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Questions tagged [medicine]

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

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1answer
101 views

How did ancient people treat acne? [on hold]

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 ...
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1answer
307 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 ...
6
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1answer
333 views

What was the impact of utilitarianism upon the development of psychiatric care in 18th-19th century England?

I'm interested in the impact of utilitarianism upon English psychiatric care by way of the philosophy's influence on social reformers. More tenuously, I want to know whether and in what ways ...
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2answers
783 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 ...
2
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1answer
195 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 ...
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2answers
161 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.
5
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1answer
970 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 ...
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2answers
638 views

Was there a time when it was easier for slaves than citizens to access state-sponsored medical facilities in Ancient Rome?

The Wikipedia article Medicine in Ancient Rome has this to say on the first hospitals in Rome: The Roman medical system saw the establishment of the first hospitals; these were reserved for ...
4
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1answer
288 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 ...
4
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1answer
191 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?...
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2answers
774 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
1k 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: ...
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532 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 ...
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4answers
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?...
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1answer
786 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 ...
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3answers
303 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 ...
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2answers
810 views

Why did physicians recommend curing the “dancing plague” with more dancing?

The Dancing Plague of 1518 was an event in which nearly 400 people in Strasbourg danced for days on end, some even dying of exhaustion or other causes. One section of the Wikipedia article has me ...
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3answers
2k views

How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Medicine always advances, and it's obvious that many decades or centuries ago, some medical procedures were done differently. I'd like to find out about how body temperature was checked in the past ...
29
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3answers
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 this have ...
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2answers
174 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, ...
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2answers
538 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 ...
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2answers
8k 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 ...
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1answer
400 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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4answers
497 views

Was smoking ever considered 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 ...
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3answers
512 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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....
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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 ...
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1answer
347 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 ...
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2answers
158 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?
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1answer
457 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 ...
5
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1answer
350 views

Birth by Caesarean Section in Ancient Times

[I have asked a variation of this question already on the Judaism Stack Exchange, but am offering a broader version of it here.] According to US National Library of Medicine, the first recorded ...
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4answers
10k views

When was acne first recorded in human history and how did it develop?

When was acne first recorded in human history? I have seen some youtube videos from Japan people who said that acne was non-existing many years ago (in Japan) but now it is prevalent. Are there any ...
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1answer
611 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 ...
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2answers
3k 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 the ...
16
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1answer
7k 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 ...
6
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1answer
173 views

What did people die of in 1665 London?

Wikipedia has an example Bill of Mortality from 1665, listing the causes of death for the London area. Many of the terms in it are unfamiliar, though, eg. "Kings Evill", "Rupture", "Livergrown". In ...
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9answers
6k views

Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

As late as WW1 there was very little literature surrounding PTSD/'shellshock'. In fact, the term was not coined until the 1980's. Considering the fact that warfare has been a part of human life since ...
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2answers
151 views

Why was “consumption of gypsum” seen as relevant medical problem following 'De Materia Medica'?

"It [lye ash] is also drunk against the consumption of gypsum and the bite of the spider." But why would consumption of relevant amounts of gypsum occur in the first place? https://en.wikisource.org/...
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1answer
151 views

Treatments for the Plague

We have all heard of the Plague Doctors, but is there any information on the Treatments that they offered the sick? I have looked at the work of Guy de Chauliac but I have been unable to find a copy ...
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1answer
659 views

How did society regard identical twins in the 17th century in Europe?

How did society react about and approach identical twins in Europe, mainly around the 17th century?
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1answer
932 views

What are the ancient origins of the Medicine Ball?

Seeing this question about the oldest known exercise equipment, I remembered a scene from I, Claudius when Tiberius is working out with a medicine ball, so I thought that might be a good candidate. I ...
3
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1answer
577 views

When was it considered fact that rats caused the Black Death?

Although Numerous sources now consider other factors or dismiss the idea that the Black Death was carried by rats, the CDC continues this claim. That issue is not not my interest, but a historical ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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2answers
802 views

Why is the snake or asp the primary logo of medicinal organisations?

As an Army Medic and now a workplace First Aider I see the asp used as a logo almost everywhere. Why was it chosen as the animal of choice for the medicinal profession and is there any animal or ...
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0answers
134 views

What were untreated gangrene survival rates before 1860?

During the Civil War, Middleton Goldsmith revolutionized the treatment of gangrene, bringing mortality rates (presumably of wounded soldiers) from 45% to 3%, according to Wikipedia. Do we have any ...
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1answer
549 views

When penicillin was initially introduced, was it effective against all gram positives?

I'm trying to investigate the history of resistance. Just how good was penicillin when it first emerged? Were there any gram positives it couldn't get?
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1answer
114 views

Medieval physician Cornelius Shilander?

I am doing a research related to history of military medicine. I came up with a book published 1596 by Cornelius Shilander. https://archive.org/details/corneliusshiland00schi I have tried to do ...
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2answers
1k views

What's the story behind this photo of hikers who brought white plague cure to President Wilson?

"LOS ANGELES HIKERS WHO BROUGHT WHITE PLAGUE CURE TO PRESIDENT WILSON. AT WHITE HOUSE" I stumbled upon this interesting photo at the United States Library of Congress site, which seems to refer to ...
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2answers
446 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 ...