The Medicine Portal

Marble statue of Asclephius on a pedestal, symbol of medicine in Western medicine

Medicine is the art, science, and practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment or palliation of their injury or disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Medicine has been practiced since prehistoric times, during most of which it was an art (an area of skill and knowledge) frequently having connections to the religious and philosophical beliefs of local culture. For example, a medicine man would apply herbs and say prayers for healing, or an ancient philosopher and physician would apply bloodletting according to the theories of humorism. In recent centuries, since the advent of modern science, most medicine has become a combination of art and science (both basic and applied, under the umbrella of medical science). While stitching technique for sutures is an art learned through practice, the knowledge of what happens at the cellular and molecular level in the tissues being stitched arises through science.

Prescientific forms of medicine are now known as traditional medicine and folk medicine. They remain commonly used with, or instead of, scientific medicine and are thus called alternative medicine. As an example, evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture is "variable and inconsistent" for any condition, but is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner. In contrast, alternative treatments outside the bounds not just of scientific medicine, but also that of safety and efficacy are termed quackery. This can encompass an array of practices and practitioners, irrespective of whether they are prescientific (traditional medicine and folk medicine) or modern pseudo-scientific, including chiropractic which rejects modern scientific germ theory of disease (instead believing without evidence that human diseases are caused by invisible subluxation of the bones, predominantly of the spine and less so of other bones), with just over half of chiropractors also rejecting the science of immunization. (Full article...)

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EM of influenza virus.jpg

Influenza, commonly known as flu, is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (the influenza viruses). The name influenza comes from the Italian: influenza, meaning "influence", (Latin: influentia). In humans, common symptoms of the disease are fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort. In more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, which can be fatal, particularly in young children and the elderly. Although it is sometimes confused with the common cold, influenza is a much more severe disease and is caused by a different type of virus. Influenza can produce nausea and vomiting, especially in children, but these symptoms are more characteristic of the unrelated gastroenteritis, which is sometimes called "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu."

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Surgical staples1.jpg
Surgical incision in right shoulder, 7 days after surgery. The incision was closed with surgical staples.

Photo credit: Llywrch

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  • ...infantile pyloric stenosis is a not uncommon pediatric condition where there is a congenital narrowing of the pylorus (the opening at the lower end of the stomach)? Babies with this condition usually present within the first few weeks (usually between 2nd and 3rd) of life with poor feeding, weight loss and progressively worsening vomiting leading ultimately to projectile non-bilious vomiting.

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