Prehistoric and primitive society.

Modern knowledge of prehistoric medicine is based primarily on the study of fossil remains of prehistoric man and his guns; some information also provides practice of a number of surviving primitive peoples. Fossils are traces of such lesions of the skeleton as bone deformities, fractures, osteomyelitis, osteitis, tuberculosis, arthritis, rickets and osteoma. No data on other diseases, but most likely almost all modern disease existed in prehistoric times.

Primitive medicine was based on the assumption of a supernatural cause of the disease, namely malicious influence of evil spirits or sorcerers. Therefore, the treatment consisted of magical spells, charms, chants and various elaborate rituals. Evil spirits had to scare off a noise to deceive masks or change the name of the patient. Mainly used sympathetic magic (based on the belief that man can supernaturally influence of his name or representing its subject, such as an image). Magic medicine is still practiced on the Islands of Polynesia, some parts of Central Africa and Australia.

The magic medicine has given rise to quackery – apparently the first human occupation. Preserved on the cave walls in the Pyrenees CRO-magnon drawings that are older than 20 thousand years, izobretatelya-the sorcerer in the skin and with deer antlers on his head.

People involved in the treatment, formed a special social group, surrounding himself with the mystical secret; some of them were astute observers. Many superstitions contain a grain of empirical truth. The Incas, for example, knew the therapeutic properties of Yerba mate (Paraguayan tea) and guarana, a stimulant effect cocoa effect of herbal drugs.

The Indians of North America, though, and used witchcraft and cast spells at the same time has a very effective therapeutic methods. The fever used a liquid diet, cleansing, diuretic, diaphoretic and blood-letting. Emetic, laxative, carminative, enemas were used in disorders of the stomach; Lobelia, flax and banks for respiratory diseases. Out of 144 drugs used by the Indians, many are still used in pharmacology. The Indians were especially skilled at surgery. They reduce the dislocation, apply the splint bandage for fractures, maintain cleanliness of the wounds had stitches, used the cautery, a poultice. The Aztecs also used the tire and surgical instruments crafted from stone.

Primitive man, used as surgical instruments sharpening stones, show a remarkable surgical skill. There is evidence that in ancient times were amputation. Normally such rituals as infibulation (overlay brackets) castration and circumcision. But what is most surprising, in prehistoric surgery was widespread craniotomy.

The technique of trepanation, are frequent in the Neolithic period, probably dates back to the late Paleolithic. In the bones of the skull were cut from one to five round holes. The buildup of bone along the edges of the holes proves that patients often survived this dangerous and complex operations. Skull with traces of trepanation has been found worldwide, except Australia, the Malay Peninsula, Japan, China and areas South of the Sahara. Trephination is still practiced by some primitive peoples in the most remote from each other geographical locations like the Pacific Islands, the Caucasus, Algeria. Its purpose is not entirely clear; perhaps in this way released evil spirits. On the Islands of the Pacific ocean with its help, treated epilepsy, headache and insanity. On the island of New Britain it was used as a means of ensuring longevity.

Among primitive peoples it was believed that mental illness arise because of the obsession with spirits, not necessarily evil; suffering from hysteria or epilepsy were often the priests or shamans.

Apparently, Mesopotamia is the birthplace of the oldest known civilizations Dating back to 5000 BC, Although Herodotus says that the Babylonians had no doctors, it does not correspond to the many archaeological data, demonstrating that the Sumerian-Akkadian civilization, which preceded the Mesopotamian civilizations of Assyria and Babylon, had relatively advanced medicine. Found a Sumerian seal of the doctor dates back to 3000 BC so Sumerian medicine probably predates Egyptian. Sumerian clay tablets have reported many miraculous means; some of them could be “the clay book” in obstetrics. Medicine was still mostly magic, the doctors were called “ACS” ( noise . “a-zu”) is a “charge of water”, as water has played a key role in spells. However, there is no evidence that the activity of the healer coincide with the priest.

Numerous data obtained during the excavation of the ruins of the Palace of Ashurbanipal (the reign of 669-626 BC) at Nineveh, show that in the Assyro-Babylonian medicine has accumulated a lot of professional empirical knowledge, in spite of her mostly magical in nature. Tablets mention over 300 different medicines: the shoots of plants, wood, grass, roots, seeds, vegetable juices, minerals, etc. Provided a special meaning of some of them, such as “pain in the heart.” The therapeutic effect of a number of funds no doubt. So, mitigating enema used to reduce inflammation, massage to relieve gastric pains, some diseases, recommended rest and relaxation, also devoted attention to the diet. Were widespread poultices, hot and cold compresses. Of particular importance was attributed to the water, as it was a sacred element of God, AIA, the chief among many gods-healers.

An important role in the Assyrian-Babylonian civilization played astrology is closely associated with the prognostics of diseases. The diagnosis was more empirical. All signs to the indication of a cure for the disease outlined her symptoms. Very well described, for example, signs of tuberculosis. The liver was considered the location of life’s beginning. Although not all diseases were attributed to the influence of demons, the treatment was mainly subordinated to rituals; physicians, for example, was not allowed to visit patients on 7th, 14th, 21st or 28th of each month. According to extant evidence, the Assyrians and Babylonians suffered from mental disorders, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, eyes, gallbladder, heart, and bone diseases.

There is reason to believe that the doctors in Assyro-Babylonian society were a particular social layer excellent not only from priests but also from veterinarians and surgeons, who held a lower position. Medical activities are regulated by law. The code of Hammurabi, Dating from no later than 1950 years BC lists the remuneration of doctors and determined severe penalties for the incorrect treatment. So, if the doctor successfully cracked “with bronze knife” eye abscess, the “noble” patient needs to pay him 10 shekels of silver, and for a slave 2 shekels. But if the result of the surgery, the patient will lose vision, then the doctor should cut off the hands. The punishment was mitigated if the patient was a slave: it was enough to replace the slave.

The beginning of Egyptian medicine is shrouded in legends. The God of wisdom That was considered to be a Hermetic author of 32 books, 6 of which were dedicated to medicine. All of them lost.

The first doctor, whose name is recorded in history, it Schetinina the Egyptian (C. 3000 BC). He “healed the king’s nostrils” and was honoured with a statue with an inscription about the event. Far more fame has reached Imhotep (flourished CA. 2975 BC), the chief vizier of Pharaoh Djoser, and was a famous architect who, according to legend, was also a great doctor and was subsequently venerated as a demigod and patron of medicine. About the actual achievements in medicine, little is known.

The widespread opinion that in Egypt the physicians were priests, controversial. Doctors are a special caste, and medical school in Saisa and Heliopolis existed regardless of the great temples. Modern knowledge of Egyptian medicine is based on the extant papyri, the most famous of which is the papyrus Ebers, Dating from about 1500 BC, and a little earlier the Smith papyrus are the oldest of the surviving medical texts. The papyrus of Ebers in addition to General medical topics and contains over 900 recipes and prescriptions. The Smith papyrus is dedicated to the treatment of wounds and bruises. Other papyri contain texts on gynecology and Pediatrics. Obviously, in Egypt there was a special honor to the medical literature. Until the doctor adhered to the rules contained in the Hermetic books, no charges could not touch him, even in the event of the death of the patient. But any deviation from these rules for the death of the patient the doctor was punished by death. The dogmatic character of Egyptian medicine was manifested in the fact that despite the practice of the autopsy and embalming of the dead, knowledge of anatomy and physiology remained at a low level. This apparent contradiction can be explained by the many taboos associated with the dead, and the fact that the embalming was done not by doctors and special technicians.

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