Lommius, Jodocus, ca. 1500-ca. 1564. Medicinalium observationum.
Diagnosis -- Early works to 1800.
This paper traces the nature and fortunes of Lommius' Medicinal Observations of 1560, its relationship to ancient authors, its two-and-a-half centuries of fame, and its fall. Originating as an accessible manual of diagnosis for municipal authorities, it emphasized the observable aspects of illness and downplayed the role of humors and hidden causes. As a result, it both heralded and served the trend to symptom-based nosology. Eventually, as disease concepts shifted from symptoms to organs, Lommius was eclipsed by the next epistemic fashion: positivistic organicism. The multiple editions of this work invite us to reconsider the sustained influence of ancient writers, including Celsus, in medical pedagogy and semeiology, as well as the timing and location of the development of nosological concepts of disease. Class considerations and the proclivities of twentieth-century scholarship contributed to the obscurity of this book in our time.
diagnosis, disease concepts, history of medicine, Lommius, nosology, physical examination, semeiology.
Cancer -- United States -- Psychological aspects -- History -- 20th century.
Cancer -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Social medicine -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Hope was central to cancer control in twentieth-century America. Physicians placed great store in its power to persuade people to seek medical help as early as possible in the development of the disease, when it was most amenable to treatment; to maintain patients' loyalty through what could be a long, painful and uncertain course of therapy; and to encourage doubts about alternative healers. Some also argued that hope could have beneficial therapeutic and psychological effects for patients. However, we know very little about its meanings for the public. Focusing on a large collection of letters written to the Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s concerning an anti-quackery campaign, this article explores how men and women responded to the competing messages of hope promoted by orthodox cancer organizations and by alternative healers. It asks: What did hope mean to such men and women? How did they construct this meaning? How did they decide which treatments were hopeful and which were not? And, how did they use hope to imagine the social world of cancer? In short, this article explores the vernacular meanings, epistemologies, and imaginative uses of hope among Americans in the mid-twentieth century.
hope, cancer, quackery, Harry M. Hoxsey, Food and Drug Administration.
From today's point of view, the concepts of "miasma" and "contagion" appear to be two mutually exclusive perceptions of the spread of epidemic diseases, and quite a number of historians have tried to discuss the history of public health and epidemic diseases in terms of a progression from the miasmic to the contagionist concept. More detailed local studies, however, indicate how extremely misleading it may be to separate such medical concepts and ideas from their actual historical context. The article presented here, based on local studies in late medieval and early modern imperial towns in southern Germany, demonstrates to what extent the inhabitants of these towns had notions of both "miasma" and "contagion." Furthermore, a contextual analysis of language shows that they did not see a necessity to strictly distinguish between these different concepts relating to the spread of diseases. Tracing the meaning of "infection" and "contagion," we find that these terms were used in connection with various diseases, and that a change in the use of the expressions does not necessarily imply a change of the corresponding notion. Moreover, a coexistence of differing perceptions cannot—as some historians have suggested—be attributed to a divergence between the academic medicine and the popular ideas of that period. A survey of measures and actions in the public health sector indicates that a coexistence of—from our point of view—inconsistent concepts helped the authorities as well as the individuals to find means of defense and consolation during all those crises caused by epidemic diseases—crises that occurred very frequently in these towns during the late medieval and early modern periods. As the article demonstrates, the interaction during such crises reveals the continuity of ancient rituals and concepts as well as the adoption of new insights resulting from changes in the economical, political, scientific, religious, and social structures.
Medical theories, popular perceptions, epidemic diseases, plague, syphilis, contagion, purity, late medieval society, early modern society, German imperial towns, public health