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In the middle of the 14th century the bubonic plague killed one-fourth of the European population and the scientists became more determined to search for practical effective methods of dealing with medical problems. In the early 1600s the English physician William Harvey discovered how blood circulates in the body...



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Middle Ages date from about 500 A.D. to about 1500 A.D. The period from 500 A.D. to about 1000 A.D. is often referred to as Dark Ages, as there was lack of progress in the ability of people to understand and control their environment. During Middle Ages many hospitals were built in Europe. In the middle of the 14th century the bubonic plague killed one-fourth of the European population and the scientists became more determined to search for practical, effective methods of dealing with medical problems. This marked the beginning of the scientific approach to medicine.

During the Renaissance, laws forbidding the dissection of cadavers were relaxed and as a result, the first accurate textbook on human anatomy was published. In 1515 the first public dissection of a human cadaver was performed.

Dissection enabled physicians to identify the heart and its circulatory system, the major nerves, the stomach and other digestive organs.

In 1545, the first pharmacy was opened in London. Prescription of medicines had been administered prior to this time, but the establishment of this shop indicated means of treating a disease. Today, many thousands of drugs are used to treat illnesses.

The microscope was invented in 1590. Laboratory technicians use it regularly to analyze specimens of blood, urine and tissue. Their reports help the physicians to make the diagnosis of a disease.

In the early 1600s, the English physician William Harvey discovered how blood circulates in the body and published the first medical book describing this circulation and the role of the heart. In 1667, the first blood transfusion was performed. In 1699 a law to control communicable diseases was enacted in the American colony of Massachusetts.

In the 19th century, modern surgery was made possible by two revolutionary discoveries: the invention of safe methods of anesthesia and the control of wound infection by the use of antiseptics and sterile equipment. Besides, a set of diagnostic procedures, requiring a complete case history and a thorough physical examination, become common medical practice. In 1895, Roentgen discovered the X-ray to detect abnormalities inside the body.

The 20th century has brought medical advances in nearly every area of medicine. Open-heart surgery has been developed. Organ transplants are often successful. Vaccines (infectious agents given to patients to establish resistance to particular diseases) have almost eliminated the threat of poliomyelitis. The electrocardiogram (EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG) and computed tomography help physicians to detect heart and brain malfunctions. Due to early diagnosis and more effective treatment more and more cancer victims are surviving. X-ray examination helps to make more accurate diagnosis and more effective treatment. Lasers become very helpful in surgery. As people change their lifestyles and their environment new diseases appear. That's why health workers always search for better medical care.


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