The History of Medicine
The history of medicine and healthcare is as old as the history of mankind. From dealing with cuts, bruises and the ague of prehistoric swamps through to cutting edge treatments of the modern day. This page provides a chronological overview of the main content of this site. There are numerous themes in the development of medicine that can be followed over these eras, these are explored in the themes in medical history section.
Medicine through the ages
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Medicine Through Time Teaching Resources
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History of Medicine: an Overview
The history of Medicine is complex. It involves a wide range of different factors impacting on the way that illnesses, injuries and diseases have been treated. Learners will discover that some treatments that are used today are almost exactly the same as those used in the Ancient World. They will find out that many of the largest changes in medical practice are the result of simple good luck.
From prehistoric man to the modern day there is a huge amount of evidence as to how medicine has been administered. Illustrations as diverse as cave paintings through to CAT scans illustrate illness. Written evidence ranges from hieroglyphics to detailed medical reports of scientific tests and experiments. Artefacts abound with human remains showing us how surgery was performed thousands of years ago through a range of pieces of equipment that bring us to the high tech modern surgery.
Doctors are almost taken for granted in the modern, western world. They receive a great deal of training and have a wealth of resources at their disposal. Research is conducted on a wide scale. The modern world, with limitations, experiments and searches for answers. Learners will see that this has not always been the case. Body snatchers, corpses of criminals and live dissection of animals have all contributed to an understanding of medicine over the years.
The various links above take you to overviews of how medicine was practised in each historical period. Some exhibit huge amounts of change. Each has unique characteristics but there are commonalities throughout.