Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
ISSN / EISSN: 00225045 / 14684373
Published by: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Total articles ≅ 7,962
Latest articles in this journal
Published: 11 March 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad009
This paper examines the creation and development of an international social network between physiologists in Denmark and the United States in the period 1907-1939. At the center of the network was the Danish physiologist and 1920 Nobel Laureate August Krogh and his Zoophysiological Laboratory at the University of Copenhagen. In total, sixteen Americans were visiting researchers at the Zoophysiological Laboratory until 1939, and more than half of them were at some point in their career affiliated with Harvard University. For many of them, their visit would be the start of a long-term connection with Krogh and the broader network. This paper shows how the American visitors, Krogh, and the Zoophysiological Laboratory benefitted from being part of this network of top researchers in physiology and medicine. The visits themselves provided the Zoophysiological Laboratory with intellectual stimulus and more manpower for its research, while the American visitors received training and developed research ideas. Beyond the visits, the network gave the members, especially the central figures such as August Krogh, access to advice, job offers, funding and travel opportunities.
Published: 4 March 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrac045
Drawing on my experience working as a postdoctoral research and engagement fellow on the Wellcome Trust-funded project, Surgery & Emotion, this article reflects on this innovative model of historical research and professional engagement, explores the challenges posed by crossing disciplinary boundaries, and interrogates the practical and theoretical utility of bringing historical research into the operating theatre. How do surgeons specifically engage with the history of their profession? What can the history of emotions offer to the training of medical students and surgeons? What obstacles interfere in this type of cross-disciplinary engagement? What peculiar opportunities and challenges do the United Kingdom higher education system and National Health Service pose to the teaching of medical history in clinical settings? Bringing Clio into the operating theatre provides surgeons with an alternative narrative to that which they have come to expect about the emotions they ought to feel and express in their work. It allows them to explore the high feelings of their professional lives at a remove and offers an array of possible solutions to the current emotional health crisis in British medicine. History allows surgeons to imagine an alternative world: one where the pervasive and persistent models of emotional detachment – damaging to both patient experience and professional wellbeing – dissolve.
Published: 2 March 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad010
This is a correction to: Frank W Stahnisch, Making Medical History Relevant to Medical Students: The First Fifty Years of the Calgary History of Medicine Program and History of Medicine Days Conferences, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2023; jrac044, https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrac044
Published: 2 March 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad011
This paper examines anesthesiologist Henry K. Beecher’s funding relationship with pharmaceutical manufacturer Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Beecher is a familiar figure to both medical ethicists and historians of medicine for his role in the bioethics revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, his 1966 article “Ethics and Clinical Research” is widely considered a turning point in the post-World War II debate about informed consent. We argue that Beecher’s scientific interests should be understood in the context of his funding relationship with Mallinckrodt and that this relationship shaped the direction of his work in important ways. We also argue that Beecher’s views on research ethics reflected his assumption that collaboration with industry was a normal part of how academic science is conducted. In the conclusion of the paper we suggest that Beecher’s failure to consider his relationship with Mallinckrodt as worthy of ethical deliberation has important lessons for academic researchers who collaborate with industry today.
Published: 2 March 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad005
In the second half of the nineteenth century, scientific and technological developments in surgery permitted safer procedures to be carried out. Theoretically, therefore, children whose lives would otherwise have been blighted by disease could be saved by timely operative interference. The reality was more complicated, however, as this article shows. Through an exploration of British and American surgical textbooks and an in-depth analysis of the child surgical patient base at one London general hospital, the tensions between the possibilities and the actualities of surgery on children can be examined for the first time. Hearing the child’s voice through case notes allows both a restoration of these complex patients to the history of medicine and a questioning of the wider application of science and technology to working-class bodies, situations, and environments which resist such treatment.
Published: 21 February 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad001
During the sixteenth century, Italian scholars revised their conception of the field of history so that its purposes went beyond providing political and morally edifying narratives. These scholars contended that history must also account for culture and nature in an encyclopedic fashion. In the same years, numerous newly available texts from antiquity, the Byzantine empire, and the Middle Ages provided insight into the character of earlier outbreaks of plague. Italian physicians, embracing new visions of the field of history, the culture of humanism, and an inductivist epistemology, used these texts to argue that there were continuities among ancient, medieval, and Renaissance epidemics. They catalogued plague and formed historical categories based on severity and perceived origins, leading to the rejection of the conclusions of fourteenth-century western Europeans who viewed the plague of 1347-1353 as unprecedented. These erudite physicians saw medieval plague to be one example of the extreme epidemics that have regularly occurred throughout history.
Published: 13 February 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrac052
For all the sophistication and diversity of historical accounts of cancer, most accept that the disease is in some ways a fundamentally modern illness, a disease of civilization, and equally that the history of its cures is one of modern biomedical discoveries. While a handful of accounts have traced its history earlier in time, this assumption has been remarkably enduring. Indeed, many historical accounts assume that fear of cancer as an incurable disease made its widespread discussion generally taboo. This was not the case. In The Cancer Problem, Agnes Arnold-Forster reconstructs the rich discourse surrounding cancer’s cures and causes in nineteenth-century Britain — demonstrating how cancer became modern. Cancer’s incurability confounds a standard narrative of comprehension to cure. Aware of this tension, Arnold-Forster divides her book in two: the first part focuses on the treatment of cancer, while the second part follows the proliferation of speculation regarding cancer’s causes later in the nineteenth century. This structure underlines how the recalcitrance of cancer was not inhibitory but rather catalytic for the medical profession’s development (p. 123-124).
Published: 11 February 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrac048
History can be a powerful tool for teaching health policy. Particularly in the United States, with its complex system of public and private payers and providers of health services, understanding the historical origins of policies, programs, and institutions makes the system’s contours legible. Historical analysis may also help health care providers to navigate this system and to advocate for changes within it. The US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) have curricular standards for students to understand specific aspects of health policy and “systems-based practice,” and historians working within the curricular structures of US medical education may find reference to these standards useful in explaining and justifying their role in preparing medical students and resident physicians for practice. This paper explores some examples of how to use history to teach health professions students about the historical development of the US health care system, the constraints that defined how it came to be, and possibilities for reform.
Published: 10 February 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad007
In November 1909, a terrible fire broke out in a coal mine in Cherry, Illinois. Days later it became clear that 259 men and boys had died — some from the fire, some from suffocation, and some from exposure. One of the deceased, Samuel Howard, kept a diary of his final trial. His last entry read “10 to 1 p.m. Monday. The lives are going out. I think this is our last” (p. 128). The diary was found with Samuel’s body. Not far away was the body of Howard’s brother, Alfred. Nate Holdren’s Injury Impoverished: Workplace Accidents, Capitalism, and the Law in the Progressive Era has many unforgettable testimonies to the ravages industrial accidents brought upon workers and their families. Yet no moment is more staggering and emotive in this book then when Holdren lingers on the disaster in Cherry, Illinois. Having personalized Samuel Howard’s suffering, and having made clear the way relief efforts stripped away the cost of the disaster and turned it into a conversation about money rather than loss, Holdren presents a page of names. He writes, “read every single name, perhaps out loud” (p. 129). Holdren was right to ask us to do this.
Published: 10 February 2023
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; https://doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrad002
Building the Population Bomb by Emily Klancher Merchant analyzes the rise of demography in the United States at two levels. First, it throws light on the internal political developments that informed the discipline from the 1930s to the 1970s. At a secondary, somewhat subterranean level, it analyzes the sentiments that drove the international family planning movement in that period. By tracing the discipline’s foundational moments, Merchant shows how eugenics has been normalized in its ethical discourse. Through a meticulous description of funders, knowledge clusters, and experts, she examines how the discipline responded to the domestic policies of the US with new means of measurements and modes of documentation. Merchant pries open the difference between population control and family planning, something Matthew Connelly hinted at in Fatal Misconception (2008). The two terms were conterminously constructed through demography. At the outset, she uses assemblage as a theoretical tool to understand the people involved in the population control debates. However, it is unclear how this theory translates into actual analysis in the rest of the book. The strength of the book is the exhaustive description of institutional players and their visions of the US. She draws clear connections between developments within the discipline and the immigration policies of the US. However, assemblage theory is broader and more complicated than such a form of analysis. For instance, the Office of Population Research (OPR) of Princeton University was a site on which the assemblage theory could be used to produce a thick reading of its circuit of power. But the book’s self-professed centering of the US limits this line of analysis. This national contouring had two consequences. On one hand, the book drives home the interlinkages between seemingly disparate events in the US and how they affected demographers; but on the other hand, it obfuscates some of its international linkages. There is hardly any mention of the international demographers OPR trained and how they became part of its constellation. Had she prodded the transnational dimension, Merchant would have found that the demographers from the former colonies were using the OPR’s methodologies in unique ways. 1