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

I believe this is as much sociological as medical. Terms such as 'shell shock' or 'battle fatigue' were used from at least WWI - it was believed that shelling actually 'shocked' the brain - but ...
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47 votes
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‘Avoid sleeping on your back’ & ‘breathe in toilet smells’ were seen as precautions against the Black Death. Why did doctors think these would work?

This cannot be answered comprehensively here. But a few key points might be revealed. The precautions mentioned in the question are by far not the only ones that were given, just mere examples. At ...
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39 votes
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Where (if anywhere) were X-ray machines put on trains or trolleys to image "Everybody over 14 years old"?

It was in Glasgow in 1957, as part of the city's fight against tuberculosis. It's worth noting that the X-Ray machines weren't actually on the tram. It was simply used to advertise the campaign. [...
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31 votes
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Why wasn't sauerkraut used to combat scurvy?

The problem was that during the 18th Century, they didn't know that scurvy was caused by lack of Vitamin C (mainly because they didn't know what vitamins were). Therefore, they didn't go looking for ...
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26 votes
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Source of quote attributed to Florence Nightingale: To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has the following citation for that quote: (apologies for the limited quality of the scan. I'm using my hand-held scanner.) As their source, they cite The Life, ...
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  • 76.2k
22 votes

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

The term PTSD was invented in the 1980s by the medical discipline of psychiatry. The condition which the term PTSD refers to was well known to people from antiquity under various names with ...
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19 votes
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What's the story behind this photo of hikers who brought white plague cure to President Wilson?

The "white plague" refers to tuberculosis. The incident, which captured the nation's imagination for one day, is described by this report from the Grizzly Bear Magazine, April 1914: 4000-MILE HIKE ...
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16 votes

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

The symptoms of PTSD were first described by Herodotus when referring to Epizelus, a survivor of the 490BC Battle of Marathon, in his Histories 6.117.1-3: In this fight at Marathon there were ...
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  • 5,088
15 votes

How did the Emperor Titus die?

SHORT ANSWER The most widely accepted view among scholars is that Titus died a natural death. He had a fever which may have been caused by malaria (note that its relationship to mosquitos was unknown ...
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15 votes
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How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Adding to the previous answers regarding the use of the hand to assess body temperature, there have been several works which are quite suited to answer this question, which I hope to summarise here. ...
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14 votes
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Why is the snake or asp the primary logo of medicinal organisations?

The original association between the snake and medicine is from the Greek god of healing, Asclepius. I put an image of the "Rod of Asclepius" below. However, the Rod of Asclepius became confused with ...
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14 votes
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Who is Heckler?

Found him. He was Justus Friedrich Carl Hecker (1795 – 1850), doctor and professor at the Frederick William University in Berlin. His essay on the plague was "Der schwarze Tod im vierzehnten ...
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14 votes
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Why was health insurance not included in the Social Security Act of 1935?

Because the medical profession was opposed to it. Roosevelt's administration feared that including the universal health insurance provisions would kill the entire Social Security Act. For the sake ...
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14 votes
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What was the estimated malaria death toll for US Forces during World War II?

TL/ DR The figure of 60,000 fatalities due to malaria seems ridiculously high. The figures published by the Medical Departments of the various United States armed services in the years after the war ...
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  • 76.2k
12 votes
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Did healers in medieval Europe use moldy bread in poultices for wounds?

Not made up from 'whole cloth' but copied from ancient papyrii? Many ancient cultures used molds, soil, and plants to treat bacterial infections. In Ancient Serbia, China and Greece, old moldy ...
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11 votes
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How did society regard identical twins in the 17th century in Europe?

I think it's safe to say that they were regarded not that differently than they are today. An easy example is Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors, from the beginning of the 17th century. That play ...
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11 votes
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What is the meaning of Verte! at the end of Sisi’s autopsy report?

Comparing both autopsies archived officially at (AT-OeStA/HHStA UR FUK 2790, 2791 Title: Zwei nach dem Ableben der Kaiserin und Königin Elisabeth aufgenommene legalisierte Protokolle über die ...
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11 votes
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How were concussions treated in late 19th-century America?

Merck's 1899 Manual of the Materia Medica, described as a "ready reference pocket book for the practicing physician" has the following: Cerebral Concussion. Rest: absolute to be enjoined. ...
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11 votes
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Why was gout so prevalent in the past among rich people?

There's a few different things going on here. First, to get it out of the way, we've known that gout was linked to lifestyle since the beginning of medicine. No less a person than Hippocrates made ...
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10 votes
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How common was it for Red Cross personnel to fight (in both World Wars)?

The relevant regulation (mainly the first) in WW1 would appear to be: Article 9 of the 1906 Geneva Convention provides: The personnel charged exclusively with the removal, transportation, and ...
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10 votes

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

As other's have stated, part of the reason is that it's a medical term that's only been coined in recent history. The same is true with Autism, for instance. People have always had it, but it wasn't ...
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10 votes

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

Acne has always been with us. According to "The Historic Panorama of Acne Vulgaris," Pharaohs had acne: Some Egyptian writings have mentioned that Pharaohs suffered from acne and had also made ...
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10 votes
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When was it considered fact that rats caused the Black Death?

I am not entirely sure of what you're question is but maybe this answer will clarify from a French Wiki page: Researchers working in Asia during the "Third Pandemic" identified plague vectors and the ...
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  • 411
10 votes
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Why did physicians recommend curing the "dancing plague" with more dancing?

Theories about the causes and cures of dancing mania John Waller, Dancing Plague: The Strange, True Story of an Extraordinary Illness (2009) argues that the Strasbourg dancers were exhibiting extreme ...
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10 votes
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What oath did medical students take in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945?

tl;dr In fact, it appears that doctors in Germany during the Third Reich did take the Hippocratic Oath (or something equivalent to it). However, that Oath had been drastically re-interpreted in line ...
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  • 76.2k
9 votes

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

Thomas Nashe's 1592 work Pierce Penilesse, His Supplication to the Divell implies a use of wigs to hide the indications of venereal disease: "Men and women that have gone under the South pole, ...
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  • 2,276
9 votes

How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Avicenna (980–1037) said that fever was the increased temperature of the heart (Canon I, part 4), so he checked the temperature by touching the chest over the heart with the hand. This system was ...
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9 votes

What did people die of in 1665 London?

King's evil was an archaic term for scrofula, or Tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis Rupture was usually a hernia, but could also be a burst blood vessel. Livergrowne was just an enlarged liver. There ...
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  • 76.2k
8 votes

Why was Tsesarevich Alexei's hemophilia a state secret?

This was kept a secret for the same reason that FDR "was careful never to be seen in [a wheelchair] in public. Great care was also taken to prevent his being portrayed by the press in a way which ...
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8 votes

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

In addition to other factors mentioned by Samuel Russel and TheHonRose, there might be one purely "technical" factor. I'm not an expert, I only came across this one article saying that there is ...
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