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Heart research and ancient Greek medicine
  1. T Tirilomis
  1. theodor.tirilomis{at}med.uni-goettingen.de

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This is the 170 drachmas Greek stamp issued in 1998 to commemorate the 16th World Congress of the International Society for Heart Research, held the same year on the island of Rhodos in Greece.

The lower part of the stamp presents part of the Athenaean funerary stele of Jason (about 100 AD; nowadays in the British Museum). The relief shows the physician Jason of Acharnai seated and examining the young patient standing by palpation of the epigastrium.

Precordial palpation is an ancient and simple useful art of physical examination, continuing to be an integral part of cardiac evaluation. Careful clinical observations give important clues in diagnosis. Hippocratic medicine and in general ancient Greek medicine not only used careful observation, but interpreted their pathologic and physiologic meaning too. Hippocrates “started” medical research and developed medicine as a science and later on many other physicians in ancient Greece continued this process. In the diagnosis of heart diseases palpation is still essential and palpation itself has been the object of modern heart research.

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