In the Spanish Empire, the viceregal capital of Mexico City was a site of medical training for physicians and the creation of hospitals. Epidemic disease had decimated indigenous populations starting with the early sixteenth-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, when a black auxiliary in the armed forces of conqueror Hernán Cortés, with an active case of smallpox, set off a virgin land epidemic among indigenous peoples, Spanish allies and enemies alike. Aztec emperor Cuitlahuac died of smallpox. Disease was a significant factor in the Spanish conquest elsewhere as well.
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.
The authors also provide examples of how evolutionary principles can direct future research. They reference new research looking into the role of intestinal parasites and autoimmune diseases. The research is based upon the premise that humans co-evolved not only with our intestinal flora, but with certain parasites, such as intestinal worms. Now we live in a largely hygienic environment, and have even taken steps to eliminate parasites. This may have unintentionally deprived our immune systems of needed stimulation, resulting in poor immune regulation, and subsequent increase in auto-immune diseases like asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Last time we featured her, the Evolution of Medicine community showed support and interest that made a real difference. Thank you! We bring her back this week to share an update about Organize. She and her team were recently at the White House to speak about their project with some important influencers from the industry. She shares with us what she learned and what they were able to accomplish.
Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years.
In East Semitic cultures, the main medicinal authority was a kind of exorcist-healer known as an āšipu. The profession was generally passed down from father to son and was held in extremely high regard. Of less frequent recourse was another kind of healer known as an asu, who corresponds more closely to a modern physician and treated physical symptoms using primarily folk remedies composed of various herbs, animal products, and minerals, as well as potions, enemas, and ointments or poultices. These physicians, who could be either male or female, also dressed wounds, set limbs, and performed simple surgeries. The ancient Mesopotamians also practiced prophylaxis and took measures to prevent the spread of disease.
Kitasato Shibasaburō (1853–1931) studied bacteriology in Germany under Robert Koch. In 1891 he founded the Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, which introduced the study of bacteriology to Japan. He and French researcher Alexandre Yersin went to Hong Kong in 1894, where; Kitasato confirmed Yersin's discovery that the bacterium Yersinia pestis is the agent of the plague. In 1897 he isolates and described the organism that caused dysentery. He became the first dean of medicine at Keio University, and the first president of the Japan Medical Association.
Another great surgeon was Ambroise Pare. In the 16th century surgeons put oil on wounds. However in 1536 during the siege of Turin Pare ran out of oil. He made a mixture of egg whites, rose oil and turpentine and discovered it worked better than oil. Pare also designed artificial limbs. In 1513 a man named Eucharius Roslin published a book about childbirth called Rosengarten. In 1540 an English translation called The Birth of Mankind was published. It became a standard text although midwives were women.
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.
Responding to a growing consumer movement, Congress passes two major pieces of legislation: the Wheeler-Lea Act, which allows the Federal Trade Commission to prosecute against companies whose advertising deceives and harms consumers; and the Copeland Bill, which expands the Food and Drug Administration's power to regulate drug and food safety, and extends its oversight to include cosmetics.
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.
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.
1899 Felix Hoffman develops aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid). The juice from willow tree bark had been used as early as 400 BC to relieve pain. 19th century scientists knew that it was the salicylic acid in the willow that made it work, but it irritated the lining of the mouth and stomach. Hoffman synthesizes acetyl salicylic acid, developing what is now the most widely used medicine in the world.
When mentioning the Roman influence on the history of medicine, the physician Galen is the most illustrious name. This Greek, granted an expensive education by his merchant father, studied in the medical school at Pergamum and frequented the Aesclepions. In AD161, Galen moved to Rome, where he acted as physician to the gladiators, which allowed him to study physiology and the human body.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we feature Steven Feyrer-Melk, PhD, co-founder of a preventative cardiology practice, The Optimal Heart Center and Chief Science Officer of Nudge Coach, a lifestyle medicine technology company. Nudge has sponsored the Functional Forum and the Evolution of Medicine podcast in the past year and has worked with us to bring our community of practitioners a valuable addition to their practices that allows every patient to feel supported at all times.
Chris Kresser: So what kind of response are you getting? I mean, it sounds like, just from the little bit that I’ve heard, that this is really happening at a big level, with The Huffington Post support. You know, this is getting beyond the typical kind of blog tour that a lot of these summits do. So what’s been the response in the more mainstream world to the whole concept of functional medicine and doing a summit on this topic?
The ancient Mesopotamians had no distinction between "rational science" and magic. When a person became ill, doctors would prescribe both magical formulas to be recited as well as medicinal treatments. The earliest medical prescriptions appear in Sumerian during the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112 BC – c. 2004 BC). The oldest Babylonian texts on medicine date back to the Old Babylonian period in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. The most extensive Babylonian medical text, however, is the Diagnostic Handbook written by the ummânū, or chief scholar, Esagil-kin-apli of Borsippa, during the reign of the Babylonian king Adad-apla-iddina (1069–1046 BCE). Along with the Egyptians, the Babylonians introduced the practice of diagnosis, prognosis, physical examination, and remedies. In addition, the Diagnostic Handbook introduced the methods of therapy and cause. The text contains a list of medical symptoms and often detailed empirical observations along with logical rules used in combining observed symptoms on the body of a patient with its diagnosis and prognosis. The Diagnostic Handbook was based on a logical set of axioms and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease, its cause and future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery. The symptoms and diseases of a patient were treated through therapeutic means such as bandages, herbs and creams.
Shocked that he wasn't learning more about lifestyle medicine in medical school, he chose to dive into learning integrative and functional medicine through podcasts, blogs,and other free resources along with his med school training. From his diligent self-teachings, Robert collected and created a resource for any practitioner/student interested in functional and integrative medicine for free. Anyone in any corner of the world in pursuit of more information around functional and integrative medicine can access this information absolutely free. Don't forget to share this with your colleagues and fellow med students.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we hear from Richard Morris, CEO of Powell Metabolics. Powell Metabolics is an innovative wellness coaching program delivered in a physical therapy environment that started in Arizona and has the potential to expand across the country. This is part of a greater trend of functional medicine integrating with other "hands on" modalities like physical therapy, personal training and chiropractic. We think you'll be inspired to hear about their process, the results and how your practice could benefit.
This week, Dr. Wible joins us to talk about the epidemic of physician suicide. She's filmed a powerful TedMed talk on the epidemic of physician suicide where she read the words of physicians on the edge of taking their own lives. As we lose more brilliant minds and healers to suicide, Dr. Wible has started a project to bring this epidemic to light. Her film called "Do No Harm" will do exactly that and she tells us more about the film and how we can support the movement.
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.
The editor of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is pleased to announce the winner of the annual Stanley Jackson award for the best paper in the journal appearing in the preceding three years. The prize committee chose: Todd M. Olszewski, "The Causal Conundrum: The Diet-Heart Debates and the Management of Uncertainty in American Medicine" (70:2, April 2015).
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.
James Maskell: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s cool as well. So in this summit, we have a doctor track as well as a patient track. And in the doctor track, we’re actually talking about some of the ways that this is actually being delivered. And there are ways to deliver functional medicine on insurance. We’re featuring the group visit model in one of the doctor-specific tracks. That’s been very successful at bringing people together, developing a community around groups of people with the same disease. They want accountability. They want support. They want to hear from other people that have the same issues as them. So that’s working and that’s going to be included in the functional center at Cleveland Clinic. And then also health coaches. They’re looking at using different providers together, so you can have higher-cost and lower-cost providers working together. So it’s really exciting. I feel like once we get more and more organizations doing it that are credible, people will work out how to get this done on insurance and how to do this at a bigger scale. The first thing is just the clinical acceptance that’s been a long time coming.
The medicinal leech has been in use for thousands of years, and is even today considered to be a way of restoring venous circulation after reconstructive surgery. But it was in the early 19th century that the leech really soared in popularity. Led by French physician François-Joseph-Victor Broussais (1772–1838), who postulated that all disease stemmed from local inflammation treatable by bloodletting, the ‘leech craze’ saw barrels of the creatures shipped across the globe, wild leech populations decimated almost to extinction, and the establishment of prosperous leech farms.
Temples dedicated to the healer-god Asclepius, known as Asclepieia (Ancient Greek: Ἀσκληπιεῖα, sing. Ἀσκληπιεῖον, 'Asclepieion), functioned as centers of medical advice, prognosis, and healing. At these shrines, patients would enter a dream-like state of induced sleep known as enkoimesis (ἐγκοίμησις) not unlike anesthesia, in which they either received guidance from the deity in a dream or were cured by surgery. Asclepeia provided carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing and fulfilled several of the requirements of institutions created for healing. In the Asclepeion of Epidaurus, three large marble boards dated to 350 BCE preserve the names, case histories, complaints, and cures of about 70 patients who came to the temple with a problem and shed it there. Some of the surgical cures listed, such as the opening of an abdominal abscess or the removal of traumatic foreign material, are realistic enough to have taken place, but with the patient in a state of enkoimesis induced with the help of soporific substances such as opium. Alcmaeon of Croton wrote on medicine between 500 and 450 BCE. He argued that channels linked the sensory organs to the brain, and it is possible that he discovered one type of channel, the optic nerves, by dissection.
The History of Medicine Collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University is accepting applications for our travel grant program. https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/history-of-medicine/grants Research grants of up to $1,500 will be offered to researchers whose work would benefit from access to the historical medical collections at the Rubenstein Rare Book & […]
Hippocrates and his followers were first to describe many diseases and medical conditions. Though humorism (humoralism) as a medical system predates 5th-century Greek medicine, Hippocrates and his students systemetized the thinking that illness can be explained by an imbalance of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Hippocrates is given credit for the first description of clubbing of the fingers, an important diagnostic sign in chronic suppurative lung disease, lung cancer and cyanotic heart disease. For this reason, clubbed fingers are sometimes referred to as "Hippocratic fingers". Hippocrates was also the first physician to describe the Hippocratic face in Prognosis. Shakespeare famously alludes to this description when writing of Falstaff's death in Act II, Scene iii. of Henry V.
Medicine is evolving to solve the modern epidemics of chronic disease, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a range of autoimmune diseases. Our summit intends to not only shine a light on the work of those visionaries and innovators leading this evolution, but also set a unique vision for a more evolved healthcare system. This vision is patient-centric, empowered, proactive and participatory.
In the Middle Ages the church operated hospitals. In 542 a hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Lyon, France. Another hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Paris in 1660. The number of hospitals in western Europe greatly increased from the 12th century. In them monks or nuns cared for the sick as best they could. Meanwhile, during the Middle Ages there were many hospitals in the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are excited to welcome Qigong master Mingtong Gu, recorded live from his center in New Mexico with Evolution of Medicine co-founder Gabe Hoffman. Gabe has been studying Wisdom Healing Qigong with Mingtong since finding his high-quality content on YouTube two years ago. Since then Gabe learned of the extremely successful Medicineless Qigong Hospital in China, where Wisdom Healing Qigong is the only tool used. Gabe recently returned from a month-long retreat, led by Mingtong, where people with all types of chronic disease used the same protocols as the hospital in China with great success.