Light in the Dark Ages

Light in the Dark Ages

By Raza Naqvi and Urszula Zurawska

The University of Western Ontario Medical Journal, Vol.78:1 (2008)

Abstract: While the Dark Ages were a time of intellectual and societal stagnation throughout much of Europe, the torch of academia continued to burn brightly in the Islamic world. The intellectual progress made during this time includes numerous medical breakthroughs which physicians, historians, and students should strive to understand not only for academic interest but also to learn and improve medicine today. The use of secular hospitals originated in this era and there were significant developments in a variety of medical fields including anesthesia, ophthalmology, pharmacology, neurology and psychiatry. A strong emphasis on patient-centered and interdisciplinary care was evident in many of the areas of Islamic medicine during the Dark Ages. The achievements of Islamic physicians during the Dark Ages also demonstrates the importance of strong communication within the global medical field, as the presence of avenues for global academic communication could have eliminated much of the disparity in medical care in different parts of the world over subsequent centuries. The need for improved international communication applies to medicine even today.

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