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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Medicine — NEJM

Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 ...
Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Brilliant and timely read from the New England Journal of Medicine.

Excerpt:

"Performance-enhancing drugs have cast a long shadow on the modern Olympics. Whether the agents are the strychnine, heroin, cocaine, and morphine that athletes used in Athens in 1896 or the amphetamines, steroids, and erythropoietin that some use today, the dilemma remains the same. As a sports medicine specialist noted in 2004, the “attraction of performance-enhancing drugs is simply that they permit the fulfillment of the mythical promise of boundless athletic performance — the hubristic `faster, higher, stronger' motto of the Olympic Games” (2004). The ensuing systems of medical surveillance have led, inevitably, to “a new type of competition,” in which some athletes try to stay one step ahead of the authorities (2001).
The arms race will continue as medical science produces ever newer means of performance enhancement. Will future athletes try growth factors or gene therapy?3 One thing is certain: the Olympics will remain an object of medical fascination."
Link:
Olympic Medicine — NEJM
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Pharmacy History

"The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was ARIANA the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic treatise attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.[3]

Ancient Egyptian pharmacological knowledge was recorded in various papyri such as the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus of the 16th century BC.

The earliest known Chinese manual on materia medica is the Shennong Bencao Jing (The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic), dating back to the 1st century AD. It was compiled during the Han dynasty and was attributed to the mythical Shennong. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui tomb, sealed in 168 BC. Further details on Chinese pharmacy can be found in the Pharmacy in China article."

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmacy#History_of_pharmacy

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