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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
295 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 ...
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2answers
781 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 ...
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1answer
194 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.
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
189 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?...
5
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1answer
969 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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3answers
299 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 ...
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 ...
4
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2answers
173 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
534 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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0answers
529 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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1answer
399 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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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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1answer
1k 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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3answers
510 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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1answer
346 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
157 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
455 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 ...
9
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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 ...
7
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2answers
637 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 ...
6
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1answer
172 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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2answers
809 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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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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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 ...
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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
658 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
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
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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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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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 ...
5
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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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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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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 ...
3
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2answers
339 views

Medical personnel fighting on the battlefield

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 ...
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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 ...
5
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2answers
801 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 ...
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 ...
11
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1answer
929 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 ...
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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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Who is Heckler?

On researching the Black Plague I have a few times run into the name of "Heckler" who supposedly is the source for the information that 25% of the population of Europe was killed by the plague. For ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
136 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) ...
5
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2answers
781 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 ...
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2answers
815 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 ...
5
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1answer
235 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 ...
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0answers
199 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 ...
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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 ...