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The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics
In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.
In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent.
An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.
The History of Coerced Sterilization in the United States
Most closely associated today with the Nazis and World War II atrocities, eugenics is sometimes described as a government-orchestrated breeding program, other times as a pseudo-science, and often as the first step leading to genocide. Less frequently is it depicted as a movement having links to the United States. But eugenics does have a history in this country, and Mark Largent tells that story by exploring one of the most disturbing aspects, the compulsory asterilization of more than 64,000 Americans.
Mass Media and Family Planning
The Tangled History of Cardiac Care
Still the leading cause of death worldwide, heart disease challenges researchers, clinicians, and patients alike. Each day, thousands of patients and their doctors make decisions about coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery. In Broken Hearts David S. Jones sheds light on the nature and quality of those decisions. He describes the debates over what causes heart attacks and the efforts to understand such unforeseen complications of cardiac surgery as depression, mental fog, and stroke. Why do doctors and patients overestimate the effectiveness and underestimate the dangers of medical interventions, especially when doing so may lead to the overuse of medical therapies? To answer this question, Jones explores the history of cardiology and cardiac surgery in the United States and probes the ambiguities and inconsistencies in medical decision making. Based on extensive reviews of medical literature and archives, this historical perspective on medical decision making and risk highlights personal, professional, and community outcomes.
Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology
Anthropology, with its dual emphasis on biology and culture, is--or should be--the discipline most suited to the study of the complex interactions between these aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, since the early decades of this century, biological and cultural anthropology have grown distinct, and a holistic vision of anthropology has suffered. This book brings culture and biology back together in new and refreshing ways. Directly addressing earlier criticisms of biological anthropology, Building a New Biocultural Synthesis concerns how culture and political economy affect human biology--e.g., people's nutritional status, the spread of disease, exposure to pollution--and how biological consequences might then have further effects on cultural, social, and economic systems. Contributors to the volume offer case studies on health, nutrition, and violence among prehistoric and historical peoples in the Americas; theoretical chapters on nonracial approaches to human variation and the development of critical, humanistic and political ecological approaches in biocultural anthropology; and explorations of biological conditions in contemporary societies in relationship to global changes. Building a New Biocultural Synthesis will sharpen and enrich the relevance of anthropology for understanding a wide variety of struggles to cope with and combat persistent human suffering. It should appeal to all anthropologists and be of interest to sister disciplines such as nutrition and sociology. Alan H. Goodman is Professor of Anthropology, Hampshire College. Thomas L. Leatherman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of South Carolina.
Because health care works best when patients assume greater responsibility for their own health, community outreach and patient education have taken on increased importance. Building Healthy Communities through Medical-Religious Partnerships describes an innovative approach to the development of community-based health education and patient advocacy programs targeted at the prevention and management of disease. Partnerships between health systems and religious congregations, the authors show, can be remarkably successful at bringing appropriate care to people who are often difficult to serve. The book offers valuable guidance for religious and medical leaders interested in developing programs in their congregations and communities. It includes practical and accessible information for establishing health education programs, identifies additional resources that can be obtained from local and national organizations, and discusses a range of medical topics. It also outlines how to train volunteers to assist others in navigating our complex health system. This revised and expanded edition of Building Healthy Communities through Medical-Religious Partnerships includes several new chapters along with descriptions of five medical-religious partnership models. Special attention is given to the challenges and opportunities presented by our aging and increasingly diverse population.
A Guide for Global Health Workers
Students and health practitioners traveling abroad seek insightful, culturally relevant background material to orient them to the environment in which they will be living and working. No single book currently provides this contextual background and global health perspective.
These essays emphasize building partnerships and were written by United States medical and dental professionals, in collaboration with social scientists and Latin American medical personnel. The authors provide the historical, political, and cultural background for contemporary health care challenges, especially related to poverty. Combining personal insights with broader discussion of country contexts, this volume serves as an essential guide for anyone--from medical professionals to undergraduate students--heading to Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean to do health care-related work.
Eugenics, Racial Science and Genetics in Twentieth-Century Italy
Discusses several fundamental themes of the comparative history of eugenics: the importance of the Latin eugenic model; the relationship between eugenics and fascism; the influence of Catholicism on the eugenic discourse and the complex links between genetics and eugenics. It examines the Liberal pre-fascist period and the post-WW2 transition from fascist and racial eugenics to medical and human genetics. As far as fascist eugenics is concerned, the book provides a refreshing analysis, considering Italian eugenics as the most important case-study in order to define Latin eugenics as an alternative model to its Anglo-American, German and Scandinavian counterparts. Analyses in detail the nature-nurture debate during the State racist campaign in fascist Italy (1938–1943) as a boundary tool in the contraposition between the different institutional, political and ideological currents of fascist racism.
Vol. 70 (1996) through current issue
The leading journal in its field for more than three quarters of a century, the Bulletin is the official publication of the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine. Each issue spans the social, cultural, and scientific aspects of the history of medicine worldwide and includes reviews of recent books on medical history.