The Story of Medicine

The Story of Medicine

Trace 12,000 years of discoveries and developments, and meet the pioneers who transformed diagnosis and treatment Inside you will discover: ◆ A timeline of milestones, from prehistoric dentistry to polio vaccines and the eradication of smallpox ◆ Key figures in science and healthcare, including Florence Nightingale, Edward Jenner and Marie Curie ◆ Past perspectives on ailments, from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cures to 20th-century attitudes to syphilis ◆ Scientific discoveries covering the placebo effect, circulation of the blood, anaesthesia and penicillin ◆ The social and economic impact of diseases such as leprosy, Spanish flu and the Black Death ◆ The evolution of healthcare, from medieval hospitals to the introduction of the National Health Service

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
9,90 €(TVA Incluse)

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1 min

Nose jobs and cataract operations might seem like recent medical innovations. It may surprise you to learn, then, that nasal reconstruction and ophthalmic procedures were _rst undertaken at least as long ago as the sixth century BC, when they were described in Sanskrit in an early Indian medical textbook. The history of medicine is littered with such eye-opening (and eyehealing) innovations – and this special edition looks in detail at the most groundbreaking developments and the pioneers behind them, as well as the social aspects of diagnosis and treatment. We explore the cures prescribed by physicians in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as examining the medical practices of pharaonic Egypt and the work of the midwives of antiquity. We introduce the women and men whose work transformed clinical care and surgery:…

11 min
history of medicine

c1,800 BC The first doctors whose names survive (and who included women – see page 54) work in Egypt. Medical papyri reveal that, though major surgery was not possible, the ancient Egyptians were skilled at treating wounds and orthopaedic trauma. The oldest such document, the Kahun papyrus, deals with gynaecological conditions. c10,000 BC Trepanning – the procedure of drilling or scraping a hole in the cranium to relieve pressure or treat other health problems – is widespread, seen in skulls found all over the world (see page 92). 10,000 BC 2,000 BC c7,000 BC Stone Age people use flint-headed tools to drill holes in molar teeth, demonstrated by archaeological evidence found in Mehrgarh in Pakistan. In 2012, new evidence from a jawbone found in Slovenia revealed the use of beeswax as a filling around 6,500 years ago. c1,600…

1 min
death & disease

Health and healing in ancient Egypt Diseases, diagnoses and treatments in the land of the pharaohs Leprosy through the ages How the dis!guring illness was viewed in centuries past Snakes and ladders: wonder cures of the ancient world Discover the universal antidotes and curious remedies of antiquity Eye opener: The Stone of Madness Discover a peculiar 15th-century explanation for mental illness Marked by plague Explore nine places around Britain a"ected by the Black Death The Black Death: the historians’ view Four experts answer the big questions about the medieval pestilence Pioneers: John Snow The Victorian doctor who discovered how cholera is transmitted Call the (Roman) midwife Meet the women who managed childbirth in the Roman empire Portraits of the plague Poignant photos showing the impact of the third plague pandemic The fatal flu that gripped the globe Follow the course of the devastating worldwide Spanish #u outbreak…

7 min
health and healing in ancient egypt

Building sites can be dangerous places. And that’s particularly true when the buildings in question are monumental tombs constructed without the benefit of modern equipment and safeguards – as in the settlement of Deir el-Medina, home to the workmen labouring on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes (today’s Luxor). Deir el-Medina was occupied by about 600 artisans for 450 years during the New Kingdom, in the second half of the second millennium BC. Records of absenteeism note reasons including personal illness as well as caring for other sick workmen; scorpion stings were a common occurrence, and in one instance a workman had fought with his wife. But though that might paint a familiar picture, to understand the story of health and medicine in ancient Egypt we need…

1 min
gynaecology in antiquity

Women in ancient Egypt were, of course, afflicted with the same complaints that affect women today: period pains, fertility problems, miscarriage, labour pains, birth injuries and, if they lived long enough, the menopause. The Kahun Papyrus (c1850 BC) is devoted to diseases of women and pregnancy. It had been so heavily used that its ancient owner repaired it with a patch. Extracts from two of its case studies are revealing. The first is an “Examination of a woman who is ill from her womb wandering…” The womb was not, it was believed, a static organ, but moved around the body wreaking havoc. This concept, first mentioned in the Kahun Papyrus, remained common in the west until the 18th century. The Greek word hustera (womb) gave us the term hysteria, a form…

4 min
leprosy through the ages

Among the diseases and afflictions encountered throughout history, leprosy is perhaps second only to plague in its associations with suffering, disfigurement and death. Images of sufferers cast out from society, forced to live in leprosy colonies and advertise their condition with a bell, have become clichéd portrayals of medieval leprosy – but they are far from the whole accurate picture. The chronic illness known today as Hansen’s disease is a bacterial infection that causes skin sores and ultimately, if untreated, damage to the bones of the face, hands and feet, as well as breathing difficulties and blindness. Unlike plague victims, sufferers can live with their symptoms for several years or even decades, so leprosy patients have constituted a recognisable component in past societies, probably present in Britain from the fourth century…