History of Medicine acquired in the Archives of the Balkan Medical Union a specialized column since 2008. The journal always encouraged such manuscripts to enrich and broaden its content. Our study conducted an analysis for the History of Medicine papers published in the period 2000-2017. Our metrics indicated that Greeks contributed the great majority of such manuscripts, while the two most referenced time periods were ancient Greece and the 18th century.
The Journal encourages scholars to continue with their contributions in the field of Medical Humanities, as history is always providing a new lesson from the past to ameliorate our present.
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Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) the great Roman politician and rhetor, once said “History is the light of truth, the witness of the times and life teacher”, those who neglect history are usually doomed to oblivion . The same opinion had the ancient Greek scholars. Euripides (480-406 BC), one of the greatest tragic poets and teachers of Greek drama believed that “He who had been taught history is the most fortunate” (Greek fragment: Όλβιος όστις ιστορίης έσχεν μάθησιν) .
The History of Medicine (HOM) is among the teaching objects in the Hellenic Universities, an important part of the student’s curriculum, considered to be an essential course for the future physicians. Medical Humanities are during the last century a fundamental disciplinary among the best universities worldwide .
During the last decade there is a tenancy in the international medical publications for the introducing of a series of manuscripts concerning HOM. Specialized journals in the field, as well as a plethora of medical ones, included in their columns such papers. The official scientific journal of The Balkan Medical Union, the “Archives of the Balkan Medical Union” (ABMU) was not an exception.
Our study was contacted with a thorough search of the ABMU journal’s archives to unearth all published manuscripts concerning HOM. Although ABMU have a HOM column since 2008, we have investigated older archives too. The time period concerning our search was defined as the frame January 2000 up to December 2017. Then, a statistical analysis was performed concerning the country of origin, the thematology of the manuscripts published and the most important contributors.
Since ABMU inaugurated the publication section of the History of Medicine in 2008, only a few manuscripts were published in earlier issues of the journal. Such a publication was an Editorial in 2001, concerning a memoriam of Dr Doc. M. Pepescu Buzeu (1901-1991) . Our search gathered a total of 36 HOM manuscripts, originating from 4 different countries, Table 1 [5-40].
Ancient Greece, Renaissance and the 17th-18th centuries period were the most researched time intervals among the published material as indicated in Table 2.
The search revealed that a series of authors from the Balkans constantly contribute HOM manuscripts for the relevant column. As seen in Table 3, Greek authors have the honour to be among the most prolific writers.
Our metric results testified that Greece holds the first position for HOM manuscripts, as a summary of 86.1% (32/36) papers have their origin from the Hellenic peninsula, while George Androutsos, Emeritus Professor for the History of Medicine and former Director of the Laboratory of the History of Medicine of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is dominating the field with an 88.9% of participation in published HOM manuscripts. Both formal languages, France (21/36) and English (15/36), were almost equally used for the submitted HOM manuscripts.
Both two time periods when medicine mostly evolved, ancient Greece and 18th century , were the most celebrated.
Although fewer students are nowadays interested in doing a PhD in HOM, it seems that those who do show a remarkable participation .
However professionally sceptical we may be about learning from the past, there is no doubt that we try to do it all the time. We tell stories from cases encountered in the past, we constantly compile histories of our patients’ diseases in order to make diagnoses and determine therapies, we endlessly search for the collective wisdom on which we must rely among the pages of medical books. History of medicine is always here, in front of us, to teach us every day something new.
As Canadian physician William Osler (1849-1919) said in 1928, “By the historical method alone can many problems in medicine be approached profitably” .
Greeks, motivated by their culture and ancient heritage they continuously submitting HOM manuscripts. HOM, has a lot to teach us and ABMU as the constant guardian of the Balkan and thus the European tradition, continues to publish manuscripts with historical interest, while at the same time it encourages scientists both from the Balkan peninsula and from all around the globe to persist with their contributions.
Contributo selezionato da Filodiritto tra quelli pubblicati nei Proceedings “35th Balkan Medical Week - 2018”
Contribution selected by Filodiritto among those published in the Proceedings “35th Balkan Medical Week - 2018”
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