The Chinese character for epilepsy used in the Korean texts implies both seizure with loss of consciousness and insanity. The Tongui pogam discusses a similar condition known as "God disease," which is probably equivalent to epilepsy.

Both the Hyangyak chipsong pang and Tongui pogam discussed tetanus in connection with strokes. However, since the Koryo era, physicians had been well aware of the relationship between tetanus and wounds.

The medical texts discussed ordinary dog bites, mad-dog bites, and rabies. Treatment began with washing the bite and cleaning it to remove dirt, wood splinters, and so forth. The wound was washed with water or hot human urine to remove the poison. Medicines that had cats as their main ingredient were prescribed. Presumably, the cat in the medicine would scare away the dog poison.

A condition that appears to be polyarthritis was called "white tiger disease" because the pain was as severe as that of having been bitten by a tiger. The Tongui pogam also emphasizes the varying levels of pain associated with arthritis. A condition referred to as "wind pain" might have been gout, whereas another description suggests the modern diagnosis of osteomyelitis or periostitis. A condition described as a disease caused by a worm eating the synovial fluid might have been osteomyelitis of a tuberculous nature.

Symptoms associated with rickets, including a condition referred to as "turtle chest," appear in the pediatric section of the Hyangyak chipsong pang. Osteomalacia, a form of adult rickets, which is far more common in women than in men, was called "gentle wind" disease.

Lois N. Magner

This publication was supported in part by NIH Grant ROI LM 04175 from the National Library of Medicine.

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