1950s: A series of successful anti-psychotic drugs are introduced that do not cure psychosis but control its symptoms. The first of the anti-psychotics, the major class of drug used to treat psychosis, is discovered in France in 1952 and is named chlorpromazine (Thorazine). Studies show that 70 percent of patients with schizophrenia clearly improve on anti-psychotic drugs.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are excited to welcome Qigong master Mingtong Gu, recorded live from his center in New Mexico with Evolution of Medicine co-founder Gabe Hoffman. Gabe has been studying Wisdom Healing Qigong with Mingtong since finding his high-quality content on YouTube two years ago. Since then Gabe learned of the extremely successful Medicineless Qigong Hospital in China, where Wisdom Healing Qigong is the only tool used. Gabe recently returned from a month-long retreat, led by Mingtong, where people with all types of chronic disease used the same protocols as the hospital in China with great success.
Due to the hot and dry climate in Egypt, ancient papyri have survived intact, allowing historians to study the sophisticated techniques employed by Ancient Egyptian physicians. Whilst couched in magic and ritual, the Egyptians possessed a great deal of knowledge of healing herbs and repairing physical injuries, amongst the normal population and the workers responsible for building the great monuments of that nation.
^ 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.
But that is not the whole story. Humans did not at first regard death and disease as natural phenomena. Common maladies, such as colds or constipation, were accepted as part of existence and dealt with by means of such herbal remedies as were available. Serious and disabling diseases, however, were placed in a very different category. These were of supernatural origin. They might be the result of a spell cast upon the victim by some enemy, visitation by a malevolent demon, or the work of an offended god who had either projected some object—a dart, a stone, a worm—into the body of the victim or had abstracted something, usually the soul of the patient. The treatment then applied was to lure the errant soul back to its proper habitat within the body or to extract the evil intruder, be it dart or demon, by counterspells, incantations, potions, suction, or other means.
Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. Modern medical research and practice have focused on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying health and disease, while evolutionary medicine focuses on the question of why evolution has shaped these mechanisms in ways that may leave us susceptible to disease. The evolutionary approach has driven important advances in our understanding of cancer, autoimmune disease, and anatomy. Medical schools have been slower to integrate evolutionary approaches because of limitations on what can be added to existing medical curricula.
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?
James Maskell: Yeah, absolutely, it was great. You know, we have a whole day based on the evolution of nutrition. It includes you and Terry Wahls, talking about the nutrition side. But we also have Food Babe in there because she’s not really in the Paleo world, but I think a big part of the evolution of nutrition is to really get active and find out what’s in the food. And I really commend her. I think she’s playing a big role in sort of holding some of these food companies accountable. And I think activism is an important part of making sure that we do have good options in the future. So she’s included on that day. And then Darryl Edwards, who does his Primal Play. He’s just a great guy, another English guy. He’s going to be talking about the evolution of exercise. I had an opportunity to do one of his Primal Play sessions in Central Park. And I can tell you, I was hurting the next day and the day after, in places that I didn’t realize I had muscles.
After the atomic bombing at the end of World War II, anxieties about survival in the nuclear age led scientists to begin stockpiling and freezing hundreds of thousands of blood samples from indigenous communities around the world. These samples were believed to embody potentially invaluable biological information about genetic ancestry, evolution, microbes, and much more. In Life on Ice, Joanna Radin examines how and why these frozen blood samples shaped the practice known as biobanking.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine, we continue our series called The Future of Patient Compliance with Mac Gambill from Nudge Coach. Nudge Coach is lifestyle coaching software that aims to better connect practitioners with their patients. It allows practitioners to empower patients through online lifestyle coaching through technology in between visits.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to welcome back one of the speakers from the first Evolution of Medicine Summit. She is the publisher of What Doctors Don’t Tell You in the UK. She has been a writer, journalist, and activist for a few decades. Lynne McTaggart is the author of The Intention Experiment and The Field. Her latest book, The Power of Eight, looks at the power of small groups to heal. In Functional Medicine, we’ve seen the power of small groups with things like group visits and the work with the Saddleback Church. This book takes the idea even further, explaining how groups of people can support each other’s healing and transformation.
Contemporary humans in developed countries are mostly free of parasites, particularly intestinal ones. This is largely due to frequent washing of clothing and the body, and improved sanitation. Although such hygiene can be very important when it comes to maintaining good health, it can be problematic for the proper development of the immune system. The hygiene hypothesis is that humans evolved to be dependent on certain microorganisms that help establish the immune system, and modern hygiene practices can prevent necessary exposure to these microorganisms. "Microorganisms and macroorganisms such as helminths from mud, animals, and feces play a critical role in driving immunoregulation" (Rook, 2012). Essential microorganisms play a crucial role in building and training immune functions that fight off and repel some diseases, and protect against excessive inflammation, which has been implicated in several diseases. For instance, recent studies have found evidence supporting inflammation as a contributing factor in Alzheimer's Disease.
The snakeroot plant has traditionally been a tonic in the east to calm patients; it is now used in orthodox medical practice to reduce blood pressure. Doctors in ancient India gave an extract of foxglove to patients with legs swollen by dropsy, an excess of fluid resulting from a weak heart; digitalis, a constituent of foxglove, is now a standard stimulant for the heart. Curare, smeared on the tip of arrows in the Amazonian jungle to paralyze the prey, is an important muscle relaxant in modern surgery.
The establishment of the calendar and the invention of writing marked the dawn of recorded history. The clues to early knowledge are few, consisting only of clay tablets bearing cuneiform signs and seals that were used by physicians of ancient Mesopotamia. In the Louvre Museum in France, a stone pillar is preserved on which is inscribed the Code of Hammurabi, who was a Babylonian king of the 18th century bce. This code includes laws relating to the practice of medicine, and the penalties for failure were severe. For example, “If the doctor, in opening an abscess, shall kill the patient, his hands shall be cut off”; if, however, the patient was a slave, the doctor was simply obliged to supply another slave.
3 Schwarz, Richard W. “John Harvey Kellogg, M.D.: Pioneering Health Reformer.” John Harvery Kellogg, M.D.: Pioneering Health Reformer – Richard W. Schwarz – Google Books. Google Books, 2006. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.
Ayurveda, meaning the "complete knowledge for long life" is another medical system of India. Its two most famous texts belong to the schools of Charaka and Sushruta. The earliest foundations of Ayurveda were built on a synthesis of traditional herbal practices together with a massive addition of theoretical conceptualizations, new nosologies and new therapies dating from about 600 BCE onwards, and coming out of the communities of thinkers who included the Buddha and others.
Couldn’t agree more about the cost of functional medicine tests being problematic (and the fact that mainstream medicine does not cover the cost), really glad you raised this Chris as being a health detective for ones own health quickly becomes really expensive. So was really intrigued to hear that there is a functional medicine approach working in rural Indiana. If this is going to be a real health revolution then it needs to be one that is accessible to the very average person.
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.