Being a king in ancient times was exhaustingly dangerous; there was always someone plotting to get rid of you. So, according to legend, Mithradates (aka Mithridates) VI of Pontus (on the shores of the Black Sea in Turkey) attempted to become resistant to poisons by taking gradually increasing doses. He was also reputed to have conducted toxicological experiments on condemned prisoners, culminating in the creation of mithridate – a medicine that combined all known antidotes in one potent formula.
Many contemporary humans engage in little physical exercise compared to the physically active lifestyles of ancestral hunter-gatherers.[20][21][22][23][24] Prolonged periods of inactivity may have only occurred in early humans following illness or injury, so a modern sedentary lifestyle may continuously cue the body to trigger life preserving metabolic and stress-related responses such as inflammation, and some theorize that this causes chronic diseases.[25]
We’ve really enjoyed the process of interviewing some of the doctors from our Practice Accelerator, and this week we introduce Dr. Rick Henriksen of Kestrel Wellness. Dr. Rick Henriksen, M.D., M.P.P. is a Salt Lake City-based, board-certified, family physician. Having returned to the U.S. from a stint in Ecuador, he was determined to do the next iteration of his practice right. Listen in as he shares his model, his progress and key learnings from the journey.
^ Hayward, Rhodri (2011). "Medicine and the Mind". In Jackson, Mark. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine. Oxford University Press. pp. 524–42. ISBN 978-0199546497.; Scull, Andrew (2005). Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness And Society in Britain, 1700–1900. Yale University Press. pp. 324–28. ISBN 978-0300107548.; Dowbiggin, I. (1992). ""An exodus of enthusiasm": G. Alder Blumer, eugenics, and US psychiatry, 1890–1920". Medical History. 36 (4): 379–402. doi:10.1017/S002572730005568X. PMC 1036631. PMID 1435019.; Snelders, S.; Meijman, F.J.; Pieters, T. (2007). "Heredity and alcoholism in the medical sphere: The Netherlands, 1850–1900". Medical History. 51 (2): 219–36. doi:10.1017/S0025727300001204. PMC 1871693. PMID 17538696.; Turda, M. (2009). ""To end the degeneration of a nation": Debates on eugenic sterilization in inter-war Romania". Medical History. 53 (1): 77–104. doi:10.1017/S002572730000332X. PMC 2629178. PMID 19190750.
In 1478 a book by the Roman doctor Celsus was printed. (The printing press made all books including medical ones much cheaper). The book by Celsus quickly became a standard textbook. However in the early 16th century a man named Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) called himself Paracelsus (meaning beyond or surpassing Celsus). He denounced all medical teaching not based on experiment and experience. However traditional ideas on medicine held sway for long afterwards.

Like all biological systems, both disease-causing organisms and their victims evolve. Understanding evolution can make a big difference in how we treat disease. The evolution of disease-causing organisms may outpace our ability to invent new treatments, but studying the evolution of drug resistance can help us slow it. Learning about the evolutionary origins of diseases may provide clues about how to treat them. And considering the basic processes of evolution can help us understand the roots of genetic diseases.
Radin deftly weaves a story of postwar scientific method with an account of postcolonial extraction. She shows how a colonial imaginary of frontier exploration and a scientific imaginary of induction, unite in a calling to “discover the unexpected.” Radin depicts Blumberg as a collector of samples, in the mode of a colonial natural historian, for whom the Pacific – and later the world, perhaps the solar system – figured as a living laboratory. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize for his work on Hepatitis B, derived from blood samples of indigenous peoples of the Pacific. As a NASA administrator, Blumberg harnessed a language of “new frontiers” – exploring where no one had yet gone – and language of basic science – seeking the unknown and following curiosity. He imagined a scientific exploration, the extraction and classification of new material, as capital to be realized in some biological future.
The physicians drew upon a great store of knowledge in the Peri-Ankh, the Houses of Life; here, students were taught and papyri documenting procedures were stored. Physiotherapy and heat-therapy were used to treat aches and pains, and Ancient Egyptian medicine included repairing and splinting broken bones, as shown by successfully healed skeletons. Priest-doctors also practiced amputation, using linens and antiseptics to reduce the chance of infection and gangrene, and there is some evidence that they employed prosthetics where needed.
Elites and the popular classes alike called on divine intervention in personal and society-wide health crises, such as the epidemic of 1737. The intervention of the Virgin of Guadalupe was depicted in a scene of dead and dying Indians, with elites on their knees praying for her aid. In the late eighteenth century, the crown began implementing secularizing policies on the Iberian peninsula and its overseas empire to control disease more systematically and scientifically.[110][111][112]
Chris Kresser:  Yeah, that’s great.  The summit, it seems there’s so many great speakers, so many good topics.  I love that there’s a doctor practitioner track.  And I really encourage anyone who’s listening to this to check it out, because there’s a wealth of information there.  It’s really representative of what the future of medicine is going to be.  And there’s a lot of really practical, actionable information that you can use right now to improve your health.  So if you want to check it out, go to  That’s E-V-O-M-E-D,  And you can register for free for this summit.  You can watch all the talks for free, which is about as good as it gets.  And, yeah, go over there and sign up, and they’ll send you the schedule.
In 1953 Jonas Salk announced he had a vaccine for poliomyelitis. A vaccine for measles was discovered in 1963. Meanwhile surgery made great advances. The most difficult surgery was on the brain and the heart. Both of these developed rapidly in the 20th century. A Swede named Rune Elmqvist invented the first implantable pacemaker in 1958. The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard. The first artificial heart was installed in 1982. The first heart and lung transplant was performed in 1987.

In spite of this tension, Dom Agaya showed Cartier how to make a decoction from a tree called Annedda and, although the Frenchmen wondered if it were a plot to poison them, a couple of them gave it a go and were cured within days. After that, there was such a rush for the medicine that “they were ready to kill one another”, and used up a whole large tree.

Trapped in ice near Stadacona (the site of present-day Quebec City) in 1536, Jacques Cartier’s ships weren’t going anywhere. The crews, holed up in a makeshift fort with little access to fresh food, came down with a disease so gruesome that “their mouth became stincking, their gummes so rotten, that all the flesh did fall off, even to the rootes of the teeth, which did also almost all fall out.” They had scurvy, now known to result from a deficiency of vitamin C. Cartier had no idea what to do.
The Romans may not have understood the exact mechanisms behind disease but their superb level of personal hygiene and obsession with cleanliness certainly acted to reduce the number of epidemics in the major cities. Otherwise, they continued the tradition of the Greeks although, due to the fact that a Roman soldier was seen as a highly trained and expensive commodity, the military surgeons developed into fine practitioners of their art. Their refined procedures ensured that Roman soldiers had a much lower chance of dying from infection than those in other armies.
The transition from hunter-gatherer to settled agricultural societies brought new diseases, but also allowed people to develop wound healing and bone-setting skills and medicines. The development of cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphs in Egypt allowed preservation and dissemination of medical knowledge and created the first technical medical language.
On losing the 1883 rivalry in Alexandria, Pasteur switched research direction, and introduced his third vaccine—rabies vaccine—the first vaccine for humans since Jenner's for smallpox.[116] From across the globe, donations poured in, funding the founding of Pasteur Institute, the globe's first biomedical institute, which opened in 1888.[116] Along with Koch's bacteriologists, Pasteur's group—which preferred the term microbiology—led medicine into the new era of "scientific medicine" upon bacteriology and germ theory.[116] Accepted from Jakob Henle, Koch's steps to confirm a species' pathogenicity became famed as "Koch's postulates". Although his proposed tuberculosis treatment, tuberculin, seemingly failed, it soon was used to test for infection with the involved species. In 1905, Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and remains renowned as the founder of medical microbiology.[118]

c.484 – 425 BC Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines,and some those which are not local.[2]
medicine has modelled itself after a mechanical physics, deriving from Galileo, Newton, and Descartes.... As a result of assuming this model, medicine is mechanistic, materialistic, reductionistic, linear-causal, and deterministic (capable of precise predictions) in its concepts. It seeks explanations for diseases, or their symptoms, signs, and cause in single, materialistic— i.e., anatomical or structural (e.g., in genes and their products)— changes within the body, wrought directly (linearly), for example, by infectious, toxic, or traumatic agents.[76] p. 510

The Catholic elites provided hospital services because of their theology of salvation that good works were the route to heaven. The Protestant reformers rejected the notion that rich men could gain God's grace through good works—and thereby escape purgatory—by providing cash endowments to charitable institutions. They also rejected the Catholic idea that the poor patients earned grace and salvation through their suffering.[92] Protestants generally closed all the convents[93] and most of the hospitals, sending women home to become housewives, often against their will.[94] On the other hand, local officials recognized the public value of hospitals, and some were continued in Protestant lands, but without monks or nuns and in the control of local governments.[95]
In London, the crown allowed two hospitals to continue their charitable work, under nonreligious control of city officials.[96] The convents were all shut down but Harkness finds that women—some of them former nuns—were part of a new system that delivered essential medical services to people outside their family. They were employed by parishes and hospitals, as well as by private families, and provided nursing care as well as some medical, pharmaceutical, and surgical services.[97]
James Maskell:  Cool.  I’d love to leave your listeners with something just to get them thinking, Chris, before the summit comes up.  Because we did have one talk that I think is going to really change people’s thoughts on a lot of things.  You know, a lot of it is great information, but I know that you’re passionate about the biome, the microbiome, and our understanding of germs.  But if you don’t mind, I’d love to just share one concept that was shared that I think that you’ll really like.  I’d love to get your comment on it.
Medical information in the Edwin Smith Papyrus may date to a time as early as 3000 BC.[20] Imhotep in the 3rd dynasty is sometimes credited with being the founder of ancient Egyptian medicine and with being the original author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus, detailing cures, ailments and anatomical observations. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is regarded as a copy of several earlier works and was written c. 1600 BC. It is an ancient textbook on surgery almost completely devoid of magical thinking and describes in exquisite detail the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments.[21]
Women had always served in ancillary roles, and as midwives and healers. The professionalization of medicine forced them increasingly to the sidelines. As hospitals multiplied they relied in Europe on orders of Roman Catholic nun-nurses, and German Protestant and Anglican deaconesses in the early 19th century. They were trained in traditional methods of physical care that involved little knowledge of medicine. The breakthrough to professionalization based on knowledge of advanced medicine was led by Florence Nightingale in England. She resolved to provide more advanced training than she saw on the Continent. At Kaiserswerth, where the first German nursing schools were founded in 1836 by Theodor Fliedner, she said, "The nursing was nil and the hygiene horrible."[119]) Britain's male doctors preferred the old system, but Nightingale won out and her Nightingale Training School opened in 1860 and became a model. The Nightingale solution depended on the patronage of upper class women, and they proved eager to serve. Royalty became involved. In 1902 the wife of the British king took control of the nursing unit of the British army, became its president, and renamed it after herself as the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps; when she died the next queen became president. Today its Colonel In Chief is Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. In the United States, upper middle class women who already supported hospitals promoted nursing. The new profession proved highly attractive to women of all backgrounds, and schools of nursing opened in the late 19th century. They soon a function of large hospitals, where they provided a steady stream of low-paid idealistic workers. The International Red Cross began operations in numerous countries in the late 19th century, promoting nursing as an ideal profession for middle class women.[120]
Chris Kresser:  It keeps directing our attention back to the simple things.  So in the example that you used, you know, we can bend over backwards trying to figure out how to address a certain pathogen or what combination of factors led to something happening.  But really, we know that taking care of our immune system means eating good food, managing our stress, getting plenty of sleep, and then the body really takes care of the rest.  But it’s when we go off the rails and stray from those fundamental factors that things really go haywire.  It’s like we have the capacity for health in our bodies at all times, and we have the capacity for disease in our bodies at all times.  Our role is how we create circumstances for health or disease to emerge from that incredibly complex interaction of factors that’s happening in our body at all times.  And I don’t mean that we’re not going to find out, you know, develop new, incredible, advanced therapies that can be helpful in more complex situations.  But even that won’t detract from the simplicity of it when it comes right down to it.
^ Hamilton, William (1831). The history of medicine, surgery and anatomy. p. 358. Retrieved 24 December 2013. As a proof of his ignorance and his arrogance, he commenced his very first lecture by publicly consigning to the flames the works of Galen and Avicenna, impudently declaring that his cap contained more knowledge than all the physicians, and the hair of his beard more experience than all the universities in the world. "Greeks, Romans, French, and Italians," he exclaimed, "you Avicenna, you Galen, you Rhazes, you Mesne; you Doctors of Paris, of Montpellier, of Swabia, of Misnia, of Cologne, of Vienna, and all you through out the countries bathed by the Danube and the Rhine; and you who dwell in the islands of the sea, Athenian, Greek, Arab, and Jew! you shall all follow and obey me. I am your king; to me belongs the sceptre of physic."
Wes starts by sharing his own story of abuse and his journey to starting A Human Project. As he started to understand his own gut-brain connection and effects of the medications that were supposed to be helping him, he decided to take his life into his own hands. Now he focuses on helping children through things like stress, bullying and suicidal thoughts. We hope that this podcast inspires you as much as it has inspired us. Please consider supporting this very worthy cause at A Human Project.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to be starting a series of podcasts for the month of August all around our upcoming Interpreting Your Genetics summit. In the coming week, you'll get to have a look under the hood of our founder James Maskell's genetics and genomics as he goes through the process of genetic testing and interpretation by leading educators in the field.
In 1478 a book by the Roman doctor Celsus was printed. (The printing press made all books including medical ones much cheaper). The book by Celsus quickly became a standard textbook. However in the early 16th century a man named Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) called himself Paracelsus (meaning beyond or surpassing Celsus). He denounced all medical teaching not based on experiment and experience. However traditional ideas on medicine held sway for long afterwards.
Chris Kresser:  Hey, everybody.  Chris Kresser here.  I’m really excited to have James Maskell from Functional Forum and Revive Primary Care.  He’s also the director of the Evolution of Medicine Summit just coming up that I’m participating in.  I asked James to come on this show so we could chat about functional medicine and the future of medicine in general, because there are some really big and exciting changes happening in the world of medicine and functional medicine in particular, and James has his hands in a lot of different pots in this field.  He runs something called the Functional Forum, which is where functional medicine practitioners meet in New York—I think they’ll be meeting at some other places soon—to talk about these topics.  James will tell us a little bit more about the Evolution of Medicine Summit that’s coming up.  So welcome, James.  Happy to have you.
German physician Robert Koch, noting fellow German Ferdinand Cohn's report of a spore stage of a certain bacterial species, traced the life cycle of Davaine's bacteridia, identified spores, inoculated laboratory animals with them, and reproduced anthrax—a breakthrough for experimental pathology and germ theory of disease. Pasteur's group added ecological investigations confirming spores' role in the natural setting, while Koch published a landmark treatise in 1878 on the bacterial pathology of wounds. In 1881, Koch reported discovery of the "tubercle bacillus", cementing germ theory and Koch's acclaim.

James Maskell:  Yeah, absolutely, it was great.  You know, we have a whole day based on the evolution of nutrition.  It includes you and Terry Wahls, talking about the nutrition side.  But we also have Food Babe in there because she’s not really in the Paleo world, but I think a big part of the evolution of nutrition is to really get active and find out what’s in the food.  And I really commend her.  I think she’s playing a big role in sort of holding some of these food companies accountable.  And I think activism is an important part of making sure that we do have good options in the future.  So she’s included on that day.  And then Darryl Edwards, who does his Primal Play. He’s just a great guy, another English guy.  He’s going to be talking about the evolution of exercise.  I had an opportunity to do one of his Primal Play sessions in Central Park.  And I can tell you, I was hurting the next day and the day after, in places that I didn’t realize I had muscles.

Public health measures became particular important during the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people around the world.[171] It became an important case study in epidemiology.[172] Bristow shows there was a gendered response of health caregivers to the pandemic in the United States. Male doctors were unable to cure the patients, and they felt like failures. Women nurses also saw their patients die, but they took pride in their success in fulfilling their professional role of caring for, ministering, comforting, and easing the last hours of their patients, and helping the families of the patients cope as well.[173]
Radin deftly weaves a story of postwar scientific method with an account of postcolonial extraction. She shows how a colonial imaginary of frontier exploration and a scientific imaginary of induction, unite in a calling to “discover the unexpected.” Radin depicts Blumberg as a collector of samples, in the mode of a colonial natural historian, for whom the Pacific – and later the world, perhaps the solar system – figured as a living laboratory. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize for his work on Hepatitis B, derived from blood samples of indigenous peoples of the Pacific. As a NASA administrator, Blumberg harnessed a language of “new frontiers” – exploring where no one had yet gone – and language of basic science – seeking the unknown and following curiosity. He imagined a scientific exploration, the extraction and classification of new material, as capital to be realized in some biological future.
Utilizing the Delphi method, 56 experts from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, medicine, and biology agreed upon 14 core principles intrinsic to the education and practice of evolutionary medicine.[5] These 14 principles can be further grouped into five general categories: question framing, evolution I and II (with II involving a higher level of complexity), evolutionary trade-offs, reasons for vulnerability, and culture. Additional information regarding these principles may be found in the table below.
The Program in the History of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai explores the body and its cultural contexts from the early modern period to the present. The program’s faculty covers a range of subdisciplines, including visual culture, gender, history of the book and historical epistemology. A commitment to scholarly rigor and interdisciplinary experiment, as well as an ecumenical embrace of a wide variety of historical methods and evidence guide the program’s original scholarship.

European ideas of modern medicine were spread widely through the world by medical missionaries, and the dissemination of textbooks. Japanese elites enthusiastically embraced Western medicine after the Meiji Restoration of the 1860s. However they had been prepared by their knowledge of the Dutch and German medicine, for they had some contact with Europe through the Dutch. Highly influential was the 1765 edition of Hendrik van Deventer's pioneer work Nieuw Ligt ("A New Light") on Japanese obstetrics, especially on Katakura Kakuryo's publication in 1799 of Sanka Hatsumo ("Enlightenment of Obstetrics").[144][145] A cadre of Japanese physicians began to interact with Dutch doctors, who introduced smallpox vaccinations. By 1820 Japanese ranpô medical practitioners not only translated Dutch medical texts, they integrated their readings with clinical diagnoses. These men became leaders of the modernization of medicine in their country. They broke from Japanese traditions of closed medical fraternities and adopted the European approach of an open community of collaboration based on expertise in the latest scientific methods.[146]

Unwritten history is not easy to interpret, and, although much may be learned from a study of the drawings, bony remains, and surgical tools of early humans, it is difficult to reconstruct their mental attitude toward the problems of disease and death. It seems probable that, as soon as they reached the stage of reasoning, they discovered by the process of trial and error which plants might be used as foods, which of them were poisonous, and which of them had some medicinal value. Folk medicine or domestic medicine, consisting largely in the use of vegetable products, or herbs, originated in this fashion and still persists.
But there are less obvious ways in which evolutionary principles apply to infectious diseases. It has been known for a long time that sickle-cell trait provides resistance to malaria (the blood cells are less hospitable to the P. falciparum protozoan parasite that is one cause of malaria). This explains the persistence of sickle cell disease in populations where malaria is endemic.
They have come up with an innovative way to fund their efforts. On Sunday, October 2nd 9AM-6PM EDT, the NYANP will be hosting a conference accessible to you from anywhere in the world.  Check out to register and for more details conference. Proceeds will help retain the lobbyists working towards the mission of licensed NDs in NY (and you get CEs!).
All the way through the Functional Forum and the Evolution of Medicine we've sighted the future of "primary care" to be enhanced through technology, the Functional Medicine operating systems, and coaching for behavior change and this is such a great example. One of the powerful tools that Powell has taken advantage is Nudge Coach, a behavior change technology we love. By taking advantage of their white label solution, they have a branded experience for their patients to use to track behavior change between visits.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine Podcast, we welcome, Michael Lubin, Co-Found of Hint Health. We're excited to be partnering with Hint Health on the delivery of our new training program the Membership Practice Builder featuring Tom Blue, Chief Strategy Officer of American Academy of Private Physicians. The Evolution of Medicine is always looking for innovative technology partners that make it easier to deliver Functional Medicine and Hint Health hits the mark. Hint Health is the leading membership management and billing solution for direct pay healthcare. To learn more about Hint Health, visit
Due to the hot and dry climate in Egypt, ancient papyri have survived intact, allowing historians to study the sophisticated techniques employed by Ancient Egyptian physicians. Whilst couched in magic and ritual, the Egyptians possessed a great deal of knowledge of healing herbs and repairing physical injuries, amongst the normal population and the workers responsible for building the great monuments of that nation.
As you pointed out, 80% just want a prescription and are not willing to find the causes of their illness, I have chosen to focus on the 20% who are willing to discover the causes and make lifestyle changes. Patient satisfaction is up, and I am getting control back of my practice. I believe this the medicine of the future, that will appeal to my grandchildren.