Mummified bodies provide direct evidence for ailments and their treatments. They have shown us that ancient Egyptians suffered from eye diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, bladder, kidney and gallstones, bilharzia, arterial disease, gout and appendicitis. The tree-bark splints on a 5,000 year old mummified arm show that fractures were splinted. Most bone fractures found archaeologically are healed, further proof of good medical care.
Among its many surgical descriptions, the Sushruta Samhita documents cataract surgery. The patient had to look at the tip of his or her nose while the surgeon, holding the eyelids apart with thumb and index finger, used a needle-like instrument to pierce the eyeball from the side. It was then sprinkled with breast milk and the outside of the eye bathed with a herbal medication. The surgeon used the instrument to scrape out the clouded lens until the eye “assumed the glossiness of a resplendent cloudless sun”. During recovery it was important for the patient to avoiding coughing, sneezing, burping or anything else that might cause pressure in the eye. If the operation were a success, the patient would regain some useful vision, albeit unfocused.
Humans evolved to live as simple hunter-gatherers in small tribal bands. Contemporary humans now have a very different environment and way of life.[13][14] This change makes present humans vulnerable to a number of health problems, termed "diseases of civilization" and "diseases of affluence". Stone-age humans evolved to live off the land, taking advantage of the resources that were readily available to them. Evolution is slow, and the rapid change from stone-age environments and practices to the world of today is problematic because we are still adapted to stone-age circumstances that no longer apply. This misfit has serious implications for our health. "Modern environments may cause many diseases such as deficiency syndromes like scurvy and rickets".[15])
Their ideas may be gaining ground. This past summer, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) published a joint report, titled Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians. The report calls for ambitious changes in the science content in the premedical curriculum and on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), including increased emphasis on evolution. “For the first time, the AAMC and HHMI are recommending that evolution be one of the basic sciences students learn before they come to medical school,” Nesse explained.

The sexual revolution included taboo-breaking research in human sexuality such as the 1948 and 1953 Kinsey reports, invention of hormonal contraception, and the normalization of abortion and homosexuality in many countries. Family planning has promoted a demographic transition in most of the world. With threatening sexually transmitted infections, not least HIV, use of barrier contraception has become imperative. The struggle against HIV has improved antiretroviral treatments.
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness by Taoist physicians and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.

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.
Chris Kresser:  Yeah, that’s really exciting to me.  I think another frontier is lab testing.  I mean, that’s one of the, as a practitioner, that’s one of the things that troubles me the most, is how expensive these labs are.  And in a lot of cases, the insurance isn’t covering them because they don’t deem them to be medically necessary, which just makes me want to pull my hair out, because of course, you know, if we do these labs and we identify the underlying problems initially, we’re potentially heading off tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, in medical costs to the insurance company later on down the line.  So I guess it just depends on how you define medically necessary, but that’s a whole different discussion.  Some of these labs can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  So I know there are some pretty exciting, new movements out there to make this lab testing more affordable financially.  And then some of the tech tools that are becoming available, like the Quantified Self Revolution, that could really help in terms of not only gathering the necessary data, but organizing it and then presenting it back to the clinician in a way that makes sense and makes it easy for the clinician to track progress.  So I know this is an area of interest for both us, James.  Maybe you could talk a little bit about some of them, the more exciting technologies that you’ve seen, and that people have talked about in the summit.
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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.


This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we welcome our first guest host. Could it be anyone else than Dr. Kelly Brogan?  Dr. Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist and has been a frequent guest speaker on the Functional Forum.  She is the author of A Mind of Your Own and has been an incredible supporter of the Evolution of Medicine from the start.  She interviews James Maskell about his brand new book, The Evolution of Medicine.
During the 18th century the mentally ill were not regarded as 'truly' human. It was thought that they did not have human feelings. They were therefore confined in chains. People paid to visit asylums and see the insane as if they were animals in a zoo. However in 1793 a doctor called Philippe Pinel argued that the insane should be released and treated humanely. As an experiment he was allowed to release some patients. The experiment worked and attitudes to the insane began to change.
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]
In 1865 Joseph Lister (1827-1912) discovered antiseptic surgery, which enabled surgeons to perform many more complicated operations. Lister prevented infection by spraying carbolic acid over the patient during surgery. German surgeons developed a better method. The surgeons hands and clothes were sterilized before the operation and surgical instruments were sterilized with superheated steam. Rubber gloves were first used in surgery in 1890. Anesthetics and antiseptics made surgery much safer. They allowed far more complicated operations.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast we continue our series featuring educational resources that support the emerging practice models that support integrative and functional medicine. We welcome Dr. Sheila Dean and Kathy Swift, founders of Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy (IFNA). Our goal at the Evolution of Medicine is to help create 100,000 micropractices based on root cause resolution and community health. One of the ways we can make this type of care efficient enough to be available to everyone is creating a provider team. Registered Dietitians play a critical role in a provider team and this is the training to teach the front lines of nutrition about Functional Medicine.
Georg Ebers papyrus from the U. S. National Medical Library at the National Institutes of Health. This papyrus recounts the case of a "tumor against the god Xenus." The recommendation is to "do thou nothing there against." It is also noted that the heart is the center of the blood supply, with vessels attached for every member of the body. (Public Domain)

In Britain, there were but three small hospitals after 1550. Pelling and Webster estimate that in London in the 1580 to 1600 period, out of a population of nearly 200,000 people, there were about 500 medical practitioners. Nurses and midwives are not included. There were about 50 physicians, 100 licensed surgeons, 100 apothecaries, and 250 additional unlicensed practitioners. In the last category about 25% were women.[101] All across Britain—and indeed all of the world—the vast majority of the people in city, town or countryside depended for medical care on local amateurs with no professional training but with a reputation as wise healers who could diagnose problems and advise sick people what to do—and perhaps set broken bones, pull a tooth, give some traditional herbs or brews or perform a little magic to cure what ailed them.
On this podcast we will be announcing our most expansive and exciting adventure to date, called Journey to 100. It will be held on June 30th and available for live streaming through the Functional Forum. You might remember Evolution of Medicine co-founder James Maskell presented his TEDx talk in 2015 from Guernsey called Community, Not Medicine, Creates Health. He's heading back to Guernsey to host the event, along with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, the BBC’s "Doctor in the House". Journey to 100 will host 20 leading global healthcare, lifestyle and longevity experts, who will share their perspectives and help us all understand how we can live healthier, happier lives, from zero to 100 years old and beyond. Expect over 20 international speakers from all over the world including some past Functional Forum presenters like Dr. Janet Settle, Dr. Michael Ash, Tom Blue and Dr. Sachin Patel. Beyond progressive medicine models, there will also be talks on fascinating topics indirectly related to healthcare like sustainable farming, universal basic income and community support structures.

This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we welcome our first guest host. Could it be anyone else than Dr. Kelly Brogan?  Dr. Brogan is a holistic psychiatrist and has been a frequent guest speaker on the Functional Forum.  She is the author of A Mind of Your Own and has been an incredible supporter of the Evolution of Medicine from the start.  She interviews James Maskell about his brand new book, The Evolution of Medicine.
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