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May 15, 1926


JAMA. 1926;86(20):1519-1524. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.26720460003009

In ancient times the practice of healing was carried on by the priesthood. It was a recognized function of religious procedure, and history supplies us with amusing accounts of the queer charms, incantations and magical practices of every conceivable sort that were part of the stock in trade of the healers of those days. Such practices survive to this day among primitive peoples.

Though the early Egyptians had some knowledge of anatomy and must have known something about hygienic methods, the separation of medicine from religion and magic did not occur until the fourth century before Christ. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was a product of the comparatively highly cultured Greek civilization, which made bodily perfection and health ideals in themselves.

Modern medicine itself has gone through endless changes. When we think of the numberless remedies that have been heralded, assiduously applied and later proved worthless, in spite of