For questions regarding to history of more or less scientific methods of healing.

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1answer
587 views

Why was health insurance not included in the Social Security Act of 1935?

The United States has spent much of the last two decades, for instance, arguing about how best to reform the odd public-private health insurance scheme that grew up around Franklin Roosevelt’s ...
2
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1answer
77 views

How long has western civilization known the body contains a significant fraction of water?

Body water is the water that makes up more than half of the average human body. Before the advent of modern physiology, humorism associated Phlegm with water, and my (relatively limited) ...
3
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2answers
180 views

Why was Tsesarevich Alexei's hemophilia a state secret?

Alexei inherited hemophilia from his mother Alexandra, a condition that could be traced back to her maternal grandmother Queen Victoria. In 2009 genetic analysis determined specifically that he ...
8
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2answers
288 views

Were certain soldiers considered to be neutral by both sides?

Not sure how to word this... I remember back in high school learning about World War II, and I distinctly remember that my teacher made a mention that "medics would often have to clear the ...
11
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1answer
572 views

Did the syphilis epidemic start the 16th and 17th century wig craze?

I've read that one reason that the nobility attending royal court in the 17th century had a passion for wigs, powdered faces, and gloves was the then prevalence of syphilis. By this reasoning those ...
3
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1answer
498 views

How did the Emperor Titus die?

How did Titus die? Do we have any historical sources that are less fanciful than the Babylonian Talmud, quoted below? Are there any other records of his symptoms prior to death? According to ...
4
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1answer
69 views

When did western medical certification start?

When did medical certification start being a 'thing' in western cultures, ex. among US denizens, the British, etc.? In particular, who (organization, person, etc.) came up with the first standards ...
2
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0answers
47 views

When was the first recorded use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic?

When was the first recorded use, or the first recorded intention of use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic? A hospital readmission (also called a rehospitalization) is defined as a ...
10
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2answers
191 views

Cuban medical internationalism

In the decades since the Cuban revolutions the country's medical doctors famously served on many semi-official missions abroad. For instance, it has been reported that Venezuela under Hugo Chavez ...
3
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3answers
145 views

Smoking as a throat cure

In the movie The King's Speech Prince Bertie at some point says his doctors had advised him to smoke, in order to improve his throat's condition. Does this stupid suggestion represent actual medical ...
14
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6answers
2k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
5
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1answer
155 views

Is there support for the theory that the 1918 influenza resulted from churning up microbe-laden French soil?

Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 contains the following: In the first years of the peace, fresh afflictions fell on European society: the influenza epidemic ...
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2answers
83 views

Why are scientific and medical training so different?

As part of a history project for the New York Academy of Medicine, I'm investigating the formalization of the divide between science and medicine. I've begun by looking at the difference in how ...
6
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1answer
107 views

What is the first verified twin study?

Today I learned that Swedish king Gustav III supposedly took two twin brothers that had been convicted for murder and had them drink three pots of coffee and tea respectively per day. He supposedly ...
3
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2answers
175 views

Before 1961, what did they think would happen to people in weightlessness?

Reading up on the beginnings of human spaceflight, I came across this line on Wikipedia: [Vostok 1] was flown in an automatic mode as a precaution; medical science at that time did not know what ...
8
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1answer
161 views

What was it like to have type 1 diabetes in the early 20th century?

Someone in my family died in 1924 of type 1 diabetes at the age of 26. What would life have been like for her? Would she have been in the hospital frequently? What was the average life-expectancy for ...
6
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1answer
244 views

When did people understand where children come from?

What is the oldest source that people knew for sure what makes a woman pregnant? For such a source I understand that that the author knew what a man and a woman did 9 months before giving birth and ...
9
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1answer
105 views

Health precautions before going into Battle of Trafalgar and other battles

Tom Pocock's The Terror Before Trafalgar: Nelson, Napoleon, and the Secret War contains this memorable description of preparations aboard HMS Victory immediately before the Battle of Trafalgar in ...
11
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3answers
504 views

What historical conditions (culture, technology, events, etc.) contributed to China's current lead in population?

If their growth rate was comparable to the rest of the world over the past several millenia, then was it only a matter of having a "head start"? (If so, then how did this initial condition come to ...
8
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1answer
232 views

When did the first organ transplant operation occur?

Is it in 800 AD or 1800 AD. Was it done in Rome? Was it done in India? What was the name of the surgeon?
5
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1answer
353 views

What are the archaeological evidence for the Aztec's use of entheogens?

A recent Skeptics question, Was honey used preserve psychoactive mushrooms in the ancient past?, caught my attention and I came upon the Wikipedia article on the Aztec use of entheogens. The article ...
2
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1answer
84 views

Was there other research focusing on the medical uses of ether in the 18th Century?

In recently seeing the John Moulton statue celebrating the first use of ether in Boston: it occurred that this sort of research usually doesn't happen in a vacuum. Were there other medical ...
7
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1answer
161 views

Robert Hookes Diary - Why would he have bought and drunk Vomit?

I have been reading extracts from Robert Hookes diary located here between the dates 1672-1680, on at least eight occasions he describes taking vomit and sometimes even using a feather to induce ...
10
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4answers
881 views

Was there any way to deal with infections in pre-modern times?

Today, an infection isn't usually too serious of a problem, with so many kinds of antibiotics available. Was there any way to deal with infections in pre-modern times? Let's say before 1700.
6
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1answer
99 views

What is the earliest passage that describes Hippocrates' observation that blood stratifies into four layers?

A few articles (such as "Misconceptions about Medieval Medicine: Humors, Leeches, Charms, and Prayers") state that Hippocrates observed that blood, when removed from the body, would separate into four ...
14
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1answer
3k views

What was the life expectancy of an ancient roman child and adult?

I'm assuming the average life expectancy of a Roman did not change very much between 500 BC - 500 AD (?), as there was probably no significant progress in medical knowledge or nutrition. Do historians ...