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Women, Precancer, and Prophylactic Surgery
Modern scientific tools can identify a genetic predisposition to cancer before any disease is detectable. Some women will never develop breast or ovarian cancer, but they nevertheless must decide, as a result of genetic testing, whether to have their breasts and ovaries removed to avoid the possibility of disease. The striking contrast between the sophistication of diagnosis and the crudeness of preventive surgery forms the basis of historian Ilana Löwy’s important study. Löwy traces the history of prophylactic amputations through a century of preventive treatment and back to a long tradition of surgical management of gynecological problems. In the early twentieth century, surgeons came to believe that removing precancerous lesions—a term difficult to define even today—averted the danger of malignancy. This practice, Löwy finds, later led to surgical interventions for women with a hereditary predisposition to cancer but no detectable disease. Richly detailed stories of patients and surgeons in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom allow Löwy to compare the evolution of medical thought and practice—and personal choice—in these different cultures. Preventive Strikes aims to improve our understanding of professional, social, and cultural responses to cancer in the twenty-first century and to inform our reflections about how values are incorporated into routine medical practices.
Harry Stack Sullivan, the Science of Homosexuality, and American Liberalism
Private Practices examines the relationship between science, sexuality, gender, race, and culture in the making of modern America between 1920 and 1950, when contradictions among liberal intellectuals affected the rise of U.S. conservatism. Naoko Wake focuses on neo-Freudian, gay psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan, founder of the interpersonal theory of mental illness. She explores medical and social scientists' conflicted approach to homosexuality, particularly the views of scientists who themselves lived closeted lives. In assessing how these dynamics worked to shape each other, Private Practices highlights the limits of the scientific approach to subjectivity and illuminates its strange career in modern U.S. culture.
LSD from Clinic to Campus
LSD's short but colorful history in North America carries with it the distinct cachet of counterculture and government experimentation. The truth about this mind-altering chemical cocktail is far more complex—and less controversial—than generally believed. Psychedelic Psychiatry is the tale of medical researchers working to understand LSD’s therapeutic properties just as escalating anxieties about drug abuse in modern society laid the groundwork for the end of experimentation at the edge of psychopharmacology. Historian Erika Dyck deftly recasts our understanding of LSD to show it as an experimental substance, a medical treatment, and a tool for exploring psychotic perspectives—as well as a recreational drug. She recounts the inside story of the early days of LSD research in small-town, prairie Canada, when Humphry Osmond and Abram Hoffer claimed incredible advances in treating alcoholism, understanding schizophrenia and other psychoses, and achieving empathy with their patients. In relating the drug’s short, strange trip, Dyck explains how concerns about countercultural trends led to the criminalization of LSD and other so-called psychedelic drugs—concordantly opening the way for an explosion in legal prescription pharmaceuticals—and points to the recent re-emergence of sanctioned psychotropic research among psychiatric practitioners. This challenge to the prevailing wisdom behind drug regulation and addiction therapy provides a historical corrective to our perception of LSD’s medical efficacy.
The Development of a Discipline, Volume 2, Twentieth-Century Challenges, vol. 2
In 1948, when “Mrs. G.,” hospitalized with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, became the first person to receive a mysterious new compound — cortisone — her physicians were awestruck by her transformation from enervated to energized. After eighteen years of biochemical research, the most intensively hunted biological agent of all time had finally been isolated, identified, synthesized, and put to the test. And it worked. But the discovery of a long-sought “magic bullet” came at an unanticipated cost in the form of strange side effects. This fascinating history recounts the discovery of cortisone and pulls the curtain back on the peculiar cast of characters responsible for its advent, including two enigmatic scientists, Edward Kendall and Philip Hench, who went on to receive the Nobel Prize. The book also explores the key role the Mayo Clinic played in fostering cortisone’s development, and looks at drugs that owe their heritage to the so-called “King of Steroids.”
Why More Middle-Class People Are Uninsured and What Government Can Do
America's current system of health insurance, which relies almost exclusively on employer-sponsored coverage, is in danger of collapse, and this problem is not limited to the poor and working class. An increasing number of middle class Americans do not have employer-provided insurance and—due to skyrocketing premiums—cannot afford to purchase coverage for themselves. Reinsuring Health, by economist Katherine Swartz, examines this growing national crisis and outlines a concrete plan to make health insurance accessible and affordable for all Americans. Reinsuring Health documents why the number of uninsured Americans—now 45.5 million people—has grown in the last twenty-five years. Swartz focuses on how labor market changes—such as the decline of domestic manufacturing, decreased unionization, and the growth of non-standard work arrangements—have led U.S. employers to retreat from providing health insurance for their workers. These trends, combined with the increasing costs of medical care, have led to an explosion in health insurance premiums and a decline in coverage, particularly among the middle-class. Since those who seek insurance as individuals are generally most likely to need health care, private insurers charge higher premiums in the individual (non-group) markets than to people who obtain group insurance. This makes individual health insurance less attractive to the young and increasingly unaffordable for middle-class Americans. Similarly, insurers charge higher per person (or per family) premiums to small firms than to large companies, so many small firms do not sponsor coverage for their employees. Reinsuring Health shows how these problems can be overcome if the federal government provides a new reinsurance program which would protect insurance companies that provide small group and individual health insurance against the possibility that their policy-holders will incur very high medical expenses. By assuming some of the risk that people will face extremely costly medical bills, the government will make insurers less hesitant to offer coverage to high-risk individuals, and will help drive down premiums for others. Reinsuring Health demonstrates that this form of government reinsurance has worked in the past, helping to establish smooth running private markets for catastrophe insurance and secondary mortgages. Today, growing numbers of middle class Americans lack health insurance. Protection against the possibility of falling ill or getting hurt and having to pay extraordinary health care bills should not be a luxury available only to the very rich and the very poor. Reinsuring Health proposes a straightforward solution that would bring health insurance back within the reach of the increasing ranks of the uninsured, particularly those who are in the middle class.
The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909-1970
Nursing, Nuns, and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century
In the nineteenth century, more than a third of American hospitals were established and run by women with religious vocations. In Say Little, Do Much, Sioban Nelson casts light on the work of these women's religious communities. According to Nelson, the popular view that nursing invented itself in the second half of the nineteenth century is historically inaccurate and dismissive of the major advances in the care of the sick as a serious and skilled activity, an activity that originated in seventeenth-century France with Vincent de Paul's Daughters of Charity.
In this comparative, contextual, and critical work, Nelson demonstrates how modern nursing developed from the complex interplay of the Catholic emancipation in Britain and Ireland, the resurgence of the Irish Church, the Irish diaspora, and the mass migrations of the German, Italian, and Polish Catholic communities to the previously Protestant strongholds of North America and mainland Britain. In particular, Nelson follows the nursing Daughters of Charity through the French Revolution and the Second Empire, documenting the relationship that developed between the French nursing orders and the Irish Catholic Church during this period. This relationship, she argues, was to have major significance for the development of nursing in the English-speaking world.
A Bibliography / Bibliographie de l’Histoire de la Médecine / Volume 2
Volume Two of this retrospective bibliography is both a continuation and an expansion of Volume One (1984). It contains references to Canadian medical-historical literature published between 1984 and 1998, and also includes much additional material published prior to 1984. Finally, it substantially enlarges the content of French-language material. Every effort has been made to be as inclusive as possible of articles, theses, book chapters and books, both in English and in French, relating to the history of medicine. No single electronic source can replace this bibliography.
The contents are divided into three sections. The first is a listing of material expressly biographical. Section two lists material under a wide variety of subject headings related to medicine, and the third is a complete listing of the authors who have contributed these articles. Simply organized and easy to use, this bibliography will be of value to historians, archivists, librarians, and anyone interested in the history of medicine.
Historian Jesse F. Ballenger traces the emergence of senility as a cultural category from the late nineteenth century to the 1980s, a period in which Alzheimer's disease became increasingly associated with the terrifying prospect of losing one's self. Changes in American society and culture have complicated the notion of selfhood, Ballenger finds. No longer an ascribed status, selfhood must be carefully and willfully constructed. Thus, losing one's ability to sustain a coherent self-narrative is considered one of life's most dreadful losses. As Ballenger writes "senility haunts the landscape of the self-made man." Stereotypes of senility and Alzheimer's disease are related to anxiety about the coherence, stability, and agency of the self—stereotypes that are transforming perceptions of old age in modern America. Drawing on scientific, clinical, policy, and popular discourses on aging and dementia, Ballenger explores early twentieth-century concepts of aging and the emergence of gerontology to understand and distinguish normal aging from disease. In addition, he examines American psychiatry's approaches to the treatment of senility and scientific attempts to understand the brain pathology of dementia. Ballenger's work contributes to our understanding of the emergence and significance of dementia as a major health issue.