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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

Gynecology

(1,945 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept The term gynecology is modern, and reflects the late establishment of the specialty at 19th-century medical faculties (Medicine, faculty of). It first emerged in competition with the older and more general term gynaikeía (Greek “women's matters”), only in the early 18th century in the treatise by the Dresden city physician Martin Schurig,  Gynaecologia (Dresden-Leipzig 1730). The term first appears in the title of a German-language textbook only in 1820, with Carl Gustav Carus’ Lehrbuch der Gynaekologie (“Textbook of Gynecology”). During the 16th and 17th ce…
Date: 2019-10-14

Psychiatry

(2,069 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionThe term psychiatry (from Greek  psychḗ, “soul,” “mind,” and  iatrós, “physician”) was coined in 1808 as a Greek neologism by Johann Christian Reil, a physician in Halle (originally Psychiaterie [4]; [5]; [12]), in the sense of the art or science of healing the soul or mind. Until well into the 19th century, the term also included a broad spectrum of neurological illnesses such as epilepsy and St. Vitus’ dance ( Huntington’s chorea).The history of psychiatry can be divided into three major periods from its beginnings to the early 20 century [14]; [6]. (1) For the pe…
Date: 2021-03-15

Health

(1,727 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Concept Until the mid-17th century, the concept of health in the early modern period was still dominated by the ancient doctrine of the humors (humoralism and physiology) and dietetics. In the second half of the 17th century, as humoral physiology lost ground, other ideas of health took its place from the 18th to the early 19th centuries, drawing primarily on mechanistic (iatromechanical), animistic, and vitalistic views of human life in health and illness (Animism; Vitalism). Against the backd…
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

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

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

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

Physicus

(945 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. Medieval rootsSince the high Middle Ages, besides independent physicians ( medicus) there were also physicians employed by secular and ecclesiastical princes, monasteries, and urban administrations who served their employers directly. They were given the Latin title  physicus (informed about nature). The distinction, sometimes still vague, between the general medical duties of a  medicus and the special duties of a  physicus (similar to Latin  physica and  medicina for medicine) was probably first clarified in the Old Empire by the medical ordinance …
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

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.Wolfgang Uwe Eckart 2. Precursors and development in early centuries Ancient botanical works and herbals served as important sources for reference on medical and herbal knowledge until well into the early modern period (Pharmacy). The main authorities w…
Date: 2019-10-14

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

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

Pain

(3,004 words)

Author(s): Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe
1. DefinitionPain (from Latin  poena via Old French  peine; German  Schmerz from OHG  smerza/ smerzo and MHG  smerze/ smerz; Greek  álgos; Latin  dolor, acerbitas) is a complex sensory perception; as an acute event, it serves as a warning sign and guidepost, but chronic pain has lost this element. An early modern synonym of  Schmerz is Pein (from OHG  pîna and MHG  pîne/ pîn, from Latin  poena, “penance, punishment”; cf. English  pain), usually associated with punishment, torture, torment, and so on (cf. German  peinliche Befragung, “painful inquiry,” i.e. torture). In an…
Date: 2020-10-06

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

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
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