WUOMFM

history of medicine

wellcomeimages / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


May 12 is International Nurse’s Day, and the 197th birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Stateside talked about Nightingale, one of the more famous healers, with Dr. Howard Markel, University of Michigan medical historian and PBS Newshour contributor.

This posthumous portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The Magic Flute is one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most famous works.

There’s a good chance you know the piece, but what you might not know is that Mozart finished and premiered the opera in the very final months of his life.

Mozart died 225 years ago today. He was only 35.

The cause of Mozart’s death is a medical question that has endured as long as his music.

Flickr user - Patty Follow / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ancient Egyptian history and culture is considered one of the oldest traces of Western civilization, and those who ruled in Egypt were known as pharaohs. 

King Tutankhamun, or King Tut, is one of the most widely known pharaohs. His tomb was discovered 94 years ago today, in 1922, by archeologist Howard Carter. Inside it was the mummified body of King Tut.

Howard Markel, a University of Michigan professor and medical historian, discussed King Tut's tomb and its supposed curse with Stateside

A contemporary engraving depicting President Garfield leaning after being shot by Charles Guiteau. He is supported by Secretary of State James Blaine.
Public Domain

The next time you're at the doctor's office and you notice all the hand washing and sterile equipment, think of President James Garfield and count your blessings that it's 2016 and not 1881.

On this day in 1881, President Garfield died, completing what Dr. Howard Markel describes as "an agonizing march towards oblivion that began on July 2." 

When rabies stopped being a death sentence

Jul 6, 2016
Painting of Louis Pasteur working in his lab, 1885
Albert Edelfelt / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 / Public Domain

Many of us are following the headlines about the Zika virus with mounting alarm.

Before that, it was Ebola. Think back to October 2014, when a New Jersey nurse was quarantined after returning home from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa.

She later sued the state, by the way.

That same month, a Liberian man named Thomas Duncan left his home to visit Dallas, Texas. He left Liberia healthy. Two weeks later he was dead of Ebola, the first person diagnosed with the deadly disease in the U.S.

In 1885 people were equally terrified of rabies.

This week marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. Alice Hamilton’s death.

Hamilton was a leading expert in the field of occupational health and a pioneer in toxicology. She lived to the age of 101.

Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Ninety two years ago this week, an American president died.

Warren G. Harding became the sixth chief executive to die on office. His death fueled rumors, including the bizarre claim that the First Lady had poisoned the President.

Harding was on 15,000 mile tour of the nation called “The Voyage of Understanding” when he passed.

Harding was in San Francisco and his wife was reading a complimentary newspaper article about him out loud.

Suddenly, “he shuddered and fell on his bed and, as they say, dropped dead,” says Dr. Howard Markel of the University of Michigan Medical School.

Wikimedia Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This week marks the 94th anniversary of the birth of one of the most determined and important women in medical science: Rosalyn Yalow.

While many people may not know her by name, countless patients have benefited from her research.

"She's one of the unsung heroes of modern radiation medicine," says University of Michigan medical historian Dr. Howard Markel.

Hand-washing is a common hygienic practice that became popularized in the mid-19th century.
user Sarah Laval / Flickr

It’s easy to take for granted the leaps and bounds medical science has made in the last two centuries.

Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816. 1818 saw the first successful blood transfusion performed by James Blundell. In 1842 Crawford Long performed the first surgical operation using anesthesia.

Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause TB.
NIAID / NIH

On this day 133 years ago, a young German physician stood up before the members of the Physiological Society of Berlin and announced he had found the cause of tuberculosis.

It is hard to overstate the importance of that day, and what Dr. Robert Koch did for the understanding of infectious diseases.

Wikimedia Commons

February 7th marks the 130th birthday of the American writer Sinclair Lewis, whose 1925 Pulitzer-prize winning novel Arrowsmith was the first novel to focus on the life of a medical scientist.

University of Michigan physician and medical historian Dr. Howard Markel says it's a wonderful historical analysis of everything that is great and problematic with American medicine.