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Blood, circulation of

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Theories before Harvey From antiquity into the 17th century, people generally believed that the blood circulated centrifugally in the body, according to the canonical theory of the circulation of the blood of the Greco-Roman physician Galen of  Pergamum. Blood was produced by the liver, passed through the vena cava into the right ventricle, and then passed through the cadiac septum into the left ventricle, whence it was distributed throughout  the body; it was finally dissipated at the periphery …
Date: 2019-10-14

Anatomy

(2,104 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Starting points for early modern anatomy There was certainly no routine prohibition of dissections of human bodies in medieval anatomy. This was not what we might call an autopsia in the modern sense, i.e. in the sense of personal observation and interpretation of the findings of the dissection as actually found, because the self-contained dogma of humoral pathology (doctrine of humours; see also Humoralism) and of the anatomy and physiology associated with this doctrine offered a model of explanation and action that cou…
Date: 2019-10-14

Animal

(5,217 words)

Author(s): Smith, Justin E.H. | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Sieglerschmidt, Jörn
1. Natural philosophy 1.1. Distinction from humanDirectly or indirectly, the concept of the animal was frequently contrasted with that of the human in the early modern period [10]. Initially, it was used to define the sphere of philosophical anthropology (Humanity). Only later did “animal” come to denote an object of zoological study (Zoology). This anthropocentric perspective is clearly seen, for instance, in Renaissance printed editions of medieval bestiaries, which present all known species of animals – from the real w…
Date: 2019-10-14

Baths, therapeutic

(2,146 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. From the bath-house to the thermal spring The decline of the medieval urban bathing culture and the souring of its reputation probably came about primarily because of the rapid spread of syphilis from the late 15th century In many places, this led to the closure of town bath-houses (Bathkeeper), which were held to be dangerous reservoirs of infection (Illness). As this was happening, however, rising timber prices stimulated by increasing construction in towns and the growth of mining, which consumed …
Date: 2019-10-14

Addiction

(3,353 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The term addiction (from the Latin addictus, “dedicated/devoted [to a thing]”) was originally a neutral equivalent to “penchant” or “inclination,” before acquiring its modern sense of inner compulsion in the context of opium in the 19th century. The German equivalent, Sucht (from the Gothic  saühts, etymologically related to the English “sick”) is found in glossaries dating back to around the 8th century, and lexicographic evidence shows it to have two fundamental senses up to the 19th century. Originally, it referred to outward…
Date: 2019-10-14

Accident

(1,168 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept and terms The German term for accident,  Unfall (Middle High German unval, ungeval; compare chance; French  accident) means an unforeseen event or misadventure, generally relating to personal injury or material damage, and also military defeats as well as the special life and death circumstances of “famous men,” as for instance in the 1570 German translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium (orig. 1356-1373) by Hieronymus Ziegler as merckliche und erschröckliche unfahl . verderben unnd Sterben großmächtiger Kayser (“noteworthy and shockin…
Date: 2019-10-14

Anatomical theater

(843 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
An anatomical theater was the site of public anatomical dissection in the early centuries of the modern period. The concept goes back to Alessandro Benedetti (1445-1525), an Italian physician and professor of surgery and anatomy in Padua [5]. He was probably the first to have a separate wooden structure built for anatomical dissections at the University of Padua (ca. 1490). Benedetti’s successful and influental major work,  Anatomice, sive Historia corporis humani (Venice 1502: “Anatomy, or, History of the Human Body”), probably contributed to the spread of the id…
Date: 2019-10-14

Anatomical pathology

(1,069 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition Anatomical (or Solid) pathology denotes the systematic search for the causes of illness (Greek pathología, i.e. the doctrine of the origin, course and symptoms of diseases) and is based on pathological anatomic changes of specific organs or tissues  (Latin solida, “solid constituents”). It is in opposition to humoral doctrine (Humoralism), which treats the non-fluid morphological substratum of the organism merely as the venue of processes based on humoral physiology.Wolfgang Uwe Eckart 2. Beginnings It was not until the 17th century that medical interest …
Date: 2019-10-14

Blood

(3,317 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Jarzebowski, Claudia
1. Medicine 1.1. Humoral pathologyUntil the early 18th century, blood was thought of as the moist, well-tempered “sap that fills the blood vessels and is thought [by physicians] to consist of four particular humors: phlegm, yellow and black bile, and the blood proper” [1]. In the view of humoralism, the humors with their associated qualities (blood: warm, moist; yellow bile: warm, dry; phlegm: cold, moist; black bile: cold, dry) are produced by digestion (Latin coctio, literally “cooking”) of food; they are always present in whol…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humoralism

(867 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Introduction Health and illness in the early modern period up to the mid-17th century were essentially understood, both by academics and the general public, in terms of the ancient theory of humors (humoral physiology/pathology, from Latin humores, “fluids”) and dietetics, and this view survived much longer in popular and alternative medicine. Only as the ideas of humoral physiology were superseded in the second half of the 17th century did other concepts of health emerge in their stead. During the 18th and early 19th centuri…
Date: 2019-10-14

Cholera

(1,183 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition The term cholera is found in Hebrew as chaul rah (“fierce sickness”). It is etymologically unclear whether the name of the disease comes from the Greek choládes (“intestines”) and refers to intestinal illness, or from the Greek words for “bile” ( chólos) and "river" ( rhóos) (“river of bile”), relating to the doctrine of the four humors, or whether in reference to profuse diarrhea it is related to  cholédra (“gutter," “drainpipe”). Unlike the cholera nostras that had long been known in Europe (so-called “English cholera” in England;  Gallenruhr or “bile flux” in the …
Date: 2019-10-14

Fever

(983 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition The most infallible and timeless subjective markers and symptoms in general are the sudden, unexpected, and even unnatural perceived increase in temperature in the body, accompanied by sweating, paradoxical-seeming fits of shivering, debility, and, often, aches and pains. Texts on fever from European Antiquity define fever as significant, even when the…
Date: 2019-10-14

Herbals

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition Herbals in the early modern period were printed books about plants. These compendia offered detailed descriptions of plants and herbal remedies with explanations of their medical applications. Works often also included animals, animal products, and minerals that were used in medicine.…
Date: 2019-10-14

Medicine

(7,811 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Biesterfeldt, Hinrich
1. Europe 1.1. Renaissance 1.1.1. Medical Humanism and ReformationInfluenced by the Renaissance and Humanism, medicine, as part of the  studia humaniora from the 14th century, also undertook a philological and critical turn towards its ancient foundations and sources [1]; [2] (Humanism, medical). Knowledge in medical science was acquired by reading classical works now purged of real or supposed medieval and Arabic “corruptions” (Hippocrates, Celsus, Galen), but also – already – through the application of the principle of autopsía (“self-seeing,” i.e. direct obser…
Date: 2019-10-14

Clinical school

(809 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Beginnings in LeidenIn the history of European medicine, the clinical school made its first appearance in the late 17th century at the University of Leiden, which played a pioneering role in the birth of clinical medicine, when for the first time ever instruction was given alongside the sickbed (Greek klíne, “bed, couch”). Previously the faculty of medicine (Medicine, faculty of) had limited itself to theoretical instruction; including a hospital in the teaching was not considered.In the first half of the 17th century in Leiden, Otto van Heurne had already sou…
Date: 2019-10-14

Brunonianism

(1,445 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. The theory and its background Brunonianism, a medical reform movement, was inspired by the Scottish physician John Brown (1736–1788), who considered life a condition aroused and maintained by internal and external stimuli. The fundamental life force, he maintained, was the biological potential for stimulus or excitation. The critical factor determining the sickness or health of the human body must be considered the individual’s excitability (Latin incitabilita…
Date: 2019-10-14

Irritability

(1,087 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. The concept“Irritability,” from Latin  irritabilis, irritabilitas (see also “sensibility” from Latin  sensibilis, sensibilitas), is a medical description of the condition of the body with regard to its ability to respond to (external) sensory stimuli and to react to them. Abnormalities of irritability and sensibility were considered symptomatic of illness.Around 1700, the Cartesian-mechanistic conception of life came in for increased criticism (Mechanism). Although physical-mechanistic reductionism initially held great attraction as an expl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Healthcare, public

(2,409 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Medieval forms of public healthAttempts to regulate public health date back to the Middle Ages. These included the influence of monasteries in their immediate environments, efforts on the part of the Orders of Knights, rudimentary regulations in cities aimed at improving hygiene, as well as the establishment of special institutions for care of the sick both inside the city walls (hospitals, apothecaries, smallpox foundations) and outside them (leprosariums; see epidemic). The medical regulations o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Epidemiology

(880 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. ConceptEpidemiology (from the Greek  epídemos, “spread among the people”, and   lógos, “doctrine”) describes the occurrence, causes, and distribution of health-related conditions, events, and risks in populations, and seeks ways of using this information to restore and promote health and to avert illness by prevention. Epidemiological knowledge is generally applied to keep health problems under control in the population. The first work on epidemiology in the scientific sense took place in the 17th century.Wolfgang Uwe Eckart 2. Demographic epidemiology …
Date: 2019-10-14
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