Medicine and the Five Senses

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Overview

From the days of Hippocratic 'bedside medicine' to the advent of the CAT scanner, doctors have always relied on their senses in diagnosing and treating disease. Medical education, from the apprenticeship, to the rise of the laboratory, has sought to train the senses of students who must act like medical detectives. At the same time, debate since antiquity has pondered the hierarchy of the senses - from noble vision to baser touch and smell. From the rise of medical and, particularly, anatomical illustration in the Renaissance, doctors have been concerned about the relationship between image and reality. This richly-illustrated collection of essays explores many facets of these themes. They range widely over time and space and shed much new light on medical perceptions and the cultural dimensions of the healing arts.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: James J. Foody, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is an historical overview of the roles of the five primary senses in the practice of medicine. Fifteen contributors wrote the 14 chapters covering different aspects of the senses.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to answer two major questions. First, which is the noblest, or basest, of the senses, and why? Second, how does the mind convert raw data from the senses into coherence? The contributors do a better job of answering the latter; however, the approach is not that of the physical scientist, but that of the social scientist.
Audience: The book is intended for the mature physician who contemplates the historic perspective of his or her routine existence as a physician.
Features: The book is well illustrated with monochrome reproductions of paintings, drawings, and photographs. All assist the reader in fleshing out the historic viewpoint. References are extensive, well rounded, and pertinent. They will be valuable in guiding the interested reader to other sources. The index is excellent for individual names, but sparse in identifying particulars. The overall appearance of the book is splendid.
Assessment: This is an excellent historic overview about how the evolution of the understanding of the senses has caused the evolution of medical practice. One notable exception in the book's content is the lack of discussion of the effect of "humors' on temperament and the manner of how the perception of such humors affected the understanding of illness and its treatment. With this caveat, the book should be a substantial addition to the library of those interested in appreciating how medicine arrived at the position it enjoys today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521611985
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/17/2005
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Galen at the bedside: the methods of a medical detective Vivian Nutton; 2. Sensory perception and its metaphors in the time of Richard of Fournival Elizabeth Sears; 3. The manifest and the hidden in the Renaissance clinic Jerome Bylebyl; 4. In bad odour: smell and its significance in medicine from antiquity to the seventeenth century Richard Palmer; 5. Seeing and believing: contrasting attitudes towards observational anatomy among French Galenists in the first half of the seventeenth century Laurence Brockliss; 6. 'The mark of truth': looking and learning in some anatomical illustrations from the Renaissance and eighteenth century Martin Kemp; 7. The art and science of seeing in medicine: physiognomy 1780-1820 Ludmilla Jordanova; 8. The introduction of percussion and stethoscopy to early nineteenth-century Edinburgh Malcolm Nicolson; 9. Educating the senses: students, teachers and medical rhetoric in eighteenth-century London Susan C. Lawrence; 10. The rise of physical examination Roy Porter; 11. Touch, sexuality and disease Sander Gilman; 12. Sense and sensibility in late nineteenth-century surgery in America Gert Brieger; 13. Training the senses, training the mind Merriley Borell; 14. Technology and the use of the senses in twentieth-century medicine Stanley J. Reiser; Notes; Index.

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