The Great Silk Road and Medicine

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44th Congress of the International Society for the History of Medicine (ISHM) was held in Tbilisi on September 10-14 of this year. More than 120 delegates from 28 countries were registered for the worldwide international forum, which is a big success and honor for Georgia. The Congress has encouraged the progress of future cooperation, awareness and popularization of Georgian science and culture.

The International Society for the History of Medicine (ISHM) was founded in Paris in 1921. The purpose of the Society is to assist and support the historical study of all questions relating to the medical and biomedical sciences and, more generally, to all branches of the healing arts.

The Congress was organized by: The International Society for the History of Medicine, the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, Tbilisi State Medical University

” The Great Silk Road and Medicine’’ – was chosen as the theme and logo of the Congress. For centuries, this road was crossing the territory of Georgia. It was the main artery, which connected and fed east and west; it was the best replica of peaceful cultural dialogue throughout the centuries. Merchants, representatives of clergy and pilgrims travelling from China to Europe and backward were disseminating medical knowledge and ready-made medicines, new visions and eternal truths.

All this is distinctly reflected in Georgian culture in general and medicine in particular.Georgia is an heir of ancient Colchis historical and cultural traditions, the bearer of its genetic code. One of the first implications about Medicine and Pharmacy, death and life, eternity problems and Divine Wisdom are connected with the myth of Medea, the daughter of Aeetes of Colchis.

Georgia also is the country of medicinal plants. Old Greek and Roman writers and historians often mentioned in their works, that Georgian scientists have discovered and studied more than 500 medieval manuscripts. Many century medical traditions are still very strong here: new medicines are often developed here basing on folk medicine experience and using local resources.

Main topics of the Congress were:

The History of Medicine and General Theory
Traditional Medicine through “The Great Silk Road’’
Religion & Medicine

Art & Medicine

Bioethics (Medical Ethics) at the different stages of the history

Various Stages and Trends in the Medical Development

90 years of ISHM: Past history and achievements of the Society
150 Anniversary of Caucasian Medical Society

Learning and teaching problems of the History of Medicine.

Two very interesting lectures were given By Merab  Kokaia, Professor at Lund University (Sweden) on history and modern methods of treatment of epilepsy and Theodore Schurr on population genetics, its role in taking development of history, archeology, demography, medicine and other fields to the new level.

Besides science program participants of the congress had very busy social program. They visited National Museum of Georgia, had tours to Tbilisi and Kakheti, some of the participants visited Batumi and met Adjara government officials . Future plans of cooperation were made.

Translated  by   Salome  Latsabidze

 

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