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Found the oldest treatise on medicine

The document that scholars believe the oldest treatise on medicine — the Egyptian papyrus, stores the ideas of the sages who lived almost 4000 years ago — has long been hidden in the vault of rare books the new York medical Academy. It is a remarkable heritage of culture that was already ancient when Rome was in its infancy, and Athens was a small town. Stone monuments of Egypt survived, but the majority of reed manuscripts were lost. Expert James Breasted, who translated the papyrus in the 1920-ies, called him “the world’s oldest manifestation of really scientific knowledge”. Soon the papyrus will be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum at the exhibition “Medicine of ancient Egypt”. Here you can see scan of the mummy, surgical needles and other medical artifacts. “Their knowledge of the body were incredible, although they didn’t always understand it,” said James Allen, curator of Egyptian art at the met.

Papyrus is clear that the ancient physicians knew that the blood pumped by the heart flows through the body. This concept was not seated until the seventeenth century. They also knew how to do stitches. The manuscript also contains the oldest known descriptions of the symptoms of brain injury.

In the manuscript there are tips on the use of honey is a natural antiseptic on open wounds, nastoichivo bark that contains natural pain relievers substance chemically similar to aspirin. James Allen said that in another ancient Egyptian text it is advisable to apply to the wounds of moldy bread, and suggests that doctors used this method until, until there was penicillin. “They didn’t know what bacteria, but struggled with the infection,” says James Allen. In Egypt there were metal tools, but doctors were using stone knives, because “flint knives they could sharpen better, and just sharpened silicon knife was sterile”.

Preparation of bodies for mummification gave the Egyptians detailed knowledge of anatomy and bandaging. They realized that damage to one side of the head can cause paralysis of the opposite side of the body. In the papyrus determined the difference between the cracks, splintering and fractured bones.

Since in the nineteenth century the American, Edwin Smith purchased and translated the papyrus, it affects those who read it, its modernity. It has magic spells, but most of the text is methodical and empirical approach to diagnosis and treatment. Probably the most amazing thing about it — the restraint. The author’s approach is careful, and in some cases it is recommended to wait until the body itself will not cure.

The papyrus was written in the XVII century BC, after nine centuries after they were built the great pyramids, but about a century earlier, when, according to tradition, Moses lived. Although there are older fragments of medical works, experts believe that nothing like this anymore.

The document used the words that already became archaic, and the author explains their significance. This suggests that the papyrus is a copy of a document written several hundred years earlier.

An ancient manuscript written in black and red ink, the cursive hieratic, more abstract than the familiar images-the characters.

The author described 48 cases of medical practice, starting from the top and working your way up to the shoulder and chest. Here the papyrus breaks off, and experts believe that in the original description of the diseases were to feet.

In the document mainly refers to injuries such as puncture wounds and fractures, so we can assume that he was the “manual on field medicine,” but it describes the case of tumor removal of cyst or tumor. Among serious tips and have an easier snippet: the original text someone added the recipe for “anti-aging” cream. “When I think about some of the aggressive methods of treatment recommended by later specialists, about what was done in the middle Ages, give you goose bumps. These methods sometimes been harmful, and the papyrus corresponds more to our current thinking,” said Miriam Mandelbaum, curator of collection of rare books and manuscripts new York medical Academy. Source: the new York Academy of medicine and the Metropolitan Museum of art.