100 years ago: Physic in Shakespeare’s time

20 Dec 2010Registered users

"If people sick, they come to me,
I purges, bleeds and sweats 'em;
If after that they likes to die,
What's that to me? I lets 'em"

100 years ago:Constipation

19 Dec 2010Registered users

"I generally put it away when an English doctor is coming, because I know he would disapprove of it. You English are so conservative, and, forgive me, you are such hypocrites; but what is even worse, in this matter, you are so backward. You frown at my diagram, but, believe me, it is not quackery, it is science; it is not charlatanism, it is psycho-therapy. That diagram has cured - yes, cured - more patients than all the waters in the spas in Europe."

100 years ago: Traumatic neurasthenia

16 Dec 2010Registered users

The train of symptoms which may follow various accidents, in which the patients may or may not have received a serious injury (now known as traumatic neurasthenia) was formerly ascribed to concussion of the spine, inflammation of the meninges and spinal cord, haemorrhages into the meninges and surface of the brain and cord, etc., and since greater public attention has been devoted to those occurring after railway accidents, the condition has been called "railway spine" and "railway brain". There can be no general rule of treatment applicable to all cases; each case must be separately studied. Where the original nerve shock has been great, and the symptoms of palpitation, headache, nervousness, and loss of memory are prominent features, the best treatment undoubtedly is a "rest-cure" for six weeks. Complete rest in bed is essential for the first two weeks at least, and isolation from relatives and friends and correspondence, with massage and overfeeding. General electrification by means of the faradic or sinusoidal current bath is usually the most efficacious means of applying electricity in these cases, the patient being immersed up to the neck in a warm bath, with two large flat electrodes applied, one to the back, the other to the feet, connected to the secondary coil of a faradic battery or sinusoidal current transformer.

100 years ago: Treatment of heart failure

24 Nov 2010Registered users

'In spite of the extravagant advocacy during recent years of the value of hydrotherapy and special exercises in the treatment of cardiac failure, there is no therapeutic influence that compares in efficacy with physical and mental rest. The carrying out of this principle does not necessarily entail complete rest in bed; each case must be considered in the light of surrounding conditions with the object of ensuring a maximum of relief to the heart with a minimum of disturbance to the patient. In other words, the mental, moral and physical requirements of the case must be carefully weighed and allowed for in drawing up a plan of treatment.'

Tonsillectomy in general practice

20 Oct 2010Registered users

To the general practitioner the operation for removal of tonsils and adenoids must always constitute a large proportion of his minor surgery. Few operations are more commonly performed, and few, perhaps, are done worse. This state of affairs is due to a non-observance of certain general rules... Haemorrhage is really the only complication of any importance; it usually corrects itself, ceasing when the patient loses sufficient blood to make him feel faint.

A hundred years ago: Treatment of ringworm by x-rays

20 Sep 2010Registered users

'I have no doubt that the risks to which I have alluded are being daily diminished by skilled operators; but now that practically every County Council school is ordering, or trying to order, X-rays for every case of ringworm, and seeing that skilled radiographers and dermatologists are limited in number and are not to be found everywhere, I shall not be surprised if we do hear of children whose scalps  have been permanently injured by X-rays.'

A hundred years ago: The teaching of insanity to the medical practitioner

21 Jul 2010Registered users

'Hitherto there has been no separate recognition of mental diseases as a subject worthy of diploma by the examining bodies, although the London University may be quoted as conferring the title, Doctor of Medicine, upon those of its medical graduates who specialise and pass an examination in this and other subjects. The Medical-Psychological Association of Great Britain and Ireland, consisting of both medical men and women in this country and abroad, who are especially interested in mental diseases, and numbering over 700 members, grants a certificate to qualified men for proficiency in the subject of psychiatry, and it has recently approached the Royal College of Physicians of London and several of the degree-granting authorities for the purpose of promoting further interest, and, if possible, to inaugurate a diploma similar in the scope to those granted for Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and those which the University of Oxford propose to grant in Business or Journalism. It is also considering the establishment of special post-graduate courses for those who make mental disease their life-work. '

100 years ago: Concerning the preservation of health in the tropics

24 Jun 2010Registered users

'A healthy lad with a moderate outfit, good food, personal cleanliness, plenty of work, and a disposition that does not worry will do well in India. When a man begins to worry it is time for him to go home, and that applies if he suffers from the so-called Aden or Burma or Punjaub or Madras head. When a man forgets, calls things by wrong names, gets irritable, broods about his work at night, develops insomnia, and loses his confidence, those are symptoms of neurasthenia and the treatment is to send the case home. The Government gives one year's "leave" in every five and a month in every year, and the Goverment would not do that if it did not find that it was necessary.'

100 years ago: State prevention of tuberculosis

23 Jun 2010Registered users

We want to attack tuberculosis before it attacks us. The key is that about the period of adolescence, when business life succeeds that of childhood every youth and maid ought to be taught in a sanatorium, how to live as part of the State education. An education also at this period involving an elementary knowledge of human physiology would reap great benefits, for did the man in the street but know, for instance, the actual amount of waste products that he casts off in twenty-four hours by means of perspiration, then, I submit, that he would become more careful than he is now of personal ablutions, changes of underclothing, and perhaps of linen; with untold advantages to our national matters and morals.... Women, too, might be taught the true principles of house-cleaning, which, they might be astonished to learn, they by no means know.

Chronic gonorrhoea in the female

15 Apr 2010Registered users

There is probably no disease affecting the female urinary genital organs which presents itself so often to the practitioner as the chronic variety of gonococcal infection. The successful treatment of the condition is invariably difficult, calling for considerable exercise of patience and discretion on the part of the medical attendant. Injudicious treatment, especially in the way of systematic curettings, etc., is not infrequently followed by extension of the disease.

Painless labour

15 Mar 2010Registered users

I have no sympathy with the man (or woman) who holds the opinion that labour pains are “natural” and therefore not to be interfered with. Patients in labour will cry out bitterly that they are too weak to endure the increasing pains of the latter half of the first stage; chloroform here is contraindicated we know in the large majority of cases. Is there nothing more we can do then, certain in action, and absolutely safe for mother and child?

Leprosy in 1910

15 Feb 2010Registered users

'The last place where a leper settlement existed in Britain was in the Shetland Islands. There the disease seemed to have been rife, possibly owing to the fact that the natives were of Scandinavian origin and were in more or less constant communication with Norway and Iceland where the disease was prevalent.'  Extracted from a 1910 issue of The Practitioner

100 years ago: Evils of the modern British diet

21 Jan 2010

'Doubtless many men dig their graves with their teeth, and the general span of life might be lengthened by the adoption of greater prudence and moderation in the selection of food. An attack of gout will turn a man into a savage, but man in the savage state was innocent of the indiscretions which bring on the gout. It may be gravely argued that many present-day diseases and other evils are the result of over-civilisation. These evils are due to many complex causes, but among them we may reckon over-feeding and ignorant feeding on the part of the well-to-do, and underfeeding and still more ignorant feeding on the part of the poor.'

Pasteur, science and medicine

15 Dec 2009

'The death of his children, the loss of the many brave young heroes in the ambulance tents during the war, the epidemics he had witnessed, all this human suffering weighed upon him and determined him to do his utmost to solve the problems which medical men, working alone, seemed unable to fathom.'

Female inebriety

15 Dec 2009

'Many... have been launched upon their course of inebriety by putting too liberal an interpretation upon loose medical advice'

On being tired

15 Dec 2009

'...in this kneeling position, he wrote all his works, the blood having thus to travel to his brain in a horizontal line, instead of upwards against the force of gravity as it would have had to do in the sitting position.'

The power of bedside diagnosis

01 Feb 2009Paid-up subscribers

'There is a growing inclination to rely upon the evidence of laboratory investigations in diagnosis, and no doubt that tendency is increasing.'