Syphilis -- Italy -- Venice -- History -- 1508-1797.
Witchcraft -- Italy -- Venice -- History -- 1508-1797.
Inquisition -- Italy -- Venice -- History -- 1508-1797.
In early modern Venice, establishing the cause of a disease was critical to determining the appropriate cure: natural remedies for natural illnesses, spiritual solutions for supernatural or demonic ones. One common ailment was the French disease (syphilis), widely distributed throughout Venice's neighborhoods and social hierarchy, and evenly distributed between men and women. The disease was widely regarded as curable by the mid-sixteenth century, and cases that did not respond to natural remedies presented problems of interpretation to physicians and laypeople. Witchcraft was one possible explanation; using expert testimony from physicians, however, the Holy Office ruled out witchcraft as a cause of incurable cases and reinforced perceptions that the disease was of natural origin. Incurable cases were explained as the result of immoral behavior, thereby reinforcing the associated stigma. This article uses archival material from Venice's Inquisition records from 1580 to 1650, as well as mortality data.
French disease, syphilis, witchcraft, Inquisition, Holy Office, stigma, Venice
Smallpox -- Vaccination -- New York (State) -- History -- 18th century.
Healing -- Social aspects -- New York (State) -- History -- 18th century.
People in colonial New York adopted inoculation for smallpox as quickly and as thoroughly as did people anywhere in the British Atlantic world. Such adoption was not dependent upon the authority of formal medicine, but rather upon everyday epistemology. Inoculation became accepted as local knowledge because ordinary New Yorkers integrated it imaginatively into common ideas about the body and disease, reconceptualized its theological meaning, and incorporated it into familiar social relations of healing.
colonial New York, inoculation, smallpox, medicine, body, healing, epistemology
Typhus fever -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Prisoners and prisons.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Medical care.
Medical observers during the American Civil War were happily surprised to find that typhus fever rarely made an appearance, and was not a major killer in the prisoner-of-war camps where the crowded, filthy, and malnourished populations appeared to offer an ideal breeding ground for the disease. Through a review of apparent typhus outbreaks in America north of the Mexican border, this article argues that typhus fever rarely if ever extended to the established populations of the United States, even when imported on immigrant ships into densely populated and unsanitary slums. It suggests that something in the American environment was inhospitable to the extensive spread of the disease, most likely an unrecognized difference in the North American louse population compared to that of Europe.
typhus, Civil War, military medicine, relapsing fever, American Revolution, body louse, disease evolution
United States. Public Health Service -- History -- 20th century.
Eugenics -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Public health -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Racism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
The Public Health Service (PHS) Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro (1932–72) is the most infamous American example of medical research abuse. Commentary on the study has often focused on the reasons for its initiation and for its long duration. Racism, bureaucratic inertia, and the personal motivations of study personnel have been suggested as possible explanations. We develop another explanation by examining the educational and professional linkages shared by three key physicians who launched and directed the study. PHS surgeon general Hugh Cumming initiated Tuskegee, and assistant surgeons general Taliaferro Clark and Raymond A. Vonderlehr presided over the study during its first decade. All three had graduated from the medical school at the University of Virginia, a center of eugenics teaching, where students were trained to think about race as a key factor in both the etiology and the natural history of syphilis. Along with other senior officers in the PHS, they were publicly aligned with the eugenics movement. Tuskegee provided a vehicle for testing a eugenic hypothesis: that racial groups were differentially susceptible to infectious diseases.
Pregnancy -- United States -- Signs and diagnosis -- History -- 20th century.
Women -- Health and hygiene -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
The home pregnancy test went from novelty to norm in twenty-five years. This article explores its cultural impact in the context of the women's health movement. Though women had long made do without it, the "private little revolution," as the test was called in an early advertisement, enabled them to take control of their reproductive health care and moved the moment of discovery from the doctor's office (back) to the home. The article introduces the test, explores its acceptance by physicians and by women, looks at the marketing of the test by drug companies, and traces its use in movies, television, and novels.
home pregnancy test, women's health movement, hCG, online survey