Large areas of Iranian science including medical texts came under the aegis of the ancient Greek Empire, following the Persepolis invasion by Alexander 1 - 4 in BC, which led to the end of the Achaemenid Empire. Ancient Greek culture had made an important contribution to anesthesia and related issues. It has been documented that in ancient times in the pre-Islamic era, Indian and Persian surgeons were very much respected and had operating skills regarding plastic nasal surgery and cataract couching 1 - 3.
The anesthetic techniques used in this era are mentioned in texts written around years later, mainly by Ferdowsi; a combination of cannabis and camphor used at the birth of Rostam which was prepared as a special wine, given to Roudabeh, the birth giving mother, by a Zoroastrian , also recorded as the first citation of an alternative method of childbirth, called Rostam-zad, described below.
Although Shahnameh is a narrative text, according to Ferdowsi its stories are based on the actual lives of the kings. This issue is described further in the following pages, under Ferdowsi in the Islamic era 4. Medicine has a very long and interesting history in ancient Iran. Some ancient academic centers like Jundi Shapur still exist in Iran established in the third century AD. These universities provided a creative environment for scientific research and cooperation between scientists from different cultures, extending throughout the Islamic era.
Shahr-e Sukhte Burnt City , known as the most important city of prehistoric Iran, dating from the third millennium BC, is located in the southeast of the country. The Islamic era is one with expanded cross-cultural interactions. Islam was introduced to Iran by Arab people around 14 centuries ago. Arabian scientists translated scientific texts from the original languages, into Arabic 5. After acceptance of Islam, Iranians experienced many changes in the fields of language, culture and science.
Many scientists flourished, following the teachings of Islam that encouraged science, serving others and saving lives, as valued criteria 6. Chapter 5, Verse This citation is clear about the invaluable role of resuscitation. There is one very important point to be mentioned here, before citing the key scientists and poets: the role of the geographical map in relation to ancient Iran.
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As we know, the current national and political geography of the countries, recognized by the nations and their governments, differs from that in existence many centuries before. The ancient Iranian empire borders have been considerably extended, both eastwards and westwards, from the time of the Achaemenid Empire and over many centuries throughout the Islamic era 7. The Persian Empire was founded around BC by Cyrus II and extended by Darius I, therefore, while the scientists and poets from ancient times may be described as Iranian, the cities they inhabited may not be within the modern-day borders of Iran.
This is also the case with ancient Greek and Roman cities. A number of Mediterranean cities in various countries, according to modern geographical and political maps, were previously under Greek jurisdiction. However, for the purposes of this manuscript we will not discriminate on such grounds. Fortunately, a number of other nations and countries developed from the divided Persian territory and share the common bond of an association with the cultural and scientific heritage of the ancient Iran 8.
The development of teaching hospitals, modeled with patterns similar to modern medical schools and research activities in the field of biomedicine, first originated from the cooperation of scientists from different cultures at Jundi Shapur University Hospital, located in the modern-day Iranian region of Khuzestan, during the Sasanian Empire, in pre-Islamic Iran, eventually led to further progress during the golden age of Islam, creating the foundations for modern academic medicine.
According to the documents available from that period, it is possible that certain physicians in the Islamic era were able to perform some of the steps of inhalational anesthesia, much of this was performed at Jundi Shapur University Hospital, which had the necessary facilities 1 , 7 , 8. In this part of the manuscript, texts related to anesthesia or pain, as recorded by some of the most famous Iranian poets and scientists are briefly presented. In the stories of Shahnameh the use of medicine, including that of the poppy used orally for pain relief and creating a sense of well-being , has been described.
One of the heroes of Shahnamehis Rostam, who was the son of Zaal. Zaal used a combination of cannabis and camphor to ameliorate the surgical pain 4. Following this lengthy quarrel, Rostam eventually kills Sohrab, but on realizing that his adversary is in fact his son, tries to treat and save him.
Rostam, although grief-stricken, saves his country 4. In ShahnamehFerdowsi tells us more about real somatic pain and its treatments, rather than the pain love 4. Avicenna, who lived in the 10th and 11th centuries, is well known as the father of modern medicine.
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He was not only a physician, also an Islamic scholar, psychologist and theologian, an astronomer, a chemist, a geologist, a physicist, a teacher, a paleontologist, a logician, a mathematician and a poet. Avicenna is known to be the most influential and famous scientist from the golden age of the Islamic era. Many citations state that both Avicenna and Rhazes were Iranians 9 - A number of Western researchers also believe that Avicenna was born in Persia and that his most famous text, translated as Canons of Medicine, was the main medical textbook in Persia and Europe for over years 15 - Avicenna adopted the theory of epidemics from the Greeks.
The Canon of Medicine was the first text to describe experimental medicine, including evidence-based medicine, randomized controlled trials and related issues. In addition, he established seven basic rules for testing the effectiveness of new drugs and medications, leading to a modern basis for clinical pharmacology and medical trials 19 - The scientific citations attributed to Avicenna include the following techniques: tracheotomy, pharyngeal intubation and a method for clearing the secretions of the upper airway in stridor and respiratory distress.
He also discovered and described a number of plants having pharmacological effects, like opium; and introduced a number of methods for anesthesia induction and surgical analgesia implementation 22 , His recommended analgesic techniques included drug-impregnated sponges and compresses, ointments, oils, aroma therapeutic salts and drinks, smoke, pills and many more.
These methods of analgesia demonstrate not only the depth of knowledge of Avicenna, but also his ability to put that knowledge into practice. Analgesia-related references to Avicenna are numerous. He wrote of three pain-alleviating groups of drugs:. Avicenna also described a method for rendering a person unconscious and hence oblivious to pain, using opium, henbane and mandrake.
Avicenna listed 15 different types of pain: boring, compressing, corrosive, dull, fatigue, heavy, incisive, irritant, itching, pricking, relaxing, stabbing, tearing, tension and throbbing 9 , Rhazes, who lived in the 9th and 10th centuries, was a Persian physician, chemist and scholar and also a great medical teacher. He was born and died in Rey, near Tehran, the modern-day capital of Iran 11 , His writings are recorded in over books and articles.
He is considered the first physician to have used opium for anesthesia and was also a great neurosurgeon, having described his methods for the diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus He was not only the first to discover alcohol, he also used it for the first time in the field of medicine. His writings were frequently cited later in European texts 5 , 11 - 14 , 20 - 22 , 24 , Esmail Jorjani was a Persian physician and anatomist who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
He wrote a comprehensive textbook of medicine, Zakhire-ye Kharazmshahi The Treasure of King Kharazm , considered being the oldest Persian medical textbook Among the many topics in this book, one might mention his comprehensive description of the cranial nerves, in which he gave a comprehensive explanation of trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm and Bell's palsy 5 , 12 , Get your family members Health check periodically.
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