After 1871 Berlin, the capital of the new German Empire, became a leading center for medical research. Robert Koch (1843–1910) was a representative leader. He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the Tuberculosis bacillus (1882) and Vibrio cholerae (1883) and for his development of Koch's postulates. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905 for his tuberculosis findings. Koch is one of the founders of microbiology, inspiring such major figures as Paul Ehrlich and Gerhard Domagk.
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.
The means of dressing the incision was also highly developed: the surgeon used seven polished iron spikes to bring the edges of the wound together, tying them in place with bark-cloth string. He then applied a thick layer of herbal paste and covered this with a warm banana leaf held in place with a bandage. According to Felkin’s account, the mother and her baby were still doing well when he left the village 11 days later.
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. 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.
Among its many surgical descriptions, the Sushruta Samhita documents cataract surgery. The patient had to look at the tip of his or her nose while the surgeon, holding the eyelids apart with thumb and index finger, used a needle-like instrument to pierce the eyeball from the side. It was then sprinkled with breast milk and the outside of the eye bathed with a herbal medication. The surgeon used the instrument to scrape out the clouded lens until the eye “assumed the glossiness of a resplendent cloudless sun”. During recovery it was important for the patient to avoiding coughing, sneezing, burping or anything else that might cause pressure in the eye. If the operation were a success, the patient would regain some useful vision, albeit unfocused.
This has been a huge acceleration for our organization. James published his book The Evolution of Medicine. We launched the Evolution of Medicine Practice Accelerator and as always, we've had our monthly the Functional Forum episodes. We've recently introduced the "Future of Functional in 5" which allows our community of practitioners to share their stories and gifts with the whole community. Our Functional Forum meetups continue to facilitate collaboration and community building for practitioners on a local level. James and Gabe also discuss what's new for the Evolution of Medicine and share details about a course on building a Functional Membership practice, as well as bringing new doctors into our community consistently.
^ Hamilton, William (1831). The history of medicine, surgery and anatomy. p. 358. Retrieved 24 December 2013. As a proof of his ignorance and his arrogance, he commenced his very first lecture by publicly consigning to the flames the works of Galen and Avicenna, impudently declaring that his cap contained more knowledge than all the physicians, and the hair of his beard more experience than all the universities in the world. "Greeks, Romans, French, and Italians," he exclaimed, "you Avicenna, you Galen, you Rhazes, you Mesne; you Doctors of Paris, of Montpellier, of Swabia, of Misnia, of Cologne, of Vienna, and all you through out the countries bathed by the Danube and the Rhine; and you who dwell in the islands of the sea, Athenian, Greek, Arab, and Jew! you shall all follow and obey me. I am your king; to me belongs the sceptre of physic."
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.
The week on the Evolution of Podcast, we welcome Dr. Elson Haas, leader in the field of integrative medicine. After four decades of practicing integrative medicine in the insurance model, he provides us with some great insights into how he is able keep is practice going. Dr. Haas' latest book Staying Healthy with NEW Medicine gives some insights on natural, Eastern, Western concepts into something that is truly useful for the modern practitioner and the modern patient.
In this review, the endlessness evolution of medical science and medical technology, and its effects on disease metamorphosis and increased life expectancy are discussed. In certain instances, the past will be compared with the present and predictions for the future will be outlined. Further, the constant role of the physician in maintaining the health of human beings is emphasized in this endlessness evolution.
James Maskell: Yeah. So we have a couple of people speaking about tech. Specifically, Stephanie Tilenius, she’s written a lot for Forbes. And she’s high up at one of the biggest VC companies in Silicon Valley. She really spoke about a number of the things that you’ve spoken about there, wearables. I don’t know if you’ve seen in the US Open now, they have all the ball boys wearing the wearables, so that’s really expanding the interest. Dr. Robin Berzin, who was with me on The Huffington Post the other day talking about tech. She’s really talking about it from a patient’s perspective. I think, I’m sure you’ve seen this, Chris, but I think just for men; men need different incentives to take care of themselves. Women are generally better at it. They are generally better at taking care of themselves and feeling problems before they come up and get serious. Whereas men tend to wait until the very last moment, until there’s literally no other option apart from going to the doctor’s office. And so I think what’s really cool is that, for men, obviously we’re going to have these touch points. Medicine’s going to have these touch points to be able to catch things before they get really bad. And then on the other side of it, you have things that I find, that I’m quite competitive. I want to get competitive with my friend who’s in Iceland and who has a Fitbit, and he’s doing 120,000 steps a week, and he’s challenging me to do it, and we’re going back and forth. There’s some of the gamification aspect. There’s this really cool app called GymPact, which I’ve been following since I saw them at South by Southwest. And in that, you sort of put money, you bet on yourself to do your run, or to go to the gym, or to eat the right food. You bet on it. And everyone puts all their money in and the people that do what they say they’re going to do get paid out by the people that don’t. And so if it was going to give you $5 or $10 to actually go to the gym, there’s extra incentive that might be the next thing that gets the next generation of men to really be proactive with their health. What I think is cool and interesting is that at the moment, there’s a lot of apps that are being made by healthy 30-year-olds for other healthy 30-year-olds, which is probably not going to solve medicine’s biggest problems right now, but at least there’s starting to be iteration. And the most exciting thing is that once the iWatch comes out, in the same way that you saw the iPhone, the biggest apps—things like Instagram and Snapchat—where people are innovating on top of a hardware platform for software, just think about all of those people out there that are going to want to build apps for the iWatch. And what you actually have is the concentrated intention of way more people around the world looking for ways to engage people in being healthy. And that is exciting by itself.
Radin elsewhere theorizes the temporalities involved in cryogenics, the freezing of biological matter. In this article, she explores a spatial scaling, from terrestrial colonial outposts to distant planets, from “indigenous human to the alien in biological science.” In keeping with her sensitivity to space and refoldings of the colonial past, Radin ends with a call, via Ursula Le Guin, to stop, turn one’s gaze from a frontier future and look down at one’s own roots.
Chris Kresser: Yeah, sure. I’m sure a lot of my listeners know this about me, but for those people who are new to this especially, I think Paleo—and I’ve said this before—is a fantastic starting place, but it’s not a destination. What I mean by that, is we know that Paleo foods are safe and well tolerated for most of us because we’ve eaten them for such a long period of time. And by we, I mean human beings. And they’re the least likely to cause problems, allergies, food intolerances, and issues like that, because human beings have been consuming them for thousands of generations. But that doesn’t mean that we absolutely need to restrict our diet to those foods, because even though we’re largely the same genetically as we were 10,000 years ago, there have been significant changes. In fact, as much as 10% of our genome shows evidence of recent selection. And the pace of genetic change today is occurring at a rate 100 times faster than the average over 6 million years of hominid evolution. So we’re similar to our Paleolithic ancestors, but we’re different in some important ways. And those differences actually do affect our tolerance of certain agricultural foods, like full-fat and fermented dairy products, even legumes and grains, some of the newly introduced foods like alcohol and chocolate and coffee. These are all foods that modern research actually suggests can be beneficial when they are well tolerated, but I call them gray-area foods because our tolerance of them really depends on the individual. So for one person who is casein intolerant or intolerant to some of the proteins in dairy, eating any dairy is going to be problematic. But for someone who has no problem with casein or lactose, the sugar in dairy, all of the research on full-fat dairy suggests that it’s beneficial and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and even obesity. So those are just a few examples of how our diet has changed. And I think as a healthcare practitioner, my focus is always on the science—what the science shows, and what I see in the clinic in my work with patients. And I’m generally kind of allergic to extremely rigid, dogmatic approaches, especially when they’re not flexible enough to evolve and adapt with what the changing science tells us. So that was one of the big focuses of my talk at the summit.
But there are less obvious ways in which evolutionary principles apply to infectious diseases. It has been known for a long time that sickle-cell trait provides resistance to malaria (the blood cells are less hospitable to the P. falciparum protozoan parasite that is one cause of malaria). This explains the persistence of sickle cell disease in populations where malaria is endemic.
Discover the history of medicine through our rich and unique collections, which include over 20,000 monographs and 4,000 manuscripts, as well as photographs, illustrations, medical instruments, medals, and a variety of medical artifacts. We also offer a setting for classes, provide research consultations, host a speaker series and other special events, exhibit items from the collections, and issue a regular newsletter and special publications.
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.
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