors for centuries.
In the middle ages, it was the Arabs who made the biggest step in medicine as they translated and studied the works of Galen.
Whilst they followed the books created by Galen, they also carried out their own experiments and the Islamic doctor Ibn Sina developed the Canon of Medicine which was followed for over 500 years.
Anaesthetics In the 1800s an American surgeon by the name of Morton developed the concept of anaesthetising patients before an operation so they would feel no pain.
He used ether which is a colourless liquid, and when inhaled will cause the unconscious state.
The use of such a technique is a relatively new concept but an extremely important one.
It has developed significantly since Morton and it is now possible to simply numb a small section of the body to be operated on (local).
Drugs Back in the days of Hippocrates and Galen all the way up to the 16th century, medicine existed very much in the form of plants and herbs.
As we learnt more about pharmacology, we began to replace the herbs and plants with chemical medicines.
It was a German scientist by the name of Domagk who realized that there are drugs which can kill bacteria, thus preventing disease from spreading.
Other notable discoveries include Flemings penicillin and Waksmans streptomycin.
We now live in a fantastically advanced medical world and we are lucky to have a wide range of medicines available to treat many illnesses.
There are however a lot of illnesses which we cannot treat and scientists are working hard to find cures for common problems such as cancer.
Hopefully in centuries to come we will be even more medically advanced and pharmacology will have taken bigger positive steps towards curing more and more diseases.

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