How the Civil War Drove Medical Innovation

The federal government was able to spur innovation to meet the needs of the crisis. Introduction The current COVID-19 pandemic, the largest public health crisis in a century, threatens the health of people across the globe. The U.S. has had the most diagnosed cases – surpassing 6 million – and more than 180,000 deaths. But[…]

Two Surgeries, 800 Years Apart: Aztec Medical Technology and Today

An archaeologist’s hip surgery prompts him to think of the experience of a Puebloan woman who survived a terrible fall centuries ago. As an archaeologist, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what life was like in the past. I’ve also been injured a time or two, and I’ve wondered if any of my nonfatal[…]

The Steampunk Doctor: Practicing Medicine in a Victorian Mechanical Age

Steampunk examines the consequences extraordinary medical discoveries can have on both individuals and societies. Abstract Influenced by both 19th-century literature and popular representations of science, the figure of the medical doctor in steampunk fiction is marked by ambiguity. At the same time a scientist, a wizard and a mechanic, the steampunk doctor exists halfway between[…]

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Pioneering Death as a Part of Medical Practice

Kübler-Ross was one of the central figures in the hospice care movement. Introduction Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies, and author of the internationally best-selling book, On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief,[…]

Helen Taussig: Changing the Face of Medicine for Children in the 20th Century

She was the first woman to be elected head of the American Heart Association. Introduction Helen Brooke Taussig (May 24, 1898 – May 20, 1986) was an American cardiologist, working in Baltimore and Boston, who founded the field of pediatric cardiology. She is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the[…]

The Concept of Quarantine in History

From ancient times different populations have adopted varying strategies to prevent and contain disease. By Dr. Gian Franco Gensini, Dr. Magdi H. Yacoub, and Dr. Andrea A. Conti Abstract The concept of ‘quarantine’ is embedded in health practices, attracting heightened interest during episodes of epidemics. The term is strictly related to plague and dates back[…]

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Father of Modern Neuroscience

Although he became one of the founders of neuroscience, as a young man Ramón y Cajal wanted to be an artist. Introduction Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 1, 1852 – October 17, 1934) was a Spanish histologist (study of tissues) and physician who (along with Camillo Golgi) won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine[…]

Paul Broca: 19th-Century French Physician, Anatomist, and Medical Pioneer

Paul Broca’s early scientific works dealt with the histology of cartilage and bone, but he also studied the pathology of cancer. Introduction Paul Pierre Broca (June 28, 1824 – July 9, 1880) was a French physician, anatomist, and anthropologist. He is famous for his work on brain lateralization, and the discovery of the center for[…]

Cannabidiol: CBD Oil For Anxiety Demystified

There have been talk of the beneficial properties of CBD oil for depression and neurosis for years. This popular cannabidiol is used in the treatment of inflammation, nervousness, has antidepressant, and even anti-cancer and anxiolytic properties. It is worth convincing yourself to him. CBD oil – a handful of basic facts Cannabidiol CBD is one[…]

A 19th-Century Artist’s Effort to Grapple with Representing Tuberculosis

For the grieving painter who lose his wife to the disease, art functioned as a kind of medicine. Introduction Like everyone else, artists have been challenged by new conditions and routines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have had to adjust what they make as well as how and where they work, coming[…]

Hands, Holes, and Hashtags: Exploring a Medieval Medical Manuscript

All of the extra features, such as marginal glossing and pointing hands, tell you about how the manuscript was used. The first manuscript that I ever encountered face-to-face was Wellcome MS. 550. This volume, mainly in medieval Latin, dates from the early 15th century, and is a compendium of different medical and surgical writings. As[…]

Examining the Ways in Which America Is Putting Up a Fight against the Coronavirus

Humankind’s battle against an invisible and what could be often termed as an invincible force of nature, is still a persistent one. People around the globe are putting up a brave fight in their own capacities and trying hard to combat a pandemic of this epic scale, something that has never been dealt with or[…]

Fourteenth-Century England, Medical Ethics, and the Plague

The plague remained endemic for 300 years, returning every so often to cull the population. Introduction In the 20th and 21st centuries, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and the threat of bioterror attacks have raised questions about the role of the physician in response to epidemics. Modern medical ethics, with its[…]

Early Uses of Diphtheria Antitoxin in the United States

The transition to use of diphtheria antitoxin to treat ill humans happened quickly. It’s hard to identify exactly when it was first used. Introduction One of the fascinating things about the history of vaccinology is how quickly late 19th century researchers moved from identifying microbes as the cause of certain diseases to developing ways to[…]

Cholera Outbreaks and Pandemics since 1817

Between 1816 and 1923, the first six cholera pandemics occurred consecutively and continuously over time. Introduction Seven cholera pandemics have occurred in the past 200 years, with the first pandemic originating in India in 1817. Additionally, there have been many documented cholera outbreaks, such as a 1991–1994 outbreak in South America and, more recently, the[…]

Philadelphia Under Siege: The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

20,000 people, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and much of the federal government fled the city to escape the fever. By Samuel A. Gum The summer was the hottest in years. The humidity was hardly bearable. The muddy swamps of Philadelphia spawned round after round of mosquitoes which relentlessly assaulted their human blood meals. An[…]

Great Sorrows: The Deadly ‘Throat Distemper’, 1735-1736

When Massachusetts was hit by Diptheria and Scarlett Fever at the same time. In 1736, scarlet fever was present in Boston and neighboring towns, but while the scarlet fever epidemic was spreading out from Boston, the diphtheria epidemic was descending from the north, and in Essex county they traveled along the Old Bay Road at[…]

18th-Century Medicinal Balsams, Gums, and Resins from the Indies to Madrid

Transporting plants and their by-products by long transoceanic voyages was a complex operation during the 18th century. By Dr. Marcelo Fabián FigueroaProfessor of HistoryUniversidad Nacional de Tucumán-UNTInstituto Superior de Estudios SocialesConsejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-ISES/CONICET Introduction This paper studies the administrative, legal and scientific instructions issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Indies[…]

How to Maintain Medical Accounts Receivable Collections?

Introduction Once a medical practice bills a patient for the provided services, the amount delivered by the patients to the practitioners is called AR (Account Receivables). It can be classified by the time of patient billing. If your practice is in AR for 20 days, it means that you have not received payment of 20[…]

Medieval Conspiracy Theories: The Lepers’ Plot of 1321

The hysteria quickly spread and local authorities used it as an excuse to attack both Jewish and leper communities. Introduction The 1321 lepers’ plot was an alleged conspiracy of French lepers to spread their disease by contaminating water supplies, including well water, with their powders and poisons.[1] According to the American historian Solomon Grayzel, lepers[…]

Medieval Cures for Lung Disease, Gout, and Vertigo

Old English continued to be used a century after William’s victory at the Battle of Hastings. Even after the Normans conquered England, Old English (the oldest form of the vernacular) continued to be spoken throughout the country. It continued to be used in books produced in  monasteries there for at least a century after William[…]

‘Slackers’: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Face Masks

As the US battled the 1918 influenza pandemic, some communities staged contentious battles against wearing masks. Sound familiar? We have all seen the alarming headlines: Coronavirus cases are surging in 40 states, with new cases and hospitalization rates climbing at an alarming rate. Health officials have warned that the U.S. must act quickly to halt[…]

The Black Nurses Who Were Forced to Care for German Prisoners of War

Prohibited from attending the white GIs, the women felt betrayed by the country they fought to serve. On the summer afternoon in 1944 that 23-year-old Elinor Powell walked into the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Phoenix, it never occurred to her that she would be refused service. She was, after all, an officer in the[…]

Sicko Doctors: Suffering and Sadism in 19th-Century America

American fiction of the 19th century often featured a ghoulish figure, the cruel doctor, with unfeeling fascination about bodily suffering. This article, Sick Doctors: Suffering and Sadism in 19th-Century America, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ On one page [of[…]

Vampire Myths in Lore and Literature Drew on a Real Blood Disorder

The myth is likely related to a medical condition with symptoms that may explain many elements of centuries-old vampire folklore. Introduction The concept of a vampire predates Bram Stoker’s tales of Count Dracula — probably by several centuries. But did vampires ever really exist? In 1819, 80 years before the publication of Dracula, John Polidori,[…]

Hippocrates on Respiratory Tract Infections in Ancient Greece

Hippocrates used the “four humours” theory to explain the origins of these infections but understood the environment’s effect. By Dr. Gregory RsoucalasProfessor of the History of MedicineUniversity of Thessaly By Dr. Sgantzos MarkosAssociate Professor of the History of MedicineUniversity of Thessaly Originally published by General Medicine 4:5 (2016), free and open access, republished for educational,[…]

Clinical Photography in the Victorian Era

The images serve as a testament to how clinical photography practice has changed as a result of training and professional registration. Introduction Before the profession of clinical photography, photographs of patients were taken by technicians, enthused clinicians and portrait photographers, the practice was unsophisticated, albeit by today’s standards, and results were often a bizarre hybrid[…]

Alchemy and the Quest for Long Life in 15th-Century France

Alchemy was an art, a scientific and technological project that foreshadowed modern chemistry. Alchemy, with its cryptic language and fantastic symbolism, evokes many aspects of the culture of the Middle Ages. In alchemical manuscripts, drawings of alembics, funnels and furnaces vividly represent this long lost art. Alchemy’s goal of transmuting base metal into gold fuels[…]

Medieval Jewish Medicine

Jewish practitioners participated in the exchange of knowledge between Christian and Muslim writers and practitioners. The Book of Remedies, the earliest medical text written in Hebrew, to Asaph the Jew, dates to the seventh or eighth century.[1] The text comprises four parts; a story of the transmission of medicine from God to mankind, a medical[…]

Texts, Tools, and Methods in Ancient Egyptian Medical Practice

Ancient Egyptians valued hygiene and proper medical care. Introduction Medical practice in ancient Egypt was so advanced that many of their observations, policies, and commonplace procedures would not be surpassed in the west for centuries after the fall of Rome and their practices would inform both Greek and Roman medicine. They understood that disease could[…]