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Physiology

(2,263 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionToday physiology (from Greek  phýsis and lógos, “theory of nature,” “nature study”) is a subdiscipline of biology and medicine: the theory of the physical, biochemical, and information-processing functions of living beings [6]. This meaning contrasts with its meaning in Greek antiquity (Greek  physiológos, “expert in natural philosophy”). At the beginning of the early modern period, physiology was understood very broadly in the sense of physical science (William Gilbert’s famous  De magnete [“On the Magnet”; 1600] had the subtitle A New Physiology of …
Date: 2020-10-06

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 there was no distinguishing criterion in the governing theory of disease of the time to allow for further differentiation.In the 15th and 16th centuries, the conception of fever originating with Hippocrat…
Date: 2019-10-14

Quack

(1,430 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept and scopeThe term “quack,” short for “quacksalver” (Early New Dutch quacksalver, German  Quacksalber, composed of quacken, “to cry,” “to quack [like a duck],” and  salver/Salber, from the OHG salbari, “physician,” or Latin  salvare, “to heal”; French charlatan, Italian  ciarlatano), generally referred to someone pretending to be a healer and practicing without authority, or sometimes to certified healers who advertised their skills or remedies stridently (Latin circumforaneus, “around the marketplace”) [2]. First attested in English in the 1630s, Quacksalber i…
Date: 2021-03-15

Medicalization

(2,145 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Jütte, Robert
1. DefinitionThe term medicalization goes back to the French medical historiography of the  Annales school [4]. It was first defined by the French historian Jean-Pierre Goubert [9. 170]. He understood medicalization as a long-term process that began in the second half of the 18th century, in the course of which physicians succeeded in imposing their medical services on broad strata of the population with the help of the state. This was a process that expanded the medical marketplace, in which one professional group wa…
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

Natural History School

(973 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The Natural History School (German: Naturhistorische Schule) was a tendency of the first half of the 19th century in clinical medicine, distinguished by its strictly empirical procedures and rejecting on principle the use of general theories of illness (e.g. humoralism, vitalism, Broussaiism, Brunonianism, homeopathy, etc.; cf. Therapeutic concepts). It was therefore in conscious opposition to schools of medical thought based on natural philosophy (e.g. that of Schelling). Instead, it advocat…
Date: 2020-04-06

Occupational medicine

(1,503 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Ramazzini and his precursors Early modern occupational medicine began with the seminal treatise of the Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini,  De morbis artificium diatriba (Modena 1700; “Investigation of the Diseases of Artisans and Craftsmen”), clearly comparable in its significance for early industrial hygiene to Morgagni’s De sedibus et causis morborum (Bologna 1761; “On the Seats and Causes of Diseases”) for pathological anatomy. In it Ramazzini described in details the various illnesses of the most important occupational groups of…
Date: 2020-10-06

Epidemic

(1,474 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Diseases and plaguesThe correct identification of early modern plagues and epidemics in terms of modern pathology is highly problematical. Even evidence of symptom correlation is open to doubt. This is true of the plethora of pestilential fevers, but no less true in the case of illnesses that are apparently identifiable without difficulty, but behind which may lurk in principle any infection with epidemic propensity. The learned world of the 15th and 16th centuries certainly knew of the ominous …
Date: 2019-10-14

Experimental medicine

(1,240 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. IntroductionThe old authorities of university medicine were thrown out in the 17th century, and the era of empirical, experimental medicine began. William Harvey shook the foundations of the ancient doctrine of the humors (Humoralism) with his experimental research and description of the circulation of the blood, and new concepts of medical thought and action - post-Paracelsian iatrochemistry and Cartesian iatrophysics (iatromechanics) - usurped its traditional place. Chemical and mechanist thinking based on experimental findings now gained influence in medicine.W…
Date: 2019-10-14

Iatrophysics

(765 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. BasicsIatrophysics (from Greek  iatrós, “Arzt”; physis, “inanimate nature”) was a 17th and 18th-century theory and practice of medicine that interpreted all phenomena of health and illness as dependent on the internal physical structure of the body, its external form, and mechanical alterability [5]. With reductionistic simplification, it attempted to apply the findings of the new experimental natural sciences to the realm of life, where everything must also be explicable physically, reconstructible mechanically (iatromechanics), …
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

Paracelsism

(2,744 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe | Bergengruen, Maximilian
1. Concept and theory 1.1. IntroductionParacelsism on the one hand denotes the theories in natural history, hermetic alchemy/chemistry, medicine, philosophy, and theology of the physician and naturalist Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (called Paracelsus, 1493-1541) [2], and on the other the reception of those theories from the late 16th to early 18th centuries (see below, 2. and 3.) by a group of authors in various disciplines, most of them physicians sympathetic to alchemy and followers of heterodox forms of Protestantism…
Date: 2020-10-06

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

Medical code

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition and background In the 16th and 17th centuries, medical codes in the form of government decrees, edicts, and ordinances primarily regulated the behavior of the various medical occupational groups and their representatives (Medic) towards each other, defined criteria for training and certification, and also occasionally included hygienic instructions (for avoiding epidemics) and pharmaceutical advice. They were an expression of territorially defined government care (including city and town governments) for the health of subjects and citizens [1]. The transi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hospital

(2,061 words)

Author(s): Rotzoll, Maike | Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The word “hospital” derives from “hospitality” (Latin  hospitalitas), a derivation found in various forms in a number of European languages (e.g. German hopitalhûs, Spital, Spittel; French hôpital; Spanish hospital; Italian  ospedale) [2]; [1]. From the outset, the concept reflected a double function of care for the sick and responsibility for all forms of need.Maike Rotzoll 2. Middle Ages The development of the hospital in the medieval west was for the most part closely associated with the principle of Christian caritas (Charity). From the early days of Christian…
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

Homeopathy

(1,089 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionHomeopathy is a concept of illness and therapy developed by the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) based on the ideas of vitalism, though its therapeutic conclusions differ radically from the notions of illness in vitalism and earlier ideas. According Hahnemann’s theory, the holistic physical phenomenon of illness is a “disorder” of the vital force caused by pathogenic stimuli. The physician encourages the vital force in its resistance not – as in conventional medicine (allopathy) – by means of antagonists ( contraria contrariis; “o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Preservative

(939 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Medicine Preservative (from Latin  praeservare, “preserve,” “prevent”) was originally a term from the technical language of medicine, which then was borrowed into other areas. German Präservativ in the sense of condom did not become common until the 19th century (see 3. below).Originally, a preservative was understood to be “a medicine that protects against diseases and forestalls them” (means of protection, Latin  remedium mali imminentis, “remedy against an imminent evil”) [2. 94]. In Krünitz, at the end of the 18th century, preservatives were means of s…
Date: 2021-03-15

Scientific medicine

(732 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. ConceptScientific medicine denotes the tendency in medicine of the 18th and 19th centuries to take scientific methods and results from physics and chemistry as its basis and to apply them consistently (see Experimental medicine). Associated with this tendency was the intention, at least, to turn away from holistic or purely philosophical concepts of medicine, especially vitalism, and – in Germany – the Romantic natural philosophy of Schelling, and to stop applying them to medical practice.Wolfgang Uwe Eckart 2. Principles From classical antiquity until the 17th ce…
Date: 2021-08-02

Infirmary

(996 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Basics In the course of the 17th century, the hospital of the ancient religious and charitable type was transformed into an institution devoted entirely to caring for the sick [4]; [6]. Special forms of the old hospitals decreased in number (leprosaria, pox houses) and new forms appeared (academic infirmaries, lying-in hospitals). In the 18th and 19th centuries, large municipal infirmaries sprang up in the cities, general infirmaries in the towns, and finally pavilion infirmaries in decentralized, multi-functional form. (see 3. below).Wolfgang Uwe Eckart2. Architectural …
Date: 2019-10-14
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