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Questions tagged [medicine]

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

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38 votes
1 answer
9k views

Was it known in ancient Rome and Greece that boiling water made it safe to drink and if so, what was the theory behind this?

I believe wine was mixed with water because it tasted better than plain water -- it had the positive side effect of killing bacteria. But if no wine was available, was plain water drunk? Did people ...
releseabe's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did PHS researchers prevent Tuskegee experiment participants from obtaining treatment on their own?

According to the Wikipedia article: During World War II, 256 of the infected subjects registered for the draft and were consequently diagnosed as having syphilis at military induction centers and ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
151 views

Where, other than Voltaire, are there other references to "cat's eyes" in 18th century Europe?

Reading Voltaire’s A Philosophical Dictionary, in the article on character, I found this: “If I have a wry nose and cat's eyes I can hide them behind a mask, and can I do more with the character that ...
Barnaby's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
0 answers
141 views

Is there a link between the quack remedy "Peruna" and the Finnish word for 'potato'?

source. click for larger version. My attention was drawn to the advert for "PE-RU-NA": PE-RU-NA | Cures Catarrh | and all Catarrhal Diseases Peruna was a medicine patented by the quack ...
Joachim's user avatar
  • 185
30 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is there a record of a rabid human attacking another human?

I was just reading the Wikipedia page on rabies, and the following claim is made: Although it is theoretically possible for rabies-infected humans to transmit it to others by biting or otherwise, no ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
167 views

Why didn't Semmelweis perform a simpler experiment, to stop all the anatomical work?

Levy wrote in his paper criticizing Semmelweis: "Why wasn't a simpler and more reliable experiment performed, to stop all the anatomical work?". That sounds like a reasonable argument to me. ...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
369 views

(How) Did criminals in the middle ages get treatment for injuries?

Were criminals in the middle ages able to get treatment for injuries, and if so, how? I mean criminals such as bandits who wouldn't be able to seek whatever medical care was normally available, even ...
justforplaylists's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
24k views

How old is the idea that humans have 360 joints?

I know that the idea that humans have 360 joints appears in a few old sources. One is from the Islamic tradition, from Sahih Muslim 1007a, a text that was first written maybe in the 9th century AD. I ...
arara's user avatar
  • 693
3 votes
1 answer
309 views

Were hippies in the USA "refused ambulance service" for some reason?

In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer buys an old ambulance from the 1960s (I think). This is very vague in my memory, but at some point, somebody says something along the lines of: Many hippies were ...
Santhiago Degeus's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why did slave dealers and buyers in the Antebellum South especially value enslaved persons with "good teeth" and "good front teeth"?

Open Yale Courses: HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877. Lecture 3 – A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology says, " Ads in newspapers, like this one in ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
192 views

Who treated Hitler when he was wounded in World War 1?

Hitler was wounded in World War 1 (October 1916) and was treated for two months at a hospital in Brandenburg. Is it recorded which doctor(s) treated Hitler during this period? If yes, did he/she say ...
Allure's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
238 views

Origin of barber/surgeons: did it have to do with tools?

Although today it sounds absurd that someone who shaved men and I guess also cut hair would be entrusted to performing medical procedures, is it possible that few people had the tools or the ability ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 2,314
1 vote
2 answers
307 views

In what countries were plague doctor masks were most common?

Based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_doctor_costume: The clothing worn by plague doctors was intended to protect them from airborne diseases during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. ...
Andrew Savinykh's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
224 views

When did Averroes start to study medicine?

I'm doing research about Averroes, especially his interest in medical sciences. And I want to know his interest motivation, indication, and his age when he started to study medicine. I looked at what ...
Fares's user avatar
  • 61
-2 votes
1 answer
240 views

Is the former adviser to the prime minister Dominic Cummings related by marriage to Andrew Wakefield? [closed]

Is Dominic Cummings, the British prime minister's former chief adviser, related by marriage to Andrew Wakefield, director of the 2016 film "Vaxxed"? Dominic Cummings, the former adviser to ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Were blue-tinted glasses prevalent in Victorian England and, if so, why?

Whenever I happen to read Chesterton, Conan-Doyle or some other British writers of the era, there will occasionally be mentioned people wearing blue-tinted spectacles. Chesterton especially, in his ...
Gnudiff's user avatar
  • 439
10 votes
2 answers
784 views

How old is the practice of removing wisdom teeth?

According to this brief history of wisdom teeth removal, wisdom teeth may have been helpful in prehistoric times, but are now removed due to their general incompatibility with the human jaw. However, ...
EphraimRuttenberg's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
363 views

What did medical treatments for fractured or broken bones cost in 1900-1915?

Let's say that you are in the year 1915, living in rural Eastern Europe, and you just got badly injured in an earthquake (not a huge earthquake, just big enough to crumble a small and poorly built ...
user11111111111's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
477 views

Have there been negative large-scale long term effects from vaccines?

This is in regards to the COVID-19 vaccines. As far as I am concerned, the speedy availability is the conjunction of 3 things coming together: superior biotech compared to even 10 years ago, both in ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
276 views

Did anyone at the time blame the Great Plague on rats or fleas?

The Great Plague of London occurred in 1665, before the advent of the germ theory of disease. Nonetheless, people back then had some general notion that the disease could be spread through social ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
  • 2,810
0 votes
1 answer
181 views

How prestigious was the medical profession given the inefficacy of most treatments?

I have read that doctors were until the advent of penicillin not more effective than not seeing one. I am not sure what that meant: surely for some things, it was better to see a physician than not to ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 2,314
2 votes
1 answer
143 views

Does the long dense habitation and cultivation of lands correlate with a high incidence of tetanus and gangrene in badly disinfected wounds?

William Keen claims in his Treatment of war wounds (written at the end of WW1) that the soil of France, since it was inhabited and cultured since antiquity, was extraordinarily infected with bacteria ...
b.Lorenz's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the estimated malaria death toll for US Forces during World War II?

Recently I run onto an article listing 10 most deadliest epidemics in the human history, this contradictory article was from Russian website that looks rather low quality, but what attracted my focus ...
Suncatcher's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
258 views

Were there early modern precursors to eugenics?

Eugenics, which I'll define here as the selective breeding, sterilization, and biological engineering of humans with political or utopian aims, was a major historical force between the late Victorian ...
okayokay's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
620 views

Why was gout so prevalent in the past among rich people?

I'd like a general explanation about this fact. I know it's a big error to judge behaviors in history with the current knowledge we have now, but for gout, people could have easily got to know that ...
user2638180's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
7k views

Did healers in medieval Europe use moldy bread in poultices for wounds?

In a Song of Ice and Fire, injured characters are frequently given a poultice made of, amongst other things, moldy bread. We drowned the wound with boiling wine, and closed you up with a poultice ...
alexgbelov's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
237 views

Is there any truth to my family's story about "Cooper's Pie Wagon"?

According to family lore, my great-uncle Dr. John Cooper "was a surgeon on Gen. Sherman's and Gen. Fremont's staffs. Credited with the invention of the ambulance; soldiers nicknamed it as Cooper's "...
Betty Crokker's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
322 views

How did ancient people treat acne? [closed]

In the modern era, people have creams and antibiotics to treat acne. How did ancient people treat acne given that there is rarely an ancient picture which illustrates ancient people with acne. Did ...
user35897's user avatar
  • 127
1 vote
1 answer
390 views

Is it true that first surgeons were barbers?

Talking with a friend, he told me that the first surgeons were the barbers. In part it made sense as they are used to cut and cure people as they shave them. Even the striped bar red white and blue ...
pvalle's user avatar
  • 129
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why was compulsory vaccination abandoned in the UK?

There is currently talk in the UK of making school attendance conditional on vaccination. Similar schemes operate in various places around the world now. Vaccination against smallpox was compulsory ...
emrys57's user avatar
  • 1,071
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

How were concussions treated in late 19th-century America?

It’s 1899 America, a person has a bleeding head wound after an impact (the rest of their body being unharmed for the sake of the focus question). They have a concussion and, when they wake up, they ...
Axolotl's user avatar
  • 131
-3 votes
2 answers
209 views

How was the black death spread? [closed]

When discussing the black plague, many historians believe it to be the bubonic plague transmitted by fleas on rats. I was wondering if there are any competing theories to what caused this mass death.
Andreas's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
423 views

Did the "ancients" use lead plates to prevent pain in their knees?

While reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, I came upon the following line: Just before tea I told Nantz the anecdote of the ancients using lead plates to prevent pain in their knees, the ...
Klangen's user avatar
  • 143
3 votes
1 answer
366 views

Did people during the Renaissance believe that the heart had two chambers?

Short question (adapted from @Oddthinking at Skeptics.SE): How many chambers did the scientific population of the world (excluding Leonardo da Vinci), think the human heart had during the Renaissance?...
Barry Harrison's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Strong movement to deregulate professions in the 1960's?

In chapter 11, page 209, of his book "predictably irrational", Dan Ariely writes: "The word profession comes from the Latin professus, meaning "affirmed publicly." Professions started somewhere ...
Dr. John's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the best book to learn about medicine in medieval times? (research for a novel)

I am writing a novel where the main character is a healer in medieval times / a low-technology environment. Most of his work would involve field medicine, or treating people generally as a village ...
souzan's user avatar
  • 169
31 votes
3 answers
7k views

Where (if anywhere) were X-ray machines put on trains or trolleys to image "Everybody over 14 years old"?

The background image in this X-ray analysis sotfware page shows what looks like a trolley or train car on tracks with a sign that says "X-ray Now: Everybody over 14 years old". Where might ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 1,784
4 votes
2 answers
585 views

What is the origin of the name Fallopian tubes?

I read that the Fallopian tubes were described by the Italian anatomist Gabrielle Fallopio, somewhere in the 16th century. The Wikipedia describes that the structure reminded the musical instrument, ...
Heleno Paiva's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did nutmeg really prevent infections during the Bubonic Plague?

Not sure if this comes under biology or history. Years ago, a chemistry professor gave us a short lesson on the history of nutmeg. He said, the priests in Europe wore pouches around their neck ...
Samid's user avatar
  • 2,192
11 votes
1 answer
19k views

How did Mehmed II die?

The different Wikipedias offer different stories. English Wikipedia claims poison as a likely cause of death: In 1481 Mehmed marched with the Ottoman army, but upon reaching Maltepe, Istanbul he ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did historical peoples deal with choking?

These days, the use of the Heimlich Maneuver to deal with choking is so well-known that one might be surprised to learn that it was not invented until the 1970s, so this seemingly simple treatment is ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
462 views

Prior to 1790, before dentist chairs, did dentists put the patient's head between their knees?

I read here (and similarly in a book of facts from the TV series QI), that in the 1700s, the dentist would have held your head between his knees as he operated. I have read that before dentist chairs,...
barlop's user avatar
  • 183
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

What oath did medical students take in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945?

The World Medical Association responded to Nazi medical atrocities not by reasserting the time-tested Hippocratic oath, but by asserting a new modern oath, subject to change every 10 years. Source: ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,192
5 votes
1 answer
5k views

How were knee injuries treated in Ancient Greece?

Today knee injuries, for example ACL tears*, are a pretty common injury, especially with fighters (Judo, Wrestling, BJJ, MMA, …). Since the Greeks practiced a lot of wrestling and pankration, knee ...
coconut's user avatar
  • 153
9 votes
3 answers
592 views

When did western doctors first start predicting prenatal diseases and disabilities?

At what point did western medicine become invested in the idea of predicting that children might be born with specific illnesses or disabilities prior to their actual birth? And at what point did ...
Random's user avatar
  • 3,686
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Source of quote attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics

This is another classic quotation in the history of statistics, attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose....
user101089's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was the high consumption of (red) wine in Ancient Rome preventive of scurvy? [closed]

With daily consumption of wine estimated to be about 1 liter/day based on production, vitamin c requirements may be about covered. Was that a reason why these enormous consumption levels were thought ...
HannesH's user avatar
  • 1,559
0 votes
2 answers
180 views

Was the sprouting of seeds for food production known in Europe before 1800?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprouting Was this not known in Europe?
HannesH's user avatar
  • 1,559
6 votes
1 answer
643 views

Has Nursing Always Been Female Dominated Like Today (90+%)?

I had a discussion with a nursing friend (male nurse) and he said that he wouldn't be a nurse if he had the chance again due to often being asked to do things no other nurse wants (like getting the ...
Ms Jackson's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the meaning of Verte! at the end of Sisi’s autopsy report?

The following document is a picture of a copy of the autopsy report of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, on display in the Sisi Museum in Vienna. It describes, in French, the wounds and the cause of death ...
user426862's user avatar