The McKeown Thesis: A Historical Controversy and Its Enduring Influence

The historical analyses of Thomas McKeown regarding global population growth from 1700 to the present stirred controversy, and its influence remains. ‘ By Dr. James Colgrove Professor of Sociomedical Sciences Columbia University Abstract The historical analyses of Thomas McKeown attributed the modern rise in the world population from the 1700s to the present to broad[…]

Accidents, Injuries, and Illness in the Ancient City

The Acropolis at Athens painted by Leo von Klenze (1784–1864) / Public Domain Reviewing short, illustrated case narratives about accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses based on archaeological evidence from urban antiquity.  By Dr. Susan R. Holman Global Health Education and Learning Incubator (GHELI) Harvard University Ancient Egypt: Working for Pharaoh at Tell el-Amarna Archaeologist Barry[…]

Edward Jenner: The History of Smallpox and Vaccination

With the rapid pace of vaccine development in recent decades, the historic origins of immunization are often forgotten.  By Dr Stefan Riedel, M.D. PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology Johns Hopkins University Introduction Figure 1: Edward Jenner (1749–1823). Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine In science credit goes to the man who convinces the[…]

The Origin of Vaccinations

In May 1796, Edward Jenner was asked to inoculate an eight-year-old pauper child named James Phipps. By Dr. Arthur W. Boylston Pathologist In 1796, seventy-five years after Lady Mary Wortley Montague and Charles Maitland introduced inoculation into England (Huth 2005; Boylston 2012), Edward Jenner performed an experiment that would eventually lead to the eradication of smallpox[…]

Health and Medicine in Ancient Greece: From Theology to Science

Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” / Public Domain By the 5th century BCE, there were attempts to identify the material causes for illnesses rather than spiritual ones. By Mark Cartwright / 04.11.2018 Historian Introduction In ancient Greek medicine illness was initally regarded as a divine punishment and healing as, quite literally, a gift from the gods. However, by[…]

The History of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Dated to the New Kingdom (c. 1570 – c. 1069 BCE), and specifically to c. 1200 BCE, the text is written in demotic script and is the oldest treatise on anorectal disease (affecting the anus and rectum) in history. / Photo by Ibolya Horvath, British Museum, Creative Commons The history of medicine is a long and distinguished one, as[…]

Some Aspects of Health Care in Medieval India

The Susruta-Samhita or Sahottara-Tantra (A Treatise on Ayurvedic Medicine) / Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons Specialization in certain diseases or practices was prevalent and the physicians  enjoyed a high status and respect in the society. By Dr. B. Rama Rao Abstract It appears that from medieval period onwards the subjects having practical[…]

New Study Reveals How Brain Waves Control Working Memory

MIT neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain’s ability to control what it’s thinking about relies on low-frequency brain waves known as beta rhythms. Brain rhythms act as a gate for information entering and leaving the mind. By Anne Trafton / 01.26.2018 MIT neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain’s ability to control what it’s[…]

Genetics Study Finds Further Evidence that Education Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The theory that education protects against Alzheimer’s disease has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union. The study is published today in The BMJ. By Cambridge University / 12.07.2017 Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. Its chief hallmark is the build of ‘plaques’ and[…]

Healing Ways: The Voices of Native Americans

Blessing from the Medicine Man, Howard Terpning®, 2011 / The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. Native American concepts of health and wellness have sustained diverse peoples since ancient times. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.04.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Medicine Ways: Traditional Healers and Healing Introduction Many traditional healers say that most of the healing is done by[…]

Why are We So Sleep Deprived, and Why Does It Matter?

As many as 70 million Americans may not be getting enough sleep. Men get fewer hours of sleep than women. Akos Nagy/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Michael S. Jaffee / 03.07.2018 Vice Chair, Department of Neurology University of Florida As we prepare to “spring forward” for daylight saving time on March 11, many of us dread the loss[…]

Synthetic Organs, Nanobots, and DNA ‘Scissors’: The Future of Medicine

Nanobots that patrol our bodies, killer immune cells hunting and destroying cancer cells, biological scissors that cut out defective genes: these are just some of technologies that Cambridge researchers are developing which are set to revolutionise medicine in the future. 10.12.2017 In a new film to coincide with the recent launch of the Cambridge Academy of[…]

Human Ancestors Had the Same Dental Problems as Us – Even Without Fizzy Drinks and Sweets

Teeth fossils with evidence of dental lesions from Australopithecus africanus. Ian Towle, Author provided Prehistoric humans and their predecessors may have had a very different diet but their teeth suffered in similar ways to ours. By Dr. Ian Towle / 03.01.2018 Sessional Lecturer in Anthropology Liverpool John Moores University Dental erosion is one of the most common tooth problems in the world today. Fizzy[…]

In a World with No Antibiotics, How Did Doctors Treat Infections?

Bloodletting was treatment for infection in the past. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY While some ancient therapies proved effective enough that they are still used in some form today, on the whole they just aren’t as good as modern antimicrobials at treating infections. By Dr. Cristie Columbus / 01.29.2016 Associate Dean Campus – Dallas Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Texas A&M University The development of antibiotics and[…]

The Health of Children and Youth in Early Modern England

Scene from frontispiece to EPB/47966/A: Jane Sharp, The compleat midwife’s companion: or, the art of midwifry improv’d (London: J. Marsall [sic], 1724). Wellcome Images L0028111. / Wellcome Library By Dr. Linda Payne Inaugural Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics University of Missouri-Kansas City Children and youth in early modern England (1500-1800) were[…]

‘Coffee Naps’ and How They Help You Power through the Day

Just five more minutes … can a coffee before a nap really help you pay back your sleep debt? from www.shutterstock.com Can drinking a cup of coffee before taking a short nap really give you the energy you need to see you through the day? By Dr. Chin Moi Chow / 04.02.2017 Associate Professor of Sleep and Wellbeing University of Sydney Caffeine and napping have something[…]

Can Coffee Drinking Reduce Your Dementia Risk?

Many reasons that weren’t explored may account for the findings that women who drank coffee decreased their risk of dementia. Tim Wright/Unsplash, CC BY A study was reported to show caffeine protects older women from dementia. But looking closer at the research, we can’t truly claim coffee was the reason some of the women had a lower risk of dementia.    By Dr.[…]

Three or Four Cups of Coffee a Day Does You More Good than Harm

Nobuhiro Asada/Shutterstock.com A new analysis shows that coffee is associated with a host of positive health effects. By Dr. Robin Poole / 11.22.2017 Specialist Registrar in Public Health University of Southampton Drinking moderate amounts of coffee – about three or four cups a day – is more likely to benefit our health than harm it, our latest research shows. This is important to know[…]

Going to Ground: How Used Coffee Beans Can Help Your Garden and Your Health

Coffee’s usefulness doesn’t have to end here. Yanadhorn/Shutterstock.com Plenty of cafes these days will let you take home some used coffee grounds, to put on your garden. It’s a versatile material with loads of potential uses – as long as you treat it properly first. By Dr. Tien Huynh / 01.31.2018 Senior Lecturer in the School of Sciences RMIT University Did you[…]

How Vaccination is Helping to Prevent Another Flu Pandemic

Nurse B.K. Morris gives a flu shot to Winifred Quinn during a press event on the flu vaccine, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) By Dr. Nicole Iovine, M.D., PhD / 03.06.2018 Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases University of Florida Researchers believe that over 50 million people worldwide died in[…]

How Historical Disease Detectives are Solving the Mystery of the 1918 Flu

     By (left-to-right) Dr. Gerardo Chowell, Dr. Cecile Viboud, and Dr. Lone Simonsen / 03.05.2018 Chowell: Professor of Mathematical Epidemiology, Georgia State University Viboud: Senior Research Scientist, National Institutes of Health Simonsen: Professor of Population Health Science, Roskilde University One hundred years ago, a novel pandemic influenza virus spread rapidly around the world. It killed about[…]

Loneliness is Bad for Your Health

Social isolation is linked to increased blood pressure and depression. By Dr. Jed Magen / 02.26.2018 Associate Professor of Psychiatry Michigan State University Imagine a 65-year-old woman who sees her physician frequently for a variety of aches and pains. She might complain of back pain on one visit, headaches another time, and feeling weak on[…]

Plague Bacteria Hiding in Soil and Water Microbes, Waiting to Emerge

Children at a school in Antananarivo, Madagascar, during a plague outbreak, Oct. 3, 2017. AP Photo/Alexander Joe By David Markman / 02.26.2018 PhD Candidate in Biology (Biosecurity and Infectious Disease) Colorado State University Plague is a highly contagious disease that has killed millions of people over the past 1,400 years. Outbreaks still sporadically occur in as[…]