Medicine in the Middle Ages

In this period, there was no tradition of scientific medicine, and observations went hand in hand with spiritual and religious influences. By Dr. Rachel HajarCardiologyHamad Medical Corporation Introduction Superstition is the poison of the mind Joseph Lewis “The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome” ended when Rome fell to Germanic tribes[…]

Medical Treatments in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians experienced the same wide array of disease that people do in the present day. Introduction The ancient Egyptians experienced the same wide array of disease that people do in the present day, but unlike most people in the modern era, they attributed the experience to supernatural causes. The common cold, for example,[…]

The Discovery of Infectious Diseases in 2,000-Year-Old Silk Road Feces

How a research team identified parasites in ‘hygiene sticks’ that travellers on the Silk Road effectively used as their toilet paper. Once travelled by famous historical figures such as Marco Polo and Genghis Khan, the Silk Road was a hugely important network of transport routes connecting eastern China with Central Asia, the Middle East and[…]

Sex Education with Andreas Vesalius in the Early Modern World

Looking beyond an initial impression to dissect what is happening beyond the surface in particular historical contexts. On the first day of my class, ‘Witches, Workers, & Wives,’ I showed students an image from Book 5 of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (On the fabric of the human body in seven books).At first glance, my students[…]

A Brief History of the Pharmacy in the United States

Today’s status of the profession and those who practice it results from an evolution over thousands of years. Introduction The statement that “What is past is prologue” [1] appears on the base of Robert Aitken’s sculpture “The Future” outside the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. This is to remind us that we should study[…]

Interpreting “Physick”: The Familiar and Foreign Eighteenth-Century Body

Eighteenth-century medical practitioners faced menaces like cholera, dysentery, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, syphilis, typhus, typhoid, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. Introduction Aspirin. It’s inevitable. When asked what medicine they’d want most if they lived in the eighteenth century, the visitors will struggle in silence for few moments. Then, someone will offer, “Aspirin?” Sometimes it’s delivered with[…]

Terrestriality: A History of Exploration and Its Effects on Health

Is the human body innately terrestrial, unsuited to a prolonged time away from its earthly element? On December 1, 2006, just past 18:30 GMT, Michael D. Griffin, Administrator of NASA, took the podium at the Royal Society of London. A physicist and engineer, Griffin nevertheless chose, at this event, to consider the history of the[…]

On the Death—and Life—of Florence Nightingale

Examining the death, and the life, of Florence Nightingale, the great nursing heroine of the Crimean War. Abstract This essay examines the death, and the life, of Florence Nightingale, the great nursing heroine of the Crimean War. An eminent Victorian, Nightingale passed away at the ripe old age of ninety in 1910, at a time[…]

Clara Barton and the Origins of the Red Cross

Staring at bloodied soldiers in a train station one fateful April day, Clara Barton rolled up her sleeves and got to work. On April 19, 1861, “indignant, excited, alarmed and scarcely knowing where she went,” Clara Barton followed the crowds on the streets of Washington City to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Depot, “where she[…]

The Canon of Avicenna: Rabies in Medieval Persian Literature

A discussion of Avicenna’s 11th-century points of view on rabies and compare them with modern medical knowledge. By Dr. Behnam Dalfardi, et.al.Department of Internal MedicineShiraz University of Medical Sciences Introduction Rabies is an acute, progressive, and fatal anthropozoonotic infection of the central nervous system caused by viruses from the genus Lyssavirus and the family Rhabdoviridae[…]

The Hidayat: ‘Kabus’ (Night-Mare) in Medieval Persian Medicine and Research

Among the first three manuscripts written in Persian, Akhawayni’s Hidayat al-muta’allemin fi al-tibb was the most significant work compiled in the 10th century. By Dr. Samad EJ Golzari, et.al.Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Research CenterTabriz University of Medical Sciences Abstract Among the first three manuscripts written in Persian, Akhawayni’s Hidayat al-muta’allemin fi al-tibb was the most significant work compiled in[…]

Flower Power: Alexander Hamilton’s Doctor and the Healing Power of Nature

Rebecca Rego Barry on Dr. David Hosack, the doctor who attended Alexander Hamilton to his duel (and death), and creator of one of the first botanical gardens in the United States, home to thousands of species which he used for his pioneering medical research. Hosack mostly rejected customary treatments like bloodletting and doses of mercury.[…]

A Pirate Surgeon in 17th-Century Panama

Almost everything we know about Dr. Lionel Wafer comes from his own pen. He enters the historical record as a teenage surgeon’s apprentice. The ship came to anchor on an August evening. Sea fireflies glowed around the moorings, their indigo light making specters of the sailors’ gaunt faces. There had already been two mutinies, and[…]

The Ecology of Yellow Fever in Antebellum New Orleans

The spread of yellow fever was a result of complex ecological and demographic changes produced by the development of both plantations and metropolitan centers. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, yellow fever epidemics occurred with increased frequency in New Orleans in the late summer. The yellow fever virus is of West African origin,[…]

What Is Yellow Fever? Disease and Causation in Environmental History

Recent phylogenetic analyses suggest that the yellow fever virus is approximately 1,500 years old. In many environmental histories, diseases serve to make one of the field’s foundational claims: that nonhuman forces matter in the shaping of human events. But as environmental history has matured, its practitioners have recognized that diseases are entangled with the human-made[…]

Plagues of the Past

Many diseases have affected the outcomes of battles or the political leanings of a country, but few have had consequences on society that continue to be felt in the present age. The plague is one such disease and its most famous pandemic – the Black Death – has changed the history, culture, and science of[…]

A Medical-Historical Examination of the Death of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great’s cause of death has been contentious since antiquity.    By Nathan Gamble (left) and Dr. Edmund F. Bloedow (right)Gamble: Researcher in Bioethics and Law, University of TorontoBloedow: Professor of Classics, Augustine College Abstract Alexander the Great’s cause of death has been contentious since antiquity. Historians and physicians alike have proposed a multitude[…]