Menu Close

Articles on History of medicine

Displaying 1 - 20 of 66 articles

A single brilliant insight is only part of the story of how diabetes became a manageable disease. Douglas Grundy/Three Lions via Getty Images

Insulin was discovered 100 years ago – but it took a lot more than one scientific breakthrough to get a diabetes treatment to patients

A biomedical engineer explains the basic research that led to the discovery of insulin and its transformation into a lifesaving treatment for millions of people with diabetes.
As a printer’s apprentice in 1721, Franklin had a front-row seat to the controversy around a new prevention technique. ClassicStock/Archive Photos via Getty Images

Benjamin Franklin’s fight against a deadly virus: Colonial America was divided over smallpox inoculation, but he championed science to skeptics

When Bostonians in 1721 faced a deadly smallpox outbreak, a new procedure called inoculation was found to help fend off the disease. Not everyone was won over, and newspapers fed the controversy.
D.O.s like Sean Conley, physician to the president, can face stigma from people who don’t understand the practice. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

What is osteopathic medicine? A D.O. explains

Almost 10% of physicians in the US are doctors of osteopathic medicine, and that proportion is rising. Their medical knowledge matches that of other doctors; the difference is the philosophy behind it.
An 1801 etching of a dandified physician taking a lancet to a ‘dindonnade,’ a word signifying both ‘turkey’ and ‘hoax.’ It ridicules the smallpox vaccine, which takes fluid from an animal to insert into a human. (Wellcome Collection)

COVID-19 anti-vaxxers use the same arguments from 135 years ago

The history of anti-vaccination theories can help us understand how such claims capture a popular following. The same misinformation used against 19th century smallpox vaccine is still in use today.
A pandemic from a century ago doesn’t necessarily chart the course of the pandemic happening now. National Photo Company Collection/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Compare the flu pandemic of 1918 and COVID-19 with caution – the past is not a prediction

Differences in the viruses’ biology and societal contexts mean there’s no guarantee today’s pandemic will mirror the ‘waves’ of infection a century ago.

Top contributors

More