1796 Edward Jenner develops a method to protect people from smallpox by exposing them to the cowpox virus. In his famous experiment, he rubs pus from a dairymaid's cowpox postule into scratches on the arm of his gardener's 8-year-old son, and then exposes him to smallpox six weeks later (which he does not develop). The process becomes known as vaccination from the Latin vacca for cow. Vaccination with cowpox is made compulsory in Britain in 1853. Jenner is sometimes called the founding father of immunology.
^ Cooter, R.J. (1976). "Phrenology and British alienists, c. 1825–1845. Part I: Converts to a doctrine". Medical History. 20 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1017/s0025727300021761. PMC 1081688. PMID 765647.; Cooter, R.J. (1976). "Phrenology and British alienists, c. 1825–1845. Part II: Doctrine and practice". Medical History. 20 (2): 135–51. doi:10.1017/s0025727300022195. PMC 1081733. PMID 781421.
During the 16th century there were some improvements in medicine. However it remained basically the same as in the Middle Ages. Medicine was still dominated by the theory of the four humors. In 1546 a man Girolamo Fracastoro published a book called On Contagion. He suggested that infectious diseases were caused by 'disease seeds', which were carried by the wind or transmitted by touch. Unfortunately there was no way of testing his theory.
The paper of Paul Ewald in 1980, “Evolutionary Biology and the Treatment of Signs and Symptoms of Infectious Disease”, and that of Williams and Nesse in 1991, “The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine” were key developments. The latter paper “draw a favorable reception”,page x and led to a book, Why We Get Sick (published as Evolution and healing in the UK). In 2008, an online journal started: Evolution and Medicine Review.
A revolution of a new age of medicine. It is time to make lifestyle changes, improve our education on what we are putting into our bodies on a daily basis, how often do we get fresh air and exercise, how many hours of restful deep sleep do we receive each night? How about our stress levels? All of these and many more affect us intrinsically but most of us just wait for things to go wrong and then expect the medical professional to make us better. We have got this so wrong it is time to take back responsibility and learn what it truly means to look after our health...mentally, physically and socially. This book is pioneering this change and laying the foundations for the medical profession to step up to the challenge of providing the education and the support that we will all need to make this leap...
However, this all changed with Hippocrates, one of the most famous of all physicians, and his famous oath is still used by doctors today, as they pledge to 'Do No Harm.' His most telling contribution to the history of medicine was the separation of medicine from the divine, and he believed that checking symptoms, giving diagnoses and administering treatment should be separated from the rituals of the priests, although most Greeks were happy to combine the two and hedge their bets.
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.") 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.
As we prepare to present the Evolution of Environmental Medicine next week, Dr. Pizzorno shares with us that toxins either contribute to or cause virtual every chronic illness we see today. What can practitioners do when toxins have been proven to be trans-generational? Dr. Pizzorno explains how you can approach treatment for those exposed to toxins, indicators of toxin exposure, and what to measure when testing for exposure. He goes into greater details in his new book: The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health--AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIX IT. This book is a culmination of the decades of research that he's done around toxins and how to avoid those you can and what to do to mitigate the effects of the ones you can't.
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. 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.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we continue our series called The Future of Patient Compliance with Mac Gambill from Nudge Coach. Nudge Coach is lifestyle coaching software that aims to better connect practitioners with their patients. It allows practitioners to empower patients through online lifestyle coaching through technology in between visits.
Susruta, the founding father of Indian medicine, establishes a tradition later enshrined in a classic text, the Susrutasamhita. He identifies 1120 diseases, lists 760 medicinal drugs, and says that the surgeon's equipment amounts to 20 sharp instruments (including knives, scissors, saws and needles) and 101 blunt ones (such as forceps, tubes, levers, hooks and probes).
Some 200 years later another doctor, Peseshet, was immortalised on a monument in the tomb of her son, Akhet-Hetep (aka Akhethetep), a high priest. Peseshet held the title ‘overseer of female physicians’, suggesting that women doctors weren’t just occasional one-offs. Peseshet herself was either one of them or a director responsible for their organisation and training.
^ Heeßel, N. P. (2004). "Diagnosis, Divination, and Disease: Towards an Understanding of the Rationale Behind the Babylonian Diagonostic Handbook". In Horstmanshoff, H.F. .; Stol, Marten; Tilburg, Cornelis. Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine. Studies in Ancient Medicine. 27. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 97–116. ISBN 978-9004136663.
The Greeks also knew that diet and exercise and keeping clean were important for health. Later Alexander the Great conquered Egypt. In 332 BC he founded the city of Alexandria and a great medical school was established there. Doctors in Alexandria dissected human bodies and they gained a much better knowledge of anatomy. However little progress was made in understanding disease.
Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.
Throughout the years and across the globe, our understanding of medicine has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve used plastic and stem cells to build new tracheas for cancer patients. We’ve performed double arm transplants. We’ve even helped a newborn survive a serious heart condition by controlling his internal body temperature and his heart rate with a cold gel and a defibrillator.
In the 1830s in Italy, Agostino Bassi traced the silkworm disease muscardine to microorganisms. Meanwhile, in Germany, Theodor Schwann led research on alcoholic fermentation by yeast, proposing that living microorganisms were responsible. Leading chemists, such as Justus von Liebig, seeking solely physicochemical explanations, derided this claim and alleged that Schwann was regressing to vitalism.
Nursing was greatly improved by two nurses, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) and Mary Seacole (1805-1881) who both nursed soldiers during the Crimean War 1853-56. In the USA Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. Meanwhile in the 19th century several more hospitals were founded in London including Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (1852). In 1864 Jean Henri Dunant founded the international Red Cross.