Medical History

1894: Two Scientists Discovered The Bacteria That Causes The Plague At The Same Time

August 25, 2020

Man being injected by doctor during an outbreak of bubonic plague in Karachi, India. Photograph, 1897. (Wellcome Collection/Wkimedia C...

'Blowing Smoke Up Your Ass': The Literal Meaning/Medical Practice Behind The Idiom

July 12, 2020

To "blow smoke" has had a few definitions over the years, and the end of the phrase (as well as its meaning) varies. You can "blow sm...

The Anti-Mask League Of 1919: The Anti-Masker Movement That Cost The Pandemic Thousands Of Lives

July 1, 2020

In 1918, the most deadly outbreak of influenza of the 20th century killed nearly 50 million people across the world and...

San Francisco's 1904 Black Plague Scare (And How It Was Covered Up)

May 14, 2020

South tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia Commons) The bubonic plague is one of the most catastrophic disea...

The Polio Epidemic: A Brief History Of The 20th Century's Most Feared Disease

April 26, 2020

(Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons) In the early 20th century, polio was one of the most debilitating diseases to rock the planet. The illn...

How Every Pandemic In Human History Has Been Exactly The Same, On A Human Level

April 11, 2020

From the Black Plague to the flu of 1918, global pandemics have been affecting the vast population Earth for thousands of years. This kind of...

How We Tried To Contain Major Pandemics Throughout Recorded History

April 10, 2020

A nurse checking on a patient at the Walter Reed Hospital Flu Ward during the influenza pandemic, Washington, D.C., circa 1918. (Harris & Ewing/Underwo...

This Is How The Church Handled Easter During The Plague

April 9, 2020

Easter is one of those times when people who don't normally attend church services fill the pews, but in the time of a pandemic like COVID-19, this kind of gathering...

The History Of Quarantine: How Individual Actions Stopped Our Biggest Threats

April 6, 2020

With many cities, states, and even countries issuing "stay at home" orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, now might be a good time to look bac...

Plague Masks: A Brief History Of The Strangest Medical Mask We Ever Used

April 5, 2020

As if the Black Plague—the terrible pandemic of bubonic plague that decimated medieval Europe—wasn't terrifying enough all by itself, the "doct...

Mysophobia: History Of The Fear Of Germs, Washing Hands, And Famous Germaphobes

April 4, 2020

A paramedic wears a protective mask and complete sterile dressing to avoid contact with COVID-19. (Photo by Olivier Matthys/Getty Images) ...

The Gympie: Stinging Trees Make People Kill Themselves

March 26, 2020

We're gonna say it: Plants are jerks. Considering that we need them to live, they don't even have the decency to taste good, and sometimes, they flat-out kill us...

Baby Fae, A Baboon Heart, And Bioethics

November 11, 2019

On October 14, 1984, a tiny, premature, and the very sick baby was born in California. Although her birth certificate listed her name as Stephanie Fae Beauclair, she became kno...

Wolverine Woman: Jo Cameron Has Healing Powers, Feels No Pain

October 24, 2019

Not the actual Wolverine woman. Source: (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images) As kids, everyone dreams of gaining superpowers like teleportation or the ...

Bethlem Hospital: London's Infamous, Horrible, And Terrifying Insane Asylum

October 22, 2019

Mental institutions and real-life insane asylums of the past were essentially real-life horror movies. It shouldn't be a shock that their conditi...

Onesimus: The Slave Who Brought Inoculation To America And Saved The Country

October 10, 2019

Smallpox was a singularly devastating disease in the 18th century, killing up to 30% of those infected within mere days or weeks of contami...

Dr. William Halstead: The Cokehead Who Fathered Modern Medicine

September 4, 2019

By now, you have probably heard many stories of how cocaine was used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was used in quack medicines, cocktails, stimu...

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