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Articles on Medical history

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Caricature of vaccination scene at the Smallpox and Inoculation Hospital at St. Pancras Hospital in London, by James Giray, 1802. Library of Congress

Video: What we can learn from a book documenting the first vaccine, for smallpox

The success of the smallpox vaccine was far from guaranteed when Edward Jenner first published his treatise in late 18th century. A curator of the book talks about what we can learn from it today.
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, is one example of doctors’ involvement on the political stage. Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons

How doctors convinced the world the planet was worth fighting for

Doctors have long taken up global issues, from nuclear war to ozone depletion and climate change, and helped shift the course of history.
Impersonation of doctors is a modern phenomenon that grew out of Western medicine’s drive towards professionalism. from shutterstock.com

A brief history of fake doctors, and how they get away with it

It's shocking to read reports of people who worked as doctors for years without having the qualifications to do so, because we trust our medical professionals. So, how do these imposters do it?
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.
Roongrote Amnuaysook/Shutterstock

Hirschsprung’s disease explained

A man in China had 12kg of compacted faeces and a large part of his gut removed by surgeons. The patient was suffering from a rare disorder known as Hirschsprung’s disease.

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