I decided to tackle The Histories by Herodotus this summer, after having enjoyed reading Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War last summer, and came across a fascinating description of Babylonian medicine by Herodotus in Book 1 that I connected with social networking via the Internet. In contrast to Thucydides, Herodotus, called "the father of history" by Cicero, has many little asides and colorful and curious descriptions of the people, places, and culture of the late 6th/early 5th century eastern Mediterranean and Near East world, his "Oikoumene" or inhabited world.
At 1.197, Herodotus states that the Babylonians did not use physicians, but instead took their sick into the public square and allowed people who either suffered the same illness or saw someone else who did to advise the sick person. Further, it was not considered acceptable by the Babylonians to just pass by a sick person or not ask what disease he had!
I imagine such a sick man or woman being bombarded and overwhelmed with all kinds of diagnoses and advice about how to rid themselves of whatever was ailing them--kind of like when patients go online and search for their "disease," signs, symptoms, lab results, etc., right?! I see a similar phenomenon with the myriad groups focused on patients with different syndromes and diseases. I'm certainly not disparaging these at all--they are extremely useful to patients, families, and caregivers and serve to not only a resources for information but support and advocacy. I just find it interesting and fascinating that an ancient group of people did pretty much the same thing over 2,500 years ago!
I thought this would be a nice re-entry into more regular blogging again after a bit of hiatus.
Hope to post more on a plethora of recent articles on lung pathology, cancer biology, and transfusion medicine soon.