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History of Medical Imaging
Transcript of History of Medical Imaging
Around 1700 B.C. : Mesopotamia
Surgeries were sometimes used in medical practice.
The Code of Hammurabi, created by the ruler of Babylon, contains laws concerning the liability of physicians who "used the knife".
5th Century B.C. : Persian Wars
Due to the Persian Wars, the Greek city-states had to band together.
The city-states were open to free thinking, and the increased bond between the states led to a strengthened learning environment.
Medicine that was based on observation rather than magic began to appear around 500 B.C.
Dissection of human cadavers was accepted in medical research.
The city-states were eventually broken apart by war, and an increase in religious practices changed the free-thinking environment of medical study.
3rd Century B.C. : Alexandria
Hippocrates, who has been credited with establishing medicine as a science, dies.
The city of Alexandria in Egypt flourishes under well developed city planning.
The Library of Alexandria permitted the practice of human dissection on criminals, which allowed for the study of human anatomy.
Around 300 B.C. : The Greek physician, Herophilus practiced in Alexandria. He founded the first school of anatomy. He also differentiated between sensory and motor nerves and established the brain as the center of the nervous system.
2nd Century A.D.
The Fall of Alexandria
Alexandria was taken by Arab soldiers who, due to their Islamic beliefs that human bodies are sacred, did not approve of human dissections.
Human dissections were prohibited, and by the fall of the Library of Alexandria, only one skeleton was left for observation.
Roman physician, Galen, traveled to Alexandria where he is thought to have been inspired in the study of anatomy.
On his return to Rome, Galen studies animal dissections.
Galen proved that arteries contain blood and air, as people thought.
Galen was considered the authority in medicine for over 1,000 years and his ideas and writing were the basis of medical education in Europe.
5th Century A.D.
Fall of the Roman Empire
Human dissection was not approved of in Rome, but some medical advances were made before the fall.
The Enlightenment was a period of increased religion, and scientific set back.
Medical knowledge declined as religious teachings became the authority on the cause of disease. These teachings were not to be questioned.
Disease was considered the will of God.
Dissections were forbidden and experiments were suppressed.
Infirmaries were founded, but were crowded and unsanitary, bringing little help.
High Middle Ages (1000-13000 A.D.)
The study of medicine once again becomes a priority.
Human dissections begin again.
Black Death (1300s)
The Bubonic Plague, now known to be caused by Y Pestis, was carried by rats and spread to people.
Many people lived in close proximity to one another and did not lead very clean of hygienic lifestyles. This helped to spread disease.
Doctors wore specific outfits that were designed to try and prevent them from getting the disease.
The plague killed 2 out of every 3 people in Europe.
This sparked a desire to increase medical knowledge.
For the first time in history it became required for physicians to obtain a license to practice medicine.
Salerno, in Italy, became the world's first medical school, and was the most important source of medical knowledge in Europe at the time.
A year's study of anatomy was required to obtain a license.
Renaissance (14th-17th Centry)
The revival of learning in Europe led to huge advances in science and medicine during this time.
Major centers for study of medicine opened.
The invention of printing allowed books on surgery and medicinal plants to become more easily available.
Experimentation and dissection was more common.
Medical knowledge increased with the modern study of anatomy in the 16th century.
Vesalius shows that Galen's descriptions of the human anatomy were based on the somewhat different animal anatomy, and in 1543 is the first to accurately illustrate the human anatomy.
In 1655, Robert Hooke discovered cells.
The first microscope of good quality allowed the study of cellular basis of disease.
In the 1670s Antoni van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to see blood cells, sperm cells, and single cell organisms using a microscope he created.
By the 17th century there was a good basis of medical knowledge; however all the information had been gathered from dead bodies.
November 8, 1895
Roentgen discovers X-rays by accident while trying to photograph the newly described cathode rays which are generated by a Crookes tube, and produce a green glow inside the tube.
He found out that the X-rays exposed photographic plates, and on December 22, 1895 he took the first X-ray, which showed the bones in his wife's hand.
This discovery spread quickly and was readily accepted by the public, making Roentgen famous against his wishes.
The X-ray was helpful for medical imaging of bones, but does not show soft tissue such as the brain.
It was not until a while after the discovery that that dangers of X-rays were fully recognized.
Many people working with X-rays died and lost limbs from the radiation.
October 1, 1971
The first CT scan is performed by Godfrey Houndsfield in London.
CT scans require a high use of radiation, so only a limited number can be preformed.
CT scans allow viewing of some soft tissue and create three dimensional images of internal organs.
CT scans are cheap, making them an alternative to other types of medical imagining in certain cases.
December 1, 1977
The first MRI scan was preformed by Damadian and his coworkers, Minkoff and Goldsmith on a patient with lung cancer.
This scan occured in New York, and took five hours to complete.
Lauterbur won the Nobel Prize in 2003 for his discoveries in MRI. He is know for his work with imaging techniques and creating the ability to produce multi-dimensional images of organs and soft tissues.
Wright, J.W. (Ed.). (2004). Medicine. In The New York Times
Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind. (pp. 436-442). New York: St. Martin's Press.