What are some interesting facts about pharmacology

Definition of pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of the interactions between exogenous substances and organisms. The body's own substances can also be used as pharmaceuticals, provided that their concentration exceeds the normal physiological level.

History of pharmacology

Pharmacology in its current conception as an analytical-experimental natural science has only existed in Germany since the middle of the 19th century. The subject was previously dependent and combined in different ways with botany, pharmacognosy, chemistry, pharmacy, general pathology, polyclinic and medical history.

Today, around 30,000 known diseases can be cured with drugs. Diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines are available. Pharmacists, physicians, chemists and biologists can use a multitude of methods to produce or research mechanisms of action. From genetics, biotechnology and synthetic drug design on the computer to molecular biology and behavioral pharmacology, all scientific disciplines are represented.

The current understanding that we have of the structure of an organism, its organs, its cells and molecular processes is still relatively new (hardly older than 200 years), but the essential molecular biological methods have only been developed in the last 40 years. This is how the term synapse in nerve cells was defined by Sherrington in 1911.

Theophrastus von Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493-1541), began to question traditional doctrines. He demanded to bring to light the knowledge that gives a drug its effectiveness and defended himself against nonsensical mixtures of substances or medieval medicine. He was the first to discover the narcotic effects of ether. He prescribed chemically defined substances so successfully that he was accused of poisoning out of resentment. He defended himself against the charges: "If you want to explain every poison, what is poison? All things are poison and nothing (is) without poison, only the dose makes that a thing is not poison."

100 years later, Johan Jakob Wefper was the first to specifically use animal experiments to confirm statements about pharmacological or toxicological assumptions. In this Age of Enlightenment, science became more and more important. In 1806, the chemist Sert√ľner was able to isolate morphine from the milky sap of the opium poppy as the first pure substance. In 1847 Rudolph Buchheim founded the first university institute for pharmacology in Dorpat, today's Tartu in Estonia. Oswald Schmiedeberg (1838 - 1921) helped to achieve a high reputation together with his students, twelve of whom were appointed to professorships in pharmacology. Together with the internist Bernhard Naunyn, he founded the first regularly appearing journal for pharmacology, which is still published today (Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology). After 1920, in addition to the university institutes, pharmacological research facilities were established in the rapidly developing pharmaceutical industry. After 1960, chairs for clinical or special pharmacology (including neuropharmacology) were established at many universities.