Little is known about the state of experimentation in the field of medicine during the Medieval Islamic era. With few exceptions, most of the contemporary sources on history of medicine propagate the idea that the roots of experimental medicine in its modern form, including clinical trials and drug-potency studies, first started during the European Renaissance in the 16 th to the 18 th centuries. This study is part of an ongoing multidisciplinary primary-source investigation of the original Arabic works of 11 Islamic medical scholars who lived and practiced between the 9 th and the 13 th centuries. The study critically evaluated and documented their contributions to the development of the scientific method and experimental medicine during that medieval Islamic era in several areas including critical appraisal of previous knowledge, clinical observations and case reports, clinical therapeutic trials, drug potency trials, experimentation on animals, dissection and dissection experiments as well as postmortem examinations. In each of the above-mentioned areas, significant contributions were made during the Medieval Islamic era from as early as the ninth century CE.
Experimental Medicine 1000 Years Ago
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Figure 1. The Tabula Rogeriana, drawn by al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily in 1154, one of the most advanced ancient world maps. Modern consolidation, created from the 70 double-page spreads of the original atlas. (Source)
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