This week on the Evolution we welcome an internationally renowned authority on health, human potential development, and Self-Leadership, Dr. Mark Atkinson. As a functional medicine physician, author, and speaker, Dr. Atkinson has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to become healthier, more effective, human beings. He’s been on the cutting edge of neuro-performance for many years and has now taken his passion to the Bulletproof organization.
Retinal neurons and their axon output have evolved to be inside the layer of retinal pigment cells. This creates a constraint on the evolution of the visual system such that the optic nerve is forced to exit the retina through a point called the optic disc. This, in turn, creates a blind spot. More importantly, it makes vision vulnerable to increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) since this cups and damages the optic nerve at this point, resulting in impaired vision.
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,[135] and the United States Sanitary Commission, a new private agency.[136] 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.[137]
The roots of modern medicine are in ancient Greece. On the one hand most Greeks believed in a god of healing called Asclepius. People who were ill made sacrifices or offerings to the god. They then slept overnight in his temple. They believed that the god would visit them in their sleep (i.e. in their dreams) and when they woke up they would be healed.
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.
In the Middle Ages monasteries had sanitation. Streams provided clean water. Dirty water was used to clear toilets, which were in a separate room. Monks also had a room called a laver where they washed their hands before meals. However for most people sanitation was non-existent. In castles the toilet was simply a long passage built into the thickness of the walls. Often it emptied into the castle moat. Despite the lack of public health many towns had public bath-houses were you could pay to have a bath.

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.


In East Semitic cultures, the main medicinal authority was a kind of exorcist-healer known as an āšipu.[8][9][10] The profession was generally passed down from father to son[8] and was held in extremely high regard.[8] Of less frequent recourse was another kind of healer known as an asu, who corresponds more closely to a modern physician[7] 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.[7] These physicians, who could be either male or female, also dressed wounds, set limbs, and performed simple surgeries.[7] The ancient Mesopotamians also practiced prophylaxis[7] and took measures to prevent the spread of disease.[7]
Around 800 BCE Homer in The Iliad gives descriptions of wound treatment by the two sons of Asklepios, the admirable physicians Podaleirius and Machaon and one acting doctor, Patroclus. Because Machaon is wounded and Podaleirius is in combat Eurypylus asks Patroclus to cut out this arrow from my thigh, wash off the blood with warm water and spread soothing ointment on the wound.[35] Asklepios like Imhotep becomes god of healing over time.
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.[105][106] Disease was a significant factor in the Spanish conquest elsewhere as well.[107]
^ Jump up to: a b Askitopoulou, H.; Konsolaki, E.; Ramoutsaki, I.; Anastassaki, E. (2002). Surgical cures by sleep induction as the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. The history of anesthesia: proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium, by José Carlos Diz, Avelino Franco, Douglas R. Bacon, J. Rupreht, Julián Alvarez. Elsevier Science B.V., International Congress Series 1242. pp. 11–17. ISBN 978-0444512932.
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.
However surgery did become a little more advanced in the 16th century. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) dissected some human bodies and made accurate drawings of what he saw. However the greatest surgeon of the age was Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). He did many dissections and realized that many of Galen's ideas were wrong. In 1543 he published a book called The Fabric of the Human Body. It contained accurate diagrams of a human body. Vesalius's great contribution was to base anatomy on observation not on the authority of writers like Galen.

At the same time Greek doctors developed a rational theory of disease and sought cures. However one did not replace the other. The cult of Asclepius and Greek medicine existed side by side. Medical schools were formed in Greece and in Greek colonies around the Mediterranean. As early as 500 BC a man named Alcmaeon from Croton in Italy said that a body was healthy if it had the right balance of hot and cold, wet and dry. It the balance was upset the body grew ill. However the most famous Greek doctor is Hippocrates (C.460-377 BC). (Although historians now believe that he was much less famous in his own time that was once thought. It is believed that many of the medical books ascribed to him were actually written by other men). Hippocrates stressed that doctors should carefully observe the patients symptoms and take note of them. Hippocrates also rejected all magic and he believed in herbal remedies.


During the U.S. Civil War the Sanitary Commission collected enormous amounts of statistical data, and opened up the problems of storing information for fast access and mechanically searching for data patterns. The pioneer was John Shaw Billings (1838–1913). A senior surgeon in the war, Billings built the Library of the Surgeon General's Office (now the National Library of Medicine), the centerpiece of modern medical information systems.[142] Billings figured out how to mechanically analyze medical and demographic data by turning facts into numbers and punching the numbers onto cardboard cards that could be sorted and counted by machine. The applications were developed by his assistant Herman Hollerith; Hollerith invented the punch card and counter-sorter system that dominated statistical data manipulation until the 1970s. Hollerith's company became International Business Machines (IBM) in 1911.[143]
Chris Kresser:  Mm-hmm.  So let’s talk a little, since we’re on the topic, let’s talk a little bit more about scalability.  We’re actually, you mentioned combining higher-cost services with lower-cost services or personnel for implementation. I’m expanding my own clinic now and we’re getting ready.  I’ve hired an intern here that I’m training, and we’re going to be hiring, probably in the future, some nurse practitioners and physician assistants that can help to implement some of the treatment protocols that I’m designing and researching.  We’re using technology now a lot more efficiently with electronic health records, and handouts and documents that can be delivered through that on specific health conditions that patients have.  So rather than spending time clinically to talk them through these things, we can give them a handout or even direct them to a video or webinar to watch, which is a lot more time-efficient for me, and cost-efficient for them, because they’re not paying me to just tell them something that they could learn by watching a video or a webinar.  So what’s your take on how functional medicine will scale and become available?  And what role does technology play in that?
During the U.S. Civil War the Sanitary Commission collected enormous amounts of statistical data, and opened up the problems of storing information for fast access and mechanically searching for data patterns. The pioneer was John Shaw Billings (1838–1913). A senior surgeon in the war, Billings built the Library of the Surgeon General's Office (now the National Library of Medicine), the centerpiece of modern medical information systems.[142] Billings figured out how to mechanically analyze medical and demographic data by turning facts into numbers and punching the numbers onto cardboard cards that could be sorted and counted by machine. The applications were developed by his assistant Herman Hollerith; Hollerith invented the punch card and counter-sorter system that dominated statistical data manipulation until the 1970s. Hollerith's company became International Business Machines (IBM) in 1911.[143]
In 1953 Jonas Salk announced he had a vaccine for poliomyelitis. A vaccine for measles was discovered in 1963. Meanwhile surgery made great advances. The most difficult surgery was on the brain and the heart. Both of these developed rapidly in the 20th century. A Swede named Rune Elmqvist invented the first implantable pacemaker in 1958. The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard. The first artificial heart was installed in 1982. The first heart and lung transplant was performed in 1987.
One of the things that James learned last week is that he has “perfect detoxification pathways”, but not all people are so lucky. A huge topic of discussion on the upcoming Summit is MTHFR. Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase is the rate-limiting enzyme in the methyl cycle, and it is encoded by the MTHFR gene. This week we welcome Sterling Hill, the founder of MTHFRsupport.com. Sterling is an educator and having found out of her personal status and what it means for her - she has been educating others about the impact of MTHFR for years.
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.
The operation, Felkin reported, was carried out with the intention of saving both lives. The mother was partially anaesthetised with banana wine. The surgeon also used this wine to wash the surgical site and his own hands, suggesting awareness of the need for infection control measures. He then made a vertical incision, going through the abdominal wall and part of the uterine wall, before further dividing the uterine wall enough to take the baby out. The operation also involved removing the placenta and squeezing the uterus to promote contraction.
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.
As infectious diseases have become less lethal, and the most common causes of death in developed countries are now tumors and cardiovascular diseases, these conditions have received increased attention in medical research. Tobacco smoking as a cause of lung cancer was first researched in the 1920s, but was not widely supported by publications until the 1950s. Cancer treatment has been developed with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical oncology.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), a Swedish-born chemist and businessman who invented dynamite, left most of his wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes. Since 1901, these awards have been given to men and women from all over the world in recognition of their outstanding achievements in chemistry, medicine or physiology, physics, literature and for work on behalf of peace.
Although there is no record to establish when plants were first used for medicinal purposes (herbalism), the use of plants as healing agents, as well as clays and soils is ancient. Over time through emulation of the behavior of fauna a medicinal knowledge base developed and passed between generations. As tribal culture specialized specific castes, shamans and apothecaries fulfilled the role of healer.[1] The first known dentistry dates to c. 7000 BC in Baluchistan where Neolithic dentists used flint-tipped drills and bowstrings.[2] The first known trepanning operation was carried out c. 5000 BC in Ensisheim, France.[3] A possible amputation was carried out c. 4,900 BC in Buthiers-Bulancourt, France.[4]
Sushruta advises his students that however well read they are, they are not competent to treat disease until they have practical experience. Surgical incisions were to be tried out on the skin of fruits, while carefully extracting fruit seeds enabled the student to develop the skill of removing foreign bodies from flesh. They also practised on dead animals and on leather bags filled with water, before being let loose on real patients.
As infectious diseases have become less lethal, and the most common causes of death in developed countries are now tumors and cardiovascular diseases, these conditions have received increased attention in medical research. Tobacco smoking as a cause of lung cancer was first researched in the 1920s, but was not widely supported by publications until the 1950s. Cancer treatment has been developed with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical oncology.
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.

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.

^ 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.
Anatomy: A brief introduction Anatomy identifies and describes the structure of living things, and is essential to the practice of health and medicine. It can involve the study of larger biological structures, called gross anatomy, or of cells and tissues, known as microscopic anatomy or histology. Learn more about the importance of anatomy here. Read now
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to welcome back one of the speakers from the first Evolution of Medicine Summit. She is the publisher of What Doctors Don’t Tell You in the UK. She has been a writer, journalist, and activist for a few decades. Lynne McTaggart is the author of The Intention Experiment and The Field. Her latest book, The Power of Eight, looks at the power of small groups to heal. In Functional Medicine, we’ve seen the power of small groups with things like group visits and the work with the Saddleback Church. This book takes the idea even further, explaining how groups of people can support each other’s healing and transformation.
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