Questions tagged [medicine]

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

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41 votes
2 answers
9k views

‘Avoid sleeping on your back’ & ‘breathe in toilet smells’ were seen as precautions against the Black Death. Why did doctors think these would work?

Browsing a school book, Medieval Britain by Brenda Williams, I came across three precautions recommended by doctors to help people avoid going down with the plague. These were: cover windows avoid ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
1k 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 be?...
Andrew Cheong's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
Drux's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
233 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
24 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
Hauser's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why wasn't sauerkraut used to combat scurvy?

While reading about age of sail, I've read about scurvy and how it was 'cured' by 'acidity' of citrus. It come to my mind - why didn't they try to use sauerkraut? It seems that it should be more ...
Maja Piechotka's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
623 views

How common was it for Red Cross personnel to fight (in both World Wars)?

How common was it for Red Cross medical personnel to take part in military action on the battlefields (in both World Wars)? How was this received by the combatants (friendly and enemy)? The question ...
sds's user avatar
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