James Maskell: Cool. I’d love to leave your listeners with something just to get them thinking, Chris, before the summit comes up. Because we did have one talk that I think is going to really change people’s thoughts on a lot of things. You know, a lot of it is great information, but I know that you’re passionate about the biome, the microbiome, and our understanding of germs. But if you don’t mind, I’d love to just share one concept that was shared that I think that you’ll really like. I’d love to get your comment on it.
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.
In the 1950s new psychiatric drugs, notably the antipsychotic chlorpromazine, were designed in laboratories and slowly came into preferred use. Although often accepted as an advance in some ways, there was some opposition, due to serious adverse effects such as tardive dyskinesia. Patients often opposed psychiatry and refused or stopped taking the drugs when not subject to psychiatric control. There was also increasing opposition to the use of psychiatric hospitals, and attempts to move people back into the community on a collaborative user-led group approach ("therapeutic communities") not controlled by psychiatry. Campaigns against masturbation were done in the Victorian era and elsewhere. Lobotomy was used until the 1970s to treat schizophrenia. This was denounced by the anti-psychiatric movement in the 1960s and later.
Leeches had advantages over the common practice of bloodletting using a lancet – the loss of blood was more gradual and less of a shock for those of delicate constitution. And because Broussais’s followers used leeches in place of all the other medicines at the 19th-century physician’s disposal, patients were spared some harsh remedies that might otherwise have made them feel worse. In 1822, a British surgeon called Rees Price coined the term sangui-suction for leech therapy.
She came to our recent Functional Forum in San Francisco and afterwards approached us with some great ideas about how we can make the Functional Forum more approachable for those with social anxiety. If you've seen the forum, you know that Gabe and James are not introverted by any stretch of the imagination, so, it was great to learn from the experience of others.
Across Europe medical schools relied primarily on lectures and readings. The final year student would have limited clinical experience by trailing the professor through the wards. Laboratory work was uncommon, and dissections were rarely done because of legal restrictions on cadavers. Most schools were small, and only Edinburgh, Scotland, with 11,000 alumni, produced large numbers of graduates.
In the Middle Ages monasteries had sanitation. Streams provided clean water. Dirty water was used to clear toilets, which were in a separate room. Monks also had a room called a laver where they washed their hands before meals. However for most people sanitation was non-existent. In castles the toilet was simply a long passage built into the thickness of the walls. Often it emptied into the castle moat. Despite the lack of public health many towns had public bath-houses were you could pay to have a bath.
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