Nutrition Malnutrition Health And Disease

Although nutrition is generally regarded as a twentieth-century science, the belief that health and longevity depend on regulating the consumption of food and drink is one of the most ancient and universal principles of medical theory. Foods were generally classified in terms of opposing qualities such as hot or cold, moist or dry, which determined whether particular foods would be strengthening, weakening, purgative, or constipating. These concepts were not seriously challenged until well into...

The Cult Of Asclepius God Of Medicine

Although Hippocrates is the dominant figure in modern accounts of Greek medicine, in antiquity the good doctor shared the stage with the healer who began his career as the ''blameless physician'' in the Ilaid. It was during the age of Hippocrates, not the age of Homer, that Asclepius was elevated to the status of a god. This was a time of extraordinary tension between intellectual freedom and intolerance. Impiety and ''godlessness'' were crimes that could be punished by death or banishment....

Galen On Therapeutics And The Causes Of Disease

When writing about the nature of therapeutics, Galen argued that scientific knowledge of the causes of disease was essential for successful treatment. For prognosis, Galen relied on traditional tools, such as the examination of the pulse and the urine, and a rather rigid version of the Hippocratic doctrine of the ''critical days.'' Like Hippocrates, Galen was an excellent clinician and a brilliant diagnostician who believed that the physician must explain disease in terms of natural causes....

On The Miseries Of Gout And The Virtues Of Colchicine

Some of Sydenham's most vivid writings are those describing the onset, pain, and progress of gout, a disease also known as podagra. Sydenham confessed that he had endured the agonies of gout for 34 years without discovering anything useful about its nature or treatment. Many physicians, especially those who suffered from gout, considered the condition incurable. In its typical form, the disease announced itself by intense pain in the big toe. Victims were told that it was better for their ''bad...

Native Civilizations and Cultures of the Americas

Initial European reports about the New World spoke of a veritable Eden, populated by healthy, long-lived people, who could cure illness with exotic medicinal plants and did not know the diseases common in other parts of the world. Columbus said he found ''Paradise-on-Earth'' in the newly discovered Indian Islands. Glowing reports of the idyllic conditions and wealth to be found in the New World could be attributed to ignorance, or to the hyperbole of an advertising campaign designed to attract...

Paleopathology Methods And Problems

Because direct evidence of disease among ancient human beings is very limited, we will have to seek out a variety of indirect approaches in order to reach at least a tentative understanding of the prehistoric world. For example, studies of our closest relatives, the great apes and monkeys, have shown that living in a state of nature does not mean freedom from disease. Wild primates suffer from many disorders, including arthritis, malaria, hernias, parasitic worms, and impacted teeth. Our...