By Lois N. Magner
A non-technical, jargon-free presentation of the background of drugs from palaeopathology to fresh theories and practices of recent medication. It supplies a wide-ranging review of Western drugs and an advent to the wealthy and sundry clinical traditions of the close to and much East.;This textual content stresses the foremost issues within the historical past of drugs - putting the trendy event in the framework of historic concerns - and it offers scientific heritage as a tremendous a part of highbrow and social background, delivering scholars with an exam of the sphere that encourages them to question sleek clinical assumptions. parts which are much less popular to scholars are highlighted, and case histories symbolize broader concerns and developments.
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Extra resources for A History of Medicine
Some peculiarities in ancient skeletal remains have been attributed to abnormalities of the pituitary and thyroid glands. In rare instances, the soft parts of prehistoric bodies have been preserved because of favorable burial and climatic conditions or through human enterprise. Whether sophisticated or primitive, mummification techniques have much in common with the preservation of foods and animal hides. Especially well-preserved bodies have been recovered from the peat bogs of northwestern Europe.
Simple square or rectangular excisions may have been reserved for post-mortem rituals. Peru was the major center of prehistoric skull surgery in pre-Columbian America. These trepanations were often associated with fractures apparently caused by weapons such as the bola and the star-headed mace; the operation presumably served the practical purpose of removing bone fragments and relieving pressure on the brain. Before the operation, both the patient and the surgeon chewed coca leaves. Presumably this provided both mood elevation and a crude coca juice extract Page 7 used as a local anesthetic.
In the Western Hemisphere natural mummification was more common than was any artificial process, but the prehistoric people called Page 5 the Basket-Makers deliberately dried cadavers in cists or caves, disarticulated the hips, wrapped the bodies in furs, and stuffed them into large baskets. Peruvian mummification techniques allowed the living corpses of chiefs, clan ancestors, and Incan rulers to be worshipped as gods. Such mummies provide suggestive evidence for the existence of tuberculosis, hookworm, and other diseases in pre-Columbian America.