The Cambridge World History of Human Disease

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9780521332866: The Cambridge World History of Human Disease

Combining recent medical discoveries with historical and geographical scholarship, The Cambridge World History of Human Disease traces the concept of disease throughout history and in each major world region. It offers the history and geography of each significant human disease--both historical and contemporary--from AIDS to yellow fever, and touches on the variety of approaches that different medical traditions have used to fight disease. Accessible to laypeople and specialists alike, The Cambridge World History of Human Disease offers an extraordinary glimpse of what is known about human health as the twenty-first century begins. This important book is now being reissued with a fresh new jacket design.

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From the Back Cover:

'The Cambridge World History of Human Disease' includes: Medicine and Disease: An Overview; Changing Concepts of Health and Disease; Medical Specialties and Disease Prevention; Measuring Health; The History of Human Disease in the World Outside Asia; The History of Human Disease in Asia; The Geography of Human Disease; and Major Human Diseases Past and Present.

From Booklist:

Medical geography and the role that pathogens have played in shaping history are increasingly of interest to researchers. For example, scholars study how the diseases brought to the Americas by the explorers shaped the future of this part of the world.

The last time an attempt was made to document disease as a maker of history was in the nineteenth century, when August Hirsch published his Handbook of Geographical and Historical Pathology. The Cambridge World History of Human Disease updates what was recorded more than a century ago. It is both a history and an encyclopedia of disease. The first seven sections present the history; section 8 is the encyclopedia of "Major Human Diseases Past and Present." Each chapter in these sections is separately authored and provides interesting accounts of research findings.

The first four sections provide background information on concepts of disease, special categories of diseases, and methods of measuring health. The next three discuss disease in different parts of the world during different periods of time (e.g., "Diseases of Antiquity in Japan," "Diseases of the Islamic World"). The remaining half of the book covers individual diseases from AIDS to yellow fever. Coverage is not limited to infectious diseases. There are entries on Down syndrome, epilepsy, and hypertension, for example. For each is provided information on clinical manifestations, distribution, cause, and treatment. The final part of each entry discusses the history and medical geography of the disease: how widespread it was during recorded history, and how and why it spread. This part of the book is fascinating reading for the educated layperson. Extensive bibliographies of medical literature are found at the end of each chapter. Distribution maps are provided for some diseases, tables or charts for others.

Personal-name and subject indexes conclude the book. A useful aspect of the name index is that thumbnail biographical sketches are provided for the more prominent scientists. The subject index is detailed, providing a multitude of access points.

This monumental compilation should serve as a starting point for anyone working in medical geography or the history of medicine. As a reference book, the encyclopedic portion will be quite useful in academic and large public libraries.

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