Renaissance Medicine:

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  • Medicine In Renaissance England:
    • Context:
      • Renaissance means rebirth and began with study of classical texts and was critical of old translations.
        • Greater interest in how the human body works based on dissection and observation.
          • Artists attended dissections and made illustrations for medical books.
      • Return of classical texts led to a renowned faith in the four humours and theory of opposites.
    • The Great Plague of 1665:
      • Worst reappearance of the black death.
        • About 100 000 died in London alone.
        • Carts collected bodies for mass burial in "plague pits".
      • To control the disease households were locked in and red crosses were painted on the doors.
        • People didn't understand that germs were causing the disease.
        • The Great Fire of London sterilised most of London.
    • Andreas Vesalius - Anatomy:
      • He studied anatomy and became a professor of surgery and anatomy at Padua.
        • He was allowed to do dissections.
        • He did his own dissections and wrote books on his observations.
          • His most famous book was 'On The Fabric of the Human Body' written in 1543.
      • Pointed out Galen's mistakes and he said there were no holes in the septum and that the jaw was made of 1 bone not 2.
        • Encouraged doctors to dissect and study themselves.
    • William Harvey - Blood Circulation:
      • Discovers the circulation of the blood, disproving Galen's ideas.
        • Identifies the difference between arteries and veins.
      • Becomes a King's doctor so his ideas became more influential.
        • He writes "An Anatomical Account of the Motion of the Heart and Blood".
      • Bleeding operations still continued as people are unsure of what to do.
    • Public Health:
      • Populations began to increase and this put strain on public health.
    • Factors  Effecting Progress:
      • The printing press meant that new ideas could be spread more easily and more rapidly.
      • The Church's power weakened and this meant people began to look for natural causes and doctors could now dissect.
      • Medical drawings can be shared and anatomical books are produced.
      • More people could read and write and they started challenging old medical ideas.
  • Blood groups discovered in 1901, which makes blood transfusions possible.


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