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.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine Podcast, we welcome, Michael Lubin, Co-Found of Hint Health. We're excited to be partnering with Hint Health on the delivery of our new training program the Membership Practice Builder featuring Tom Blue, Chief Strategy Officer of American Academy of Private Physicians. The Evolution of Medicine is always looking for innovative technology partners that make it easier to deliver Functional Medicine and Hint Health hits the mark. Hint Health is the leading membership management and billing solution for direct pay healthcare. To learn more about Hint Health, visit
Later in Roman times Galen (130-200 AD) became a famous doctor. At first he worked treating wounded gladiators. Then in 169 AD he was made doctor to Commodus, the Roman Emperor's son. Galen was also a writer and he wrote many books. Galen believed the theory of the four humors. He also believed in treating illness with opposites. So if a patient had a cold Galen gave him something hot like pepper. Galen was also interested in anatomy. Unfortunately by his time dissecting human bodies was forbidden. So Galen had to dissect animal bodies including apes. However animal bodies are not the same as human bodies and so some of Galen's ideas were quite wrong. Unfortunately Galen was a very influential writer. For centuries his writings dominated medicine.
During the 20th century, large-scale wars were attended with medics and mobile hospital units which developed advanced techniques for healing massive injuries and controlling infections rampant in battlefield conditions. During the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), General Pancho Villa organized hospital trains for wounded soldiers. Boxcars marked Servicio Sanitario ("sanitary service") were re-purposed as surgical operating theaters and areas for recuperation, and staffed by up to 40 Mexican and U.S. physicians. Severely wounded soldiers were shuttled back to base hospitals.[168] Canadian physician Norman Bethune, M.D. developed a mobile blood-transfusion service for frontline operations in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), but ironically, he himself died of blood poisoning.[169] Thousands of scarred troops provided the need for improved prosthetic limbs and expanded techniques in plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery. Those practices were combined to broaden cosmetic surgery and other forms of elective surgery.
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]

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.
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.
Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. Modern medical research and practice have focused on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying health and disease, while evolutionary medicine focuses on the question of why evolution has shaped these mechanisms in ways that may leave us susceptible to disease. The evolutionary approach has driven important advances in our understanding of cancer,[1] autoimmune disease,[2] and anatomy.[3] Medical schools have been slower to integrate evolutionary approaches because of limitations on what can be added to existing medical curricula.[4]

Caroline Rance blogs at about the history of medical advertising and health fraud. Her book The History of Medicine in 100 Facts (Amberley Publishing, 2015) explores medicine’s history in bite-sized topics, from prehistoric parasites to the threat of antibiotic resistance. You can follow Caroline on Twitter @quackwriter and on Facebook at

In the Eastern Empire, based on Byzantium, physicians kept the knowledge and the skills passed from the Romans and the Greeks. This knowledge would form the basis of the Islamic medicine that would refine and improve medial techniques during the Islamic domination of the Mediterranean and Middle East. The history of Medicine would center on the Middle East and Asia for the next few centuries.
The Romans may not have understood the exact mechanisms behind disease but their superb level of personal hygiene and obsession with cleanliness certainly acted to reduce the number of epidemics in the major cities. Otherwise, they continued the tradition of the Greeks although, due to the fact that a Roman soldier was seen as a highly trained and expensive commodity, the military surgeons developed into fine practitioners of their art. Their refined procedures ensured that Roman soldiers had a much lower chance of dying from infection than those in other armies.
Maintaining a comfortable state of health is a goal shared by much of the world’s population past and present, thus the history of health and medicine weaves a thread connecting us with our ancestors’ human experiences. Yet it’s easy to assume that studying it involves either celebrating the ‘eureka moments’ of well-known heroes or laughing at outdated therapies. But, as I set out to show in my book, The History of Medicine in 100 Facts (Amberley Publishing, 2015), medicine’s past features plenty of lesser-known but equally fascinating episodes…
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 Romans may not have understood the exact mechanisms behind disease but their superb level of personal hygiene and obsession with cleanliness certainly acted to reduce the number of epidemics in the major cities. Otherwise, they continued the tradition of the Greeks although, due to the fact that a Roman soldier was seen as a highly trained and expensive commodity, the military surgeons developed into fine practitioners of their art. Their refined procedures ensured that Roman soldiers had a much lower chance of dying from infection than those in other armies.
One curious method of providing the disease with means of escape from the body was by making a hole, 2.5 to 5 cm across, in the skull of the victim—the practice of trepanning, or trephining. Trepanned skulls of prehistoric date have been found in Britain, France, and other parts of Europe and in Peru. Many of them show evidence of healing and, presumably, of the patient’s survival. The practice still exists among some tribal people in parts of Algeria, in Melanesia, and perhaps elsewhere, though it is fast becoming extinct.
In 1478 a book by the Roman doctor Celsus was printed. (The printing press made all books including medical ones much cheaper). The book by Celsus quickly became a standard textbook. However in the early 16th century a man named Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) called himself Paracelsus (meaning beyond or surpassing Celsus). He denounced all medical teaching not based on experiment and experience. However traditional ideas on medicine held sway for long afterwards.
c.484 – 425 BC Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines,and some those which are not local.[2]

1870s Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch establish the germ theory of disease. According to germ theory, a specific disease is caused by a specific organism. Before this discovery, most doctors believe diseases are caused by spontaneous generation. In fact, doctors would perform autopsies on people who died of infectious diseases and then care for living patients without washing their hands, not realizing that they were therefore transmitting the disease.
The ancient Mesopotamians had no distinction between "rational science" and magic.[8][9][10] When a person became ill, doctors would prescribe both magical formulas to be recited as well as medicinal treatments.[8][9][10][7] The earliest medical prescriptions appear in Sumerian during the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112 BC – c. 2004 BC).[11] The oldest Babylonian texts on medicine date back to the Old Babylonian period in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.[12] The most extensive Babylonian medical text, however, is the Diagnostic Handbook written by the ummânū, or chief scholar, Esagil-kin-apli of Borsippa,[13][14] during the reign of the Babylonian king Adad-apla-iddina (1069–1046 BCE).[15] Along with the Egyptians, the Babylonians introduced the practice of diagnosis, prognosis, physical examination, and remedies. In addition, the Diagnostic Handbook introduced the methods of therapy and cause. The text contains a list of medical symptoms and often detailed empirical observations along with logical rules used in combining observed symptoms on the body of a patient with its diagnosis and prognosis.[16] The Diagnostic Handbook was based on a logical set of axioms and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease, its cause and future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery. The symptoms and diseases of a patient were treated through therapeutic means such as bandages, herbs and creams.[13]
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. 
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.