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Unappreciated Contributions of Arabic Physicians to Cardiology and Why the Heart Is Truly the "King of Organs"
The important contributions of stressful emotions, personality and temperament to heart disease and other disorders have been recognized since antiquity. However, early Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chinese and Hindu cultures viewed the heart, rather than the brain, as the seat of emotions. Western medicine adopted the Hippocratic theory that illness was due to an imbalance of the four humors, and Galen later explained how this could be corrected. After the fall of Rome, most all medical texts were destroyed, and during the middle Ages, people reverted to primitive beliefs that illness was due to a misalignment of stars or punishment for some sin. There were no medical schools, the Church was responsible for medical care, and treatment was limited to various herbs from monastery gardens. This was in sharp contrast to Islam, since while Paris and London had no hospitals, Baghdad and Cairo had medical centers that included hospitals with interns and nurses, as well as libraries, pharmacies, interns, and nurses. The "House of Wisdom" and its huge multinational library, established in Baghdad in 830, attracted numerous, scholars, scientists and translators. During the tenth century, all the writings dealing with Hippocrates, Galen, and other Greek, Roman, Persian and Ayurvedic authorities had been translated into Arabic by scholars in Damascus, Cairo and Baghdad. This made Arabic the most important scientific language of the world, and stimulated Arabic physicians to make discoveries that were not anticipated in Western medicine for centuries. How these justify the heart as "King of Organs" is also explained.