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Impact of war on language (169) Prosthetics (V) The Renaissance.

Summary: "For every plight, man seeks solutions"--Kim Norton (author of a Brief History of Prosthetics).

By Sami El-Shahed - The Egyptian Gazette The Renaissance (1400s to 1800s) ushered in new perspectives of art, philosophy, science and medicine. By returning to the medical discoveries of the Greeks and Romans concerning prosthetics, the Renaissance proved inter alia to be a rebirth in the history of prosthetics. Prostheses during this period were generally made of iron, steel, copper and wood.

As stated in the previous article of this series, , the German mercenary Gotz von Berlichingen had in 1508 a pair of technologically advanced iron hands made after he lost his right arm in the Battle of Landshut. The hands could be manipulated by setting them with the natural hand and moved by relaxing a series of releases and springs while being suspended with leather straps.

Around 1512, an Italian surgeon travelling in Asia recorded observations of a bilateral upperextremity amputee who was able to remove his hat, open his purse, and sign his name. Another story surfaced about a silver arm that was made for Admiral Barbarossa (1478 -1546), an Ottoman admiral who dominated the Mediterranean for decades, and fought the Spaniards in Bougie, Algeria, for a Turkish sultan.)

French Army barber/surgeon Ambroise Pare (1510-1590) is considered by many to be the father of modern amputation surgery and prosthetic design. He introduced modern amputation procedures (1529) as a lifesaving measure to the medical community and made prostheses (1536) for upper-and lower-extremity amputees.

Soon after, Pare started developing prosthetic limbs in a scientific manner.

He also invented an above-knee device that was a kneeling peg leg and foot prosthesis that had a fixed position, adjustable harness, knee lock control and other engineering features that are used in today's devices. His work showed the first true understanding of how a prosthesis should function.

A colleague of Pare's, Lorrain, a French locksmith, offered one of the most important contributions to the field when he used leather, paper and glue in place of heavy iron in making a prosthesis.

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:May 22, 2012
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