/customers/academia.dk/academia.dk/httpd.www/Blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase1.php Tænketanken | En blog om sundhedsvæsen, medicinhistorie, neurovidenskab og hverdagen i et klinisk biokemisk laboratorium - Part 20

Interior of a 17th century surgery [da]

3. juni 2012

Interior of a surgery with two operators, one letting blood from a man’s arm, the other giving treatment to a man’s back. Oil painting by a follower of David Teniers the younger (17th century).

Via The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice

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History in Their Bones [da]

2. juni 2012

History in Their Bones: A diachronic, bioarchaeological study of diet, mobility and social organisation from Cambodian skeletal assemblages.

“History in Their Bones” is a multidisciplinary research venture encompassing much of Cambodia, the heartland of Mainland SE Asia, to explore the major social and cultural transformations of the past four millennia. This research would not be possible without support from the Australian Research Council. Health, human mobility and social differentiation are fundamental to the three core archaeological issues of Mainland SE Asia - the nature of early agrarian rice growing communities, the impact of ‘Indianisation’ on the formation of the state, and the development and demise of empires.Cambodia is especially well suited to investigate these core issues, because of its geographic location at the cross-roads of extensive cross-cultural interaction and the subsequent socio-political changes during the rise and decline of SE Asia’s most powerful state centred on Angkor.

Read more here: History in Their Bones

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Photos: “Body Jars,” Cliff Coffins Are Clues to Unknown Tribe [da]

2. juni 2012

A fascinating story originally from National Geographic. I found the story on Tumblr and reblogged it from Archaeological News

Read the full story and see more pictures at NatGeo.

Researcher Nancy Beavan with a log coffin

Perched in some cases on precarious cliff ledges, centuries-old log coffins—such as this one, pictured alongside researcher Nancy Beavan—and “body jars” are the only known traces of an unknown Cambodian tribe. Now new dating studies are beginning to assure the unnamed culture a place in history.

Ten such burial spots have been found in the Cardamom Mountainssince 2003, and none are lower than about 50 stories—the intention apparently being that “anyone trying to disturb the burials would break their neck,” said Beavan, who led the new study.

Skulls and other human bones poke from large ceramic jars at Khnorng Sroal

Skulls and other human bones poke from large ceramic jars at Khnorng Sroal, one of the newly dated mountainside burials in southwestern Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.

Several log coffins lined up like ramshackle piano keys

Hewn from tree trunks some 700 years ago, several log coffins are pictured lined up like ramshackle piano keys beneath a rock overhang at the Phnom Pel burial site in Cambodia in 2010.

Human bones lie inside a log coffin at Phnom Pel

Human bones lie inside a log coffin at Phnom Pel.

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Ouch!!! A man having his teeth chiseled [da]

2. juni 2012

A photograph from 1938 of a man having his teeth chiseled on the Mentawai Islands.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Anthropological Curiosities

A man having his teeth chiseled, Mentawai Islands 1938

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Thucydides on the Plague of Athens [da]

21. maj 2012

The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic which hit the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC), when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach. It is believed to have entered Athens through Piraeus, the city’s port and sole source of food and supplies. The city-state of Sparta, and much of the eastern Mediterranean, was also struck by the disease. The plague returned twice more, in 429 BC and in the winter of 427/6 BC.

Our primary source for this plague is the historian Thucydides who suffered the illness himself, and survived. He was therefore able to accurately describe the symptoms of the disease within his history of the war. This is his description:

Thucydides 2.47.1-55.1, trans. by Richard Crawley.

In the first days of summer the Spartans and their allies, with two-thirds of their forces as before, invaded Attica, under the command of Archidamus, son of Zeuxidamus, king of Sparta, and sat down and laid waste the country.

Not many days after their arrival in Attica the plague first began to show itself among the Athenians. It was said that it had broken out in many places previously in the neighborhood of Lemnos and elsewhere; but a pestilence of such extent and mortality was nowhere remembered. Neither were the physicians at first of any service, ignorant as they were of the proper way to treat it, but they died themselves the most thickly, as they visited the sick most often; nor did any human art succeed any better. Supplications in the temples, divinations, and so forth were found equally futile, till the overwhelming nature of the disaster at last put a stop to them altogether.

It first began, it is said, in the parts of Ethiopia above Egypt, and thence descended into Egypt and Libya and into most of the [Persian] King’s country. Suddenly falling upon Athens, it first attacked the population in Piraeus -which was the occasion of their saying that the Peloponnesians had poisoned the reservoirs, there being as yet no wells there- and afterwards appeared in the upper city, when the deaths became much more frequent.

All speculation as to its origin and its causes, if causes can be found adequate to produce so great a disturbance, I leave to other writers, whether lay or professional; for myself, I shall simply set down its nature, and explain the symptoms by which perhaps it may be recognized by the student, if it should ever break out again. This I can the better do, as I had the disease myself, and watched its operation in the case of others.

That year then is admitted to have been otherwise unprecedentedly free from sickness; and such few cases as occurred all determined in this. As a rule, however, there was no ostensible cause; but people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by sneezing and hoarseness, after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard cough. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very great distress. In most cases also an ineffectual retching followed, producing violent spasms, which in some cases ceased soon after, in others much later.

Externally the body was not very hot to the touch, nor pale in its appearance, but reddish, livid, and breaking out into small pustules and ulcers. But internally it burned so that the patient could not bear to have on him clothing or linen even of the very lightest description; or indeed to be otherwise than stark naked. What they would have liked best would have been to throw themselves into cold water; as indeed was done by some of the neglected sick, who plunged into the rain tanks in their agonies of unquenchable thirst; though it made no difference whether they drank little or much.

Besides this, the miserable feeling of not being able to rest or sleep never ceased to torment them. The body meanwhile did not waste away so long as the distemper was at its height, but held out to a marvel against its ravages; so that when they succumbed, as in most cases, on the seventh or eighth day to the internal inflammation, they had still some strength in them. But if they passed this stage, and the disease descended further into the bowels, inducing a violent ulceration there accompanied by severe diarrhea, this brought on a weakness which was generally fatal.

For the disorder first settled in the head, ran its course from thence through the whole of the body, and, even where it did not prove mortal, it still left its mark on the extremities; for it settled in the privy parts, the fingers and the toes, and many escaped with the loss of these, some too with that of their eyes. Others again were seized with an entire loss of memory on their first recovery, and did not know either themselves or their friends.

But while the nature of the distemper was such as to baffle all description, and its attacks almost too grievous for human nature to endure, it was still in the following circumstance that its difference from all ordinary disorders was most clearly shown. All the birds and beasts that prey upon human bodies, either abstained from touching them (though there were many lying unburied), or died after tasting them. In proof of this, it was noticed that birds of this kind actually disappeared; they were not about the bodies, or indeed to be seen at all. But of course the effects which I have mentioned could best be studied in a domestic animal like the dog.

Such then, if we pass over the varieties of particular cases which were many and peculiar, were the general features of the distemper. Meanwhile the town enjoyed an immunity from all the ordinary disorders; or if any case occurred, it ended in this. Some died in neglect, others in the midst of every attention. No remedy was found that could be used as a specific; for what did good in one case, did harm in another. Strong and weak constitutions proved equally incapable of resistance, all alike being swept away, although dieted with the utmost precaution.

By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which ensued when any one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality. On the one hand, if they were afraid to visit each other, they perished from neglect; indeed many houses were emptied of their inmates for want of a nurse: on the other, if they ventured to do so, death was the consequence. This was especially the case with such as made any pretensions to goodness: honor made them unsparing of themselves in their attendance in their friends’ houses, where even the members of the family were at last worn out by the moans of the dying, and succumbed to the force of the disaster.

Yet it was with those who had recovered from the disease that the sick and the dying found most compassion. These knew what it was from experience, and had now no fear for themselves; for the same man was never attacked twice- never at least fatally. And such persons not only received the congratulations of others, but themselves also, in the elation of the moment, half entertained the vain hope that they were for the future safe from any disease whatsoever.

An aggravation of the existing calamity was the influx from the country into the city, and this was especially felt by the new arrivals. As there were no houses to receive them, they had to be lodged at the hot season of the year in stifling cabins, where the mortality raged without restraint. The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about the streets and gathered round all the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons that had died there, just as they were; for as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them, became utterly careless of everything, whether sacred or profane.

All the burial rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies as best they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through so many of their friends having died already, had recourse to the most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those who had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger’s pyre and ignited it; sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were carrying on the top of another that was burning, and so went off.

Nor was this the only form of lawless extravagance which owed its origin to the plague. Men now coolly ventured on what they had formerly done in a corner, and not just as they pleased, seeing the rapid transitions produced by persons in prosperity suddenly dying and those who before had nothing succeeding to their property. So they resolved to spend quickly and enjoy themselves, regarding their lives and riches as alike things of a day. Perseverance in what men called honor was popular with none, it was so uncertain whether they would be spared to attain the object; but it was settled that present enjoyment, and all that contributed to it, was both honorable and useful. Fear of gods or law of man there was none to restrain them. As for the first, they judged it to be just the same whether they worshipped them or not, as they saw all alike perishing; and for the last, no one expected to live to be brought to trial for his offenses, but each felt that a far severer sentence had been already passed upon them all and hung ever over their heads, and before this fell it was only reasonable to enjoy life a little.

Such was the nature of the calamity, and heavily did it weigh on the Athenians; death raging within the city and devastation without. Among other things which they remembered in their distress was, very naturally, the following verse which the old men said had long ago been uttered:

     A Dorian war shall come and with it death.

So a dispute arose as to whether dearth and not death had not been the word in the verse; but at the present juncture, it was of course decided in favor of the latter; for the people made their recollection fit in with their sufferings. I fancy, however, that if another Dorian war should ever afterwards come upon us, and a dearth should happen to accompany it, the verse will probably be read accordingly. The oracle also which had been given to the Spartans was now remembered by those who knew of it. When the god was asked whether they should go to war, he answered that if they put their might into it, victory would be theirs, and that he would himself be with them. With this oracle events were supposed to tally.

For the plague broke out as soon as the Peloponnesians invaded Attica, and never entering Peloponnese (not at least to an extent worth noticing), committed its worst ravages at Athens, and next to Athens, at the most populous of the other towns. Such was the history of the plague.

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A modern anatomical model: Three-year-old child nursing manikin [da]

18. maj 2012

Multi-functional Child Nursing Manikin
Designed according to the anatomical characteristics of three-year-old child, and specializing in child care training.
Applying imported materials, the skin is soft and flexible, not easily deformed, realistic shape, lovely appearance,
and clear internal anatomical structure. Good helper for pediatric nursing teaching and training.


  • Pupil observation. Bilateral Pupil states: normal, mydriasis.
  • Operations of child care: full body bandage exercise, bathing, changing clothes, hair combing, eye washing and administering, otic drops and irrigation, mouth cavity care, blood collection of finger and TB test.
  • Ain/vay administering: realistic mouth, nose, tongue, gum, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, epiglottis, trachea and tracheal ring, can practicetracheal intubation, sputum suction, oxygen inhaling.
  • Oral and nasal feeding
  • Gastrolavage
  • Venipuncture, injection, transfusion (Arm). There is an obvious feeling when needle penetrates into vein. And blood flash back indicates proper insertion.
  • Intramuscular injection in bilateral deltoid, bilateral vastus lateralis and bilateral buttock.
  • Enema, placement of rectal suppository
  • Urethral catheterization
  • Holistic care: sponge bath, replacing clothes, cold and heat therapy
  • Limbsjoints: Bend, rotation, upperand lowermovement.
  • Bathing and bandaging activity
  • Ostomy nursing of ileum, colon and bladder.
  • Tibial bone marrow puncture: simulate the process of bone marrow puncture, obvious body surface symbol. Simulated bone marrow would outflow in the case of correct puncture.

Source: www.nursingmanikin.net

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Anatomical teaching model in ivory of a pregnant woman [da]

18. maj 2012

Stephan Zick (1639-1715)
Anatomical teaching model of a pregnant woman
Nuremberg, around 1680

Length of figure: 16 cm
Coffin (wood with inlaid ivory): Length: 22 cm

Miniature anatomical models of the whole human body were popular collector’s items to stock art and natural history cabinets in the 17th century. The Nuremberg workshop of the ivory turner Stephan Zick (1639-1715) made ivory anatomical models of both men and women like the present model. Distinguishing features of Zicks’s work are the ‘scored’ kneecaps of recumbent figures and the little fingers cocked at an angle. The female model here has movable arms and her abdomen can be opened to reveal the inner organs as well as a uterus which can also be opened to reveal a foetus. There is an anatomical model of a pregnant woman, also by Stephan Zick, in the collections at Rheydt Castle. This model, like the present one, is kept in a coffin-shaped box. Death is, therefore, consistently included in the representation as the precondition for anatomical study. Another anatomical model of a pregnant woman made by Zick has been preserved from the art and natural history cabinet of Duke CarlI; it is now in the Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig (inv. no. Elf 178).

Source: www.kunstkammer.com

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Two wooden anatomical models, 17th century. [da]

18. maj 2012

A pair of models with removable chest and abdomen covers. Some religious restrictions on dissection were lifted in the 15th century, which led to the wider study of anatomy, using models like these as extra teaching aids. Both figures show the heart and lungs. One shows a pregnant female with a baby in the uterus, and the other the kidney and intestines in a male.

Source: Science Museum, via Dead Men Talking

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An important day i the history of medicine! [da]

14. maj 2012


Edward Jenner performing the first vaccination against Smallpox (Gaston Melingue, oil on canvas, 1879)
Edward Jenner performing the first vaccination against Smallpox (Gaston Melingue, oil on canvas, 1879)

Today in History - May 14

Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England, 1796

On May 14, 1796, Edward Jenner performed the first of his 23 case studies involving inoculating people with cowpox (Vaccinia virus) in order to protect them from the worst effects of smallpox (Variola virus).

Dr. Jenner took the pus from a blister on the hand of milkmaid Sarah Nelmes, who had contracted cowpox from a cow named Blossom. He then injected this virus into eight-year-old James Phipps, allowing him to develop cowpox (similar to, but far less deadly than smallpox), and once he was healed, exposed him to smallpox. When James developed no symptoms, Edward Jenner presented a paper proposing widespread vaccination against smallpox to the Royal Society of London.

Both clergy and traditional physicians expressed credulity and disgust at the idea, despite the fact that it had been shown decades earlier to be a plausible concept - in 1721 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu had herself and her children inoculated with cowpox sores after witnessing the procedure in Istanbul, and not 20 years earlier, Dr. Benjamin Jesty had success inoculating himself and his wife with cowpox during a particularly deadly smallpox outbreak.

More recent studies have shown that the practice of cowpox inoculation against smallpox may have occurred in China over 2500 years ago, but it was never widespread, and the west never truly caught on to the idea until Dr. Jenner proved with twenty-two subsequent subjects (including his own 11-month-old son) that cowpox inoculation was effective and far safer than smallpox itself. Following his second presentation on the subject at the Royal Society of London (including the case studies of his own family), the concept was still widely ridiculed by clergy and some of the public, but the efficacy was no longer seen as a matter of being an “Old Wives Tale”.

Despite his being far from the first to assert the value of vaccination, Edward Jenner is still seen as the one who saved “more lives than anyone else in human history”, because he’s the one who persisted and found a way to convince the community at large of the efficacy of the procedure. After all, in the words of Francis Galton,

In science, credit goes to the man who first convinces the world, not the man to whom the idea first occurs.

More on Edward Jenner and Smallpox:

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A very remarkable skull indeed! [da]

12. maj 2012

The skull of a young boy with a second imperfect skull attached to its anterior fontanelle. The skull was sent to John Hunter from Bengal, India in the late 1780s and is now in the Hunterian Museum in London

Source: http://www.astropop.com/anatomical/introduction.html

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