Masters of Healing: Cocaine and Victorian Medicine

The relationship between cocaine and medical practitioners in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. Introduction Cocaine is often understood as one of a number of potentially addictive substances to which Victorian physicians and surgeons were regularly exposed, and tempted to indulge in. However, while cocaine has frequently been associated with discourses of addiction, this article[…]

The Hippocratic Ideal: Health Care Practices in Ancient Greece

The Hippocratic philosophy on health care provision applied standards and ethical rules that are still valid today. By Dr. Chrisanthos SfakianakisProfessor, Nursing DepartmentTechnological Institute of Crete Abstract Asclepius and Hippocrates focused medical practice on the natural approach and treatment of diseases, highlighting the importance of understanding the patient’s health, independence of mind, and the need[…]

Medieval Hygiene: General Habits and Expectations

Urban centers especially had become centers of plague and disease outbreaks. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction People in the Middle Ages have acquired something of a bad reputation when it comes to cleanliness, especially the peasantry. However, despite the general lack of running water and other modern amenities, there were common expectations of personal hygiene such[…]

What are the Advancement Opportunities for Medical Assistants?

The healthcare industry requires new professionals on a daily basis, especially with the increasing health crisis globally. One such sub-discipline within the health industry belongs to the medical assistants. The first job title for all medical assistance graduates is usually entry-level or junior CMA. However, there are a myriad of options waiting for you after[…]

Indigenous Medicine: A Fusion of Ritual and Remedy

Aborigines were hunter gatherers – not cultivators – so there was little intentional interference with natural selection of native plants. Introduction In traditional Indigenous Australian society, healers used plants in tandem with precise ritual. Thousands of years later, we’re beginning to understand the science underlying these medicines. A variety of plant species were used in[…]

Jonas Salk’s Battle with Anti-Vaxxers in His Time

He had to deal with critics like Walter Winchell, who warned, “It may be a killer.” It turned out to be a saving grace. In 1952, Americans suffered the worst polio epidemic in our nation’s history. As in prior outbreaks, the disease spread during the summer, mainly attacking children who had been exposed to contaminated[…]

The Women Who Built Mayo Clinic

Franciscan nuns, physicians, anesthesiologists, and social workers helped created a pathbreaking medical center. Several years ago, a few colleagues and I discovered a well-kept secret about Mayo Clinic, where we all worked. We had decided to create a Jeopardy game for Women’s History Month based on women who were involved in the early years of[…]

Medical Knowledge in the Early Medieval Period

Examining popular medical texts and their circulation before 1200. Introduction How did early medieval people treat illnesses and injuries? In general, medical texts from the period of 700–1200 are relatively rare. Most remedies for curing ailments were probably not written down, but passed orally from person to person and family to family. Many people were[…]

A History of Mental Illness since the Ancient World

Looking at a history of mental illness from the Stone Age to the 20th century. References to mental illness can be found throughout history. The evolution of mental illness, however, has not been linear or progressive but rather cyclical. Whether a behavior is considered normal or abnormal depends on the context surrounding the behavior and[…]

Medicine and Society in the Medieval Hospital

In this period, hospitals preserved both the symbolic and material link to the Church and religion, based on the idea that the body and the soul were closely connected and mutually influenced. Hospitals today are places where medical treatment is provided, but also places where major life events, such as birth and death, occur. Yet,[…]

Medicine in Ancient Rome

Treatments became more well known, and surgery became more sophisticated. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Roman medicine was greatly influenced by earlier Greek medical practice and literature but would also make its own unique contribution to the history of medicine through the work of such famous experts as Galen and Celsus. Whilst there were professional doctors[…]

4 Reasons to Treat Mental Illness Like We Do Physical Illness

In the United States, 46.4 percent of adults will experience a mental illness at some point during their life. Less than half of the people included in this percentage will seek out the help they need. Why are people so opposed to getting help for their mental illness? When mental health is important, why does it take a[…]

Why Ancient Plague Didn’t Lead to Widespread Epidemics as in the Medieval Era and Beyond

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Introduction One of civilization’s most prolific killers shadowed humans for thousands of years without their knowledge. The bacteria Yersinia pestis, which causes the plague, is thought to be responsible for up to 200 million deaths[…]

Zombie Flu: How the 1919 Influenza Pandemic Fueled the Rise of the Living Dead

The 1918-1919 flu claimed millions of lives worldwide. Could it also have given birth to the viral zombie? Introduction Zombies have lurched to the center of Halloween culture, with costumes proliferating as fast as the monsters themselves. This year, you can dress as a zombie prom queen, a zombie doctor – even a zombie rabbit[…]

Jonas Salk and the War Against Polio

In the years after WWII, America had two great fears: communism, and polio. By Amanda McGowanHistorian For years, the fight against polio was considered one of the most successful vaccination campaigns of all time. But now, the reappearance of the disease in countries like Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon has thrown that success into jeopardy.  How was[…]

Vaccines through the Centuries

The armamentarium of vaccines continues to grow with more emphasis on safety, availability, and accessibility. Abstract Multiple cornerstones have shaped the history of vaccines, which may contain live-attenuated viruses, inactivated organisms/viruses, inactivated toxins, or merely segments of the pathogen that could elicit an immune response. The story began with Hippocrates 400 B.C. with his description[…]

Evidence Confirms Health Benefits of an Ancient Chinese Sweetness

Examining two recent discoveries in goji berry chemistry and shedding light on how and why they are beneficial to your health. What in the Heck Is a Goji Berry? For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, (worry not, you’re about to be) goji berries (fruits of Lycium barbarum –L. and Lycium chinense –Mill.) originate from and have[…]

Unearthing the Health of Victorian London

What bones tell us about the lives and deaths of the dead. In 2011, AOC Archaeology completed an archaeological excavation at St John’s Primary School, Peel Grove, in Bethnal Green, London, ahead of the construction of a new nursery school. The site was a former burial ground privately run as a commercial business by pawnbroker[…]

Health, Hygiene, and the Rise of ‘Mother Gin’ in Georgian Britain

Investigating health and hygiene in 18th century Britain, against a backdrop of industrialization and the subsequent over-crowding in the cities. Medical knowledge was very basic during the this period. While there were gradual improvements in healthcare, for many people even minor diseases could prove fatal. Living Conditions The growth of cities and towns during the[…]

When Television Was a Medical Device

Retracing the history of media technologies in the practice of medicine. Reba Benschoter readied herself to speak before the crowd of luminaries from industry, academia, and government who had gathered to talk about the transformative potential of new media in medicine. Among those assembled at the New York Academy of Sciences that day in 1966[…]

David Livingstone and Victorian Medicine

Analyzing the evolving state of British health in the nineteenth century and how Livingstone’s perceptions of this health influenced his understanding of Africa and his writings. By Christopher Lawrence British Health in the 19th Century The practice and understanding of medicine profoundly changed during the years of Livingstone’s life (1813-1873). These changes grew out of[…]

Curandero: Peruvian Shamans and Nature’s Medicine Cabinet

In Peru, the challenge of providing health care to the country’s citizens has spurred interest in alternative medicines that draw on cultural traditions. By Jane Palmer Under the clear, moonlit sky of Friday, July 13, 2018, Elide Sanchez Rivera steps into her own star—a large, white symbol chalked into the dusty ground. With the sound[…]

Jonas Salk and the Eradication of Polio

Even before the 1952 and 1953 outbreaks, labs had been worked diligently to find a cure for Polio. By Dr. Atif KukaswadiaEpidemiologist Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease. It enters through the mouth and is usually spread by contaminated drinking water or food. The virus passes through the stomach and then replicates in the lining[…]