The Greek Galen (c. 129–216 CE) was one of the greatest physicians of the ancient world, studying and traveling widely in ancient Rome. He dissected animals to learn about the body, and performed many audacious operations—including brain and eye surgeries—that were not tried again for almost two millennia. In Ars medica ("Arts of Medicine"), he explained mental properties in terms of specific mixtures of the bodily parts.
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.
The Egyptians did have some knowledge of anatomy from making mummies. To embalm a dead body they first removed the principal organs, which would otherwise rot. However Egyptian surgery was limited to such things as treating wounds and broken bones and dealing with boils and abscesses. The Egyptians used clamps, sutures and cauterization. They had surgical instruments like probes, saws, forceps, scalpels and scissors. They also knew that honey helped to prevent wounds becoming infected. (It is a natural antiseptic). They also dressed wounds with willow bark, which has the same effect. The Egyptians were clean people. They washed daily and changed their clothes regularly, which must have helped their health.
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?
In preparation for next Monday's Functional Forum, The Evolution of Primary Care, we are thrilled to welcome IFM certified practitioner, Dr. Kara Parker to the Evolution of Medicine podcast this week. Dr. Parker has been practicing integrative and functional medicine for almost two decades, and practices in Minnesota at the Whittier Clinic. If you are interested in functional or integrative medicine, particularly how to work with the undeserved, this podcast is not one to miss.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast we welcome Dr. Michel Dupuis, a chiropractor from northern Ontario. Dr. Dupuis shares the story of his journey to building a successful Functional Medicine practice. We could not be happier to hear from a doctor whose story illustrates the power of implementing the solutions offered in not only our programs but also the resources that we've been recommending for the past few years.
From the early nineteenth century, as lay-led lunacy reform movements gained in influence, ever more state governments in the West extended their authority and responsibility over the mentally ill. Small-scale asylums, conceived as instruments to reshape both the mind and behaviour of the disturbed, proliferated across these regions. By the 1830s, moral treatment, together with the asylum itself, became increasingly medicalised 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. 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] 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. As degeneration theory grew in influence from the mid-nineteenth century, heredity was seen as the central causal element in chronic mental illness, 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.
This week’s podcast features: Daniel Schmachtenburger, co-founder and director of research and development at Neurohacker Collective, in Complexity Medicine: The Basis for a Functional Standard of Care. Daniel is a deep thinker and researcher on how human regulatory systems function, how they break down and how they can be supported to function with greater resilience.
Radin deftly weaves a story of postwar scientific method with an account of postcolonial extraction. She shows how a colonial imaginary of frontier exploration and a scientific imaginary of induction, unite in a calling to “discover the unexpected.” Radin depicts Blumberg as a collector of samples, in the mode of a colonial natural historian, for whom the Pacific – and later the world, perhaps the solar system – figured as a living laboratory. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize for his work on Hepatitis B, derived from blood samples of indigenous peoples of the Pacific. As a NASA administrator, Blumberg harnessed a language of “new frontiers” – exploring where no one had yet gone – and language of basic science – seeking the unknown and following curiosity. He imagined a scientific exploration, the extraction and classification of new material, as capital to be realized in some biological future.
James Maskell: Yeah. So we have a couple of people speaking about tech. Specifically, Stephanie Tilenius, she’s written a lot for Forbes. And she’s high up at one of the biggest VC companies in Silicon Valley. She really spoke about a number of the things that you’ve spoken about there, wearables. I don’t know if you’ve seen in the US Open now, they have all the ball boys wearing the wearables, so that’s really expanding the interest. Dr. Robin Berzin, who was with me on The Huffington Post the other day talking about tech. She’s really talking about it from a patient’s perspective. I think, I’m sure you’ve seen this, Chris, but I think just for men; men need different incentives to take care of themselves. Women are generally better at it. They are generally better at taking care of themselves and feeling problems before they come up and get serious. Whereas men tend to wait until the very last moment, until there’s literally no other option apart from going to the doctor’s office. And so I think what’s really cool is that, for men, obviously we’re going to have these touch points. Medicine’s going to have these touch points to be able to catch things before they get really bad. And then on the other side of it, you have things that I find, that I’m quite competitive. I want to get competitive with my friend who’s in Iceland and who has a Fitbit, and he’s doing 120,000 steps a week, and he’s challenging me to do it, and we’re going back and forth. There’s some of the gamification aspect. There’s this really cool app called GymPact, which I’ve been following since I saw them at South by Southwest. And in that, you sort of put money, you bet on yourself to do your run, or to go to the gym, or to eat the right food. You bet on it. And everyone puts all their money in and the people that do what they say they’re going to do get paid out by the people that don’t. And so if it was going to give you $5 or $10 to actually go to the gym, there’s extra incentive that might be the next thing that gets the next generation of men to really be proactive with their health. What I think is cool and interesting is that at the moment, there’s a lot of apps that are being made by healthy 30-year-olds for other healthy 30-year-olds, which is probably not going to solve medicine’s biggest problems right now, but at least there’s starting to be iteration. And the most exciting thing is that once the iWatch comes out, in the same way that you saw the iPhone, the biggest apps—things like Instagram and Snapchat—where people are innovating on top of a hardware platform for software, just think about all of those people out there that are going to want to build apps for the iWatch. And what you actually have is the concentrated intention of way more people around the world looking for ways to engage people in being healthy. And that is exciting by itself.
The history of medicine shows how societies have changed in their approach to illness and disease from ancient times to the present. Early medical traditions include those of Babylon, China, Egypt and India. The Indians introduced the concepts of medical diagnosis, prognosis, and advanced medical ethics. The Hippocratic Oath was written in ancient Greece in the 5th century BCE, and is a direct inspiration for oaths of office that physicians swear upon entry into the profession today. In the Middle Ages, surgical practices inherited from the ancient masters were improved and then systematized in Rogerius's The Practice of Surgery. Universities began systematic training of physicians around 1220 CE in Italy.
I’m really excited to have James Maskell from Functional Forum and Revive Primary Care. He’s also the director of the Evolution of Medicine Summit just coming up that I’m participating in. I asked James to come on this show so we could chat about functional medicine and the future of medicine in general, because there are some really big and exciting changes happening in the world of medicine and functional medicine in particular, and James has his hands in a lot of different pots in this field.
After 1871 Berlin, the capital of the new German Empire, became a leading center for medical research. Robert Koch (1843–1910) was a representative leader. He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the Tuberculosis bacillus (1882) and Vibrio cholerae (1883) and for his development of Koch's postulates. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905 for his tuberculosis findings. Koch is one of the founders of microbiology, inspiring such major figures as Paul Ehrlich and Gerhard Domagk.
After AD 400, the study and practice of medicine in the Western Roman Empire went into deep decline. Medical services were provided, especially for the poor, in the thousands of monastic hospitals that sprang up across Europe, but the care was rudimentary and mainly palliative. Most of the writings of Galen and Hippocrates were lost to the West, with the summaries and compendia of St. Isidore of Seville being the primary channel for transmitting Greek medical ideas. The Carolingian renaissance brought increased contact with Byzantium and a greater awareness of ancient medicine, but only with the twelfth-century renaissance and the new translations coming from Muslim and Jewish sources in Spain, and the fifteenth-century flood of resources after the fall of Constantinople did the West fully recover its acquaintance with classical antiquity.
Chris Kresser: I think that’s like the biggest change we’re going to see, is the nature of this device will change people’s awareness of health, and that’s incredible to think about. There are so many people who are interested in tech that aren’t necessarily that interested in health. But due to their interest in tech, they’re going to become interested in health, just because that’s going to be one of the main implementations of the iWatch. And as you said, there’s going to be such a big community of people developing software. And what we notice and pay attention to is what we can change. If we’re not aware of something, we can’t change it. And that, to me, is the most exciting factor of this new technology. It’s really going to dramatically increase people’s awareness of things—like how many steps they’re taking, and what kind of food they’re eating, and if they’re tracking that, and their heart rate, and how their heart rate variability might correlate to what type of exercise they should be doing that day. And it’s not just about those kind of specific things that they’re becoming aware of. It’s that focusing even on a few specific things like that is inevitably going to expand their awareness around all aspects of their health. So I think it can really be a revolutionary impact. And I know, as a clinician too, I’m really looking forward to having additional ways that I can both support my patients, by referring them to apps and things that can make implementing some of the recommendations that I give them easier and more practical. But if I need to collect data for something, some of these devices are going to make that a lot easier and they’re going to be able to send it back to me in a way that’s very actionable for me as a clinician. It’s a pretty exciting time to be involved in medicine and particularly the evolution of medicine.
Seishu Hanaoka (1760–1835) studied medicine in Kyoto and set up a practice in his hometown of Hirayama. He became interested in the idea of anaesthesia owing to stories that a third-century Chinese surgeon Houa T’o had developed a compound drug enabling patients to sleep through the pain. Hanaoka experimented with similar formulae and produced Tsusensan, a potent hot drink. Among other botanical ingredients it contained the plants Datura metel (aka Datura alba or ‘devil’s trumpet’), monkshood and Angelica decursiva, all of which contain some potent physiologically active substances.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we're thrilled to welcome Danny Iny, the founder of Mirasee. Danny is a serial entrepreneur and has been involved in the online education space for more than a decade. We've been working very closely with Danny at the Evolution of Medicine to help us build out our online courses like the Practice Accelerator, the New Patient GPS, and the Membership Practice Builder.
Many contemporary humans engage in little physical exercise compared to the physically active lifestyles of ancestral hunter-gatherers. Prolonged periods of inactivity may have only occurred in early humans following illness or injury, so a modern sedentary lifestyle may continuously cue the body to trigger life preserving metabolic and stress-related responses such as inflammation, and some theorize that this causes chronic diseases.
During the 18th century medicine made slow progress. Doctors still did not know what caused disease. Some continued to believe in the four humors (although this theory declined during the 18th century). Other doctors thought disease was caused by 'miasmas' (odorless gases in the air). However surgery did make some progress. The famous 18th century surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793) is sometimes called the Father of Modern Surgery. He invented new procedures such as tracheotomy.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we welcome Gladys McGarey. At 97 years old, Galdys is a true pioneer in holistic and living medicine and we're absolutely thrilled to welcome her to the podcast. Dr. Gladys is internationally recognized as the Mother of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Gladys, as she is affectionately known, is board certified in Holistic and Integrated Medicine and has held a family practice for more than sixty years.
In the Middle Ages the church operated hospitals. In 542 a hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Lyon, France. Another hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Paris in 1660. The number of hospitals in western Europe greatly increased from the 12th century. In them monks or nuns cared for the sick as best they could. Meanwhile, during the Middle Ages there were many hospitals in the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.
Tracey and Patricia started their Functional Forum Meetup after we took the Functional Forum on the road. Like any new venture, there were some initial hurdles. With a little tweaking and getting the opinions of their practitioner community, they have been able to set up a very successful meetup every month. Learn more about attending or hosting a meetup here: meetup.functionalforum.com
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.