The Section of the History of Medicine is a freestanding unit in the Yale University School of Medicine engaged with research and teaching in the history of medicine, the life sciences, and public health. In addition to instruction for medical students, including mentoring M.D. theses, the faculty collaborates with colleagues in the History Department, in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine, which offers graduate programs leading to the M.A., Ph.D., and combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees and an undergraduate major in the History of Science/History of Medicine. The Section contributes to the Program's colloquia, and Distinguished Annual Lectures, workshops, and symposia in medical history. Through research and teaching, the faculty seeks to understand medical ideas, practices, and institutions in their broad social and cultural contexts, and to provide intellectual tools to engage with the challenges faced by contemporary medicine.

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.


1953 James Watson and Francis Crick at Cambridge University describe the structure of the DNA molecule. Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin at King's College in London are also studying DNA. (Wilkins in fact shares Franklin's data with Watson and Crick without her knowledge.) Watson, Crick, and Wilkins share the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962 (Franklin had died and the Nobel Prize only goes to living recipients).
Later Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) proved that microscopic organisms caused disease. In the early 19th century many scientists believed in spontaneous generation i.e. that some living things spontaneously grew from non-living matter. In a series of experiments between 1857 and 1863 Pasteur proved this was not so. Once doctors knew what caused disease they made rapid headway in finding cures or prevention.
The sexual revolution included taboo-breaking research in human sexuality such as the 1948 and 1953 Kinsey reports, invention of hormonal contraception, and the normalization of abortion and homosexuality in many countries. Family planning has promoted a demographic transition in most of the world. With threatening sexually transmitted infections, not least HIV, use of barrier contraception has become imperative. The struggle against HIV has improved antiretroviral treatments.
They have come up with an innovative way to fund their efforts. On Sunday, October 2nd 9AM-6PM EDT, the NYANP will be hosting a conference accessible to you from anywhere in the world.  Check out NYANP.com to register and for more details conference. Proceeds will help retain the lobbyists working towards the mission of licensed NDs in NY (and you get CEs!).
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.
China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness by Taoist physicians and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.
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.

The Greeks were also surgeons and some of the equipment they used is recognizable today. Some of the tools of the Greek physicians included forceps, scalpels, tooth-extraction forceps and catheters, and there were even syringes for drawing pus from wounds. One instrument, the spoon of Diocles, was used by the surgeon Kritoboulos, to remove the injured eye of Phillip of Macedon without undue scarring. Finally, the Greeks knew how to splint and treat bone fractures, as well as add compresses to prevent infection.
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.

James Maskell:  Dr. Larry Palevsky is speaking, and he’s speaking on the pediatrics day.  He’s an awesome doctor.  He was lecturing about the microbiome five years ago, before the human microbiome came out.  And so I asked him, he spoke at my Functional Forum, and he brought up some concepts that were new, and I was sitting next to storied integrative medicine doctors who were just sort of blown away.  And his thought is this: We all know now that 99% of our bacteria and fungus and viruses and so forth are mutually beneficial, and they help us, and they help with metabolism and digestion and immunity.  That’s our sort of main understanding.  So I asked him, “Dr. Palevsky, what are we going to learn next?  What are we really going to understand next about the microbiome that we don’t understand now?”  And he basically—you have to listen to it on the summit, but he basically says this—“We have trillions of non-redundant viruses in our chromosomes, in our DNA.  So these are trillions of viruses that we’ve evolved with over time.”  And so his question is, “When you get a viral illness, how many more viruses have to come into the body for you to get a viral illness?  10?  20?  100?”  I mean, when you look at the numbers compared to what’s actually in our chromosomes and in our DNA, the numbers just don’t add up.  His thought is, and his concept is, that these viruses, there’s different transmission mechanisms.  His thought is that the next understanding that we’re going to have of the microbiome, the next level of understanding is going to be that the body and these viruses work together to be able to return the body to homeostasis.  So when you get to a point where the body is just so stressed and there’s too many toxins and things for it to deal with, and it can’t get back to homeostasis by itself, it communes with viruses to be able to instigate what we think of as a viral illness, to be able to get the patient to just slow down, so that we can get back to homeostasis.  And it made such an impression on me because I had a friend last year who got viral pneumonia.  And what was happening before viral pneumonia?  She was working for three months on a project about 15 hours a day.  And suddenly, it finished and she did great with it, and then she was sick for a month with viral pneumonia.  So what, pneumonia just came along and attacked at that moment?  Obviously, not.  So I’d love to get your thoughts on that.  Because when he shared that, I was like, “This seems so obvious.”  And I’m really excited to think what our understanding is going to be like when we start to appreciate that our evolution with viruses is a big part of our evolution, and that there may be a lot more to it than thinking a virus is just something that comes from outside all the time.
As we prepare to present the Evolution of Environmental Medicine next week, Dr. Pizzorno shares with us that toxins either contribute to or cause virtual every chronic illness we see today.  What can practitioners do when toxins have been proven to be trans-generational? Dr. Pizzorno explains how you can approach treatment for those exposed to toxins, indicators of toxin exposure, and what to measure when testing for exposure. He goes into greater details in his new book: The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health--AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIX IT. This book is a culmination of the decades of research that he's done around toxins and how to avoid those you can and what to do to mitigate the effects of the ones you can't.
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.[127]

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.[51][52]
510–430 BC – Alcmaeon of Croton scientific anatomic dissections. He studied the optic nerves and the brain, arguing that the brain was the seat of the senses and intelligence. He distinguished veins from the arteries and had at least vague understanding of the circulation of the blood.[5] Variously described by modern scholars as Father of Anatomy; Father of Physiology; Father of Embryology; Father of Psychology; Creator of Psychiatry; Founder of Gynecology; and as the Father of Medicine itself.[9] There is little evidence to support the claims but he is, nonetheless, important.[8][10]
Today on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we go back to the first Evolution of Medicine Summit with Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist, brain health expert,  and best selling author. He joined us to speak about the ever important, gut brain connection. We review this presentation in preparation for the upcoming Functional Forum - The Evolution of Neurology where will be bring you the best highlights from the Institute for Functional Medicine Annual International Conference. 
The Renaissance brought an intense focus on scholarship to Christian Europe. A major effort to translate the Arabic and Greek scientific works into Latin emerged. Europeans gradually became experts not only in the ancient writings of the Romans and Greeks, but in the contemporary writings of Islamic scientists. During the later centuries of the Renaissance came an increase in experimental investigation, particularly in the field of dissection and body examination, thus advancing our knowledge of human anatomy.[78]
"By 1944 most casualties were receiving treatment within hours of wounding, due to the increased mobility of field hospitals and the extensive use of aeroplanes as ambulances. The care of the sick and wounded had also been revolutionized by new medical technologies, such as active immunization against tetanus, sulphonamide drugs, and penicillin."[175]
The Ayurvedic classics mention eight branches of medicine: kāyācikitsā (internal medicine), śalyacikitsā (surgery including anatomy), śālākyacikitsā (eye, ear, nose, and throat diseases), kaumārabhṛtya (pediatrics with obstetrics and gynaecology), bhūtavidyā (spirit and psychiatric medicine), agada tantra (toxicology with treatments of stings and bites), rasāyana (science of rejuvenation), and vājīkaraṇa (aphrodisiac and fertility). Apart from learning these, the student of Āyurveda was expected to know ten arts that were indispensable in the preparation and application of his medicines: distillation, operative skills, cooking, horticulture, metallurgy, sugar manufacture, pharmacy, analysis and separation of minerals, compounding of metals, and preparation of alkalis. The teaching of various subjects was done during the instruction of relevant clinical subjects. For example, teaching of anatomy was a part of the teaching of surgery, embryology was a part of training in pediatrics and obstetrics, and the knowledge of physiology and pathology was interwoven in the teaching of all the clinical disciplines. The normal length of the student's training appears to have been seven years. But the physician was to continue to learn.[28]
In 1953 Jonas Salk announced he had a vaccine for poliomyelitis. A vaccine for measles was discovered in 1963. Meanwhile surgery made great advances. The most difficult surgery was on the brain and the heart. Both of these developed rapidly in the 20th century. A Swede named Rune Elmqvist invented the first implantable pacemaker in 1958. The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard. The first artificial heart was installed in 1982. The first heart and lung transplant was performed in 1987.
The hygiene of the training and field camps was poor, especially at the beginning of the war when men who had seldom been far from home were brought together for training with thousands of strangers. First came epidemics of the childhood diseases of chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough, and, especially, measles. Operations in the South meant a dangerous and new disease environment, bringing diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and malaria. There were no antibiotics, so the surgeons prescribed coffee, whiskey, and quinine. Harsh weather, bad water, inadequate shelter in winter quarters, poor policing of camps, and dirty camp hospitals took their toll.[134]

Late antiquity ushered in a revolution in medical science, and historical records often mention civilian hospitals (although battlefield medicine and wartime triage were recorded well before Imperial Rome). Constantinople stood out as a center of medicine during the Middle Ages, which was aided by its crossroads location, wealth, and accumulated knowledge. copied content from Byzantine medicine; see that page's history for attribution
One of the things that James learned last week is that he has “perfect detoxification pathways”, but not all people are so lucky. A huge topic of discussion on the upcoming Summit is MTHFR. Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase is the rate-limiting enzyme in the methyl cycle, and it is encoded by the MTHFR gene. This week we welcome Sterling Hill, the founder of MTHFRsupport.com. Sterling is an educator and having found out of her personal status and what it means for her - she has been educating others about the impact of MTHFR for years.
Throughout the years and across the globe, our understanding of medicine has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve used plastic and stem cells to build new tracheas for cancer patients. We’ve performed double arm transplants. We’ve even helped a newborn survive a serious heart condition by controlling his internal body temperature and his heart rate with a cold gel and a defibrillator.   
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.
Spearheaded by faculty in the HMS Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, a report by The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery reveals that 5 billion people are unable to access safe, timely and affordable surgery, leading to 18.6 million preventable deaths each year worldwide. The report also presents a blueprint for developing properly functioning surgical systems globally.
All the way through the Functional Forum and the Evolution of Medicine we've sighted the future of "primary care" to be enhanced through technology, the Functional Medicine operating systems, and coaching for behavior change and this is such a great example. One of the powerful tools that Powell has taken advantage is Nudge Coach, a behavior change technology we love. By taking advantage of their white label solution, they have a branded experience for their patients to use to track behavior change between visits.
Two great Alexandrians laid the foundations for the scientific study of anatomy and physiology, Herophilus of Chalcedon and Erasistratus of Ceos.[48] Other Alexandrian surgeons gave us ligature (hemostasis), lithotomy, hernia operations, ophthalmic surgery, plastic surgery, methods of reduction of dislocations and fractures, tracheotomy, and mandrake as an anaesthetic. Some of what we know of them comes from Celsus and Galen of Pergamum.[49]
Later in Roman times Galen (130-200 AD) became a famous doctor. At first he worked treating wounded gladiators. Then in 169 AD he was made doctor to Commodus, the Roman Emperor's son. Galen was also a writer and he wrote many books. Galen believed the theory of the four humors. He also believed in treating illness with opposites. So if a patient had a cold Galen gave him something hot like pepper. Galen was also interested in anatomy. Unfortunately by his time dissecting human bodies was forbidden. So Galen had to dissect animal bodies including apes. However animal bodies are not the same as human bodies and so some of Galen's ideas were quite wrong. Unfortunately Galen was a very influential writer. For centuries his writings dominated medicine.
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.
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