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    Our World In Medicine Essay (1153 words)

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    Our World In MedicineOne of the most important factors about people’s lives is theinformation of, the use of, and the growing knowledge of medicine. Medicine isa science that nations all over the world use. It is a science because it isbased on knowledge gained through careful study and experimentation. Medicineis also an art form because it depends on how skillfully doctors and othermedical workers apply their knowledge when dealing with patients.

    1Medicine is one of the most respected professions. The two importantgoals of medicine are to save lives and to relieve suffering, which is why it isso respected. But the medical field is not open to anyone who wants to help. It takes many long years of college and medical school to get even a license towork with medicine. 2While some doctors are more important than others, almostall of them are on call twenty – four hour a day, seven days a week. Becausethey have to apply themselves to their job at all times, they are payed at verygood wages.

    Human beings have been suffering from disease since they first appearedon the earth about two and one -half million years ago. Throughout most of thistime, they knew little about how the human body works or what causes disease. But medicine has gone through many stages throughout history. In prehistoric times, people believed that angry gods or evil spiritscaused disease. To cure the sick, the gods had to be pacified or the evilspirits driven from the body.

    In time, this task became the job of the first”physicians”. 3The first – known surgical treatment was an operation calledtrephining. Trephining involved use of a stone instrument to cut a hole in apatient’s skull. Scientists have found fossils of such skulls that date back asfar as 10,000 years.

    Prehistoric people probably also discovered that many plants can be usedas drugs. For example, the use of willow bark to relieve pain probably datesback thousands of years. 4Today, scientists know that willow bark contains theimportant ingredients that is included in making aspirin. In the Middle East, the Egyptians began making important medicalprogress. Around 2500 B. C.

    , Egyptian physicians began to specialize. Somephysicians treated only diseases of the eyes or teeth. Others specialized ininternal diseases. Egyptian surgeons produced a textbook that told how to treatdislocated or fractured bones and as well as tumors, ulcers, and wounds. 5The civilization of ancient Greece was at its peak during the 400’s B. C.

    Throughout this period, sick people flocked to temples dedicated to the Greekgod of healing, Asclepius, seeking magical cures. 6 But at the same time, thegreat Greek physician Hippocrates began showing that disease has only naturalcauses. He thus became the first physician known to consider medicine a scienceand art separate from the practice of religion. The Hippocratic oath, anexpression of early medical ethics, reflects Hippocrates’ high ideals.

    7The Greek physician Galen made the most important contributions tomedicine in Roman times. Galen performed experiments on animals and used hisfindings to develop the first medical theories based on scientific experiments. For this reason, he is considered the founder of experimental medicine. Butbecause his knowledge of anatomy was based on animal experiments, Galendeveloped many false notions about how the human body works. 8During the Middle Ages, which lasted from the A. D.

    400’s to the 1500’s,the Muslim Empire of Southwest and Central Asia contributed greatly to medicine. Rhazes, a Persian – born physician of the late 800’s and early 900’s, wrote thefirst accurate descriptions of measles and smallpox. Avicenna, an Arabphysician of the late 900’s and early 1000’s, produced a medical encyclopediacalled Canon of Medicine. It summed up the medical knowledge of the time andaccurately described many known diseases. Avicenna’s work became popular inEurope, where it influenced medical education for more than 600 years.

    9The chief medical advances during the Middle Ages were the founding ofmany hospitals and the first university medical schools. In the 900’s, amedical school was started in Salerno, Italy. It became the chief center ofmedical learning in Europe during the 1000’s and 1100’s. Other importantmedical schools developed after 1100. During the 1100’s and 1200’s, many ofthese schools became part of newly developing universities. 10A new scientific spirit developed during the Renaissance, 1300’s to the1600’s.

    The laws against human dissection were totally relaxed during thisperiod. As a result, the first truly scientific studies of the human bodybegan. 11A French army doctor named Ambroise Par improved surgical techniquesto such an extent that he is considered the father of modern surgery. Forexample, instead of burning a wound to prevent infection, he developed the muchmore effective method of applying ointment and then allowing the wound to healnaturally.

    12The scientific study of disease, called pathology, was developed duringthe 1800’s. Rudolf Virchow, a German physician and scientist, led thedevelopment. Virchow believed that the only way to understand the nature ofdisease was by close examination of the affected body cells. He did importantresearch in such diseases as leukemia and tuberculosis. 13 Pasteur, abrilliant French chemist, proved that microbes are living organisms and thatcertain kinds of microbes cause disease.

    He also proved that killing specificmicrobes stops the spread of specific diseases. Koch, a German physician,invented a method for determining which bacteria cause particular diseases. Other research scientists followed the lead of these two pioneers. Pasteur’s early work on bacteria convinced an English surgeon namedJoseph Lister that germs caused many of the deaths of surgical patients.

    In1865, Lister began using carbolic acid, a powerful disinfectant, to sterilizesurgical wounds. But this method was replaced by a more efficient techniqueknown as aseptic surgery. This technique involved keeping germs away fromsurgical wounds in the first place instead of trying to kill germs alreadythere. 14Advances in many fields of science and engineering have created amedical revolution in the 1900’s. For example, the discovery of X-rays by theGerman physicist Wilhelm Roentgen enabled doctors to see inside the human bodyto diagnose illnesses and injuries. The discovery of radium in 1898 provided apowerful weapon against cancer.

    15The development of new vaccines has helped control the spread of suchinfectious diseases as polio, hepatitis, and measles. During the 1960’s and1970’s, the World Health Organization conducted a vaccination program thateliminated smallpox from the world. Much progress in modern medicine has resulted from engineering advances. Engineers have developed a variety of instruments and machines to aid doctors inthe diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and disorders. Some ofthese devices have helped surgeons develop amazing new lifesaving techniques,especially in the fields of heart surgery and tissue transplants. 16Throughout many, many centuries, medicine has been used in hundreds ofdifferent forms.

    But the main goal of every different form was the same, tohelp the diseased and unhealthy. Every passing day, another scientist or doctordiscovers another breakthrough in science and medicine. In years to come, wewill have cures to incurable diseases, and people will be living ten to twentyyears longer then they are today. Medicine provides us with the needs and hopesfor the future, as our technology makes the path for us to follow. Science

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