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History of Medicine


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#11 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:21 AM

Middle Ages (500-1500 AD)

  • With the fall of Roman Empire, medical schools were closed. Dissections prohibited.
  • Europe hit with epidemics of plague, small pox, leprosy, TB.
  • Practise of medicine reverted back to superstition and spirituality.
  • Sense of personal hygiene and sanitation was lost.
  • Therefore that period is also called the ”Dark Ages of Medicine”
  • While the Europe was mourning Dark ages of Medicine, Arabs translated the scripts of Greek and Roman Medicine into Arabic and developed it further into Unani Medicine.
  • Abu Becr (865 – 925 AD): Physician – was the first to observe pupilary reaction to light and to publish a book on children’s disease.
  • Abu Ali Ibn Sina (980 – 1037): wrote 5 volumes of Canon of Medicine, which was the text book in the medical colleges until 14 century. Very keen physician and said that proper history taking gives a diagnosis.


ps: The college where i studied was named after Abu Ali Ibn Sina (AVICENA)
Sunil Kumar Joshi
WNSO - Nepal, Kathmandu

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#12 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:22 AM

Revival of Medicine

  • Period from 1453 to 1600 AD.
  • It is an age of individual scientific endeavour by distinguished personalities like Paracelsus, Fracastorius, Andreas Vasalius, Ambroise Pare etc.

Sunil Kumar Joshi
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#13 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:24 AM

Sanitary Awakening

  • Historic milestone in the evolution of medicine that took place in mid 19th century in England.
  • 18th century industrial revolution brought many problems like slums, overcrowding, poor disposal of waste in the cities/ towns.
  • Mean life span for the elite and workers became 44 and 22 years respectively.
  • TB and cholera epidemics in 1842.
  • Edwin Chadwick was given the task to investigate health of people and view to improve living and working conditions.
  • Filth/ waste was identified as man’s enemy and crucial antiflith movement (great sanitary awakening) started and led to enactment of the P H Act of 1848 in England.
  • Government and people of different countries realized the importance of sanitation and public health.

Sunil Kumar Joshi
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#14 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:25 AM

Rise of Public Health

  • Rise of concept of Public Health took place after the enactment of Public Health Act in England.
  • State was responsible for people’s health and health laws were enforced by police.
  • An English epidemiologist, John Snow established that cholera has transmitted through polluted water in 1854.
  • William Budd in 1856 confirmed the spread of Typhoid fever through contaminated drinking water.

(Vibrio cholerae was discovered in 1883 and Typhoid bacillus in 1880)
Prevention can be done without knowing the causative factor

Sunil Kumar Joshi
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#15 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:26 AM

Germ Theory of Disease

  • After many theories – supernatural, humors, contagion, miasmatic, spontaneous, in 1860 Louis Pasteur demonstrated the presence of bacteria in air and in 1873, he advanced the germ theory of disease and disproved the theory of spontaneous generation.


  • Gonococcus 1847
  • Anthrax bacilli 1877
  • Typhoid Bacillus 1880
  • Pnuemococcus 1880
  • TB bacilli 1882
  • Vibrio Cholerae 1883
  • Diptheria bacilli 1884


Attention was focussed on microbes & their role in the causation of disease.
Sunil Kumar Joshi
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#16 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:28 AM

Birth of Preventive Medicine

  • Birth of Preventive medicine took place in the 18th century even before causative agents were known. James Lind in 1753 had shown the role of fresh fruits and vegetables in prevention of scurvy. Edward Jenner discovered vaccination against smallpox in 1796. These two discoveries marked the beginning of ”Era of Disease prevention by specific protection”.
  • PM got the firm foundation only after the discovery of causative agents and vaccines against different diseases.

Sunil Kumar Joshi
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#17 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:29 AM

Preventive Medicine
  • Discovery of vaccines:

Pasteur’s antirabies vaccine 1883
Cholera vaccine 1892
Diphteria antitoxin 1894
Anti typhoid vaccine 1898
  • In 1880, R. Ross demonstrated that malaria is transmitted by anopheles mosquito and in 1900, W Reed found transmission of yellow fever by Aedes Egypti mosquito etc.
  • Diseases prevented and controlled.

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#18 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:30 AM

Development of Modern Medicine
  • Era of modern medicine – end of 19th and beginning of 20th century.
  • Medicine was divided into two main branches: curative and preventive.
  • Development of specializations and subspecializations.
  • Re-emergenge of ”Multifactorial Causation of disease”.

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#19 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:32 AM

Development of Specializations
  • Speciality based on clearly defined skills:
  • Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia
  • Specialities based on parts of the bodies:
  • ENT, Opthalmology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology, Endocrinology, Gynecology etc.
  • Specialities based on age or sex group:
  • Paediatrics, Geriatrics, Obstetrics etc.
  • Subspecialities (eg. In paediatrics):Neonatology, Perinatology, P Cardiology, P Neurology, P Surgery etc.

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#20 sunil

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:34 AM

Curative Medicine
  • Main objective of the curative medicine is the removal of disease from the patient, not from the community.
  • Main tools of the CM are different diagnostic techniques and treatment.
  • Introduction of different medications like antibacterials and antibiotics and different specializations in the field of medicine brought big revolution in CM.

Sunil Kumar Joshi
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