This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are back with the fifth installment of the "State of the Evolution" with co-founders of the Evolution of Medicine, James Maskell and Gabe Hoffman. Twice a year we look back at ground take-in the last six months and look forward to the next six. We're excited to share with you what's happened and what to expect during the first half of 2017.
The three branches of Egyptian medicine included use of internal and external medicines, using ingredients like onions, hippopotamus fat and fried mice. The Ebers Papyrus and others list treatments of the eye, skin and abdomen, also 21 cough treatments. Egyptian surgeons never opened the abdomen, but performed external operations such as lancing boils, cutting out cysts and circumcision, as well as dealing with wounds and fractures. Their surgical equipment included scalpels, knives, forceps and probes, as well as red-hot irons to cauterize wounds. The Edwin Smith Papyrus (1600 BCE) makes detailed observations of the head, nose, face, ears, neck, chest and spine, describing 42 examinations leading to surgery. Sorcerers used incantations and amulets to combat evil spirits.
There are more examples, and collective they provide a compelling case that evolutionary principles are important to understanding populations, genetics, infectious diseasease, diet, and other issues of public health – in diagnosis, treatment, and research. Therefore, the authors argue, evolution is an important topic for medical professionals to understand, and I completely agree.
When the medicine of ancient Egypt is examined, the picture becomes clearer. The first physician to emerge is Imhotep, chief minister to King Djoser in the 3rd millennium bce, who designed one of the earliest pyramids, the Step Pyramid at Ṣaqqārah, and who was later regarded as the Egyptian god of medicine and identified with the Greek god Asclepius. Surer knowledge comes from the study of Egyptian papyri, especially the Ebers papyrus and Edwin Smith papyrus discovered in the 19th century. The former is a list of remedies, with appropriate spells or incantations, while the latter is a surgical treatise on the treatment of wounds and other injuries.
A major breakthrough in epidemiology came with the introduction of statistical maps and graphs. They allowed careful analysis of seasonality issues in disease incidents, and the maps allowed public health officials to identify critical loci for the dissemination of disease. John Snow in London developed the methods. In 1849, he observed that the symptoms of cholera, which had already claimed around 500 lives within a month, were vomiting and diarrhoea. He concluded that the source of contamination must be through ingestion, rather than inhalation as was previously thought. It was this insight that resulted in the removal of The Pump On Broad Street, after which deaths from cholera plummeted afterwards. English nurse Florence Nightingale pioneered analysis of large amounts of statistical data, using graphs and tables, regarding the condition of thousands of patients in the Crimean War to evaluate the efficacy of hospital services. Her methods proved convincing and led to reforms in military and civilian hospitals, usually with the full support of the government.
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.
As noted in the table below, adaptationist hypotheses regarding the etiology of psychological disorders are often based on analogies with evolutionary perspectives on medicine and physiological dysfunctions (see in particular, Randy Nesse and George C. Williams' book Why We Get Sick). Evolutionary psychiatrists and psychologists suggest that some mental disorders likely have multiple causes.
The underlying principle of most medieval medicine was Galen's theory of humours. This was derived from the ancient medical works, and dominated all western medicine until the 19th century. The theory stated that within every individual there were four humours, or principal fluids—black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood, these were produced by various organs in the body, and they had to be in balance for a person to remain healthy. Too much phlegm in the body, for example, caused lung problems; and the body tried to cough up the phlegm to restore a balance. The balance of humours in humans could be achieved by diet, medicines, and by blood-letting, using leeches. The four humours were also associated with the four seasons, black bile-autumn, yellow bile-summer, phlegm-winter and blood-spring.
From 1917 to 1923, the American Red Cross moved into Europe with a battery of long-term child health projects. It built and operated hospitals and clinics, and organized antituberculosis and antityphus campaigns. A high priority involved child health programs such as clinics, better baby shows, playgrounds, fresh air camps, and courses for women on infant hygiene. Hundreds of U.S. doctors, nurses, and welfare professionals administered these programs, which aimed to reform the health of European youth and to reshape European public health and welfare along American lines.
The Byzantine Empire's neighbors, the Persian Sassanid Empire, also made their noteworthy contributions mainly with the establishment of the Academy of Gondeshapur, which was "the most important medical center of the ancient world during the 6th and 7th centuries." In addition, Cyril Elgood, British physician and a historian of medicine in Persia, commented that thanks to medical centers like the Academy of Gondeshapur, "to a very large extent, the credit for the whole hospital system must be given to Persia."
Why is this program so special? If you have patients that are preparing for surgery, this is something that you can curate for your community without having to do all the work yourself. We strive to bring you resources that make your practice more efficient and effective and this program offers both. We're so excited to share this with you because this program uses email autoresponder technology. Autoresponders are messages set to go out automatically. They allow you to automate campaigns and manage one-to-one communication with your patients. This is the core technology that we focus on in the Practice Accelerator. Thousands of practitioners have shared with us that automating patient education and setting up systems that work while they are not "on the job" brings convenience and value to their patients - and bonus, it doubles as marketing. As early adopters of this new era of medicine, many practitioners are working with entrepreneurs that have identified problems and have created programs that offer scalable solutions.
This was a common scenario in wars from time immemorial, and conditions faced by the Confederate army were even worse. The Union responded by building army hospitals in every state. What was different in the Union was the emergence of skilled, well-funded medical organizers who took proactive action, especially in the much enlarged United States Army Medical Department, and the United States Sanitary Commission, a new private agency. Numerous other new agencies also targeted the medical and morale needs of soldiers, including the United States Christian Commission as well as smaller private agencies.
This podcast is made possible by one of our Summit sponsors DNALife. There are few reasons why we chose this test, firstly because this test can only be ordered through a practitioner ensuring that the results will get a professional, responsible interpretation. Dr. Joffe was also centrally involved in creating this test, curating only those SNPs and other data points that have enough good research data to infer real meaning.
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. 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 snakeroot plant has traditionally been a tonic in the east to calm patients; it is now used in orthodox medical practice to reduce blood pressure. Doctors in ancient India gave an extract of foxglove to patients with legs swollen by dropsy, an excess of fluid resulting from a weak heart; digitalis, a constituent of foxglove, is now a standard stimulant for the heart. Curare, smeared on the tip of arrows in the Amazonian jungle to paralyze the prey, is an important muscle relaxant in modern surgery.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast we feature one of the world's leading authorities on science-based natural/integrative medicine, Dr. Joe Pizzorno, ND. Dr. Pizzorno is the founder of Bastyr University and he joins us to talk about environmental toxins. He's been on the cutting edge of this topic for several decades and we're excited to welcome to the podcast.
She is the co-founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, as well as the co-founder of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine. Dr. Gladys shares her experience from medical school in the 1940's during a war to now and how medicine has changed from treating the disease to treating the person. Dr. Galdys talks the talk and she definitely walks the walk. She's a prime example of what we're trying to accomplish with our Journey to 100 project. Journey To 100 is a world-exclusive conference that will explore options for a sustainable approach to healthcare and longevity and begin Guernsey’s quest to become the first country with a life expectancy of 100.
James Maskell: Well, there’s a reason why I didn’t call it the Functional Medicine Summit, because, I just feel like that is something that’s still arriving, as far the time. But I think everyone really sort of—you know, the cool thing is that people resonate with the concept for different reasons. And, we’ve been on The Huffington Post. We did a whole series of segments on there as part of Arianna Huffington’s Thrive segment. It really fits in with a lot of different areas. So yeah, the response has been great. Bigger medical organizations like George Washington and TEDMED, have all been interested in what we’re doing, because I think people are realizing this is the future of chronic disease management. The Cleveland Clinic announcement about their huge, big functional medicine center, is sort of like a watershed moment in medicine, where it’s saying, “Okay, big conservative organizations also see that this is the future of chronic disease management.” So it seems like the right thing at the right time, and I’m really excited. We came up with the idea for doing this in February and we set the time then. We had no idea that all of this would sort of come together at the same time. But, I’ve learned to just trust the universe and just be happy that things are moving in this direction and other forces are supporting this work.
Medieval doctors also prescribed laxatives for purging. Enemas were given with a greased tube attached to a pigs bladder. Doctors also prescribed baths in scented water. They also used salves and ointments and not just for skin complaints. Doctors believed it was important when treating many illnesses to prevent heat or moisture escaping from the affected part of the body and they believed that ointments would do that.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast we are sharing a special interview that was part of the "11 days of Global Unity" whch featured luminaires like Dr. Deepak Chopra, Ralph Nader and many more. This interview was originally conducted by Rick Ulfik from We, The World. He interviews Dr. Rangan Chatterjee and James Maskell about the work they are doing, the future of medicine, the current state of functional medicine, and how we see medicine shifting in the rest of this century. It was a great session, and at the time we received so much feedback that people enjoyed it. The interview has not been available since the Summit ended, so we wanted to share it in this podcast.