1867 Joseph Lister publishes Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, one of the most important developments in medicine. Lister was convinced of the need for cleanliness in the operating room, a revolutionary idea at the time. He develops antiseptic surgical methods, using carbolic acid to clean wounds and surgical instruments. The immediate success of his methods leads to general adoption. In one hospital that adopts his methods, deaths from infection decrease from nearly 60% to just 4%.
In spite of early scepticism, theriac took off as a prized (and expensive) cure-all. By the 12th century Venice was the leading exporter and the substance had a high profile in European, Arabic and Chinese medicine alike. Its fortunes waned after 1745, however, when William Heberden debunked its alleged efficacy and suggested that enterprising Romans had exaggerated the Mithradates story for their own gain.
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.

This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to welcome start of the BBC one prime-time series and International Functional Forum host, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. Dr. Chatterjee is a Functional Medicine doctor who is passionate about lifestyle transformation. Over 4 million people watched season one of Doctor in the House as he reversed type two diabetes and a number of other chronic conditions.
In 1954 Joseph Murray, J. Hartwell Harrison and others accomplished the first kidney transplantation. Transplantations of other organs, such as heart, liver and pancreas, were also introduced during the later 20th century. The first partial face transplant was performed in 2005, and the first full one in 2010. By the end of the 20th century, microtechnology had been used to create tiny robotic devices to assist microsurgery using micro-video and fiber-optic cameras to view internal tissues during surgery with minimally invasive practices.[180]

Bodies from the Stone Age show signs of medical treatment: broken limbs that have been set and healed, dislocations replaced and wounds treated successfully. Bone needles from the Upper Palaeolithic (c.30,000 years ago) may indicate that wounds were stitched (sutured) at this time. A widespread practice from the late Palaeolithic, which flourished in Neolithic Europe (c.7,000 years ago), was trepanation (making a hole through the frontal or parietal bones of the skull). Whilst the reasons for this practice are unknown, the high survival rate of patients, indicated by the healing and remodelling of bone, proves great technical skill. Major blood vessels in the skull had to be avoided, haemorrhage was minimised by turning back the flaps of skull created by the incision and the operation site had to be kept free from infection.
History Timelines of Events provide fast facts and information about famous events in history, such as those detailed in the History of Medicine Timeline, precipitated a significant change in World history. This major historical event is arranged in the History of Medicine timeline by chronological, or date order, providing an actual sequence of this past event which was of significance to history. Many historical events, such as detailed in the History of Medicine timeline, occurred during times of crisis or evolution or change. Many of the famous World events as detailed in the History of Medicine timeline describe famous, critical and major incidents. The specific period in history detailed in the History of Medicine timeline led to great changes in the development of World Civilisation. The History of Medicine timeline provides fast information via timelines which highlight the key dates and major historical significance in a fast information format. Specific information can be seen at a glance with concise and accurate details of this historical event of World significance. The History timelines of famous events include timelines and chronologies of many important events of significant occurrence and outcome including the History of Medicine timeline.

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.  
The Roman contribution to the history of medicine is often overlooked, with only Galen, of Greek origin, believed to be notable of mention. However, this does the Romans a great disservice and they put their excellent engineering skills to use in preventative medicine. The Romans understood the role of dirt and poor hygiene in spreading disease and created aqueducts to ensure that the inhabitants of a city received clean water. The Roman engineers also installed elaborate sewage systems to carry away waste. This is something that Europeans did not fully understand until the 19th Century; before this period, sewage was still discharged close to drinking water.
At the University of Bologna the training of physicians began in 1219. The Italian city attracted students from across Europe. Taddeo Alderotti built a tradition of medical education that established the characteristic features of Italian learned medicine and was copied by medical schools elsewhere. Turisanus (d. 1320) was his student.[87] The curriculum was revised and strengthened in 1560–1590.[88] A representative professor was Julius Caesar Aranzi (Arantius) (1530–89). He became Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at the University of Bologna in 1556, where he established anatomy as a major branch of medicine for the first time. Aranzi combined anatomy with a description of pathological processes, based largely on his own research, Galen, and the work of his contemporary Italians. Aranzi discovered the 'Nodules of Aranzio' in the semilunar valves of the heart and wrote the first description of the superior levator palpebral and the coracobrachialis muscles. His books (in Latin) covered surgical techniques for many conditions, including hydrocephalus, nasal polyp, goitre and tumours to phimosis, ascites, haemorrhoids, anal abscess and fistulae.[89]
On losing the 1883 rivalry in Alexandria, Pasteur switched research direction, and introduced his third vaccine—rabies vaccine—the first vaccine for humans since Jenner's for smallpox.[116] From across the globe, donations poured in, funding the founding of Pasteur Institute, the globe's first biomedical institute, which opened in 1888.[116] Along with Koch's bacteriologists, Pasteur's group—which preferred the term microbiology—led medicine into the new era of "scientific medicine" upon bacteriology and germ theory.[116] Accepted from Jakob Henle, Koch's steps to confirm a species' pathogenicity became famed as "Koch's postulates". Although his proposed tuberculosis treatment, tuberculin, seemingly failed, it soon was used to test for infection with the involved species. In 1905, Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and remains renowned as the founder of medical microbiology.[118]

When the Roman Empire split into the Western and Eastern Empires, the Western Empire, centered on Rome, went into a deep decline and the art of medicine slowly slipped away, with the physicians becoming pale shadows of their illustrious predecessors and generally causing more harm than good. Western Europe would not appear again in the history of medicine until long after the decline of Islam.


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.
^ Ray, L.J. (1981). "Models of madness in Victorian asylum practice". European Journal of Sociology. 22 (2): 229–64. doi:10.1017/S0003975600003714. PMID 11630885.; Cox, Catherine (2012). Negotiating Insanity in the Southeast of Ireland, 1820–1900. Manchester University Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-0719075032.; Malcolm, Elizabeth (2003). "'Ireland's Crowded Madhouses': The Institutional Confinement of the Insane in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Ireland". In Porter, Roy; Wright, David. The Confinement of the Insane: International Perspectives, 1800–1965. Cambridge University Press. pp. 315–33. ISBN 978-1139439626.
Unwritten history is not easy to interpret, and, although much may be learned from a study of the drawings, bony remains, and surgical tools of early humans, it is difficult to reconstruct their mental attitude toward the problems of disease and death. It seems probable that, as soon as they reached the stage of reasoning, they discovered by the process of trial and error which plants might be used as foods, which of them were poisonous, and which of them had some medicinal value. Folk medicine or domestic medicine, consisting largely in the use of vegetable products, or herbs, originated in this fashion and still persists.
Humans evolved to live as simple hunter-gatherers in small tribal bands. Contemporary humans now have a very different environment and way of life.[13][14] This change makes present humans vulnerable to a number of health problems, termed "diseases of civilization" and "diseases of affluence". Stone-age humans evolved to live off the land, taking advantage of the resources that were readily available to them. Evolution is slow, and the rapid change from stone-age environments and practices to the world of today is problematic because we are still adapted to stone-age circumstances that no longer apply. This misfit has serious implications for our health. "Modern environments may cause many diseases such as deficiency syndromes like scurvy and rickets".[15])

The paper of Paul Ewald in 1980, “Evolutionary Biology and the Treatment of Signs and Symptoms of Infectious Disease”,[79] and that of Williams and Nesse in 1991, “The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine”[15] were key developments. The latter paper “draw a favorable reception”,[43]page x and led to a book, Why We Get Sick (published as Evolution and healing in the UK). In 2008, an online journal started: Evolution and Medicine Review.


Chris Kresser:  Mm-hmm.  So let’s talk a little, since we’re on the topic, let’s talk a little bit more about scalability.  We’re actually, you mentioned combining higher-cost services with lower-cost services or personnel for implementation. I’m expanding my own clinic now and we’re getting ready.  I’ve hired an intern here that I’m training, and we’re going to be hiring, probably in the future, some nurse practitioners and physician assistants that can help to implement some of the treatment protocols that I’m designing and researching.  We’re using technology now a lot more efficiently with electronic health records, and handouts and documents that can be delivered through that on specific health conditions that patients have.  So rather than spending time clinically to talk them through these things, we can give them a handout or even direct them to a video or webinar to watch, which is a lot more time-efficient for me, and cost-efficient for them, because they’re not paying me to just tell them something that they could learn by watching a video or a webinar.  So what’s your take on how functional medicine will scale and become available?  And what role does technology play in that?


Medicine embraced skills such as acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, laryngology, ophthalmology, and treatment of rheumatism and paralysis. The demand for improved technology, aided by certain concerns of the Neo-Confucian philosophy, helped to promote numerous investigations that approached the use of scientific methods. Literacy spread with printing,…
Caroline Rance blogs at www.thequackdoctor.com 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 www.facebook.com/quackdoctor
Retinal neurons and their axon output have evolved to be inside the layer of retinal pigment cells. This creates a constraint on the evolution of the visual system such that the optic nerve is forced to exit the retina through a point called the optic disc. This, in turn, creates a blind spot. More importantly, it makes vision vulnerable to increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) since this cups and damages the optic nerve at this point, resulting in impaired vision.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we welcome Dr. Jean Golden-Tevald. We continue our Success Leaves Clues series with Dr. Tevald where we feature a practitioner who has found the right tools and systems to run a successful practice. Dr. Tevald practices functional medicine at Morning Star Family Health Center in Clinton, New Jersey. We're excited to share how she has set up her membership based family practice. 
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.[99][100]

The earliest known physician is also credited to ancient Egypt: Hesy-Ra, "Chief of Dentists and Physicians" for King Djoser in the 27th century BCE.[26] Also, the earliest known woman physician, Peseshet, practiced in Ancient Egypt at the time of the 4th dynasty. Her title was "Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians." In addition to her supervisory role, Peseshet trained midwives at an ancient Egyptian medical school in Sais.[citation needed]
The Roman contribution to the history of medicine is often overlooked, with only Galen, of Greek origin, believed to be notable of mention. However, this does the Romans a great disservice and they put their excellent engineering skills to use in preventative medicine. The Romans understood the role of dirt and poor hygiene in spreading disease and created aqueducts to ensure that the inhabitants of a city received clean water. The Roman engineers also installed elaborate sewage systems to carry away waste. This is something that Europeans did not fully understand until the 19th Century; before this period, sewage was still discharged close to drinking water.
On this podcast we will be announcing our most expansive and exciting adventure to date, called Journey to 100. It will be held on June 30th and available for live streaming through the Functional Forum. You might remember Evolution of Medicine co-founder James Maskell presented his TEDx talk in 2015 from Guernsey called Community, Not Medicine, Creates Health. He's heading back to Guernsey to host the event, along with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, the BBC’s "Doctor in the House". Journey to 100 will host 20 leading global healthcare, lifestyle and longevity experts, who will share their perspectives and help us all understand how we can live healthier, happier lives, from zero to 100 years old and beyond. Expect over 20 international speakers from all over the world including some past Functional Forum presenters like Dr. Janet Settle, Dr. Michael Ash, Tom Blue and Dr. Sachin Patel. Beyond progressive medicine models, there will also be talks on fascinating topics indirectly related to healthcare like sustainable farming, universal basic income and community support structures.

James pieces together the last twenty five to forty years from the elders of which functional medicine was created. The basis of Functional Medicine is in history of Naturopathic, Chiropractic and Acupuncture along with the nutritional and medical research worlds. The new terminology fits within the paradigm of medicine and allows those in the medical field to grasp the root concepts that have been spoken for the last several hundred to four thousand years. Only now is the science finally catching up to what has been spoken by the elders in those professions.

×