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Medicine

Marble statue of Asclephius on a pedestal, symbol of medicine in Western medicine

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Medicine has been around for thousands of years, during most of which it was an art (an area of skill and knowledge) frequently having connections to the religious and philosophical beliefs of local culture. For example, a medicine man would apply herbs and say prayers for healing, or an ancient philosopher and physician would apply bloodletting according to the theories of humorism. In recent centuries, since the advent of modern science, most medicine has become a combination of art and science (both basic and applied, under the umbrella of medical science). While stitching technique for sutures is an art learned through practice, the knowledge of what happens at the cellular and molecular level in the tissues being stitched arises through science.

Prescientific forms of medicine are now known as traditional medicine and folk medicine. They remain commonly used with or instead of scientific medicine and are thus called alternative medicine. For example, evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture is "variable and inconsistent" for any condition, but is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner. In contrast, treatments outside the bounds of safety and efficacy are termed quackery. Read more...

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CD colitis 2.jpg

Crohn's disease (also known as regional enteritis) is a chronic, episodic, inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by transmural inflammation (affecting the entire wall of the involved bowel) and skip lesions (areas of inflammation with areas of normal lining in between). Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and may sometimes affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus; as a result, the symptoms of Crohn's disease can vary between affected individuals. The main gastrointestinal symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, which may be bloody, and weight loss. Crohn's disease can also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye. (More...)

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PET-schema.png
The image illustrates the processing principals of a positron emission tomograph (PET) commonly used during cancer diagnostics. It shows how during the annihilation process two photons are emitted in diametrically opposing directions. These photons are registered by the PET as soon as they arrive at the detector ring. After the registration, the data is forwarded to a processing unit which decides if two registered events are selected as a so-called coincidence event. All coincidences are forwarded to the image processing unit where the final image data is produced via image reconstruction procedures.

Photo credit: Public Domain

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