As a by-product affects pain

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The information that we are aware of may differ markedly from what was originally received in our brain. The brain completes the information received, filling in gaps and eliminating uncertainty. This happens both with visual images, and with the read text, and with the speech perceived by ear, and with the feeling of the position …

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The Miracle of Magnetism

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Legend has it that in 1780, while dissecting a frog, Italian Luigi Galvani simultaneously touched its muscles with a steel scalpel and a copper hook-holder. To Galvani’s amazement, the dead animal’s paw twitched. The reason was the electric current generated in the galvanic pair created by the instruments: it caused the muscles to contract. Galvani …

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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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