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.


Mid-1960s: Many seriously mentally ill people are removed from institutions. In the United States they are directed toward local mental health homes and facilities. The number of institutionalized mentally ill people in the United States will drop from a peak of 560,000 to just over 130,000 in 1980. Many people suffering from mental illness become homeless because of inadequate housing and follow-up care.

However surgery did become a little more advanced in the 16th century. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) dissected some human bodies and made accurate drawings of what he saw. However the greatest surgeon of the age was Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). He did many dissections and realized that many of Galen's ideas were wrong. In 1543 he published a book called The Fabric of the Human Body. It contained accurate diagrams of a human body. Vesalius's great contribution was to base anatomy on observation not on the authority of writers like Galen.


Finally in the 19th century, Western medicine was introduced at the local level by Christian medical missionaries from the London Missionary Society (Britain), the Methodist Church (Britain) and the Presbyterian Church (US). Benjamin Hobson (1816–1873) in 1839, set up a highly successful Wai Ai Clinic in Guangzhou, China.[33] The Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese was founded in 1887 by the London Missionary Society, with its first graduate (in 1892) being Sun Yat-sen, who later led the Chinese Revolution (1911). The Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese was the forerunner of the School of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, which started in 1911.

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.
Modern research has shown that these builders were not slaves but highly respected and well-treated freemen, and the care and treatment given for injuries and afflictions was centuries ahead of its time. Early paid retirement, in case of injury, and sick leave were some of the farsighted policies adopted by Ancient Egyptian medicine, luxuries that would rarely be enjoyed by most workers until well into the 20th Century.
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.
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.
According to the compendium of Charaka, the Charakasamhitā, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort. The compendium of Suśruta, the Suśrutasamhitā defines the purpose of medicine to cure the diseases of the sick, protect the healthy, and to prolong life. Both these ancient compendia include details of the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments. The Suśrutasamhitā is notable for describing procedures on various forms of surgery, including rhinoplasty, the repair of torn ear lobes, perineal lithotomy, cataract surgery, and several other excisions and other surgical procedures. Most remarkable is Sushruta's penchant for scientific classification: His medical treatise consists of 184 chapters, 1,120 conditions are listed, including injuries and illnesses relating to aging and mental illness.
We revisit this important topic to gear up for the next Functional Forum – Evolution of Environmental Medicine from the Environmental Health Symposium. We will be connecting with more practitioners to discuss the importance of understanding where the major sources of toxicity come from and the ways to help your community of patients and clients to avoid these harmful toxins.
Furthermore during the 18th century a number of hospitals were founded. In 1724 Guys Hospital was founded with a bequest from a merchant named Thomas Guy. St Georges was founded in 1733 and Middlesex Hospital in 1745. Hospitals were also founded in Bristol in 1733, York in 1740, Exeter in 1741 and Liverpool in 1745. The first civilian hospital in America opened in Philadelphia in 1751. In the late 18th century and early 19th century dispensaries were founded in many towns. They were charities were the poor could obtain free medicines.
Magic and religion played a large part in the medicine of prehistoric or early human society. Administration of a vegetable drug or remedy by mouth was accompanied by incantations, dancing, grimaces, and all the tricks of the magician. Therefore, the first doctors, or “medicine men,” were witch doctors or sorcerers. The use of charms and talismans, still prevalent in modern times, is of ancient origin.
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.
Responding to a growing consumer movement, Congress passes two major pieces of legislation: the Wheeler-Lea Act, which allows the Federal Trade Commission to prosecute against companies whose advertising deceives and harms consumers; and the Copeland Bill, which expands the Food and Drug Administration's power to regulate drug and food safety, and extends its oversight to include cosmetics.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we continue our popular “Success Leaves Clues” series. We feature Dr. Bill Hemmer, a chiropractor from central Illinois who is bringing functional medicine to his small hometown with a population of only 4500. It was an incredible half an hour for any health professional who is in the business of trying to transform the health of their community.
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.
The authors also provide examples of how evolutionary principles can direct future research. They reference new research looking into the role of intestinal parasites and autoimmune diseases. The research is based upon the premise that humans co-evolved not only with our intestinal flora, but with certain parasites, such as intestinal worms. Now we live in a largely hygienic environment, and have even taken steps to eliminate parasites. This may have unintentionally deprived our immune systems of needed stimulation, resulting in poor immune regulation, and subsequent increase in auto-immune diseases like asthma and multiple sclerosis.

The medicinal leech has been in use for thousands of years, and is even today considered to be a way of restoring venous circulation after reconstructive surgery. But it was in the early 19th century that the leech really soared in popularity. Led by French physician François-Joseph-Victor Broussais (1772–1838), who postulated that all disease stemmed from local inflammation treatable by bloodletting, the ‘leech craze’ saw barrels of the creatures shipped across the globe, wild leech populations decimated almost to extinction, and the establishment of prosperous leech farms.
1796 Edward Jenner develops a method to protect people from smallpox by exposing them to the cowpox virus. In his famous experiment, he rubs pus from a dairymaid's cowpox postule into scratches on the arm of his gardener's 8-year-old son, and then exposes him to smallpox six weeks later (which he does not develop). The process becomes known as vaccination from the Latin vacca for cow. Vaccination with cowpox is made compulsory in Britain in 1853. Jenner is sometimes called the founding father of immunology.
The foundational text of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing, (or Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon), written 5th century to 3rd century BCE.[31] Near the end of the 2nd century CE, during the Han dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, wrote a Treatise on Cold Damage, which contains the earliest known reference to the Neijing Suwen. The Jin Dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupuncture and moxibustion, Huangfu Mi (215–282), also quotes the Yellow Emperor in his Jiayi jing, c. 265. During the Tang Dynasty, the Suwen was expanded and revised, and is now the best extant representation of the foundational roots of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine that is based on the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other forms of therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
Unfortunately in the 17th century medicine was still handicapped by wrong ideas about the human body. Most doctors still thought that there were four fluids or 'humors' in the body, blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Illness resulted when you had too much of one humor. Nevertheless during the 17th century a more scientific approach to medicine emerged and some doctors began to question traditional ideas. Apart from Harvey the most famous English doctor of the 17th century was Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689). He is sometimes called the English Hippocrates because he emphasized the importance of carefully observing patients and their symptoms.
Some 200 years later another doctor, Peseshet, was immortalised on a monument in the tomb of her son, Akhet-Hetep (aka Akhethetep), a high priest. Peseshet held the title ‘overseer of female physicians’, suggesting that women doctors weren’t just occasional one-offs. Peseshet herself was either one of them or a director responsible for their organisation and training.
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.

1796 Edward Jenner develops a method to protect people from smallpox by exposing them to the cowpox virus. In his famous experiment, he rubs pus from a dairymaid's cowpox postule into scratches on the arm of his gardener's 8-year-old son, and then exposes him to smallpox six weeks later (which he does not develop). The process becomes known as vaccination from the Latin vacca for cow. Vaccination with cowpox is made compulsory in Britain in 1853. Jenner is sometimes called the founding father of immunology.
Responding to a growing consumer movement, Congress passes two major pieces of legislation: the Wheeler-Lea Act, which allows the Federal Trade Commission to prosecute against companies whose advertising deceives and harms consumers; and the Copeland Bill, which expands the Food and Drug Administration's power to regulate drug and food safety, and extends its oversight to include cosmetics.
Chris Kresser:  Yeah, sure.  I’m sure a lot of my listeners know this about me, but for those people who are new to this especially, I think Paleo—and I’ve said this before—is a fantastic starting place, but it’s not a destination.  What I mean by that, is we know that Paleo foods are safe and well tolerated for most of us because we’ve eaten them for such a long period of time.  And by we, I mean human beings.  And they’re the least likely to cause problems, allergies, food intolerances, and issues like that, because human beings have been consuming them for thousands of generations.  But that doesn’t mean that we absolutely need to restrict our diet to those foods, because even though we’re largely the same genetically as we were 10,000 years ago, there have been significant changes.  In fact, as much as 10% of our genome shows evidence of recent selection.  And the pace of genetic change today is occurring at a rate 100 times faster than the average over 6 million years of hominid evolution.  So we’re similar to our Paleolithic ancestors, but we’re different in some important ways.  And those differences actually do affect our tolerance of certain agricultural foods, like full-fat and fermented dairy products, even legumes and grains, some of the newly introduced foods like alcohol and chocolate and coffee.  These are all foods that modern research actually suggests can be beneficial when they are well tolerated, but I call them gray-area foods because our tolerance of them really depends on the individual.  So for one person who is casein intolerant or intolerant to some of the proteins in dairy, eating any dairy is going to be problematic.  But for someone who has no problem with casein or lactose, the sugar in dairy, all of the research on full-fat dairy suggests that it’s beneficial and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and even obesity.  So those are just a few examples of how our diet has changed.  And I think as a healthcare practitioner, my focus is always on the science—what the science shows, and what I see in the clinic in my work with patients.  And I’m generally kind of allergic to extremely rigid, dogmatic approaches, especially when they’re not flexible enough to evolve and adapt with what the changing science tells us.  So that was one of the big focuses of my talk at the summit.
Robert is not a doctor, and what he does is not strictly medicine, but he has created something called the Xpill.  It's not a supplement or a prescription, but it seems to have incredible powers to create transformational change.  It encompasses looking at placebo response, coaching, group structures, intention setting for patients - you'll find out why this is so interesting to the future of medicine in one of the most fascinating half hours of this podcast we've ever had!  
According to the compendium of Charaka, the Charakasamhitā, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort. The compendium of Suśruta, the Suśrutasamhitā defines the purpose of medicine to cure the diseases of the sick, protect the healthy, and to prolong life. Both these ancient compendia include details of the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments. The Suśrutasamhitā is notable for describing procedures on various forms of surgery, including rhinoplasty, the repair of torn ear lobes, perineal lithotomy, cataract surgery, and several other excisions and other surgical procedures. Most remarkable is Sushruta's penchant for scientific classification: His medical treatise consists of 184 chapters, 1,120 conditions are listed, including injuries and illnesses relating to aging and mental illness.

However surgery did become a little more advanced in the 16th century. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) dissected some human bodies and made accurate drawings of what he saw. However the greatest surgeon of the age was Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). He did many dissections and realized that many of Galen's ideas were wrong. In 1543 he published a book called The Fabric of the Human Body. It contained accurate diagrams of a human body. Vesalius's great contribution was to base anatomy on observation not on the authority of writers like Galen.
Dr. Dysinger has implemented many of the things we have suggested during throughout the Functional Forum. He's incorporated a membership program and fully embraces lifestyle medicine. He's implemented group learning and community outreach, and health coaches and tech tools are an integral part of the success of his practice. He talks about these strategies and more.
A nearby tomb reveals the image of Merit Ptah, the first female doctor known by name. She lived in approximately 2,700 BC and hieroglyphs on the tomb describe her as ‘the Chief Physician’. That’s pretty much all that’s known about her career, but the inscription reveals that it was possible for women to hold high-status medical roles in Ancient Egypt.
^ Houstoun, Robert; Cheselden, William; Arbuthnot, John (1723). Lithotomus castratus; or Mr. Cheselden's Treatise on the high operation for the stone: thoroughly examin'd and plainly found to be Lithotomia Douglassiana, under another title: in a letter to Dr. John Arbuthnot. With an appendix, wherein both authors are fairly compar'd. T. Payne. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we continue our popular “Success Leaves Clues” series. We feature Dr. Bill Hemmer, a chiropractor from central Illinois who is bringing functional medicine to his small hometown with a population of only 4500. It was an incredible half an hour for any health professional who is in the business of trying to transform the health of their community.
×