Placebo Effect

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Millennia of ineffective treatment were possible because every drug found its patients. There are several reasons why we believe in the usefulness of useless means. We have already said that treatment can precede natural recovery, in which case it is not difficult to decide that we have recovered thanks to the drug. Another reason is …

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Birth of Method

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On the fifteenth of June, 1744, the storm-battered 60-gun centurion approached the coast of England. The battleship of his Majesty’s Royal Navy was the only surviving vessel of a squadron of eight ships that had set sail four years earlier under Commodore Jorge Anson on a circumnavigation of the world. Of the 1955 sailors who …

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Experience as a Tool

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Empiricism was not an invention of the Renaissance, but it breathed life into it. The obvious idea of the importance of knowledge derived from experience has been found in the works of ancient philosophers before, but has never been truly influential. Perhaps the reason was that such a philosophy is not compatible with the existence …

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Why didn’t the unicorn horn work

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How could a huge industry have offered almost exclusively ineffective drugs and procedures for thousands of years? There were several reasons, but a significant role was played by the selection of treatment by logical reasoning, the starting point for which was a mistaken understanding of the body, the mechanisms of the disease and the principles …

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St. Apollonia and the Mandrake root

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With the fall of the Roman Empire, Christianity began to supplant Greco-Roman culture. The new religion destroyed the old temples and took control of all aspects of the life of the flock, from birth to death. The secular medicine of antiquity have faded into the background. Christianity was not only a religion of salvation, but …

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The Genius of Self-promotion

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If Hippocrates helped medicine become a profession, and the Alexandrians showed that it can and should do research, then marketing taught her Galen-a man whose talent for PR was at least as much as his talent as a doctor. Galen was born in the II century, now our era, in one of the Greek provinces …

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Two Ways

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Although Hippocrates’s ideas were one of the first attempts to create a model of health and disease without the involvement of supernatural forces, his contemporaries did not take the step that now seems natural to us – did not hurry to get the knowledge that lay only at a distance of a knife blade, hidden …

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Occupational Medicine

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Thanks to the emergence of writing about medicine ancient Mesopotamia we know much more, than about priests prehistoric civilizations. Cuneiform clay tablets brought to us information about both the healers and the medicines they used, including methods of manufacture and prescriptions for use. It is in Mesopotamia that the first division of the ancient profession …

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Magical Treatment

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Magical ideas about the causes of the disease dictate the appropriate methods of treatment. If the disease can move into the body, why not try to force or cunning to drive it out of the patient? Historians and ethnographers have documented in detail the incredible ingenuity with which mankind has tried to move the disease …

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