In preparation for next Monday's Functional Forum, The Evolution of Primary Care, we are thrilled to welcome IFM certified practitioner, Dr. Kara Parker to the Evolution of Medicine podcast this week. Dr. Parker has been practicing integrative and functional medicine for almost two decades, and practices in Minnesota at the Whittier Clinic. If you are interested in functional or integrative medicine, particularly how to work with the undeserved, this podcast is not one to miss.
The earliest references to medical care and surgical procedures are found in Babylonian texts like the laws of Hammurabi (1792-1750/43 BCE) describing the surgeon’s responsibilities and how much he should be paid. Pay was good, but penalties for mistakes harsh: “If a physician performs a major operation on a lord… and causes his death…. they shall cut off his hand”. Only wounds, fractures and abscesses were treated surgically. A Sumerian clay tablet (2150 BCE) describes wounds being washed in beer and hot water, poultices made from pine, prunes, wine dregs and lizard dung, and use of bandages (for a nose-bleed!). Other texts describe the symptoms and prognosis of epilepsy, bronchitis and scurvy. A list of 230 medicines using plant, animal and mineral ingredients was found in an Assyrian pharmacy and records of distillation of cedar oil proves that this was an earlier invention than we thought.
Galen's medical works were regarded as authoritative until well into the Middle Ages. Galen left a physiological model of the human body that became the mainstay of the medieval physician's university anatomy curriculum, but it suffered greatly from stasis and intellectual stagnation because some of Galen's ideas were incorrect; he did not dissect a human body. Greek and Roman taboos had meant that dissection was usually banned in ancient times, but in the Middle Ages it changed.
Chris Kresser: So what kind of response are you getting? I mean, it sounds like, just from the little bit that I’ve heard, that this is really happening at a big level, with The Huffington Post support. You know, this is getting beyond the typical kind of blog tour that a lot of these summits do. So what’s been the response in the more mainstream world to the whole concept of functional medicine and doing a summit on this topic?
This podcast is made possible by one of our Summit sponsors DNALife. There are few reasons why we chose this test, firstly because this test can only be ordered through a practitioner ensuring that the results will get a professional, responsible interpretation. Dr. Joffe was also centrally involved in creating this test, curating only those SNPs and other data points that have enough good research data to infer real meaning.
Across Europe medical schools relied primarily on lectures and readings. The final year student would have limited clinical experience by trailing the professor through the wards. Laboratory work was uncommon, and dissections were rarely done because of legal restrictions on cadavers. Most schools were small, and only Edinburgh, Scotland, with 11,000 alumni, produced large numbers of graduates.
Leeches had advantages over the common practice of bloodletting using a lancet – the loss of blood was more gradual and less of a shock for those of delicate constitution. And because Broussais’s followers used leeches in place of all the other medicines at the 19th-century physician’s disposal, patients were spared some harsh remedies that might otherwise have made them feel worse. In 1822, a British surgeon called Rees Price coined the term sangui-suction for leech therapy.
Spearheaded by faculty in the HMS Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, a report by The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery reveals that 5 billion people are unable to access safe, timely and affordable surgery, leading to 18.6 million preventable deaths each year worldwide. The report also presents a blueprint for developing properly functioning surgical systems globally.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are thrilled to be starting a series of podcasts for the month of August all around our upcoming Interpreting Your Genetics summit. In the coming week, you'll get to have a look under the hood of our founder James Maskell's genetics and genomics as he goes through the process of genetic testing and interpretation by leading educators in the field.
In the Eastern Empire, based on Byzantium, physicians kept the knowledge and the skills passed from the Romans and the Greeks. This knowledge would form the basis of the Islamic medicine that would refine and improve medial techniques during the Islamic domination of the Mediterranean and Middle East. The history of Medicine would center on the Middle East and Asia for the next few centuries.
In the American Civil War (1861–65), as was typical of the 19th century, more soldiers died of disease than in battle, and even larger numbers were temporarily incapacitated by wounds, disease and accidents. Conditions were poor in the Confederacy, where doctors and medical supplies were in short supply. The war had a dramatic long-term impact on medicine in the U.S., from surgical technique to hospitals to nursing and to research facilities. Weapon development -particularly the appearance of Springfield Model 1861, mass-produced and much more accurate than muskets led to generals underestimating the risks of long range rifle fire; risks exemplified in the death of John Sedgwick and the disastrous Pickett's Charge. The rifles could shatter bone forcing amputation and longer ranges meant casualties were sometimes not quickly found. Evacuation of the wounded from Second Battle of Bull Run took a week. As in earlier wars, untreated casualties sometimes survived unexpectedly due to maggots debriding the wound -an observation which led to the surgical use of maggots -still a useful method in the absence of effective antibiotics.
James Maskell: Yeah. Well, obviously, you have, some of the ideas you talked about there are perfect I think. I just wrote a blog for The ZocDoc Blog about why doctors should curate their patient education. And curating resources is much more efficient than just telling people stuff. You don’t need people to do that, you just need to use the resources that are available. And so actually, one of the ways that we designed this summit was that it would be almost like the perfect thing for a doctor to curate for their patient—because there is a patient track. It’s going to basically teach the patient how to be a great patient and how to look after the four major modifiable causes of chronic disease: diet and stress, toxicity, immunity, and the microbiome. These are all things that patients have the majority of control over. This is not medicine that’s done to you. And so, we were just—so that’s part of the track in the doctor track. I think the curation of patient education can take a lot of the time out of the appointments, because you see one of the biggest things about functional medicine is that it takes a lot of time to do it, because you have to listen and so forth. So that’s one of the things. But like you said, technology can play a key role. And we have doctors in the summit that are talking about how they’re using technology even in poorer, rural areas of the country, where they’re building community-orientated practices that serve a blue-collar type of patient, and it’s working. And if it could work in rural Indiana, it can work anywhere. And that’s really exciting. You know, our vision for this, Chris, is just a nationwide network of remarkable community-orientated functional practices. In the same ways you saw the natural response to Walmart was farmers’ markets—you know, going directly to the farmer and having that direct interaction—I think the natural reaction to big medicine is these small micropractices that deliver exceptional value to patients in local areas into the community.
Jordan Reasoner: Hi, and welcome to the Revolution Health Radio show, brought to you by ChrisKresser.com. Steve is out today at a meditation retreat, and I’m your guest host Jordan Reasoner, from SCDlifestyle.com. With me is integrative medical practitioner, healthy skeptic, and New York Times bestselling author, Chris Kresser. But before we dive into this week’s show, I wanted to let you know, if you haven’t been over to ChrisKresser.com, you’ll notice on the front page, Chris is again giving away his 9-Steps to Perfect Health eBook. This eBook was taken off the market for a while and Chris has re-released it. It’s a 63-page eBook, and in it you’ll find the nine steps that Chris has been talking about for perfect health for quite a bit of time. Now, Steve and Chris have recorded a number of podcasts on these steps, but if you want to get the greater detail—including specific steps to take back your health, right now—head over to ChrisKresser.com. Put your name and email in the box and you’ll get instant access to your free eBook.
We welcome Dr. Sonza Curtis as part of our Success Leaves Clues. Dr. Curtis graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, with a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She then went on to complete her Doctorate of Naturopathy for Health Care Professionals. In 2014, Dr. Curtis became one of only three Georgia doctors Certified in Functional Medicine.
Like all biological systems, both disease-causing organisms and their victims evolve. Understanding evolution can make a big difference in how we treat disease. The evolution of disease-causing organisms may outpace our ability to invent new treatments, but studying the evolution of drug resistance can help us slow it. Learning about the evolutionary origins of diseases may provide clues about how to treat them. And considering the basic processes of evolution can help us understand the roots of genetic diseases.
^ Porter, Roy (1992). "Madness and its Institutions". In Wear, Andrew. Medicine in Society: Historical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 277–302. ISBN 978-0521336390.; Goldstein, Jan (2001) . Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0226301600.; Grob, Gerald N. (1994). Mad Among Us. Simon and Schuster. pp. 25–30. ISBN 978-1439105719.
Another of Hippocrates's major contributions may be found in his descriptions of the symptomatology, physical findings, surgical treatment and prognosis of thoracic empyema, i.e. suppuration of the lining of the chest cavity. His teachings remain relevant to present-day students of pulmonary medicine and surgery. Hippocrates was the first documented person to practise cardiothoracic surgery, and his findings are still valid.
The sexual revolution included taboo-breaking research in human sexuality such as the 1948 and 1953 Kinsey reports, invention of hormonal contraception, and the normalization of abortion and homosexuality in many countries. Family planning has promoted a demographic transition in most of the world. With threatening sexually transmitted infections, not least HIV, use of barrier contraception has become imperative. The struggle against HIV has improved antiretroviral treatments.
This virtual issue of Social History of Medicine on ‘Medicine and War’ is timed to coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armistice, which brought about the end of the First World War on 11 November 1918. A good case could, therefore, be made for restricting the articles chosen for this issue to those specifically concerned with medicine and health during that conflict. However, Dr Michael Brown who guest edited this virtual issue uses this opportunity to think more broadly about the topic of medicine and war in the pages of SHM.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we are excited to welcome Qigong master Mingtong Gu, recorded live from his center in New Mexico with Evolution of Medicine co-founder Gabe Hoffman. Gabe has been studying Wisdom Healing Qigong with Mingtong since finding his high-quality content on YouTube two years ago. Since then Gabe learned of the extremely successful Medicineless Qigong Hospital in China, where Wisdom Healing Qigong is the only tool used. Gabe recently returned from a month-long retreat, led by Mingtong, where people with all types of chronic disease used the same protocols as the hospital in China with great success.