Monday, May 2, 2016


Chapter 8: Medicine
Malinowsky, H. R. Reference Sources in Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Agriculture. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1994. pp. 188-189.

Medicine, from the Latin word medicina meaning “to heal,” is concerned with preventing and treating disease, as well as maintaining good health. It is an applied science using all of the physical sciences and some engineering disciplines in its research. It is usually divided into clinical and basic fields: clinical includes all the specialities and basic covers the areas more closely related to the biological sciences. The basic medical sciences attempt to discover and describe how the human body functions. They include:
  • Anatomy—the study of all parts of the human body.
  • Biochemistry—the study of all chemical processes that take place in the human body.
  • Biophysics—the application of physics to biology in the study of the human body.
  • Embryology—the study of the early development of life.
  • Endocrinology—the study of the body’s endocrine system.
  • Genetics—the study of genes and heredity.
  • Microbiology—the study of microorganisms that may affect the human body.
  • Pathology—the study of how diseases alter the body.
  • Physiology—the study of vital functions of the human body and how they all work together to maintain life.
  • Psychology—the study of human behavior as it functions biologically and with the social environment.
Clinical medicine has resulted in many specialities in the medical profession. There are two broad specialities, preventive medicine and public health, and many finely defined specialities:
  • Preventive Medicine—the study of how to prevent diseases.
  • Public Health—the study of how to maintain and promote good health.
  • Anesthesiology—the study of anesthesia and anesthetics.
  • Cardiology—the study of the heart and how it functions.
  • Dentistry—the study of teeth and the oral cavity.
  • Dermatology—the study of diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases.
  • Gastroenterology—the study of the stomach and intestines.
  • Geriatrics—treating the aged.
  • Gerontology—the study of the chemical, biological, historical, and sociological aspects of aging.
  • Gynecology—study and treatment of the diseases that affect the genital tract in women.
  • Immunology—the study of how human organisms react to antigens.
  • Internal Medicine—a general study of all internal parts of the human body.
  • Neurology—the study of the nervous system, including neurosurgery.
  • Nursing—the professions of helping individuals in their promotion, maintenance, and restoration to good health.
  • Obstetrics—the treatment of all aspects of child bearing.
  • Ophthalmology--the study of all aspects of the eyes.
  • Orthopedics—-the part of surgery that is concerned with the restoration of the functions of the bones.
  • Otorhinolarygology—the study of medical and surgical treatment of the head and neck including ears, nose, and throat.
  • Pediatrics—the study and treatment of health and diseases in children.
  • Plastic Surgery—the restoration or changing of physical features.
  • Psychiatry—the treating of problems of the mind.
  • Radiology—the study of the use of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • Rehabilitation—the study of restoring individuals to normal functions or as close to normal as possible.
  • Serology—the body of serums and their reactions on the body.
  • Surgery—the treating of diseases and injuries through operations.
  • Urology—the study of the male and female urinary tract.
  • Venereology—the study of sexually transmitted diseases.
The most important indexing source for medical research is the Index Medicus, which provides print and electronic access. Other reference materials are many and include numerous well established dictionaries and encyclopaedias. There are also handbooks, some multivolume. Medicine is one where textbooks become reference books. Every special sub-discipline of medicine has older well-established textbooks as well as newly written ones. These become mini-treatises/handbooks/encyclopaedias for that discipline. A few have been included in this chapter but for the most part they are not listed because of the sheer numbers.

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