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Hippocrates and Avicenna Two of the Greatest Physician - Scientists of All Time By Christos T. Lolas, M.D. This presentation is about two of the great physician – scientists and medical writers. Hippocrates of Greece and Avicenna of Persia lived in different periods, many centuries apart. Both formulated a holistic healing system for the treatment of diseases. Their written works guided many generations of physicians in Asia and Europe for generations following their death. Hippocrates (440 – 3
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  Hippocrates and Avicenna Two of the Greatest Physician - Scientists of All TimeBy Christos T. Lolas, M.D. This presentation is about two of the great physician – scientists andmedical writers. Hippocrates of Greece and Avicenna of Persia lived indifferent periods, many centuries apart. Both formulated a holistic healingsystem for the treatment of diseases. Their written works guided manygenerations of physicians in Asia and Europe for generations followingtheir death. Hippocrates (440 – 360 B.C.) Hippocrates was born in 440 B.C. on the Greek Island of Cos where helived most of his life. Reportedly, he died in 360 B.C. in Thessaly, aregion on the mainland. It was Hippocrates who finally freed medicinefrom the shackles of magic and superstition, and belief in thesupernatural. He was the founder of the Medical School of Cos. Heshowed that signs and symptoms of a disease were caused by the naturalreaction of the body of the diseased process and the main role of the physician was to aid the natural resistance of the body to overcome thedisease. His theory was that disease results from their disharmony andimbalance of the four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.The physician’s job was to restore health by correcting this imbalance.He travelled to many places, collecting medical information and data.The  Hippocratic Corpus is a collection of over 60 works of his own andhis students of the Medical School of Cos. Hippocrates was the personification of the ideal physician. He is most remembered today for his famous oath in which a doctor solemnly vows to perform the practiceof medicine by the highest ethical standards. Avicenna (Ibn Sina) (980 – 1037 A.D.) Avicenna has been called the father of modern medicine - the prince physician. Avicenna was born in Bokhara in 980 A.D. As a child, heshowed a prodigious intellect. By the age of ten he had memorized theentire Koran, and by the age of 17, he had mastered the art of medicine.He established himself as a physician – scientist and politicaladministrator, practicing both in the courts of various Persian rulersduring the disintegration of the Abbacic dynasty. He moved to Ray and  then to Hamadan, and Isfahan. After extensive travelling, he returned toHamadan where he died in 1037. He wrote mainly from memory, mostlyin Arabic, the language of the Arabic world and in Farsi, his mother tongue. He wrote on just about every area of knowledge – physics,mathematics, economics, and philosophy. He was a devoted student of Aristotle, music, natural history, religion and of course, medicine. Hismajor contribution to medical science was the monumental book, Al-Ganun fi al- Tibb (The Canon of Medicine) and the Kitab al-Shifa, (TheBook of Healing). The Canon of Medicine, an immense encyclopedia of Medicine, examines the entire medical knowledge available from ancientand Muslim sources emphasizing the interaction between psychology andhealth. He based his medical system on the humeral and vitalizingaspects of the medical practices of Hippocrates and Galen. He took auniversal perspective by travelling extensively collecting medicalknowledge from many countries (Greece, Egypt, Persia, India, Tibet andChina). The “Canon” for centuries after was the standard textbook inmany European medical schools. The “Book of Healing”, was amonumental work embodying a vast field of knowledge from philosophyto the sciences. His philosophy synthesized Aristotelian tradition, pre- platonic influences and Muslim theology.These two great fathers of Medicine, Hippocrates and Avicenna have been a constant and enduring source of inspiration to physicians andhealers down through the ages and up until modern times. As cardiacspecialists, we are reminded ã Of the importance of the holistic approach to managing our  patients. ã To express honestly our ideas, learn from others and shareexperiences by travelling and participating in scientificmeetings, just as we are now doing in Mashhad. ã To teach young colleagues the art of our specialty. ã To maintain the ethical standards of the Hippocratic Oath when practicing our specialty. ã To enrich our lives by opening our minds as Aviccena to theother sciences and arts. 2
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