MEDICINE

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MEDICINE ; the science of diseases, and the art of healing or alleviating them. Itis founded on the study of man's physical and moral nature, in health and in disease Created by necessity, the offspring of instinct, observation, time, and reflection, it began in ages previous to the records of history ; it has struggled at ail times, and continues to struggle, with favorite theories ; has been influenced by all systems of philosophy and religion, by truth and supersfi tion; and has, with the slowness which marks all the important advancements of mankind, but lately emerged from some of the prejudices of thousands cf years, and will long continue subject to others. Like other sciences, medicine has gained more from the single discoveries of close observers than from centuries of theory. For the few hundreds of years in which men have begun to apply themselves more to actual observation, and the human body has been carefully studied, medicine, like all the natural sciences to which it is so near akin, has made great progress. The higher kinds of skill and knowledge, in the earlier stages of nations, are in general exclusively appropriated by the priests, and this has been the case with medicine and the other branches of natural science. The knowledge of medicine was a secret of the Egyptian priests, and, in Greece, it was carefully concealed, and transmitted from son to son, by the family of the Asclepiades, an order of priests of iEsculapius [Jlsclepios). To these belonged the great Hippocrates, (q. v.) He undertook, in the fifth century B. C, after making himself master of the medical knowledge preserved in the temples at Cos and Cnidos, to become the founder of scientific medicine, by separating the results of actual experience from vain speculation. His doctrine may be called the empiric rationalism; and, numerous as are the systems that have flourished since, in ancient and modern times, mankind has always returned to his principle of making observation the only rule in the treatment of diseases. The doctrine of Hippocrates was blended, by his immediate successors, with the Platonic philosophy, whereby was formed the (so called) ancient dogmatic system. In Alexandria, which was, from 300 B. C, the seat of learning, medicine was one of the branches studied, but soon degenerated into mere dialectics and book learning. Hence we find it soon followed by the empiric school (286 B. C), the methodic school (100 B. C.), the pneumatic school (68 B. C.), and, at length, by the eclectic school (81 A. D.), which took from all the others. A philosophical and great such a mind appeared in. Galen (q. v.) of Pergamos. His system acquired an almost undisputed preeminence during the middle ages, and down to the sixteenth century. For some time (in the seventh century), the intellectual Arabians cultivated the sciences, and with them medicine They also founded their medicine on that of Galen, but fashioned the science according to their notions, and left it not unimproved in respect of practical application and pharmacology. Arabian medicine reached its highest point under Avicenna (born 980), who, for some time, was esteemed even higher than Galen; the opinion of the latter's superiority, however, eventually revived. The Western medicine begins with the medical school of Salerno, perhaps existing as early as in the ninth century,, but well established in 1143 and 1238, where medicine was taught according to the principles of the Greeks. During the rest of the middle ages, there existed a Galen oArabian science of medicine, mostly fostered by ignorant monks, and only gradually struggling on, after suffering, perhaps, more than any other science, from every superstition and every misconception of nature. In the fourteenth century, anatomy was improved by Mondini; later, the knowledge of medicaments, by the discovery of new and distant countries, practical medicine, by the appearance of new diseases, and not a little by the frightful syphilis. The love of Greek literature was revived by the scholars driven from Greece by the conquest of Constantinople (in 1453), and men having begun to read the Greek medical writers, especially Hippocrates, in the original language, a more scientific and liberal spirit of investigation took the place of slavish adherence to antiquated prejudice. Thus the fall of the Galenic system was prepared, which was completed in the sixteenth century, and forms the essential part of the reformation produced by Theophrastus Paracelsus (1526). The chemicotheosophical system of this enthusiast was refined and arranged by J. B. von Helmont (who died in 1644), until, deprived of its theosophical character, it passed over into the chemicomaterial system of Francis Sylvius (who died in 1672), and, at length, into the psychiatric system (from larpiKv, cure) of Stahl (who died in 1734). Yet, soon after Harvey's (q. v.) great discovery of the circulation of the blood (in 1619), the iatromathematical VOL. viii. 33 took the shape of the dynamic system of Fr. Hoffmann (died 1742), from which the dynamic schools of modern times proceeded, for the history of which we must refer the reader to the works mentioned below. For the newest systems, as the homoeopathic system of Hahnemann (see Homceopaihy, and Hahnemann), or that of M. Broussais, a Frenchman, who strives to trace all diseases to inflammation of the bowels, we must refer to the publications of the authors, and to the medical periodicals.See Kurt Sprengel's Geschichte der Arzneikunde (third edition., Halle, fifth vol., 1827; translated into French, Paris, 1816); J. F. K. Hecker's Geschichte der Heilkunde (Berlin, 1822, vol. 1); Hamilton's History of Medicine (London, 1831, 2 vols., 8vo., &c.) The various medical sciences, or those closely connected with them, and more or less requisite for a thorough knowledge of medicine, may be thus enumerated:the whole range of natural sciences, as zoology (including comparative anatomy and physiology, mineralogy, geology, botany, natural philosophy, chemistry, &c.: psychology, which teaches the various phenomena of soul and mind: anatomy, which teaches the form and situation of the organs by the examination of dead bodies, and is divided into osteology, treating of the bones ; syndesmology, of the ligaments; myology, of the muscles ; splanchnology, of the intestines; angiology, of the vessels; neurology, of the nerves ; and adenology, of the glands: organic physics, treating of the mechanical operations of the human body, the power, gravity, '&c, of its parts: physiology, which treats of all the phenomena of life in connexion.* Such is the basis of all those branches of science which may be more particularly called medical, and which we will now enumerate. The science of health, that is, of that in which it consists, its conditions, and its signs, is called hygiene, or, as far as it relates to the regulation of the diet, dicetetics. Pathology, on the other hand, is the science of disease, of that in which it consists, its origin, &c. JSfosology treats of the various sorts of diseases, their origin and symptoms, and strives to arrange diseases into one whole. Pathological anatomy teaches the mechanical alterations and changes of structure. Semiotics* Some add here, anthropochemie or the chemistry of the human body, the chemical composition of all its partsa most important branch, but usually treated under general chemistry. leaches to infer from the various symptoms, the nature of the disease ; diagnostics, to distinguish the symptoms of different diseases; and prognostics, to infer, from the past and present state of a disease, its future course. Therapeutics is the science of the cure of diseases, often divided into general, treating of the subject of cure in general, its character, &c, and special, of the cures of the particular diseases. Surgery treats of mechanical injuries, and the mode of relieving diseases and derangements by mechanical means. Obstetrics treats of the modes of facilitating delivery. Materia medica is the science of medicines, their external appearance, history, and effects on the human organization. Pharmacy teaches how to preserve drugs, &c, and to mix medicines. Clinics (q. v.), or medical practice, applies the results of all these sciences to real cases. We should mention, in this connexion, the history and literature of medicine, the history of diseases, a very interesting branch, political medicine, which is divided into medical police and forensic medicine, that branch which enables the physician to give to courts and other legal authorities proper explanations in regard to personal injuries, particular appearances of the body, &c, as whether a wound was mortal, how inflicted, whether a child was dead before born, &c. In many countries, physicians are appointed by the government for this purpose. We must lastly mention midwifery, as taught, in many countries, to women, who make a regular study and business of it. A student of medicine ought to be well versed in the two learned languages, and cannot dispense writh a respectable knowledge of English, French, German and Italian. Among the works which treat of medicine at large are Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicates, par une Societe de Medecins et Chirurgiens (Paris, Panckoucke, containing 60 vols., 1812 to 1822). and Journal complementaire du Diet, des Sciences Med. (from 1818 to 1824, 17 vols., still continued); Encyklop.Wdrterbuch der Medicin. Wissenschaften (edited by the professors of the medical faculty at Berlin Grafe, Hufeland, Link, Rudolphi, von Sieboid, Berlin, vol. i, 1827); also Good's Book of Medicine.Medical Geography is geography applied to medicine, treating all the subjects of geography which have any influence upon the health, the bodily structure, activity of mind, and the diseases of men. It is a science of great interest.See Geographical Nosology (in German), Stuttgart, 1823, by Schnurrer.Medical Topog raphy is the description of single places or tracts of country as to the circumstances which make them interesting in a medical point of viewthe winds, rivers, springs, mountains, the sea, woods, plains, structure of the houses, way of living of the people, their amusements and customs; in short, everything which affects the health of the inhabitants. Geographical situation, elevation, &c, belong to a complete medical topography. (SeeMetzler's Guide for the drawing up of Mediccd Topographies, in German.)