Why did the discoveries of the renaissance have such limited impact on the understanding and treatment of illness? (12 Marks)
Knowing how somebody's jaw fits together isn't going to cure the plague!
The first of these reasons is that the discoveries made during these times were primarily about anatomy not treatment. Vesalius dissected bodies in order to prove that many of the works that Galen the renowned ancient Greek who had formed the basis for modern medical teachings had produced, were in fact wrong. This included the discovery that the jaw is comprised of one single bone not the two that Galen had said.
William Harvey focused on the distribution of blood around the body. He discovered that blood flows only one way around the body, and that blood is reused and not constantly produced by the liver as Galen had suggested. He used many complex diagrams which when combined with the invention of the printing press became quickly distributed throughout the world in the form of a book entitled 'An anatomical account of the motion of the heart and blood in animals'. These would late form key elements in helping to identify effective drugs and cures, but during the Renaissance they were met with opposition and took over 40 years before they became accepted ideas in medical schools.
Many people were also afraid to cure themselves illnesses were created by God to punish you or test your loyalty. Attempting to get rid of these would be going against God, at a time when the Church wielded significant power and had the backing of the crown. If at all, they preferred to trust in 'wise women' or 'curies' of their villages, who themselves were instantly suspicious of using new methods over triedandtrusted ones. As such, while people attempted to understand the human body, there was very little demand for advancing cures.
This was different in cities, where revolutions were taking place. Inventions such as the ...
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