This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we welcome Brian Mulvaney, Director of Strategy at CrossFit. If you’ve been part of our community for awhile, you know that we’re working towards helping create 100k micropractices. Our plan for micropractices very much mirrors the Crossfit strategy – reduce the overhead, empower individuals to become entrepreneurs.
The development of modern neurology began in the 16th century in Italy and France with Niccolò Massa, Jean Fernel, Jacques Dubois and Andreas Vesalius. Vesalius described in detail the anatomy of the brain and other organs; he had little knowledge of the brain's function, thinking that it resided mainly in the ventricles. Over his lifetime he corrected over 200 of Galen's mistakes. Understanding of medical sciences and diagnosis improved, but with little direct benefit to health care. Few effective drugs existed, beyond opium and quinine. Folklore cures and potentially poisonous metal-based compounds were popular treatments. Independently from Ibn al-Nafis, Michael Servetus rediscovered the pulmonary circulation, but this discovery did not reach the public because it was written down for the first time in the "Manuscript of Paris"[79] in 1546, and later published in the theological work which he paid with his life in 1553. Later this was perfected by Renaldus Columbus and Andrea Cesalpino. Later William Harvey correctly described the circulatory system. The most useful tomes in medicine used both by students and expert physicians were De Materia Medica and Pharmacopoeia.

510–430 BC – Alcmaeon of Croton scientific anatomic dissections. He studied the optic nerves and the brain, arguing that the brain was the seat of the senses and intelligence. He distinguished veins from the arteries and had at least vague understanding of the circulation of the blood.[5] Variously described by modern scholars as Father of Anatomy; Father of Physiology; Father of Embryology; Father of Psychology; Creator of Psychiatry; Founder of Gynecology; and as the Father of Medicine itself.[9] There is little evidence to support the claims but he is, nonetheless, important.[8][10]
The First Viennese School of Medicine, 1750–1800, was led by the Dutchman Gerard van Swieten (1700–1772), who aimed to put medicine on new scientific foundations—promoting unprejudiced clinical observation, botanical and chemical research, and introducing simple but powerful remedies. When the Vienna General Hospital opened in 1784, it at once became the world's largest hospital and physicians acquired a facility that gradually developed into the most important research centre.[128] Progress ended with the Napoleonic wars and the government shutdown in 1819 of all liberal journals and schools; this caused a general return to traditionalism and eclecticism in medicine.[129]
Vienna was the capital of a diverse empire and attracted not just Germans but Czechs, Hungarians, Jews, Poles and others to its world-class medical facilities. After 1820 the Second Viennese School of Medicine emerged with the contributions of physicians such as Carl Freiherr von Rokitansky, Josef Škoda, Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra, and Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis. Basic medical science expanded and specialization advanced. Furthermore, the first dermatology, eye, as well as ear, nose, and throat clinics in the world were founded in Vienna. The textbook of ophthalmologist Georg Joseph Beer (1763–1821) Lehre von den Augenkrankheiten combined practical research and philosophical speculations, and became the standard reference work for decades.[130]

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.


Medicine embraced skills such as acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, laryngology, ophthalmology, and treatment of rheumatism and paralysis. The demand for improved technology, aided by certain concerns of the Neo-Confucian philosophy, helped to promote numerous investigations that approached the use of scientific methods. Literacy spread with printing,…
Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.

^ Heeßel, N. P. (2004). "Diagnosis, Divination, and Disease: Towards an Understanding of the Rationale Behind the Babylonian Diagonostic Handbook". In Horstmanshoff, H.F. .; Stol, Marten; Tilburg, Cornelis. Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine. Studies in Ancient Medicine. 27. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 97–116. ISBN 978-9004136663.
Chris Kresser:  So what kind of response are you getting?  I mean, it sounds like, just from the little bit that I’ve heard, that this is really happening at a big level, with The Huffington Post support.  You know, this is getting beyond the typical kind of blog tour that a lot of these summits do.  So what’s been the response in the more mainstream world to the whole concept of functional medicine and doing a summit on this topic?
In the 1770s–1850s Paris became a world center of medical research and teaching. The "Paris School" emphasized that teaching and research should be based in large hospitals and promoted the professionalization of the medical profession and the emphasis on sanitation and public health. A major reformer was Jean-Antoine Chaptal (1756–1832), a physician who was Minister of Internal Affairs. He created the Paris Hospital, health councils, and other bodies.[125]

Dr. Brandeis also shared why he has joined a technology startup called Orchestra One. Orchestra One's practice management platform runs your business online, in-office and everywhere in between - giving you more time to do what you do best, and also holds the potential to make billing insurance easier than ever. If you are interested in the intersection of technology and medicine, this should make great listening.
In the 1830s in Italy, Agostino Bassi traced the silkworm disease muscardine to microorganisms. Meanwhile, in Germany, Theodor Schwann led research on alcoholic fermentation by yeast, proposing that living microorganisms were responsible. Leading chemists, such as Justus von Liebig, seeking solely physicochemical explanations, derided this claim and alleged that Schwann was regressing to vitalism.
James Maskell:  Absolutely.  The evolutionary concepts were one of the big reasons why I wanted you to be in there, Chris, because I know you do the Paleo, which is evolutionary in itself.  But also, one of the things that you talk about is how the Paleo diet is something that has needed to change and evolve, and how we’ve evolved to go beyond what our ancestors ate.  I don’t know, maybe for your listeners, they might be interested to just get a snapshot of that.  Because that’s one of the cool things in nutrition that I think that you bring together, is a very sensible approach to eating. I thought that was one of the highlights for the nutrition part of the summit.

In the 1830s in Italy, Agostino Bassi traced the silkworm disease muscardine to microorganisms. Meanwhile, in Germany, Theodor Schwann led research on alcoholic fermentation by yeast, proposing that living microorganisms were responsible. Leading chemists, such as Justus von Liebig, seeking solely physicochemical explanations, derided this claim and alleged that Schwann was regressing to vitalism.
all biological traits need two kinds of explanation, both proximate and evolutionary. The proximate explanation for a disease describes what is wrong in the bodily mechanism of individuals affected by it. An evolutionary explanation is completely different. Instead of explaining why people are different, it explains why we are all the same in ways that leave us vulnerable to disease. Why do we all have wisdom teeth, an appendix, and cells that can divide out of control?[78]
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness by Taoist physicians and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.

1901	Austrian-American Karl Landsteiner describes blood compatibility and rejection (i.e., what happens when a person receives a blood transfusion from another human of either compatible or incompatible blood type), developing the ABO system of blood typing. This system classifies the bloods of human beings into A, B, AB, and O groups. Landsteiner receives the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this discovery.

The Romans were also skilled engineers and they created a system of public health. The Romans noticed that people who lived near swamps often died of malaria. They did not know that mosquitoes in the swamps carried disease but they drained the swamps anyway. The Romans also knew that dirt encourages disease and they appreciated the importance of cleanliness. They built aqueducts to bring clean water into towns. They also knew that sewage encourages disease. The Romans built public lavatories in their towns. Streams running underneath them carried away sewage.

During the 18th century the mentally ill were not regarded as 'truly' human. It was thought that they did not have human feelings. They were therefore confined in chains. People paid to visit asylums and see the insane as if they were animals in a zoo. However in 1793 a doctor called Philippe Pinel argued that the insane should be released and treated humanely. As an experiment he was allowed to release some patients. The experiment worked and attitudes to the insane began to change.
Mummified bodies provide direct evidence for ailments and their treatments. They have shown us that ancient Egyptians suffered from eye diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, bladder, kidney and gallstones, bilharzia, arterial disease, gout and appendicitis. The tree-bark splints on a 5,000 year old mummified arm show that fractures were splinted. Most bone fractures found archaeologically are healed, further proof of good medical care.
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.

Byzantine physicians often compiled and standardized medical knowledge into textbooks. Their records tended to include both diagnostic explanations and technical drawings. The Medical Compendium in Seven Books, written by the leading physician Paul of Aegina, survived as a particularly thorough source of medical knowledge. This compendium, written in the late seventh century, remained in use as a standard textbook for the following 800 years.

Contrary to what might be expected, the widespread practice of embalming the dead body did not stimulate study of human anatomy. The preservation of mummies has, however, revealed some of the diseases suffered at that time, including arthritis, tuberculosis of the bone, gout, tooth decay, bladder stones, and gallstones; there is evidence too of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis, which remains a scourge still. There seems to have been no syphilis or rickets.


The Roman contribution to the history of medicine is often overlooked, with only Galen, of Greek origin, believed to be notable of mention. However, this does the Romans a great disservice and they put their excellent engineering skills to use in preventative medicine. The Romans understood the role of dirt and poor hygiene in spreading disease and created aqueducts to ensure that the inhabitants of a city received clean water. The Roman engineers also installed elaborate sewage systems to carry away waste. This is something that Europeans did not fully understand until the 19th Century; before this period, sewage was still discharged close to drinking water.
The paper of Paul Ewald in 1980, “Evolutionary Biology and the Treatment of Signs and Symptoms of Infectious Disease”,[79] and that of Williams and Nesse in 1991, “The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine”[15] were key developments. The latter paper “draw a favorable reception”,[43]page x and led to a book, Why We Get Sick (published as Evolution and healing in the UK). In 2008, an online journal started: Evolution and Medicine Review.
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness by Taoist physicians and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.
The History of Medicine Collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University is accepting applications for our travel grant program. https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/history-of-medicine/grants Research grants of up to $1,500 will be offered to researchers whose work would benefit from access to the historical medical collections at the Rubenstein Rare Book & […]
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]
In spite of this tension, Dom Agaya showed Cartier how to make a decoction from a tree called Annedda and, although the Frenchmen wondered if it were a plot to poison them, a couple of them gave it a go and were cured within days. After that, there was such a rush for the medicine that “they were ready to kill one another”, and used up a whole large tree.

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 on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to be starting a series of podcasts for the month of August all around our upcoming Interpreting Your Genetics summit. In the coming week, you'll get to have a look under the hood of our founder James Maskell's genetics and genomics as he goes through the process of genetic testing and interpretation by leading educators in the field.
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