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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 12(1); 2003 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2003;12(1): 54-65.
The Concept of Disease in Galen
Insok Yeo
Department of Medical History, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.
Galen was with no doubt a great authority in ancient medicine rivalled only with "the father of medicine" Hippocrates His medicine inherited not only Hippocratic tradition which is characterized by dynamic pathology but also Alexandrian medicine which made a great contribution to anatomy He did not generalize all the pathological phenomena according to one dogmatic theory His medicine was open to all kinds of medicine but he was quite selective in receiving different medical traditions Galen defined disease as impairment of bodily activities Whatever that impairs the bodily activities is the cause of disease Galen's pathology is built upon two heterogeneous medical traditions 1) Dynamic pathology of the Hippocratic medicine but which ignored anatomy 2) Anatomical pathology of Alexandrian medicine Galen integrated these two different traditions by his concept of disease His definition of disease impairment of bodily activities made it possible to harmonize these two different traditions otherwise which would have been conflictual It is Galen's great contribution to Western medicine to have laid a foundation of pathology by combining physiological and anatomical point of view.
Key Words: Galen, Dynamic, Pathology, Anatomical Pathology, Concept of Disease
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