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Medicine And General Health In The Nineteenth Century

2111 words - 8 pages

Medicine and General Health in the Nineteenth Century
Without the attempts of past doctors and psychologists, advances in medical and health fields of the twenty-first century appeared impossible. Doctors and psychologists throughout the ages attempted to enrich the world with their consistently expanding knowledge of health and medicine. “The 19th century was a period of enormous medical change and progress” (Farlex “Medicine, 19th-century”). Although the nineteenth century brought change to the scientific world, it also brought sickness and unhealthy lifestyles due to a lack of medical knowledge. The scientific knowledge between the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century varied slightly. However, throughout the nineteenth century, knowledge began to grow as doctors refined medicine and treatment methods. Prior to the nineteenth century, the majority of the population believed that the harsh judgement of God because of man’s sins resulted in punishment such as the bubonic plague. “For the first time, religion started to lose its grip on broad groups of people” (Ice “Medicine in the Victorian Era”). As one studies the nineteenth century, one notices that religion no longer controlled the opinions and medical views of the people. Although religion formerly tainted their outlook on medicine and health, scientific experts such as Dr. Edward Jenner sought to eliminate diseases that seemed incurable. “One of the most contagious and most feared diseases of the early 19th century was smallpox. It affected people of all ages, but was fatal to especially young children and the elderly” (Aiello “Diseases”). People noticed that those who contracted smallpox and survived never contracted the disease again. This belief resulted in the attempt to contract smallpox and survive it, however, in trying to succumb to the disease, the attempts often backfired and resulted in disastrous consequences. In the late eighteenth century, Dr. Edward Jenner noticed that milk maids who dealt with cows that developed cowpox, never contracted the smallpox. Determined to discover a vaccine, Dr. Jenner inoculated a young boy with a smallpox vaccine over a period of time, therefore locating an effective vaccination and reducing the risk of small pox (Aiello “Diseases”). “The understanding and treatment of disease developed rapidly in the 19th century. The first major breakthrough was the work of the English doctor, Edward Jenner” (Farlex “Medicine, 19th-century...”). Dr. Jenner remains one of countless medical pioneers of his era, which lead to further exploration of the scientific world in the 1800s. Throughout the nineteenth century, physicians focused mainly on children, the elderly, and the mentally unstable, and strove to improve their methods of treating the ill, by learning the causes of certain illnesses, and treating the diseases and recording results that continue in modern medicine.
Nineteenth century medical scientists attempted to improve treatment...

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