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]
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.

A nearby tomb reveals the image of Merit Ptah, the first female doctor known by name. She lived in approximately 2,700 BC and hieroglyphs on the tomb describe her as ‘the Chief Physician’. That’s pretty much all that’s known about her career, but the inscription reveals that it was possible for women to hold high-status medical roles in Ancient Egypt.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast we welcome the Mark Krasser and Anna Gannon from Expectful. Expectful provides guided meditation for fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. At the Evolution of Medicine, we often talk about the power of digital health and how it comes together with medicine to solve chronic disease. Mark and Anna join us to explain the science behind how meditation can support mom during pregnancy and labor. They also explain the deeper bond mom and baby feel, as well as, how it supports baby's health.
^ Andrews, Jonathan (2004). "The Rise of the Asylum in Britain". In Brunton, Deborah. Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800–1930. Manchester University Press. pp. 298–330. ISBN 978-0719067358.; Porter, Roy (2003). "Introduction". In Porter, Roy; Wright, David. The Confinement of the Insane: International Perspectives, 1800–1965. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–19. ISBN 978-1139439626.

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.[41] 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".[42] 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.[43]


The Egyptians did have some knowledge of anatomy from making mummies. To embalm a dead body they first removed the principal organs, which would otherwise rot. However Egyptian surgery was limited to such things as treating wounds and broken bones and dealing with boils and abscesses. The Egyptians used clamps, sutures and cauterization. They had surgical instruments like probes, saws, forceps, scalpels and scissors. They also knew that honey helped to prevent wounds becoming infected. (It is a natural antiseptic). They also dressed wounds with willow bark, which has the same effect. The Egyptians were clean people. They washed daily and changed their clothes regularly, which must have helped their health.
The Department of the History of Medicine is the oldest such academic department in North America. We are dedicated to scholarship in the history of medicine, disease and the health sciences, and their relation to society. The Department seeks to bring historical perspectives to bear on contemporary health issues. Faculty members conduct research on a broad range of topics, time periods, and geographic areas. The Department offers a PhD in the History of Medicine.
The Greeks were also surgeons and some of the equipment they used is recognizable today. Some of the tools of the Greek physicians included forceps, scalpels, tooth-extraction forceps and catheters, and there were even syringes for drawing pus from wounds. One instrument, the spoon of Diocles, was used by the surgeon Kritoboulos, to remove the injured eye of Phillip of Macedon without undue scarring. Finally, the Greeks knew how to splint and treat bone fractures, as well as add compresses to prevent infection.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we feature, authors, Glenn Sabin and Taylor Walsh. Their book is called The Rise of Integrative Health and Medicine: The Milestones - 1963 to Present. It features over 120 of the most significant accomplishments in the field during the last 54 years. Evolution of Medicine is proud to be among the chosen milestones.
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]

The earliest known physician is also credited to ancient Egypt: Hesy-Ra, "Chief of Dentists and Physicians" for King Djoser in the 27th century BCE.[26] Also, the earliest known woman physician, Peseshet, practiced in Ancient Egypt at the time of the 4th dynasty. Her title was "Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians." In addition to her supervisory role, Peseshet trained midwives at an ancient Egyptian medical school in Sais.[citation needed]


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.
^ Nesse RM, Bergstrom CT, Ellison PT, Flier JS, Gluckman P, Govindaraju DR, Niethammer D, Omenn GS, Perlman RL, Schwartz MD, Thomas MG, Stearns SC, Valle D (January 2010). "Evolution in health and medicine Sackler colloquium: Making evolutionary biology a basic science for medicine". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107. 107 Suppl 1 (suppl_1): 1800–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.0906224106. PMC 2868284. PMID 19918069.
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.

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.


This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to welcome start of the BBC one prime-time series and International Functional Forum host, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. Dr. Chatterjee is a Functional Medicine doctor who is passionate about lifestyle transformation. Over 4 million people watched season one of Doctor in the House as he reversed type two diabetes and a number of other chronic conditions.
Antibiotics were discovered too. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming but it was not widely used till after 1940. Another antibiotic, streptomycin was isolated in 1944. It was used to treat tuberculosis. They were followed by many others. Meanwhile the iron lung was invented in 1928 and in 1943 Willem Kolff built the first artificial kidney machine. (The first kidney transplant was performed in 1950 by Richard Lawler).
The Ayurvedic classics mention eight branches of medicine: kāyācikitsā (internal medicine), śalyacikitsā (surgery including anatomy), śālākyacikitsā (eye, ear, nose, and throat diseases), kaumārabhṛtya (pediatrics with obstetrics and gynaecology), bhūtavidyā (spirit and psychiatric medicine), agada tantra (toxicology with treatments of stings and bites), rasāyana (science of rejuvenation), and vājīkaraṇa (aphrodisiac and fertility). Apart from learning these, the student of Āyurveda was expected to know ten arts that were indispensable in the preparation and application of his medicines: distillation, operative skills, cooking, horticulture, metallurgy, sugar manufacture, pharmacy, analysis and separation of minerals, compounding of metals, and preparation of alkalis. The teaching of various subjects was done during the instruction of relevant clinical subjects. For example, teaching of anatomy was a part of the teaching of surgery, embryology was a part of training in pediatrics and obstetrics, and the knowledge of physiology and pathology was interwoven in the teaching of all the clinical disciplines. The normal length of the student's training appears to have been seven years. But the physician was to continue to learn.[28]

Until the nineteenth century, the care of the insane was largely a communal and family responsibility rather than a medical one. The vast majority of the mentally ill were treated in domestic contexts with only the most unmanageable or burdensome likely to be institutionally confined.[152] This situation was transformed radically from the late eighteenth century as, amid changing cultural conceptions of madness, a new-found optimism in the curability of insanity within the asylum setting emerged.[153] Increasingly, lunacy was perceived less as a physiological condition than as a mental and moral one[154] to which the correct response was persuasion, aimed at inculcating internal restraint, rather than external coercion.[155] This new therapeutic sensibility, referred to as moral treatment, was epitomised in French physician Philippe Pinel's quasi-mythological unchaining of the lunatics of the Bicêtre Hospital in Paris[156] and realised in an institutional setting with the foundation in 1796 of the Quaker-run York Retreat in England.[23]


^ Andrews, Jonathan (2004). "The Rise of the Asylum in Britain". In Brunton, Deborah. Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800–1930. Manchester University Press. pp. 298–330. ISBN 978-0719067358.; Porter, Roy (2003). "Introduction". In Porter, Roy; Wright, David. The Confinement of the Insane: International Perspectives, 1800–1965. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–19. ISBN 978-1139439626.
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.
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