141

My personal favorite is the early history of the lighting rod. Lightning likes to try to ground itself via the tallest, pointiest thing around. This means that because of their architecture, Christian churches have always been particular favorites of lightning. This is obviously awkward theologically, so the theology that developed was that lightning was ...


39

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. [Image source Wellcome Collection CC BY] Mobile X-Ray units were used in the UK (the Mass Miniature Radiography (MMR) programme), but in vans, rather than trams. ...


34

Actually, the exact same thing happened in Brazil, but with a real uprising: Vaccine Revolt (Wikipedia). This is a matter of great discussion in Brazilian history, with most historians arguing that it was not an anti-vax revolt, but a revolt about the first mandatory thing government imposed during unstable political times.


29

In Korea: Fan Death (dates to the 1920s) In US and Europe: Poisonous Tomatoes (dates to their discovery in the New World, but not clear if/when there were "authorities" stating the truth) Reasons cited for belief: Ill effects of acidic tomatoes leaching poisonous lead from pewter plates were ascribed to the tomatoes rather than the lead. Belief that ...


28

SHORT ANSWER The short answer is that, although there were laws concerning the disposal of waste, there is no evidence of widespread municipal waste management in the modern sense of the word; there were only individual efforts at dealing with waste. Source: F. Havlicek, M. Morcinek, Waste and Pollution in the Ancient Roman Empire (2016) There were, ...


24

From the 1930s. Mentioned on Huffington Post. The older blog referred to in the HP article is no longer available, to so prevent the same thing from happening to the HP article, here's the relevant text (no copyright infringement intended): The comic above was posted to Reddit today with the caption, “History repeats itself. Anti-vac comic from the 1940s.”...


24

Because they believed their infant would have a better chance of surviving in the desert. The child mortality rate from disease and malnutrition in Arab settlements was horrendously high, and it was believed that sending the child into the healthier environment of the desert increased the child's chance of survival. - Gabriel, Richard A. Muhammad: ...


21

There is a belief which for want of a better term I will call Draft Theory. This is the belief that a draft, defined as a stream of air blowing on the body from one direction, such as from an open window, is a direct cause of injury and disease. This belief is often held to the exclusion of Germ Theory. While modern medical science acknowledges some adverse ...


18

The use of anaesthesia during labour was highly contentious, partly on medical grounds, partly on religious grounds - women were meant to suffer during childbirth - certainly in the opinion of (male) doctors! Queen Victoria - who hated childbirth and wasn't that keen on babies - pioneered its use, against most medical opinion of the time. The Lancet ...


13

You might consider the first smallpox vaccine. From Voltaire's "Letters on the English": "IT is inadvertently affirmed in the Christian countries of Europe that the English are fools and madmen. Fools, because they give their children the small-pox to prevent their catching it; ; and madmen, because they wantonly communicate a certain and dreadful ...


11

The way that the question is framed is laced with quite modern conceptions of "abuse" and "drugs" that would be completely incomprehensible for earlier people. Yet the word 'drug' was not always so closely linked in the public mind with substance abuse. The definition of the noun drug in volume III (published in 1897) of original edition ...


9

This is impossible to state with any certainty because: The exact path of the "Spanish" Flu virus in its early stages is unknown; and Early deaths from the virus were not recognised at the time and received little attention. Available evidence suggests that the Spanish Flu was "seeded" around the world in a number of localised outbreaks well before the ...


8

Denver, Colorado is a good sample of the results when the measures start early, but are revoked too soon. The goal of the lockdown is to prevent people meeting and transferring the virus on to others. When started early, less people are effected and don't pass it on. On Armistice Day (1918-11-11), people gathered together to celebrate with the result ...


7

Hunter-Gathers Absolutely all hunter-gatherers live "hand-to-mouth", malnutrition is common, and starvation is not just a "risk" - it is a permanent threat. This should be obvious because they cannot effectively store excess food and thus are subject to the standard predator–prey model: plenty of food --> population expansion --> depletion of food ...


7

There was a peasant revolt in the Habsburg Empire in the 1830's, mainly in Galicia and Northern Hungary, caused by peasants believing a cholera outbreak was a deliberate attempt by the government and / or the nobles to eradicate the poorer social classes. Despite being almost 200 years ago, it has many similarities with modern conspiracy theories (with the ...


7

I don't have any expertise in this field, and the question doesn't provide much detail about what sources Harari may be citing. I did a quick search on Google Books but find no reference to malnutrition in Sapiens. However, just glancing at a few sources we can see that bioarcheologists look at a wide range of evidence to reconstruct pre-historic diets and ...


6

The case I have in mind is not as drastic as the others but was one of the first large scale "manually spread health disinformation" in France. In the 80's a leaflet supposedly authored by the Villejuif Hospital listed food additives and their impact on health. (source) The most dangerous one was E330, which is citric acid (no danger to consumption in ...


6

The information given in the WP article seems a bit misleading and has the occasional error. The army and navy had its special valetudinaria. Therefore a soldier would have been treated there and as long slaves were in or better with the army then they would have been treated there also. But what this entails in republican times is quite different from our ...


6

From a purely numerical perspective of quantifying "often" or "much" we observe that Western lead production peaked in Roman times and fell off sharply afterwards, whereas Chinese lead production was always lower than 'European' rates but kept its level into the 'Barbaric ages'. Bronze Age Iron Age Roman Empire Barbaric Age 2100–...


6

I will refer to the science based claims of the OP questions leaving aside social and political reasons. I think the other answer though factually fair is a little loaded with personal opinions which are not factual. To be precise the risk of severe adverse effects is 1 in a million. Risk for UK fatal car accidents is 1 in 20000 or according to UK ...


5

Short answer: Gonorrhea and syphilis, neither of which was curable until around WWII (with the advent of penicillin). There were other lesser-known incurable (at the time) STDs as well. Your conjecture that associating with loose women could perhaps affect your marriage and cause stress is undoubtedly also true for married men (imagine bringing syphilis home ...


5

According History of Lead Poisoning Around the World by Dr. Herbert L. Needleman, lead poisoning was first knowingly observed and recorded in a means which we can recover as early as 2000 BCE. Childhood lead poisoning was first discovered in 1892. It was banned by an international agreement in 1925, but the United States waited until 1970 to ban it.


4

This was certainly very widespread, with variations, in many places or nations around the world. The purpose was to mass-scan the populace with healthy or harmless X-rays for signs of tuberculosis and other illnesses in the picture of the lung. Poster promoting mass X-ray screening, England, 1945-1959 (Object number 1981-2088 Pt10) One of these mobile ...


4

Though it was not on public transportation, busses were used in Denmark in the 1950's as mobile platforms for tuberculosis detection. Link in danish about mobile tuberculosis units, including a small picture of a bus Since 2014 similar mobile X-ray equipment has been used to detect tuberculosis among homeless. Link in danish about modern mobile ...


4

Helpful comments above indicate that the disease was syphilis. This is backed up by secondary sources: Jones's Empire of Extinction describes it as "rampant". Jochelson's The Kamchadals called it "widespread". Stern's Marginal Linguistic Identities reports one in three natives suffering. Davidson's Geographical Pathology says it was "very prevalent".


3

There is a common belief among auto mechanics (at least here in the US) that if an auto battery is placed on a concrete floor, the concrete will somehow discharge it and quite possibly ruin it. New mechanics are instructed to put a wooden board between the battery and the concrete. This belief is similar in structure to the vaccine scare. The evidence of ...


2

It seems that the word 'hospital' would be misleading. The majority of ancient institutions treated only specific parts of the population, while modern hospitals don't make that distinction. Also, in general physicians went themselves to the houses of the sick, and not the other way around (this, of course, if the sick could pay). But there were some ...


2

I remember a news report on the radio, decades ago (so I can't provide a source, sorry). Parents went on a long holiday trip and gave their 16 to 18 year old children the house keys, a phone number for emergencies, and money for groceries etc. The children decided to spend that money on pasta and rock records -- most of the money went to records. ...


2

From a New York Times review (Don't Blame Columbus for All the Indians' Ills) of the book The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere: What had not been clearly recognized until now, though, is that the general health of Native Americans had apparently been deteriorating for centuries before 1492. ... More than 12,500 skeletons ...


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