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Thursday, May 19, 2011
Islam's Contributions to Medicine and Medicine Facts
ranian scientist Samuel Rahbar was a pioneer in hematology and the understanding of diabetes. In 1969, he discovered glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), a form of hemoglobin used primarily to identify plasma glucose concentration over time. He was also the first to describe its increase in diabetes.
Chickenpox was also first indentified by Al-Razi, who clearly distinguished it from smallpox and measles. The Comprehensive Book of Medicine, especially with its introduction of measles, smallpox and chickenpox, was very influential in Europe.
The study of allergology and immunology originate from the Islamic world. Muhammad ibn Zakar?ya R?zi (Rhazes)was responsible for discovering "allergic asthma", and was the first physician known to have written articles on allergy and the immune system. In the Sense of Smelling, he explains the occurrence of rhinitis after smelling a rose during the Spring. In the Article on the Reason Why Abou Zayd Balkhi Suffers from Rhinitis When Smelling Roses in Spring, he dicusses seasonal rhinitis, which is the same as allergic asthma or hay fever. Al-Razi was the first to realize that fever is a natural defense mechanism, the body's way of fighting disease. The distinction between smallpox and measles also dates back to al-Razi. The medical procedure of inoculation was practiced in the medieval Islamic world in order to treat smallpox. This was later followed by the first smallpox vaccine in the form of cowpox, invented in Turkey in the early 18th century.
In hematology, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis) wrote the first description on haemophilia, a hereditary genetic disorder, in his Al-Tasrif, in which he wrote of an Andalusian family whose males died of bleeding after minor injuries.
The first psychiatric hospitals and insane asylums were built in the Islamic world as early as the 8th century. The first psychiatric hospitals were built by Arab Muslims in Baghdad in 705, Fes in the early 8th century, and Cairo in 800.
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) made important contributions to ophthalmology and eye surgery, as he studied and correctly explained the process of sight and visual perception for the first time in his Book of Optics, published in 1021.He was also the first to hint at the retina being involved in the process of image formation.
Ibn al-Nafis, in The Polished Book on Experimental Ophthalmology, discovered that the muscle behind the eyeball does not support the ophthalmic nerve, that they do not get in contact with it, and that the optic nerves transect but do not get in touch with each other. He also discovered many new treatments for glaucoma and the weakness of vision in one eye when the other eye is affected by disease.
Muslim physicians set up the earliest dedicated hospitals in the modern sense, known as Bimaristans, which were establishments where the ill were welcomed and cared for by qualified staff, and which were clearly distinguished from the ancient healing temples, sleep temples, hospices, asylums, lazarets and leper-houses which were more concerned with isolating the sick and the mad (insane) from society "rather than to offer them any way to a true cure. "These contrasted with hospitals in Christian Europe which were more concerned with prayer. The Bimaristan hospitals later functioned as the first public hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and diploma-granting medical universities.
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), regarded as the father of modern surgery, contributed greatly to the discipline of medical surgery with his Kitab al-Tasrif ("Book of Concessions"), a 30-volume medical encyclopedia published in 1000, which was later translated to Latin and used in European medical schools for centuries. He invented numerous surgical instruments and described them in his al-Tasrif.
Like in other fields of Islamic science, Muslim physicians and doctors developed the first scientific methods for the field of medicine. This included the introduction of mathematization, quantification, experimentation, experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, dissection, animal testing, human experimentation and postmortem autopsy by Muslim physicians, whilst hospitals in the Islamic world featured the first drug tests, drug purity regulations, and competency tests for doctors.
In the 10th century, Razi (Rhazes) introduced controlled experiment and clinical observation into the field of medicine, and rejected several Galenic medical theories unverified by experimentation. The earliest known medical experiment was carried out by Razi in order to find the most hygienic place to build a hospital. He hung pieces of meat in places throughout 10th century Baghdad and observed where the meat decomposed least quickly, and that was where he built the hospital. In his Comprehensive Book of Medicine, Razi recorded clinical cases of his own experience and provided very useful recordings of various diseases. In his Doubts about Galen, Razi was also the first to prove both Galen's theory of humorism and Aristotle's theory of classical elements false using experimentation.He also introduced urinalysis and stool tests.
Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) (1091-1161) was one of the earliest physicians known to have carried out human dissection and postmortem autopsy. He proved that the skin disease scabies was caused by a parasite, a discovery which upset the theory of humorism supported by Hippocrates and Galen. The removal of the parasite from the patient's body did not involve purging, bleeding, or any other traditional treatments associated with the four humours.
Muslim physicians were pioneers in pulsology and sphygmology. In ancient times, Galen as well as Chinese physicians erroneously believed that there was a unique type of pulse for every organ of the body and for every disease. Galen also erroneously believed that "every part of an artery pulsates simultaneously" and that the motion of the pulse was due to natural motions (the arteries expanding and contracting naturally) as opposed to forced motions (the heart causing the arteries to either expand or contract). The first correct explanations of pulsation were given by Muslim physicians.
Avicenna was a pioneer of sphygmology after he refined Galen's theory of the pulse and discovered the following in The Canon of Medicine:
"Every beat of the pulse comprises two movements and two pauses. Thus, expansion : pause : contraction : pause. [...] The pulse is a movement in the heart and arteries ... which takes the form of alternate expansion and contraction."
Avicenna also pioneered the modern approach of examining the pulse through the examination of the wrist, which is still practiced in modern times. His reasons for choosing the wrist as the ideal location is due to it being easily available and the patient not needing to be distressed at the exposure of his/her body. The Latin translation of his Canon also laid the foundations for the later invention of the sphygmograph.
In etiology and epidemiology, Muslim physicians were responsible for the discovery of infectious disease and the immune system, advances in pathology, and early hypotheses related to bacteriology and microbiology. Their discovery of contagious disease in particular is considered revolutionary and is one of the most important discoveries in medicine. The earliest ideas on contagion can be traced back to several hadiths attributed to Muhammad (pbuh) in the 7th century, who is said to have understood the contagious nature of leprosy, mange, and sexually transmitted disease. These early ideas on contagion arose from the generally sympathetic attitude of Muslim physicians towards lepers (who were often seen in a negative light in other ancient and medieval societies) which can be traced back through hadiths attributed to Muhammad and to the following advice given in the Qur'an:
"There is no fault in the blind, and there is no fault in the lame, and there is no fault in the sick."
This eventually led to the theory of contagious disease, which was fully understood by Avicenna in the 11th century. By then, the pathology of contagion had been fully understood, and as a result, hospitals were created with separate wards for specific illnesses, so that people with contagious diseases could be kept away from other patients who do not have any contagious diseases.