|Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. |
Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. It is both an area of knowledge – a science of body systems, their diseases and treatment – and the applied practice of that knowledge.
The practice of medical care is shared between the medical profession (physicians or doctors) and other groups of professionals such as nurses and pharmacists, sometimes known as allied health professionals. Historically, only those conferred with a medical doctorate have been considered to practice medicine. Clinicians can be physicians, nurses or medical assistants. The medical profession is the social and occupational structure of the group of people formally trained and authorized to apply medical knowledge. Many countries and legal jurisdictions have legal limitations on who may practice medicine or the allied medical fields.
Medicine is typically seen as composed of various specialized sub-branches, such as pediatrics, gynecology, neurology, dealing with particular body systems, diseases, or areas of health.
Systems of medical and healthcare practices have existed among human societies since at least the dawn of recorded history. These systems have developed in various ways in different cultures and regions. Medicine as understood in the modern period has historically been considered to be the mainstream tradition which developed in the Western world since the early modern age. Many other traditions of medicine and healthcare are still widely practiced throughout the world, most of which are still considered to be separate and distinct from Western medicine, also called biomedicine or the Hippocratic tradition. The most highly developed systems of medicine outside the Western system are traditional Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic traditions of India and Sri Lanka. Various non-mainstream traditions of healthcare have also developed in the Western world distinct from mainstream medicine.
"Medicine" is also often used amongst medical professionals as shorthand for internal medicine. Veterinary medicine is the practice of healthcare in animal species other than human beings.
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