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Was the Medical Renaissance an important period in medical history?

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Introduction

Was the Medical Renaissance an important period in medical history? This question could be argued both ways: it either was, or it was not. It is obvious that it was an important period because of the discoveries about anatomy. There are clear differentiations between discoveries in 1350 to those in at the end of the Medical Renaissance. Claudius Galen proved many ideas (some in his sixty books, ie: "On Anatomy") like Herophilus' theory of the brain controlling the body, and he also discovered veins. Not only this, but he thought that the body burnt up blood, and that there is an organ (namely the liver) to reproduce the blood used. This was naturally wrong; and also, for example, he said that human jawbones are of two separate pieces - this was flawed, only because he worked on other animals instead of humans. This theory is true of the dog, however! His theories were indeed incorrect but one could not criticise him, or they would have to 'answer to' the church. (They 'backed' him because he had the theory of the creator). ...read more.

Middle

Later, that night, he discovered that those treated with his own mixture were healing very nicely, but those treated with the old Jean de Vigo 'trick' were very ill, some even perished. This was an important breakthrough, and was published in his book, but ideas travelled slowly with this, as the hot oil method was used for years and years to come. Par� was also responsible for the ideas of ligatures: thin threads of silk to tie up arteries to stop mass bleeding. This was, on the whole, successful, however sometimes caused infection. Had an appropriate antiseptic been available, it would have been the cause of very few problems. However, as a direct result of Par�'s work, ligatures were later used made out of cat's intestine, which dissolved in the body, so as to cause no infections by threads 'hanging out' of the wound. Elsewhere, desperate and 'negative' surgery was starting to occur, such as amputations. This happened when it was thought that nothing else could be done, and this would be the only resolution and option open. What I feel is an amazing is that hospitals in this era worked to the ethos, which is the complete opposite to today's hospital's ethos. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only about 20% of people lived beyond the age of 60, whereas the vast majority of today's population do. On the whole, life expectancy was the same, and especially those dying were the 'at risk groups' (ie: the under 20's). This all links back to the original factor. People could not expect to live longer than previously, just because the real causes of disease had not yet been discovered. Once it had, time could be better spent in increasing life expectancy much more effectively than was already being done. Overall, the period of 400 years between 1350 and 1750 was not very important because the discoveries did not improve life expectancy much. Granted, discoveries were being made, and that was a significant breakthrough; but if one considers logically the period before, that in which fewer breakthroughs were being made, the life expectancy stayed much the same. In my opinion, although breakthroughs were being made, notably regarding anatomy and physiology, they didn't seem to travel very fast at all. I agree that it was an important period overall in what it produced, but the fact of the matter is, is that life expectancy didn't change much, and I think that is the main thing to consider when identifying and classifying 'important' periods in time. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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