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.


“Rescaling Colonial Life From the Indigenous to the Alien: The Late 20th Century Search for Human Biological Futures,“ follows the reach of colonial practices of natural history through genomics and into outer space. The article centers around biochemist and medical anthropologist Baruch Blumberg, who began his career collecting samples from colonial subjects in Surinam and ended it as head of the NASA program in Astrobiology. Joanna Radin’s history traces entwinements of colonial natural history, space exploration, and inductive methods in postwar biological science.
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.
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.

But the most impactful change to the old system is the transition to patient-centered diagnoses. Medicine evolving from a doctor-centered structure to a patient-centered structure and this reflects Dr. Galland's unique contribution to the operating system.  In this podcast, Dr. Galland addresses how this new model was developed and why it's such an important part of the evolution of medicine.
^ England and Wales had nine county and borough asylums in 1827 with an average capacity of a little over 100 patients, but by 1890 there were 66 such asylums containing on average 800 patients each;[182] the total number of patients so confined increased from 1,027 in 1827 to 74,004 in 1900.[183] Similarly, in Germany, between 1852 and 1898 the asylum population increased seven-fold from 11,622 to 74,087 patients during a period when the total population had only grown by ten per cent.[158] In America the asylum population had risen to almost 250,000 on the eve of the First World War.[184]
Evolutionary principles may also improve our vaccine strategy. Vaccines are another way to create selective pressures on infectious organisms. We may inadvertently target vaccines against proteins that select out less virulent strains, selecting for the more virulent or infectious strains. Understanding of this allows us to instead target vaccines against virulence without targeting less deadly strains.
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Public health measures became particular important during the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people around the world.[171] It became an important case study in epidemiology.[172] Bristow shows there was a gendered response of health caregivers to the pandemic in the United States. Male doctors were unable to cure the patients, and they felt like failures. Women nurses also saw their patients die, but they took pride in their success in fulfilling their professional role of caring for, ministering, comforting, and easing the last hours of their patients, and helping the families of the patients cope as well.[173]
^ Porter, Roy (1992). "Madness and its Institutions". In Wear, Andrew. Medicine in Society: Historical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 277–302. ISBN 978-0521336390.; Goldstein, Jan (2001) [1987]. Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0226301600.; Grob, Gerald N. (1994). Mad Among Us. Simon and Schuster. pp. 25–30. ISBN 978-1439105719.
James Maskell:  Dr. Larry Palevsky is speaking, and he’s speaking on the pediatrics day.  He’s an awesome doctor.  He was lecturing about the microbiome five years ago, before the human microbiome came out.  And so I asked him, he spoke at my Functional Forum, and he brought up some concepts that were new, and I was sitting next to storied integrative medicine doctors who were just sort of blown away.  And his thought is this: We all know now that 99% of our bacteria and fungus and viruses and so forth are mutually beneficial, and they help us, and they help with metabolism and digestion and immunity.  That’s our sort of main understanding.  So I asked him, “Dr. Palevsky, what are we going to learn next?  What are we really going to understand next about the microbiome that we don’t understand now?”  And he basically—you have to listen to it on the summit, but he basically says this—“We have trillions of non-redundant viruses in our chromosomes, in our DNA.  So these are trillions of viruses that we’ve evolved with over time.”  And so his question is, “When you get a viral illness, how many more viruses have to come into the body for you to get a viral illness?  10?  20?  100?”  I mean, when you look at the numbers compared to what’s actually in our chromosomes and in our DNA, the numbers just don’t add up.  His thought is, and his concept is, that these viruses, there’s different transmission mechanisms.  His thought is that the next understanding that we’re going to have of the microbiome, the next level of understanding is going to be that the body and these viruses work together to be able to return the body to homeostasis.  So when you get to a point where the body is just so stressed and there’s too many toxins and things for it to deal with, and it can’t get back to homeostasis by itself, it communes with viruses to be able to instigate what we think of as a viral illness, to be able to get the patient to just slow down, so that we can get back to homeostasis.  And it made such an impression on me because I had a friend last year who got viral pneumonia.  And what was happening before viral pneumonia?  She was working for three months on a project about 15 hours a day.  And suddenly, it finished and she did great with it, and then she was sick for a month with viral pneumonia.  So what, pneumonia just came along and attacked at that moment?  Obviously, not.  So I’d love to get your thoughts on that.  Because when he shared that, I was like, “This seems so obvious.”  And I’m really excited to think what our understanding is going to be like when we start to appreciate that our evolution with viruses is a big part of our evolution, and that there may be a lot more to it than thinking a virus is just something that comes from outside all the time.

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. 


Paracelsus (1493–1541), was an erratic and abusive innovator who rejected Galen and bookish knowledge, calling for experimental research, with heavy doses of mysticism, alchemy and magic mixed in. He rejected sacred magic (miracles) under Church auspisces and looked for cures in nature.[81] He preached but he also pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man (microcosm) and Nature (macrocosm). He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them.[82] Most of his influence came after his death. Paracelsus is a highly controversial figure in the history of medicine, with most experts hailing him as a Father of Modern Medicine for shaking off religious orthodoxy and inspiring many researchers; others say he was a mystic more than a scientist and downplay his importance.[83][84]
Due to the hot and dry climate in Egypt, ancient papyri have survived intact, allowing historians to study the sophisticated techniques employed by Ancient Egyptian physicians. Whilst couched in magic and ritual, the Egyptians possessed a great deal of knowledge of healing herbs and repairing physical injuries, amongst the normal population and the workers responsible for building the great monuments of that nation.
Great overview of what it takes to learn and run a Functional Medicine (science-based, systems biology, Integrative) medical practice. I started a Functional Medicine practice in 2009. I wish this book was and approach was available then. There were a lot of growing pains, many of which may have been avoided with the best practices approach outlined in this book. We started out in a fully insurance based practice and at 5 years we were very successful. However, we were also very burnt out. We had talked about creating a model that could be used to help providers make the switch. The bottom line in my experience is that most people can't do that when they're in the trenches seeing patients and learning by trial and error. We never advertised after the initial announcement that we were opening. From there it is was all word of mouth.
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