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How did Medicine develop in the Ancient World

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The Edwin Smith papyrus (ca. 1600 BC; Figure 1) is a famous example that is the first known text to deal with traumatic injuries, perhaps even battlefield wounds.<ref> For information on this text, see: Sanchez, Gonzalo M., Edmund S. Meltzer, Edwin Smith, and W. Benson Harer, eds. 2012. ''The Edwin Smith Papyrus: Updated Translation of the Trauma Treatise and Modern Medical Commentaries''. Atlanta, Ga: Lockwood Press.</ref> It also deals with dislocations, tumors, and bone fractures. The text provides diagnoses of different injuries and ailments, where the physician, unlike most other Egyptian texts, proceeds with a more scientific approach. The physician seems to understand the concept of a pulse and diagnosis of specific ailments; different treatments are prescribed such as bandaging, suturing the wounds, and stopping the bleeding.
The Ebers papyrus (c. 1550 BC) is a more magical text but has hundred of remedies, including with how to deal with psychological problems such as depression and dementia.<ref>For information on this text, see: ''Ancient Egyptian Medicine: The Papyrus Ebers''. 1974. Chicago: Ares Publishers.</ref> There is clear knowledge of the circulatory system and the heart’s central role in the circulation of blood; such knowledge may not be surprising given Egyptian practices of mummification and extracting organs. Different eye, skin, and parasitic ailments are understood and medicines would be applied, such as the use of ochre. There were method methods for birth control, such as using a paste of dates, while the treatment for guinea worm disease includes include using a stick for extraction by wrapping the worm, a process still used today (making it one of the longest-lived treatments known to us). One of the oldest relatively complete medical texts anywhere is the Kahun Gynecological papyrus (c. 1800 BC).<ref>For information on this text, see: Halioua, Bruno, and Bernard Ziskind. 2005. ''Medicine in the Days of the Pharaohs''. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, pg. 177.</ref> [[File:Tablet_with_prescriptions.jpg|thumbnail|300px250px|left|Babylonian tablet dealing with medical prescriptions]]
The text mostly deals with women’s’ ailments such as gynecological diseases, fertility, pregnancy, contraception, and other areas. None of the treatments are surgical and all deal with applying medicines to different body parts to address the ailment. From other texts it is clear there was an understanding of things such as excessive bleeding, burns, skin problems, eye infections, and other sicknesses. These involved both combinations of magical rituals but also practical treatments including medicines, applying bandages. Surgery was carried out as well; bronze surgical equipment have been found in a tomb and it is known different tools have been used. Surgery was seen as more risky and was probably not considered the first option.<ref>For general information on surgery, treatments dealing with bleeding, infections, and other ailments and treatments, see Nunn 2002.</ref>

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