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Portal:Medicine

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Medicine

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

Medicine is the science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of 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 existed for thousands of years, 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. For 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, treatments outside the bounds of safety and efficacy are termed quackery. Read more...

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Autism is a brain development disorder that shows symptoms before a child is three years old and has a steady course with no remission. Its characteristic signs are impairments in social interaction and communication, as well as restricted and repetitive behavior. These characteristics distinguish autism from milder pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and reflect Leo Kanner's first descriptions of autism, which emphasized "autistic aloneness" and "insistence on sameness". Heritability contributes about 90% of the risk of a child developing autism, but the genetics of autism are complex and typically it is unclear which genes are responsible. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Many other causes have been proposed, such as exposure of children to vaccines; these proposals are controversial and the vaccine hypotheses have no convincing scientific evidence. (More...))

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Dermatographic urticaria ("skin writing"). Done by writing the "invisible" letters with an empty ball-point pen and waiting for a couple of minutes.

Photo credit: Mysid (public domain)

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