The longer you look back, The longer you look back


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The longer you look back,

  • The longer you look back,

  • the further you can look forward

  • --Winston Churchill 1944

  • 以史为镜,可以知兴替 -唐太宗

  • Taking history as a mirror, one can draw lessons from raises and falls of powers

  • - Li Shimin(First Emperor of Tang Dynasty)



History of Medicine is an interdisciplinary study leading toward an understanding of the origination and development of medicine and influencing factors; and its impact on society and human being.

  • History of Medicine is an interdisciplinary study leading toward an understanding of the origination and development of medicine and influencing factors; and its impact on society and human being.



Elective:32 teaching hours,2 credit points

  • Elective:32 teaching hours,2 credit points

  • Schedule: Lectures + discussion

  • History of human diseases 6h

  • Origin and history of medicine 18h

  • Student presentation & discussion 6h

  • Test:Essay writing



Roy Porter The Cambridge History of Medicine  Cambridge University Press 1996,2006 revised

  • Roy Porter The Cambridge History of Medicine  Cambridge University Press 1996,2006 revised

  • Kenneth F. Kiple: The Cambridge World History of Human Disease The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge 2003

  • Arturo CastiglioniA History of Medicine (English translation), New York, J.Aronson 1975 11th Editions

  • Frederick Cartwright & Michael Biddiss: Disease & History Sutton Publishing 2000

  • Internet www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd, www.historylearningsite.co.uk, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_medicine













The history of mankind is the history of its

  • The history of mankind is the history of its

  • diseases – Folke Henschen

  • Since the first man emerges on the Earth,

  • mankind and its disease have been bonded

  • inseparably.



疾病 Disease (dis-ease) an impairment of the normal state of an organism that interrupts or modifies its vital functions.

  • 疾病 Disease (dis-ease) an impairment of the normal state of an organism that interrupts or modifies its vital functions.

  • To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always

  • -Edward Livingston Trudeau



天花病毒

  • 天花病毒

  • poxviridae

  • othopoxvirus





The natural history of disease (emerge, develop, outbreak, attenuate, eliminate) and the intervention of human activities

  • The natural history of disease (emerge, develop, outbreak, attenuate, eliminate) and the intervention of human activities

  • The geographical and historical distribution of human diseases

  • The impact of human society on the development of disease, and in turns the impact of disease on the development of human society and human being itself





Related to gathering and hunting (hunter-gatherers):

  • Related to gathering and hunting (hunter-gatherers):

  • malnutrition

  • parasitosis

  • injury



Zoonosis (disease transmitted from animals to humans or from humans to non-human animals)

  • Zoonosis (disease transmitted from animals to humans or from humans to non-human animals)

  • Epidemic of infectious disease

  • Digestive

  • air

  • Insects

  • Domestication of animals





Ancient Egypt

  • Ancient Egypt

  • Mummy

  • Pyramid



Pharaoh Ramses V died in

  • Pharaoh Ramses V died in

  • 1157 B.C from smallpox







Examining mummy

  • Examining mummy

  • with CT scanner



Schistosoma eggs discovered in a body of preserved ancient lady’s body (in Changsha Mawangdui of Hunan Province, 165 BC)

  • Schistosoma eggs discovered in a body of preserved ancient lady’s body (in Changsha Mawangdui of Hunan Province, 165 BC)

  • Autopsy also discovered coronary heart disease, biliary stones and eggs of other intestinal parasites.



Schistosoma eggs were also found in another well-preserved body (167 BC) in Jiangling of Hubei . He also suffered from cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, pleuritis, and eggs of whipworm, tape worm, and Clonorchis sinensis etc.

  • Schistosoma eggs were also found in another well-preserved body (167 BC) in Jiangling of Hubei . He also suffered from cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, pleuritis, and eggs of whipworm, tape worm, and Clonorchis sinensis etc.







Starting from Camp Funston, Kansas USA in spring of 1918 then spread worldwide, during 1918-1919 1 billion people (world population 1.7 b) infected and 25-40 million died, much more than killed in the 1st World War, incorrectly called “Spanish flu”

  • Starting from Camp Funston, Kansas USA in spring of 1918 then spread worldwide, during 1918-1919 1 billion people (world population 1.7 b) infected and 25-40 million died, much more than killed in the 1st World War, incorrectly called “Spanish flu”

  • (Triple Alliance, Triple Entente)







Demographic:degeneration disease, chronic non-communicable diseases

  • Demographic:degeneration disease, chronic non-communicable diseases

  • Ecological and environmental:pollution and occupational diseases

  • Dietary and life style:smoking, obesity, accident

  • Stress and social pressure:depression and suicide

  • Progress of medical technology: iatrogenic disease, brain death, vegetative state



























Ozonosphere absorb ultraviolet lights <300nm from solar radiation protecting living organisms in the earth from UV damage.

  • Ozonosphere absorb ultraviolet lights <300nm from solar radiation protecting living organisms in the earth from UV damage.

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCc)widely used for refrigerants and spray cause depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer by releasing free radical . 

  • Over exposure to UV may cause skin cancer, cataract,etc.















Every year 3.5 million people die from smoking related disease in the world, the figure will reach to 10 million by 2030,if no effective actions are taken,the economy loses will be $200 billion , half in the low income countries.

  • Every year 3.5 million people die from smoking related disease in the world, the figure will reach to 10 million by 2030,if no effective actions are taken,the economy loses will be $200 billion , half in the low income countries.

  • In China, 350m smokers, 1m died from smoking-related diseases









Body mass index

  • Body mass index

  • BMI=Kg/M2

































































25million people died from traffic accidents since Karl Benz invented the first car in 1885

  • 25million people died from traffic accidents since Karl Benz invented the first car in 1885

  • About 500,000 people die from road accident every year in the world

  • Death from road accident ranks 7 in China, 10 for the world, but it may become the 4th by 2030



Accident is the number one cause of death for children under 14 in China accounting for 26.1% of all death.

  • Accident is the number one cause of death for children under 14 in China accounting for 26.1% of all death.

  • It is estimated 40million children suffer from accident and 3.35 m hospitalized

  • 0.4m disabled



WHO estimates: there are 120-200m people suffer from depression in the world, it would become the second leading cause of death or disability by 2020

  • WHO estimates: there are 120-200m people suffer from depression in the world, it would become the second leading cause of death or disability by 2020

  • The prevalence rate of depression is 6.1%~9.5% for life time,about 13%~20% has one or more depressive episodes or experiences in one’s life time



Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities, sadness, unhappy thoughts, apathy, and dejection.

  • Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive low mood, low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities, sadness, unhappy thoughts, apathy, and dejection.

  •  Up to 60% of all people who commit suicide have depression or another mood disorder.









Thalisomide, a sedative produced by ChemieGruenenthal, Germany in 1957 for sick of pregnant women.

  • Thalisomide, a sedative produced by ChemieGruenenthal, Germany in 1957 for sick of pregnant women.

  • Up to 1959 more than 1m took the drug, in 1960 phocomelia (birth defect) increased which was related to the drug use during the pregnancy of the mother

  • The drug was banned in Nov 1961 but already 10000-12000 malformed infants born, 4000 died before 1y. 











Thalidomide induced limb defects in Rhesus monkey

  • Thalidomide induced limb defects in Rhesus monkey







福兮祸所伏 , 祸兮福所倚 -老子 Lao Tse

  • 福兮祸所伏 , 祸兮福所倚 -老子 Lao Tse

  • Misfortune, that is where happiness depends ; happiness , that is where misfortune underlies. 

  • No weal without woe. 

  • Luck and misfortune comes in turn



The origin of mankind and its disease came together

  • The origin of mankind and its disease came together

  • The development, spread and epidemic are the results of joint effects of natural environment and social environment, so there are unique disease profiles in certain historical era.

  • To study the history of disease may enhance our understanding on the natural law of disease development and is of value in heath policy making






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