Hernán Cortés owed his conquest of the Aztecs to his expedition's unknown, unseen secret weapon: the smallpox virus. Disease epidemics can set the course of human history.
If the curative thesis is true, then most medicine throughout history -- as well as much contemporary medicine -- isn't medicine at all.
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?
Tuberculosis has had a significant impact on the world, from influencing fashion trends to helping understand how the human body works.
Statues of a racist medical experimenter are an affront to the American public.
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.
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.
Terrifying accounts of surgery 200 years ago remind us how far general anaesthesia has come. Yet we still know little about how anaesthetics alter consciousness.
When commemorating our troops, doctors and nurses this Anzac Day, consider also tipping your hat to the discovery of bacteriophages. In the post-antibiotic era, our health might just depend on them.
2017 marks the 200th anniversary since the 1817 publication of Dr James Parkinson’s seminal work on what he called the "Shaking Palsy".
Psychiatrists in the 19th century began attributing self-harm to a desire to manipulate others.
The lock hospitals inflicted incalculable traumas on Aboriginal people, wrenching them away from families and country.
Hundreds of Aboriginal people were incarcerated on Dorre and Bernier islands for "venereal disease" between 1908 and 1919. The lock hospitals were penal rather than therapeutic institutions.
The story of an amazing man you have probably never heard of.
New research that more isn't better when it comes to chemotherapy mirrors the evolution of surgery approaches to breast cancer that, a few decades ago, were far more radical than now.
Surgical makeovers might seem a modern phenomenon but they have a long and disturbing history: from 16th century skin grafts done without anaesthesia to reductions of "primitive" large breasts.
Young women (and men) have been dramatically restricting their calorie intake for centuries, but not all the symptoms of modern anorexia have always been present.
While some ancient therapies proved effective enough that they are still used in some form today, on the whole they just aren't as good as modern antimicrobials at treating infections.
Pain during labour and birth is a complex combination of physical and psychological factors.
Thalidomide was developed in an era of widespread enthusiasm – but little critical attention – for pharmaceutical therapies.