Articles on History of medicine

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Edward Jenner, who pioneered vaccination, and two colleagues (right) seeing off three anti-vaccination opponents, with the dead lying at their feet (1808). I Cruikshank/Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons

A short history of vaccine objection, vaccine cults and conspiracy theories

Some people have objected to childhood vaccination since it was introduced in the late 1700s. And their reasons sound remarkably familiar to those of anti-vaxxers today.
Gone are the days when we were told to suck out a snake’s venom. So what’s the current treatment and how have treatments changed over time? State Library of NSW/Hood

Hissstory: how the science of snake bite treatments has changed

Snake bite treatments have changed remarkably over the past 200 years. But most, if not all, made sense in their historical context.
‘Doctor, whenever I get up I feel dizzy for half an hour.’ ‘Then wait for half an hour before getting up.’ Alexander the Great trust to physician Phillip, Henryk Siemiradzki

Five things the ancient Greeks can teach us about medicine today

Medicine has changed beyond recognition in the last 2,000 years. So why should we still care what the founders of Western medicine thought?
Australian troops in France in the first world war – and one of Australia’s women medics, possibly Dr Laura Foster. Heather Sheard

The forgotten Australian women doctors of the Great War

More than 20 Australian women doctors defied official discouragement and served as surgeons and medical officers in the first world war.
Health marketing materials used to promote measles vaccine during the 1960s. CDC

How vaccines change the way we think about disease

Before the vaccine, we thought measles was a 'mild' illness. This is because vaccines drive down the number of people getting the disease while increasing our awareness of the risks.
Drawn directly from the flesh. Public Domain Review/Flickr

The man who revolutionized our knowledge of the human body

December 31, 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important figures in the history of medicine. He authored one of the most elegant and influential books in scientific history…
18th century German cranial brace and bit to create holes in the skulls. Wellcome Library

Ten weird and terrifying medical instruments from the past

The UK’s largest medical charity, the Wellcome Trust, has made its vast database of images freely available to all. The collection holds photos of hundreds of years worth of medicine, instruments and scientific…

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