In anticipation of our upcoming Interpreting Your Genetics Summit, our co-founder James Maskell has decided to let you listen in on his one hour genetic interpretation session for a very special podcast episode. Delivering the interpretation is Yael Joffe, RD, PhD who keynotes during the Summit itself, leading a day of discussions on nutrigenomics.


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.
Antibiotics were discovered too. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming but it was not widely used till after 1940. Another antibiotic, streptomycin was isolated in 1944. It was used to treat tuberculosis. They were followed by many others. Meanwhile the iron lung was invented in 1928 and in 1943 Willem Kolff built the first artificial kidney machine. (The first kidney transplant was performed in 1950 by Richard Lawler).
James Maskell:  Absolutely.  Well, the concept with the Evolution of Medicine Summit was that I saw so many ways in which medicine was evolving.  You know, medicine is evolving to treat the kind of diseases that we have, the current epidemics.  So it’s having to sort of evolve and adapt to deal with that.  There are also really cool evolutionary concepts within medicine and health that I know you’re really big on.  And that’s why I had to have you come in and speak.  You know, obviously, I know you’re big on the microbiome, and our evolution with microbes has certainly been something that people are interested in, obviously evolutionary nutrition and then Paleo concepts.  We are really excited to have your talk as the keynote for the Paleo day on the summit.  And then there’s also this evolution with regards to technology as well, health technology and the interaction.  You’re right there in San Francisco, the Silicon Valley Revolution, which I really feel is a synergistic force to the work that we are all doing in integrative and functional medicine.  I just saw all of these things coming together.  They’re literally coming together in the first week of September.  There’s the iPhone, the new iWatch is going to launch then.  We have the Cleveland Clinic announcement with Functional Forum.  We have the Brain and Gut Journal coming up.  So all of these things are happening in the first week of September.  It’s just been really congruent to put together a summit of the finest minds and try and share some of these messages as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Abby shares her personal journey to functional medicine. Her journey included starting the functional forum meetup and connecting with the fellow practitioners in her area. To her surprise, most were on board and ready to engage. She started with humble beginnings in her office two years ago and from there with support from her community, it's grown into something spectacular. 
c.484 – 425 BC Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines,and some those which are not local.[2]
In 1847 in Vienna, Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865), dramatically reduced the death rate of new mothers (due to childbed fever) by requiring physicians to clean their hands before attending childbirth, yet his principles were marginalized and attacked by professional peers.[115] At that time most people still believed that infections were caused by foul odors called miasmas.
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.
However surgery did become a little more advanced in the 16th century. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) dissected some human bodies and made accurate drawings of what he saw. However the greatest surgeon of the age was Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). He did many dissections and realized that many of Galen's ideas were wrong. In 1543 he published a book called The Fabric of the Human Body. It contained accurate diagrams of a human body. Vesalius's great contribution was to base anatomy on observation not on the authority of writers like Galen.
Galen's medical works were regarded as authoritative until well into the Middle Ages. Galen left a physiological model of the human body that became the mainstay of the medieval physician's university anatomy curriculum, but it suffered greatly from stasis and intellectual stagnation because some of Galen's ideas were incorrect; he did not dissect a human body.[53] Greek and Roman taboos had meant that dissection was usually banned in ancient times, but in the Middle Ages it changed.[54][55]
c.484 – 425 BC Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines,and some those which are not local.[2]
The editor of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences is pleased to announce the winner of the annual Stanley Jackson award for the best paper in the journal appearing in the preceding three years. The prize committee chose: Todd M. Olszewski, "The Causal Conundrum: The Diet-Heart Debates and the Management of Uncertainty in American Medicine" (70:2, April 2015).
Medical education instituted at the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico chiefly served the needs of urban elites. Male and female curanderos or lay practitioners, attended to the ills of the popular classes. The Spanish crown began regulating the medical profession just a few years after the conquest, setting up the Royal Tribunal of the Protomedicato, a board for licensing medical personnel in 1527. Licensing became more systematic after 1646 with physicians, druggists, surgeons, and bleeders requiring a license before they could publicly practice.[108] Crown regulation of medical practice became more general in the Spanish empire.[109]
At the same time Greek doctors developed a rational theory of disease and sought cures. However one did not replace the other. The cult of Asclepius and Greek medicine existed side by side. Medical schools were formed in Greece and in Greek colonies around the Mediterranean. As early as 500 BC a man named Alcmaeon from Croton in Italy said that a body was healthy if it had the right balance of hot and cold, wet and dry. It the balance was upset the body grew ill. However the most famous Greek doctor is Hippocrates (C.460-377 BC). (Although historians now believe that he was much less famous in his own time that was once thought. It is believed that many of the medical books ascribed to him were actually written by other men). Hippocrates stressed that doctors should carefully observe the patients symptoms and take note of them. Hippocrates also rejected all magic and he believed in herbal remedies.
The Nightingale model was widely copied. Linda Richards (1841–1930) studied in London and became the first professionally trained American nurse. She established nursing training programs in the United States and Japan, and created the first system for keeping individual medical records for hospitalized patients.[121] The Russian Orthodox Church sponsored seven orders of nursing sisters in the late 19th century. They ran hospitals, clinics, almshouses, pharmacies, and shelters as well as training schools for nurses. In the Soviet era (1917–1991), with the aristocratic sponsors gone, nursing became a low-prestige occupation based in poorly maintained hospitals.[122]

1870s Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch establish the germ theory of disease. According to germ theory, a specific disease is caused by a specific organism. Before this discovery, most doctors believe diseases are caused by spontaneous generation. In fact, doctors would perform autopsies on people who died of infectious diseases and then care for living patients without washing their hands, not realizing that they were therefore transmitting the disease.


The transition from hunter-gatherer to settled agricultural societies brought new diseases, but also allowed people to develop wound healing and bone-setting skills and medicines. The development of cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphs in Egypt allowed preservation and dissemination of medical knowledge and created the first technical medical language.
The Romans were also skilled engineers and they created a system of public health. The Romans noticed that people who lived near swamps often died of malaria. They did not know that mosquitoes in the swamps carried disease but they drained the swamps anyway. The Romans also knew that dirt encourages disease and they appreciated the importance of cleanliness. They built aqueducts to bring clean water into towns. They also knew that sewage encourages disease. The Romans built public lavatories in their towns. Streams running underneath them carried away sewage.
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 Romans may not have understood the exact mechanisms behind disease but their superb level of personal hygiene and obsession with cleanliness certainly acted to reduce the number of epidemics in the major cities. Otherwise, they continued the tradition of the Greeks although, due to the fact that a Roman soldier was seen as a highly trained and expensive commodity, the military surgeons developed into fine practitioners of their art. Their refined procedures ensured that Roman soldiers had a much lower chance of dying from infection than those in other armies.
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.
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.
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