To some, food allergies seem like fabricated cries for attention. To others, they pose a dangerous health threat. Food allergies are bound up with so many personal and ideological concerns that it is difficult to determine what is medical and what is myth. Another Person's Poison parses the political, economic, cultural, and genuine health factors of a phenomenon that dominates our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. For most of the twentieth century, food allergies were considered a fad or junk science. While many physicians and clinicians argued that certain foods could cause a range of chronic problems, from asthma and eczema to migraines and hyperactivity, others believed that allergies were psychosomatic. This book traces the trajectory of this debate and its effect on public-health policy and the production, manufacture, and consumption of food. Are rising allergy rates purely the result of effective lobbying and a booming industry built on self-diagnosis and expensive remedies? Or should physicians become more flexible in their approach to food allergies and more careful in their diagnoses? Exploring the issue from scientific, political, economic, social, and patient-centered perspectives, this book is the first to engage fully with the history of a major modern affliction, illuminating society's troubled relationship with food, disease, nature, and the creation of medical knowledge.
Early medical practices are not just a historical curiosity, but real stories about people and health that may teach us much about the 21st century. This intriguing volume offers a comparative examination of early medicine and health care in regions as varied as ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, China, the Islamic world, and medieval Europe. Health and Wellness in Antiquity through the Middle Ages compares and contrasts health-care practices in seven different cultures from around the world. In considering the range of medical practitioners in each society, and the kinds of health care they provided, it examines the development of a written medical tradition, the methods of medical education, the practice of surgery, and the theories and practices of pharmacy. Other topics include the application of medicine in specific contexts, such as the treatment of women, children, and those with mental illness. Another important theme explored is the impact of religion and state institutions on the development, implementation, and results of medical care as experienced by real people in real life. Throughout, the book offers an international historical perspective, which allows for greater comparative and critical understanding of how different cultural beliefs influenced the development and management of health care. Excerpts from significant original texts to illustrate the concepts discussed Illustrations drawn from many different ancient and medieval cultures portraying health care providers and the treatment of patients Photographs depicting medical instruments and medicinal herbs A bibliography that puts special emphasis on identifying English-language translations of original documents for those who would like to read the primary materials themselves
Thirty years ago, Susan Sontag wrote, "Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick ... Sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place." Now more than 133 million Americans live with chronic illness, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all health care dollars, and untold pain and disability. There has been an alarming rise in illnesses that defy diagnosis through clinical tests or have no known cure. Millions of people, especially women, with illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome face skepticism from physicians and the public alike. And people with diseases as varied as cardiovascular disease, HIV, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes have been accused of causing their preventable illnesses through their lifestyle choices. We must balance our faith in medical technology with awareness of the limits of science, and confront our throwback beliefs that people who are sick have weaker character than those who are well. Through research and patient narratives, health writer Laurie Edwards explores patient rights, the role of social media in medical advocacy, the origins of our attitudes about chronic illness, and much more. WhatThe Noonday Demon did for people suffering from depression,In the Kingdom of the Sick does for those who are chronically ill.
Telling the compelling stories behind mankind's never-ending quest to cure every disease, Kill or Cure uses an all-new format — a text-rich narrative combined with DK's beautiful visual design — to trace the extraordinary history of medicine. Beginning with early healers, chance discoveries, technological advancement, and "wonder" drugs, and using panels, timelines, and thematic spreads, Kill or Cure highlights information about human anatomy, surgical instruments, and medical breakthroughs while telling the dramatic tale of medical progress. Diaries, notebooks, and other first-person accounts tell the fascinating stories from the perspective of people who witnessed medical history firsthand.
Nearly two-thirds of the Civil War's approximately 750,000 fatalities were caused by disease--a staggering fact for which the American medical profession was profoundly unprepared. In the years before the war, training for physicians in the United States was mostly unregulated, and medical schools' access to cadavers for teaching purposes was highly restricted. Shauna Devine argues that in spite of these limitations, Union army physicians rose to the challenges of the war, undertaking methods of study and experimentation that would have a lasting influence on the scientific practice of medicine. Though the war's human toll was tragic, conducting postmortems on the dead and caring for the wounded gave physicians ample opportunity to study and develop new methods of treatment and analysis, from dissection and microscopy to new research into infectious disease processes. Examining the work of doctors who served in the Union Medical Department, Devine sheds new light on how their innovations in the midst of crisis transformed northern medical education and gave rise to the healing power of modern health science.
This book is an introduction to the history of university-trained physicians from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. While considered elite (in reputation and rewards) and successful, we know little of their clinical effectiveness. To modern eyes their theory and practice often seems bizarre. But historical evidence reveals that they were judged on other criteria, and this book asserts that these physicians helped to construct and meet the expectations of society.
From reflexology and rolfing to shiatsu and dream work, we are confronted today by a welter of alternative medical therapies. But as James Whorton shows in Nature Cures, the recent explosion in alternative medicine actually reflects two centuries of competition and conflict between mainstreammedicine and numerous unorthodox systems.This is the first comprehensive history of alternative medicine in America, examining the major systems that have emerged from 1800 to the present. Writing with wit and with fairness to all sides, Whorton offers a fascinating look at alternative health systems such as homeopathy, water cures,Mesmerism, Christian Science, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, and acupuncture. He highlights the birth and growth of each system (including European roots where appropriate) and vividly describes both the theories and the therapies developed within each system, including such dubiouspractices as hour-long walks barefoot in snow or Samuel Thompson's "puking and steaming" regimen. In particular, Whorton illuminates the philosophy of "natural healing" that has been espoused by alternative practitioners throughout history and the distinctive interpretations of "nature cure"developed by the different systems. Though he doesn't hesitate to point out the failings of these systems, he also shows that some "cult medicines" have eventually won recognition from practitioners of mainstream medicine.Throughout, Whorton writes with a light touch and quotes from contemporary humorists such as Mark Twain. His book is an engaging yet authoritative history that highlights the course of alternative medicine in the U.S., providing valuable background to the wide range of therapies availabletoday.
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year A medical historian narrates the last century of scientific struggle against an enduring enemy: deadly contagious disease. Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 "parrot fever" pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms. In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. We also see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions--even though, as the epidemiologists Malik Peiris and Yi Guan write, "'nature' remains the greatest bioterrorist threat of all." Like man-eating sharks, predatory pathogens are always present in nature, waiting to strike; when one is seemingly vanquished, others appear in its place. These pandemics remind us of the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the role that human behavior and technologies play in the emergence and spread of microbial diseases.
Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions occurred in the United States only after 1800, just as the struggle to end slavery took hold. In this book, Wendy Gonaver examines the relationship between these two historical developments, showing how slavery and ideas about race shaped early mental health treatment in the United States, especially in the South. She reveals these connections through the histories of two asylums in Virginia: the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg, the first in the nation; and the Central Lunatic Asylum in Petersburg, the first created specifically for African Americans. Eastern Lunatic Asylum was the only institution to accept both slaves and free blacks as patients and to employ slaves as attendants. Drawing from these institutions' untapped archives, Gonaver reveals how slavery influenced ideas about patient liberty, about the proper relationship between caregiver and patient, about what constituted healthy religious belief and unhealthy fanaticism, and about gender. This early form of psychiatric care acted as a precursor to public health policy for generations, and Gonaver's book fills an important gap in the historiography of mental health and race in the nineteenth century.
A timely, authoritative, and entertaining history of medicine in America by an eminent physicianDespite all that has been written and said about American medicine, narrative accounts of its history are uncommon. Until Ira Rutkow’sSeeking the Cure,there have been no modern works, either for the lay reader or the physician, that convey the extraordinary story of medicine in the United States. Yet for more than three centuries, the flowering of medicine—its triumphal progress from ignorance to science—has proven crucial to Americans’ under-standing of their country and themselves.Seeking the Curetells the tale of American medicine with a series of little-known anecdotes that bring to life the grand and unceasing struggle by physicians to shed unsound, if venerated, beliefs and practices and adopt new medicines and treatments, often in the face of controversy and scorn. Rutkow expertly weaves the stories of individual doctors—what they believed and how they practiced—with the economic, political, and social issues facing the nation. Among the book’s many historical personages are Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington (whose timely adoption of a controversial medical practice probably saved the Continental Army), Benjamin Rush, James Garfield (who was killed by his doctors, not by an assassin’s bullet), and Joseph Lister. The book touches such diverse topics as smallpox and the Revolutionary War, the establishment of the first medical schools, medicine during the Civil War, railroad medicine and the beginnings of specialization, the rise of the medical-industrial complex, and the thrilling yet costly advent of modern disease-curing technologies utterly unimaginable a generation ago, such as gene therapies, body scanners, and robotic surgeries.In our time of spirited national debate over the future of American health care amid a seemingly infinite flow of new medical discoveries and pharmaceutical products, Rutkow’s account provides readers with an essential historic, social, and even philosophical context. Working in the grand American literary tradition established by such eminent writer-doctors as Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Carlos Williams, Sherwin Nuland, and Oliver Sacks, he combines the historian’s perspective with the physician’s seasoned expertise.Capacious, learned, and gracefully told,Seeking the Curewill satisfy armchair historians and doctors alike, for, as Rutkow shows, the history of American medicine is a portrait of America itself.
Southern Folk Medicine by Phyllis D. Light
Publication Date: 2018-01-16
This book is the first to describe the history, folklore, assessment methods, and remedies of Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine--the only system of folk medicine, other than Native American, that developed in the United States. One of the system's last active practitioners, Phyllis D. Light has studied and worked with herbs, foods, and other healing techniques for more than thirty years. In everyday language, she explains how Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine was passed down orally through the generations by herbalists and healers who cared for people in their communities with the natural tools on hand.
Covers the history of twelve important diseases and addresses public health responses and societal upheavals. Chronicles the ways disease outbreaks shaped traditions and institutions of Western civilization. Explains the effects, causes, and outcomes from past epidemics. Describes a dozen diseases to show how disease control either was achieved or failed. Makes clear the interrelationship between diseases and history. Presents material in a compelling, clear, and jargon-free prose for a wide audience. Provides a picture of the best practices for dealing with disease outbreaks.