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Publisher's Summary

Discover medical science's extraordinary journey from a time when even the slightest cut held the threat of infection and death to today's era of routine organ transplants and daily headlines about the mysteries of DNA and the human genome. What major discoveries made this transition possible? Who were the fascinating individuals responsible for those discoveries, and what qualities prepared each of them for their unique roles in medical history?
These 12 compelling lectures draw on the lives of medicine's greatest contributors to tell the human story behind the development of Western scientific medicine. Professor Nuland reveals the human side of science - a story about strivings, disappointments, triumphs of human genius, and even greed.
This course is a must-have for anyone interested in the fascinating story of medicine's evolution-and the brilliant men and women who made this journey possible. Topics include the rise of universities and how they influenced medical education; the appearance of scientific method and what we call "inductive reasoning"; the influence of individual personality on achievement along with the accompanying influence of national character and culture; the role of the church; and the part played by each discoverer's psychological makeup.
Please note: This course contains some discussion about certain historical medical practices and experiments that, while common in their time, may seem barbaric and unusual to us today. The professor does not necessarily describe them in graphic detail, but due to the subject matter of this course, some descriptions of these practices do arise. This should be noted before selecting this course for a young or sensitive individual.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By Mark E Faith on 05-22-14

Great Review of Medicine's history

What did you love best about Doctors: The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed Through Biography?

I am a retired Surgeon, and although I took a course on the History of Medicine in medical school, I wanted to review it. The course by Dr Nuland was extraordinary. His course was extremely logical, well organized, and memorable. His delivery was the best of any of the courses I have heard - I appreciate his deliberate, unrushed presentation - allowing time to digest the information. History presented by biography is the best. Thank you Professor Nuland.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By Kostas on 07-20-15

Incredible review of medical history

As a physician, I thought this was an amazing review of medical history. The initial lectures were especially superb. Perhaps in a subsequent edition, we can hear about other greats (e.g. William Osler, Robert Koch, etc.). I highly recommend this audio book.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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By Chris on 06-29-15

Well Written, But Too Short

This course is a brief history of western medicine from the Greeks up to the middle of the 20th Century. The topics covered include the Greek theory of the Four Humours, the overturning of ancient anatomical theory and the development of cardiac surgery.

The quality of this lecture course is outstanding, certainly deserving of 5 stars if that was the only factor. The topics are interesting, concentrating a little bit on the history surgery which seems to be the lecturers speciality. Things like the invention of the physical examination, cell theory and pathology are all discussed mainly in reference to the impact on surgery. This doesn't detract from the course at all, but is worth knowing going in.

The problem with this course is that it is far too short. The lecturer moves extremely quickly through history, leaving many inventions and discoveries behind and 12 lectures just doesn't give enough space to cover such an interesting topic in any meaningful way. I hope they do a second version which is 18 hours instead of 6 because it is clear there is a lot more to discuss here.

I definitely recommend giving this course a go, but know that you will be left wanting for more.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Adam on 02-02-18

Very Interesting, engaging lecturer

Loved it! A really interesting insight into the history of Western medicine. Only complaint was that the lecturer frequently paused abruptly which put me off, for some reason. But otherwise very interesting, very engaging and well presented

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