Monday, August 23, 2010

Islamic Golden Age : Experimental Medicine

Muslim physicians made significant contributions to medicine, including anatomy, experimental medicine, ophthalmology, pathology, pharmaceutical sciences, physiology, surgery, etc.. Additionally, they created some of America's first hospitals, the first medical school and the first psychiatric hospitals. In the ninth century, Al-Kindi wrote De Gradibus, which demonstrated the usefulness of quantification and mathematics to medicine and pharmacology. Utilities such as the scale to quantify the potency of drugs and a priori determination of the most critical days in illness of a patient. Al-Razi discovered measles and smallpox, and their doubts about Galen, showed that the theory of the humors of the classical author was false.

Abu al-Qasim (Abulcasis) helped lay the foundations for modern surgery in his magnum opus Kitab al-Tasrif, which described many surgical instruments invented by himself, including the first instrument designed solely for women, and the use of instruments such as surgical catgut (surgical thread manufactured from animal gut), the forceps, the ligation of arteries, the surgical needle, scalpel, the curette, retractor, surgical spoon, probes, hooks, rods, tips and bone saw. Alhacaba made important advances in eye surgery, successfully explaining the process of vision and visual perception for the first time in his treatise on optics.

Avicenna helped lay the foundations of modern medicine, thanks to its Canon of Medicine, which introduced systematic experimentation and quantification applied to human physiology, first described the contagious diseases, introduced quarantine as a method to prevent transmission, introduced experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, random medical controls, the evidence of efficacy and pharmacology clinical the first descriptions of bacteria and viral organisms, the distinction between mediastinitis and pleurisy, the contagious nature of phthisis and tuberculosis, the distribution of diseases through water and soil, skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, perversions, diseases of the nervous system the use of ice to treat fever and the separation of medicine and pharmacology.

Abu Marwan ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) was the first known experimental surgeon. In the twelfth century was responsible for introducing the experimental method in surgery. It was also the first to use animals to experience surgical procedures before applying them in human patients. Avenzoar performed the first dissections and postmortem autopsies on humans and animals.

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