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

The Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins is proud to introduce new online CME modules that provide a historical perspective on issues of relevance to clinical practice today. Our first module, which launched in January 2018, explores the social, political, and economic forces that continue to shape the dynamic boundaries of the medical profession. Medical professionalism is...
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.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we feature Marjorie Nass, Chief Wellness Officer and Heather Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Ready Set Recover. Ready Set Recover works with your patient's friends and family, doctors and hospitals, and employers at the time of surgery to make recovery as easy as possible. Ready Set Recover is an action-oriented online program that helps surgical patients take positive steps throughout the surgical and recovery process.   
Until the nineteenth century, the care of the insane was largely a communal and family responsibility rather than a medical one. The vast majority of the mentally ill were treated in domestic contexts with only the most unmanageable or burdensome likely to be institutionally confined.[152] This situation was transformed radically from the late eighteenth century as, amid changing cultural conceptions of madness, a new-found optimism in the curability of insanity within the asylum setting emerged.[153] Increasingly, lunacy was perceived less as a physiological condition than as a mental and moral one[154] to which the correct response was persuasion, aimed at inculcating internal restraint, rather than external coercion.[155] This new therapeutic sensibility, referred to as moral treatment, was epitomised in French physician Philippe Pinel's quasi-mythological unchaining of the lunatics of the Bicêtre Hospital in Paris[156] and realised in an institutional setting with the foundation in 1796 of the Quaker-run York Retreat in England.[23]

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…

Mental illnesses were well known in ancient Mesopotamia,[17] where diseases and mental disorders were believed to be caused by specific deities.[6] Because hands symbolized control over a person, mental illnesses were known as "hands" of certain deities.[6] One psychological illness was known as Qāt Ištar, meaning "Hand of Ishtar".[6] Others were known as "Hand of Shamash", "Hand of the Ghost", and "Hand of the God".[6] Descriptions of these illnesses, however, are so vague that it is usually impossible to determine which illnesses they correspond to in modern terminology.[6] Mesopotamian doctors kept detailed record of their patients' hallucinations and assigned spiritual meanings to them.[17] A patient who hallucinated that he was seeing a dog was predicted to die;[17] whereas, if he saw a gazelle, he would recover.[17] The royal family of Elam was notorious for its members frequently suffering from insanity.[17] Erectile dysfunction was recognized as being rooted in psychological problems.[17]

From the early nineteenth century, as lay-led lunacy reform movements gained in influence,[157] ever more state governments in the West extended their authority and responsibility over the mentally ill.[158] Small-scale asylums, conceived as instruments to reshape both the mind and behaviour of the disturbed,[159] proliferated across these regions.[160] By the 1830s, moral treatment, together with the asylum itself, became increasingly medicalised[161] and asylum doctors began to establish a distinct medical identity with the establishment in the 1840s of associations for their members in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and America, together with the founding of medico-psychological journals.[23] Medical optimism in the capacity of the asylum to cure insanity soured by the close of the nineteenth century as the growth of the asylum population far outstripped that of the general population.[a][162] Processes of long-term institutional segregation, allowing for the psychiatric conceptualisation of the natural course of mental illness, supported the perspective that the insane were a distinct population, subject to mental pathologies stemming from specific medical causes.[159] As degeneration theory grew in influence from the mid-nineteenth century,[163] heredity was seen as the central causal element in chronic mental illness,[164] and, with national asylum systems overcrowded and insanity apparently undergoing an inexorable rise, the focus of psychiatric therapeutics shifted from a concern with treating the individual to maintaining the racial and biological health of national populations.[165]
Founder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine Steven Novella, MD is an academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog, a daily blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also has produced two courses with The Great Courses, and published a book on critical thinking - also called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe.
Why is this program so special? If you have patients that are preparing for surgery, this is something that you can curate for your community without having to do all the work yourself. We strive to bring you resources that make your practice more efficient and effective and this program offers both. We're so excited to share this with you because this program uses email autoresponder technology. Autoresponders are messages set to go out automatically. They allow you to automate campaigns and manage one-to-one communication with your patients. This is the core technology that we focus on in the Practice Accelerator. Thousands of practitioners have shared with us that automating patient education and setting up systems that work while they are not "on the job" brings convenience and value to their patients - and bonus, it doubles as marketing. As early adopters of this new era of medicine, many practitioners are working with entrepreneurs that have identified problems and have created programs that offer scalable solutions.

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.
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.
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.
Kitasato Shibasaburō (1853–1931) studied bacteriology in Germany under Robert Koch. In 1891 he founded the Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, which introduced the study of bacteriology to Japan. He and French researcher Alexandre Yersin went to Hong Kong in 1894, where; Kitasato confirmed Yersin's discovery that the bacterium Yersinia pestis is the agent of the plague. In 1897 he isolates and described the organism that caused dysentery. He became the first dean of medicine at Keio University, and the first president of the Japan Medical Association.[147][148]
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships, awarded since 1981 and popularly known as the "Genius Award," provide unrestricted grants (currently $500,000) to individuals in the arts, sciences, humanities, education, business and other fi elds who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative endeavors and a clear capacity for future achievements.
The Evolution of Medicine provides step-by-step instruction for building a successful "community micropractice", one that engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership focused on the body as a whole rather than isolated symptoms. This invaluable handbook will awaken health professionals to exciting new career possibilities. At the same time, it will alleviate the fear of abandoning a conventional medical system that is bad for doctors, patients, and payers, as well as being ineffectual in the treatment of chronic ailments.