In Britain, there were but three small hospitals after 1550. Pelling and Webster estimate that in London in the 1580 to 1600 period, out of a population of nearly 200,000 people, there were about 500 medical practitioners. Nurses and midwives are not included. There were about 50 physicians, 100 licensed surgeons, 100 apothecaries, and 250 additional unlicensed practitioners. In the last category about 25% were women. All across Britain—and indeed all of the world—the vast majority of the people in city, town or countryside depended for medical care on local amateurs with no professional training but with a reputation as wise healers who could diagnose problems and advise sick people what to do—and perhaps set broken bones, pull a tooth, give some traditional herbs or brews or perform a little magic to cure what ailed them.
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?
Medicine is evolving to solve the modern epidemics of chronic disease, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a range of autoimmune diseases. Our summit intends to not only shine a light on the work of those visionaries and innovators leading this evolution, but also set a unique vision for a more evolved healthcare system. This vision is patient-centric, empowered, proactive and participatory.
So much great stuff here in how to build a low overhead practice, some of the technology that she's learned how to use through the Evolution of Medicine Practice Accelerator, how to keep a low overhead practice, how to build a connection with local integrative providers that now pay her rent, and just so many other ways in which Sonza has built such an amazing practice. I think there's value in here, no matter what kind of practitioner you are, and I really hope you'll enjoy it. This is part of our Success Leaves Clues podcast series, enjoy.
Bodies from the Stone Age show signs of medical treatment: broken limbs that have been set and healed, dislocations replaced and wounds treated successfully. Bone needles from the Upper Palaeolithic (c.30,000 years ago) may indicate that wounds were stitched (sutured) at this time. A widespread practice from the late Palaeolithic, which flourished in Neolithic Europe (c.7,000 years ago), was trepanation (making a hole through the frontal or parietal bones of the skull). Whilst the reasons for this practice are unknown, the high survival rate of patients, indicated by the healing and remodelling of bone, proves great technical skill. Major blood vessels in the skull had to be avoided, haemorrhage was minimised by turning back the flaps of skull created by the incision and the operation site had to be kept free from infection.
A number of Greeks speculated that the human body was made up of elements. If they were properly balanced the person was healthy. However if they became unbalanced the person fell ill. Finally Aristotle (384-322 BC) thought the body was made up of four humors or liquids. They were phlegm, blood, yellow bile and black bile. If a person had too much of one humor they fell ill. For instance if a person had a fever he must have too much blood. The treatment was to cut the patient and let him bleed.
Susruta, the founding father of Indian medicine, establishes a tradition later enshrined in a classic text, the Susrutasamhita. He identifies 1120 diseases, lists 760 medicinal drugs, and says that the surgeon's equipment amounts to 20 sharp instruments (including knives, scissors, saws and needles) and 101 blunt ones (such as forceps, tubes, levers, hooks and probes).
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.
Medicine made huge advances in the 20th century. The first non-direct blood transfusion was made in 1914. Insulin was first used to treat a patient in 1922. The EEG machine was first used in 1929. Meanwhile many new drugs were developed. In 1910 the discovered salvarsan, a drug used to treat syphilis was discovered. In 1935 prontosil was used to treat blood poisoning. Later it was discovered that the active ingredient of the dye was a chemical called sulphonamide, which was derived from coal tar. As a result in the late 1930s a range of drugs derived from sulphonamide were developed.
Herophilus of Chalcedon, working at the medical school of Alexandria placed intelligence in the brain, and connected the nervous system to motion and sensation. Herophilus also distinguished between veins and arteries, noting that the latter pulse while the former do not. He and his contemporary, Erasistratus of Chios, researched the role of veins and nerves, mapping their courses across the body. Erasistratus connected the increased complexity of the surface of the human brain compared to other animals to its superior intelligence. He sometimes employed experiments to further his research, at one time repeatedly weighing a caged bird, and noting its weight loss between feeding times. In Erasistratus' physiology, air enters the body, is then drawn by the lungs into the heart, where it is transformed into vital spirit, and is then pumped by the arteries throughout the body. Some of this vital spirit reaches the brain, where it is transformed into animal spirit, which is then distributed by the nerves.
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.
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,…
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we take a look back at an interview with birthing and environmental health advocate, Latham Thomas along with film maker and author, Penelope Jagessar Chaffer. Both have been guests on the Functional Forum and we circle back to their talk: Toxic Babies: Threat to Our Evolution? from the first Evolution of Medicine Summit.
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.
On this podcast we will be announcing our most expansive and exciting adventure to date, called Journey to 100. It will be held on June 30th and available for live streaming through the Functional Forum. You might remember Evolution of Medicine co-founder James Maskell presented his TEDx talk in 2015 from Guernsey called Community, Not Medicine, Creates Health. He's heading back to Guernsey to host the event, along with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, the BBC’s "Doctor in the House". Journey to 100 will host 20 leading global healthcare, lifestyle and longevity experts, who will share their perspectives and help us all understand how we can live healthier, happier lives, from zero to 100 years old and beyond. Expect over 20 international speakers from all over the world including some past Functional Forum presenters like Dr. Janet Settle, Dr. Michael Ash, Tom Blue and Dr. Sachin Patel. Beyond progressive medicine models, there will also be talks on fascinating topics indirectly related to healthcare like sustainable farming, universal basic income and community support structures.
c.130 CE Birth of Galen, considered by many to be the most important contributor to medicine following Hippocrates. Born of Greek parents, Galen resides primarily in Rome where he is physician to the gladiators and personal physician to several emperors. He publishes some 500 treatises and is still respected for his contributions to anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.
Since its founding in 1967, the Medical School’s Program in the History of Medicine has been dedicated to research and teaching in the intellectual, political, cultural, and social history of disease, health care, and medical science. The history of medicine provides students with a historical perspective on the role health, medicine, and disease play in society today. It prepares students to think critically about historical and contemporary health issues.
The Department of the History of Medicine is the oldest such academic department in North America. We are dedicated to scholarship in the history of medicine, disease and the health sciences, and their relation to society. The Department seeks to bring historical perspectives to bear on contemporary health issues. Faculty members conduct research on a broad range of topics, time periods, and geographic areas. The Department offers a PhD in the History of Medicine.
Trapped in ice near Stadacona (the site of present-day Quebec City) in 1536, Jacques Cartier’s ships weren’t going anywhere. The crews, holed up in a makeshift fort with little access to fresh food, came down with a disease so gruesome that “their mouth became stincking, their gummes so rotten, that all the flesh did fall off, even to the rootes of the teeth, which did also almost all fall out.” They had scurvy, now known to result from a deficiency of vitamin C. Cartier had no idea what to do.
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.
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.
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.
This week NDNR.com launched its first Online Summit on Cancer Prevention and we couldn't be more excited to partner with them. If we truly want to be successful in cancer prevention, some of the underlying foundations of Naturopathic Medicine, like the "Therapeutic Order" are a key part of an optimal plan. We welcome their founder and publisher Razi Berry for a great discussion relevant to any practitioner in integrative, functional or naturopathic medicine... or what we like to call the "kNEW medicine".