Medical Discoveries – The Renaissance

Discoveries that are important in the Renaissance period in relation to the development of the History of Healing

After playing on google and youtube and doing some research, I have found a few medical related discoveries of the Renaissance period.

The Renaissance was a period of new discoveries in a wide range of fields, medical, food, and technology.

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New Ideas were thought up, old mistaken interpretations were fixed through the new techniques and the wonderful illustrations of Andreas Vesalius and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Through the slight move of medicine away from the church, bodies were able to be opened up for inspection, (I know this is a bit unrelated but whenever I think of the dissection of someone I always think of the movie Sleepy Hollow – and all the odd instruments that they used).

In any time previous I think that Vesalius and Da Vinci’s work would have had them in a lot of trouble with authorities and the church.

While during most of this time the church wasn’t the biggest fan of dissections, they were still practiced, but rarely, usually with a large audience of medical students. Due to not being able to constantly dissect bodies, Da Vinci’s and Vesalius’ illustrations of the body were a helping hand in learning, the detail and type of drawing was amazing.

New ideas were being challenged again the old widely accepted views.


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With the printing press invented in Germany. These new ideas and changes to old methods were more easily done.

I believe that studies into the spread of infectious diseases started as well as Ambroise Paré finding less damaging ways to cauterize wounds, stepping away from boiling oil. While on the battle field when the oil ran out, he is said to have used egg yolks, rose oil (?) and turpentine. He accidentally created two test groups, the ones cauterized with scalding oil healed less quickly then with the ones with a mixture of egg yolk and turpentine. He is also known for the introduction of new surgical techniques.

William Harvey, proved that the heart is a pump for the blood, pumping it all around the body, hurrah for the circulatory system. Harvey’s book was criticised as it contradicted Galens theory.He also wrote a mass produced medical encyclopidia.

The exploring while it brought with it new diseases, it also brought a great many wonderful foods, like potatoes, which now are usually linked to Ireland, not where it originated from. With the introduction of quinine, the gin and tonic was a wonderful thing, I always admit I enjoyed a gin and tonic knowing that it has a counter for malaria.

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