History of Science 2220 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Venipuncture, Rickettsia, Dyscrasia

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LECTURE – FROM GREECE TO ALEXANDRIA TO ROME
EUCRASIA
oHarmonious mix of the humours (health)
DYSCRASIA
oDisharmony in the humors (disease)
Apepsis
oState of disharmony remedied via Pepsis (innate heat/condition) and passage through
crisis (critical day)
A kind of physiological and holistic model of patient as a whole
Constitution and climate have an impact on health
Dietary remedies attempted first
oNot elimination – e.g. vomiting, bloodletting
oThen drugs
oAnd the surgery
Trepanation, opening empyema (pus in body cavities)
PLAGUES AND DISEASES
oA mysterious plague hit Athens in 430 BCE during the Peloponnesian War (With
Sparta), documented by Thucydides
¼ or 1/3rd of Athenians
symptoms – headaches, sneezing, hoarseness, pain in the chest, coughing,
vomiting, spasms, blisters and ulcers, diarrhea, and death on the 7th-9th day
possible causes; typhus, scarlet fever, bubonic plague, smallpox, measles,
anthrax
COMPARE WITH EBOLA TODAY
oSymptoms; fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, weakness,
fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, unexplained hemorrhage
(bleeding or bruising)
Typhus
oCaused by Rickettsia prowakeii, which is transmitted by the human
body louse (not transmitted person to person)
oCare-workers especially vulnerable (inhaled louse….????)
fevers were especially important indicators for greek physicians
Hippocrates mentions several types and descriptions of fever in Epidemics
– e.g. quotidian (24 hour), tertian……
Fever is a heating of the body, helping to cure the body of disease –
fighting off an attack of a sickness
Lends support for Hippocratic theories concerning critical days and the
hot/cold and wet/dry properties of the humors
Yet all of these notions are questioned by subsequent schools of thought
BEYOND HIPPOCRATES
oHumoralism was NOT the only doctrine
ALEXANDRIA
oNew capital in Egypt, named after Alexander the Great
Site of learning
oPtolemy I created the Library of Alexandria
Research included astronomy, science, math, geometry, and medicine
Less philosophical, more pragmatic
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