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Portal:Medicine

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The Medicine Portal

Marble statue of Asclephius on a pedestal, symbol of medicine in Western medicine

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Medicine has been around for thousands of years, during most of which it was an art (an area of skill and knowledge) frequently having connections to the religious and philosophical beliefs of local culture. For example, a medicine man would apply herbs and say prayers for healing, or an ancient philosopher and physician would apply bloodletting according to the theories of humorism. In recent centuries, since the advent of modern science, most medicine has become a combination of art and science (both basic and applied, under the umbrella of medical science). While stitching technique for sutures is an art learned through practice, the knowledge of what happens at the cellular and molecular level in the tissues being stitched arises through science.

Prescientific forms of medicine are now known as traditional medicine and folk medicine, though they do not fall within the modern definition of “medicine” which is based in medical science. Traditional medicine and folk medicine remain commonly used with, or instead of, scientific medicine and are thus called alternative medicine (meaning “[something] other than medicine”, from Latin alter, “other”). For example, evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture is "variable and inconsistent" for any condition, but is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner. In contrast, alternative treatments outside the bounds not just of scientific medicine, but also outside the bounds of safety and efficacy are termed quackery. Quackery can encompass an array of practices and practitioners, irrespective of whether they are prescientific (traditional medicine and folk medicine) or modern pseudo-scientific, including chiropractic which rejects modern scientific germ theory of disease (instead believing without evidence that human diseases are caused by invisible subluxation of the bones, predominately of the spine and less so of other bones), with just over half of chiropractors also rejecting the science of immunization. Read more...

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Triatoma infestans.jpg

Chagas disease (also called American trypanosomiasis) is a human tropical parasitic disease which occurs in the Americas, particularly in South America. Its pathogenic agent is a flagellate protozoan named Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to humans and other mammals mostly by hematophagous assassin bugs of the subfamily Triatominae (Family Reduviidae). Those insects are known by numerous common names varying by country, including benchuca, vinchuca, kissing bug, chipo, barbeiro, etcetera. The most common insect species belong to the genera Triatoma, Rhodnius, and Panstrongylus. Other forms of transmission are possible, though, such as ingestion of food contaminated with parasites, blood transfusion and fetal transmission.

Trypanosoma cruzi is a member of the same genus as the infectious agent of African sleeping sickness, but its clinical manifestations, geographical distribution, life cycle and insect vectors are quite different. (More...)

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Desinsertion du muscle CO.jpg
Photo of strabismus surgery. The medial rectus muscle is being disinserted following pre-placement of vicryl sutures. A Castroviejo locking forceps is grasping the superior pole of the muscle, while a pair of Manson-Aebli scissors does the cutting. The eyelids are being held by a Cook speculum.

Photo credit: User:Bticho

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  • ...the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease as a distinct entity were first identified by Emil Kraepelin, and the characteristic neuropathology was first observed by Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, in 1906? In this sense, the disease was co-discovered by Kraepelin and Alzheimer, who worked in Kraepelin's laboratory. Because of the overwhelming importance Kraepelin attached to finding the neuropathological basis of psychiatric disorders, Kraepelin made the generous decision that the disease would bear Alzheimer's name.

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