History of diagnosis

Modern medical knowledge of a wide variety of human diseases, methods of their detection and control is based on thousands of years of human experience. Views from the point of view of the science of diseases and diagnostics in the role of a scientific discipline developed along with the development of biological and other sciences, therefore the history of diagnostics is an integral component of the general history of medicine. The current state and study of the methodology of studying diseases and their recognition are inherently related to the level of philosophy of each era and clear knowledge of natural phenomena.

During the time of primitive medicine, the usual and accessible signs of disease — fractures and injuries, vomiting, and severe diarrhea, or perception of pain and heat, etc. — were the basic components of a primitive diagnosis. To identify the diseases, simplest methods of research were used (such as inspection, feeling), which were used without a plan and methodology and a thorough study of the symptoms of the disease being studied.

In ancient Egypt and India, much attention was paid to body temperature, methods of listening and palpation were used, in China the theory of the role of the pulse in the treatment of the organism was born, etc. The main significance for the development of ancient diagnostics was the medicine of ancient Greece - the Cnidus and Kosian schools (Hippocrates). Moreover, the latter is known as the ancestor of scientific clinical medicine.

The diagnostic study conducted by Hippocrates was based on careful observation at the patient's bed with the method of comparison with his healthy or past condition. In some cases, various effects on the patient were used to detect some reactions or symptoms: “if the symptoms of the disease are not clearly identified, then nature must be helped” - patients were forced to move or shake the chest (“succussio Hippocratis” method, etc.). A number of instruments were used for diagnostics, for example, a special probe for studying the uterus, uterine and anal mirrors. In ancient times, Hippocrates listened for wheezing in the lungs and pleural friction noise, used diagnostics based on palpation of the liver and spleen. According to Hippocrates, the main task of diagnosis was to assess the general condition of the patient, and not to identify areas of damage and the designation of the disease. He believed that the health of a part depends on the whole. The recognition of the disease was based on the awareness of the integrity of the human body, on the opinion that “in a living body everything is connected with everything”. In other words, it was believed that the disease is the suffering of the whole organism. The diagnostic study would certainly include the identification of the stage or period of the disease, as well as the discovery of the source of the disease: “The key question is what caused the disease, from which prerequisites or source in the body deficiencies are born.”

Hippocrates became the founder of the diagnosis, which was based on a number of basic principles that are of significant value for modern medicine. For example, he developed a method of diagnostic research and analysis that covers all manifestations of a human disease and the sequence of their development. In addition, Hippocrates created the richest clinical casuistry and symptomatology, and not as a selective combination of signs or certain diseases, but as a link between symptoms and periods of the disease, as integral elements during the course of the disease, which depends on a combination of various conditions. Boldly discarding the "divine" causes of disease, Hippocrates considered the disease a natural manifestation and the result of the influence of various external influences.

Hippocrates understood all the difficulties in the work of a doctor, he considered necessary active help from society in the realization of the tasks of practical medicine: “Not only the doctor should use all the necessary means in the work, but also the patient, and all his surroundings, and all external circumstances should help doctor to carry out their activities. ” After Hippocrates, the science of diagnosis for many centuries has developed slowly and slowly, received new methods of research the symptomatology of new detectable diseases.

A significant contribution to the development of medicine and the science of diagnostics was made by the work of Galen “Corpus medicorum” and especially the great work “The Canon of the Medical Art” by Ibn Sina (Avicenna), whose indisputable influence existed before the XVI century in both Arab and European countries.

In the Renaissance, new diagnostic methods appear. A considerable share in the development of diagnostics was brought by the attempts of Paracelsus and other researchers to apply the methods of chemical and physical research. The work of Van-Helmant and Sylvius, who discovered the phenomena of fermentation and mathematically proved the importance of the balance of acids and alkalis, also helped. Santorio, using scales and a hygrometer, measured the metabolism in a special chamber, and Borelli used the laws of mechanics and mathematics known at that time to study the characteristics of the heart and skeletal muscles.

The key stage in the development of classical medicine and the science of diagnostics can be considered the revival of the ancient method of Hippocrates, namely, constant observation at the patient’s bedside, at Padua and Leiden universities, as well as in the practice of English doctors.

And this is even more interesting:

  1. History of Diagnosis III
  2. History of Diagnosis II
  3. The role of Russian scientists in the development of diagnostics II
  4. Clinical study of the patient: a history of the disease
  5. The role of Russian scientists in the development of diagnostics