Segments in this Video

Cultural History of Medicine (01:09)


Nearly 2,000 medications are distributed across Austria daily. This film will examine how pharmaceutical developments have impacted society and what challenges lie ahead.

Developing Anesthesia (02:10)

In 1846, William Thomas Morton used ether to prevent pain in dental patients. The pharmaceutical field has since improved surgical procedures and continues to advance.

Vienna Dioscurides (01:06)

The 6th century Byzantine catalog of medicinal plants served as an herbal guide for medieval Europe until the modern era.

Individualized Medicine (03:06)

Pharmaceuticals affect each person differently. In the future, doctors will use gene analysis to customize prescriptions. DNA, stem cell and nano technology will help advance cancer treatment.

Persian Medical Advances (01:45)

Individualized medicine is a principle of Abu Mansur Muwaffaq's 10th century pharmacology guide. Learn contributions that remain valid today.

Medieval Herbal Medicine (02:15)

Healing plants were cataloged in European monasteries. Hildegard of Bingen combined classical disease knowledge with folk medicine—laying the foundation of the modern pharmaceutical industry.

Modern Pharmacies (03:10)

Although unable to diagnose patients, pharmacists give advice and prepare medicines according to individual needs—as well as filling prefabricated prescriptions.

Counterfeit Medicines (04:06)

Doctor and pharmacist roles were separated as a safety measure in 1241, but today internet sales are unregulated. Learn how Austrian customs agents intercept false products from Asia.

Pharmaceutical Regulation (02:46)

There are 300,000 medicinal products in the EU but only 3,500 active ingredients. Learn the medicine testing, control and approval process used in Western countries.

European Medicines Agency (01:53)

After HIV infected blood transfusions in the '80s, a regional control system was established. Production quality, clinical studies, and safety form the basis of regulation.

Chinese Medicine Principles (02:12)

Dr. Qingwei explains how Chinese medicine seeks to balance organ function, nature and society. Medicines treat the individual, rather than combating pathogens as in Western medicine.

Chinese Healthcare System (02:27)

Doctors use both Chinese and Western methods at a Beijing hospital. Treatments are chosen to contain disease, purify toxins and calm patient mental states; medicines are mainly plant based.

20th Century Medical Breakthroughs (02:49)

In 1945, Alexander Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize for penicillin. Progesterone synthesis in the '50s led to the birth control pill, and insulin invented in 1963 improved quality of life for diabetics.

Paracelsus Principle (02:00)

The forefather of medicine hypothesized that poison depends on dosage. Learn how curare used by Amazon tribes was developed for muscle immobilization by Western doctors.

Medical Research (01:42)

Today, laboratory teams work together to develop pharmaceutical products. A robot tests the reactions of thousands of substances selected at random.

Pharmacology Research (01:27)

International teams focus on heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer. Vienna oncologist Robert Pirker explains the complex process of experimenting with lung cancer treatments.

Molecular Cancer Research (02:07)

Researchers use three-dimensional models to study how active substances target disease proteins. Kidney specialist Manuela Schmidinger explains how new medicines could prevent metastasis.

Medical Research Stalemate (03:13)

Only 10% of medicines tested in clinical trials reach market. An expert explains that growing development costs are an obstacle to pharmaceutical investment returns.

Medical Expectations (01:37)

Pharmaceutical companies bear the cost of unsuccessful products. Increasingly complex research means breakthroughs are a thing of the past; experts identify quality of life as the main objective in treating disease.

Increasing Medication Access (03:01)

Many people in developing countries suffer from treatable diseases. A Doctors Without Borders program uses generic pharmaceutical products to lower costs—many manufactured in India under poor working conditions.

Generic Medicine Industry (01:46)

Once a patent expires, "copy" medicines can be produced using the same active ingredients and dosage as the original—lowering prices and promoting competition.

Austria's Medicine Production Process (01:30)

Learn the importance of maintaining high quality and precise dosage in pharmaceuticals.

Future of Modern Medicine (01:19)

Over 300,000 medicinal products are in circulation throughout Europe. However, it may be difficult to combine business interests, finance research and development and provide healthcare.

Credits: Pills, Powders, and Balms: the Cultural History of Medicines (00:38)

Credits: Pills, Powders, and Balms: the Cultural History of Medicines

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Pills, Powders, and Balms: The Cultural History of Medicines

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How does a functioning health system bring about a stable society? What were and are the great evolutionary steps in the development of new medicines and what are the challenges for the future? From the herbal gardens of the Middle Ages and Paracelsus to the great researchers of the 19th and 20th centuries, the cultural history of medicine reflects the history of mankind. (51 minutes)

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL55004

ISBN: 978-0-81609-612-1

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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