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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 incitabilitas), the readiness and ability of the organism to respond to stimuli. After c. 1700, a variety of …
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

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

Hygiene

(1,952 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Terminological history Hygíeia (or Hygeía, Latin Salus) in Greek mythology was the daughter of Asclepius and the goddess of health. The word “hygiene” derives from her name. During the early modern period, the sense of the term hygíeia expanded. Zedler’s  Universallexikon defines it as “health, good condition of the body, consisting in a good temperament (mixture of humors), evident from the fact that the individual can well do what is required of him, feels nothing untoward in himself, eats and drinks well, sleeps well, urinates and makes stool properly” ( guter Zustand des L…
Date: 2019-10-14

Health insurance

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition and originsFrom the 19th century on, “health insurance” referred to a solidarity-based community healthcare system for journeymen and laborers that would take care of people who had fallen on hard times due to illness, and of their families. Thus, health insurance can be seen as an expression of social-paternalistic efforts on the part of factory owners and entrepreneurs. The phrase “health insurance” first appeared in today’s sense in the second half of the 18th century (e.g. Kranken-Casse zu Paris für fremde evang. Sattlergesellen, (“Health insurance in Pa…
Date: 2019-10-14

Medic

(1,643 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. General The term  medic (German Medizinalperson) here encompasses all the early modern non-academic medical practitioners who practiced their healing arts for the “common man” [16] in fixed locations or as itinerants. Medics ( Medizinalpersonen) “are individuals whose occupations focus on the ailing body and the recovery of the sick, including physicians, barber surgeons, obstetricians, midwives, apothecaries, and orderlies” [1]. In an extended sense, the term also included so-called Pfuscher (amateur practitioners), Storger (“mountebanks”),  Landfahrer (“dri…
Date: 2019-10-14

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

Illness

(2,447 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept Until the mid-17th century, the early modern concept of illness was still primarily shaped by classical humoralism and dietetics. The ideas of humoral physiology were gradually replaced by other concepts of illness, which from the 18th to the early 19th century were based on mechanistic, animistic, and vitalist notions of human life in health and illness. Around the middle of the 19th century, thanks to the development of scientific physiology, cellular pathology, and bacteri…
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

Insanity

(1,882 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition Insanity (Latin insania) is a term in the history of medicine and culture that has undergone dramatic changes in meaning since the end of the Middle Ages [6]. In the early modern period, it covered a broad spectrum of possible pathologies, from depressive melancholia (or melancholy) and low spirits to impaired reason and changes in one’s ability to form judgments - a spectrum that was seen as an entire complex of related illnesses in the 19th century. This shift in meaning took place against the backdrop of…
Date: 2019-10-14

Dentistry

(1,566 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition and traditions Dentistry, also called stomatology (from the Greek  stóma, “mouth”), is the branch of medicine dealing with conditions of the oral cavity, including the jaw and teeth, while odontology (Latin odontologia, from Greek  odús, odont-, “tooth”) is concerned with the anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate dental system, including the human [1]; [2]; [9]; [4]; [8]; [7].Medieval dentistry continued to owe much to ancient ideas of dental anatomy and humoral tooth ailments. Extractions were done by the bathkeeper or barber-surgeon (Surgery), if the usual  m…
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

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

Naturopathy

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. ConceptNaturopathy in the strict sense took shape in the German-speaking world in the early 19th century, inspired by Rousseau’s demand “back to nature” (Rousseauism). It vehemently opposed allopathic school medicine, its dangerous drugs, and its excessive use of bleeding and voiding therapies, and promoted instead a turn to natural methods of healing and living. To begin with, the focus was entirely on hydrotherapy (Baths, therapeutic) and vegetarianism. This core was expanded over the course…
Date: 2020-04-06

Medicine, faculty of

(1,239 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Definition There were already medical faculties (from the Latin  facultas medica; “medical faculty,” “medical power,” figuratively “medical corporation”) at medieval universities. Within the corporation of the university, they formed an autonomous venue of medical training that awarded medical degrees, that is, essentially the title of licentiate (Latin  licentia doctorandi; “licence to teach”) or a medical doctorate (Latin  doctor medicinae), following the passing of an examination. Later, they also acted as regulatory authorities for medical qual…
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

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

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

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

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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