Humans have lived in close proximity to other animals for thousands of years. Recent scientific studies have even shown that the presence of animals has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. People with pets typically have lower blood pressure, show fewer symptoms of depression, and tend to get more exercise.
But there is a darker side to the relationship between animals and humans. Animals are carriers of harmful infectious agents and the source of a myriad of human diseases. In recent years, the emergence of high-profile illnesses such as AIDS, SARS, West Nile virus, and bird flu has drawn much public attention, but as E. Fuller Torrey and Robert H. Yolken reveal, the transfer of deadly microbes from animals to humans is neither a new nor an easily avoided problem.
Beginning with the domestication of farm animals nearly 10,000 years ago, Beasts of the Earth traces the ways that human-animal contact has evolved over time. Today, shared living quarters, overlapping ecosystems, and experimental surgical practices where organs or tissues are transplanted from non-humans into humans continue to open new avenues for the transmission of infectious agents. Other changes in human behavior like increased air travel, automated food processing, and threats of bioterrorism are increasing the contagion factor by transporting microbes further distances and to larger populations in virtually no time at all.
While the authors urge that a better understanding of past diseases may help us lessen the severity of some illnesses, they also warn that, given our increasingly crowded planet, it is not a question of if but when and how often animal-transmitted diseases will pose serious challenges to human health in the future.
Biodiversity Change and Human Health brings together leading experts from the natural science and social science realms as well as the medical community to explore the explicit linkages between human-driven alterations of biodiversity and documented impacts of those changes on human health. The book utilizes multidisciplinary approaches to explore and address the complex interplay between natural biodiversity and human health and well-being. The five parts examine
health trade-offs between competing uses of biodiversity (highlighting synergistic situations in which conservation of natural biodiversity actually promotes human health and well-being);
relationships between biodiversity and quality of life that have developed over ecological and evolutionary time;
the effects of changing biodiversity on provisioning of ecosystem services, and how they have affected human health; the role of biodiversity in the spread of infectious disease;
native biodiversity as a resource for traditional and modern medicine
Biodiversity Change and Human Health synthesizes our current understanding and identifies major gaps in knowledge as it places all aspects of biodiversity and health interactions within a common framework. Contributors explore potential points of crossover among disciplines (both in ways of thinking and of specific methodologies) that could ultimately expand opportunities for humans to both live sustainably and enjoy a desirable quality of life.
Bodies Politic takes a critical look at representations of the body in death, disease, and health, as well as at images of the healing arts in Britain from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth century. Arguing that great symbolic weight was attached to contrasting conceptions of the healthy and diseased body, Roy Porter shows that such ideas were mapped onto antithetical notions of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. With these images in mind, he explores aspects of being ill alongside the practice of medicine, paying special attention to self-presentations by physicians, surgeons, and quacks and the changes in practitioners’ public identities over time. Packed with amusing anecdotes and unusual illustrations, this book is a magisterial account of the meanings of disease, doctoring, and the “body politic.”
“A wonderful book. . . . There are 137 illustrations . . . and every one is an exultation in the fleshly horrors of the era.”—Guardian (UK)
“Roy Porter is one of the world’s best historical writers: his prose is pithy, witty, vivid, engaging, and perfectly paced. He has a keen eye for evidence and can wrest conclusions with analytical rigour and imaginative subtlety. He masters fact and theory with equal ease and wields both lightly and powerfully.”—Independent
A review of the original edition of The Burdens of Disease that appeared in ISIS stated, "Hays has written a remarkable book. He too has a message: That epidemics are primarily dependent on poverty and that the West has consistently refused to accept this." This revised edition confirms the book's timely value and provides a sweeping approach to the history of disease.
In this updated volume, with revisions and additions to the original content, including the evolution of drug-resistant diseases and expanded coverage of HIV/AIDS, along with recent data on mortality figures and other relevant statistics, J. N. Hays chronicles perceptions and responses to plague and pestilence over two thousand years of western history. Disease is framed as a multidimensional construct, situated at the intersection of history, politics, culture, and medicine, and rooted in mentalities and social relations as much as in biological conditions of pathology. This revised edition of The Burdens of Disease also studies the victims of epidemics, paying close attention to the relationships among poverty, power, and disease.
In this sweeping approach to the history of disease, historian J. N. Hays chronicles perceptions and responses to plague and pestilence over two thousand years of western history. Hays frames disease as a multi-dimensional construct, situated at the intersection of history, politics, culture, and medicine, and rooted in mentalities and social relations as much as in biological conditions of pathology. He shows how diseases affect social and political change, reveal social tensions, and are mediated both within and outside the realm of scientific medicine.
Beginning with the legacy of Greek, Roman, and early Christian ideas about disease, the book then discusses many of the dramatic epidemics from the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries, moving from leprosy and bubonic plague through syphilis, smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis, influenza, and poliomyelitis to AIDS. Hays examines the devastating exchange of diseases between cultures and continents that ensued during the age of exploration. He also describes disease through the lenses of medical theory, public health, folk traditions, and government response. The history of epidemics is also the history of their victims. Hays pays close attention to the relationships between poverty and power and disease, using contemporary case studies to support his argument that diseases concentrate their pathological effects on the poor, while elites associate the cause of disease with the culture and habits of the poor.
In 1988, the World Health Organization launched a campaign for the global eradication of polio. Today, this goal is closer than ever. Fewer than 1,300 people were paralyzed from the disease in 2004, down from approximately 350,000 in 1988.
In The Death of a Disease, science writers Bernard Seytre and Mary Shaffer tell the dramatic story of this crippling virus that has evoked terror among parents and struck down healthy children for centuries. Beginning in ancient Egypt, the narrative explores the earliest stages of research, describes the wayward paths taken by a long line of scientists-each of whom made a vital contribution to understanding this enigmatic virus-and traces the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines. The book also tracks the contemporary polio story, detailing the remaining obstacles as well as the medical, governmental, and international health efforts that are currently being focused on developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Niger.
At a time when emerging diseases and the threat of bioterrorism are the focus of much media and public attention, this book tells the story of a crippling disease that is on the verge of disappearing. In the face of tremendous odds, the near-eradication of polio offers an inspiring story that is both encouraging and instructive to those at the center of the continued fight against communicable diseases.
Diet books contribute to a $60-billion industry as they speak to the 45 million Americans who diet every year. Yet these books don’t just tell readers what to eat: they offer complete philosophies about who Americans are and how we should live. Diet and the Disease of Civilization interrupts the predictable debate about eating right to ask a hard question: what if it’s not calories—but concepts—that should be counted?
Cultural critic Adrienne Rose Bitar reveals how four popular diets retell the “Fall of Man” as the narrative backbone for our national consciousness. Intensifying the moral panic of the obesity epidemic, they depict civilization itself as a disease and offer diet as the one true cure.
Bitar reads each diet—the Paleo Diet, the Garden of Eden Diet, the Pacific Island Diet, the detoxification or detox diet—as both myth and manual, a story with side effects shaping social movements, driving industry, and constructing fundamental ideas about sickness and health. Diet and the Disease of Civilization unearths the ways in which diet books are actually utopian manifestos not just for better bodies, but also for a healthier society and a more perfect world.
Malfunction in the digestive tract can arise from a variety of causes, and it requires the sciences of immunology, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and nutrition to fully explain the basis of the dysfunction as well as effective treatment options. Now Dr. Janice Vickerstaff Joneja has written the first book that:
Applies current research data in all of the relevant sciences into a practical resource for the management of gastrointestinal disease, in particular irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Supplies complete scientific references for the research scientist, the clinician, and the student.
Provides specific dietary management strategies for IBS and related dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, based on scientific data.
Includes meal plans, recipes, and dietary advice for balanced nutrition, while avoiding the foods most likely to trigger or exacerbate IBS.
These unique qualities make Digestion, Diet, and Disease the ideal choice for practitioners, educators, and researchers in the field of nutritional medicine, as well as nurses, alternative medicine professionals, and the educated general public suffering from IBS.
"Will have an enthusiastic audience among historians of medicine who are familiar, for the most part, only with later twentieth-century efforts to combat polio." --Allan M. Brandt, University of North Carolina
Dirt and Disease is a social, cultural, and medical history of the polio epidemic in the United States. Naomi Rogers focuses on the early years from 1900 to 1920, and continues the story to the present. She explores how scientists, physicians, patients, and their families explained the appearance and spread of polio and how they tried to cope with it. Rogers frames this study of polio within a set of larger questions about health and disease in twentieth-century American culture.
In the early decades of this century, scientists sought to understand the nature of polio. They found that it was caused by a virus, and that it could often be diagnosed by analyzing spinal fluid. Although scientific information about polio was understood and accepted, it was not always definitive. This knowledge coexisted with traditional notions about disease and medicine.
Polio struck wealthy and middle-class children as well as the poor. But experts and public health officials nonetheless blamed polio on a filthy urban environment, bad hygiene, and poverty. This allowed them to hold slum-dwelling immigrants responsible, and to believe that sanitary education and quarantines could lessen the spread of the disease. Even when experts acknowledged that polio struck the middle-class and native-born as well as immigrants, they tried to explain this away by blaming the fly for the spread of polio. Flies could land indiscriminately on the rich and the poor.
In the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped to recast the image of polio and to remove its stigma. No one could ignore the cross-spread of the disease. By the 1950s, the public was looking to science for prevention and therapy. But Rogers reminds us that the recent history of polio was more than the history of successful vaccines. She points to competing therapies, research tangents, and people who died from early vaccine trials.
Until a decade ago, the conquest of tuberculosis seemed one of the great triumphs of modern medicine. The resurgence of TB in the wake of AIDS has to be understood, Georgina Feldberg argues, in the context of decisions the U.S. Public Health Service made, beginning in the 1930s, to prevent TB through improved hygiene and long-term treatment with medications, rather than program of BCG vaccination that Canada and many other countries adopted. Feldberg's aim is not to judge which was the right choice, but to explain why the U.S. rejected the vaccine and the consequences of that choice. To American physicians, TB, the conditions that fostered it, and the kind of people who got it were a direct threat to their own middle-class values, institutions, and prosperity. They prescribed vigorous social reform, and by the 1960s, they were convinced the strategy had worked. But, as the country's commitment to strong social welfare programs waned, the bacteriological reality of TB reasserted itself. Feldberg challenges us to recognize that the interplay of disease, class, and the practice of medicine can have unexpected consequences for the health of nations. The book is essential reading for students and professionals in public health, medicine, and the history and sociology of medicine. Georgina D. Feldberg is director of the York University Centre for Health Studies in North York, Ontario. She is coauthor of Take Care: Warning Signals for Canada's Health System.
This collection of eight essays examines the health, disease, and medical care of the American West—an area flanked by the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and Cascade Mountains. Topics include Mormons and the Thomsonian Movement in the nineteenth century, the silicosis epidemic in hardrock mining, Native American health, frontier nursing, and Chinese medicine.
Challenging traditional approaches to medical history, Disease in the History of Modern Latin America advances understandings of disease as a social and cultural construction in Latin America. This innovative collection provides a vivid look at the latest research in the cultural history of medicine through insightful essays about how disease—whether it be cholera or aids, leprosy or mental illness—was experienced and managed in different Latin American countries and regions, at different times from the late nineteenth century to the present.
Based on the idea that the meanings of sickness—and health—are contestable and subject to controversy, Disease in the History of Modern Latin America displays the richness of an interdisciplinary approach to social and cultural history. Examining diseases in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, the contributors explore the production of scientific knowledge, literary metaphors for illness, domestic public health efforts, and initiatives shaped by the agendas of international agencies. They also analyze the connections between ideas of sexuality, disease, nation, and modernity; the instrumental role of certain illnesses in state-building processes; welfare efforts sponsored by the state and led by the medical professions; and the boundaries between individual and state responsibilities regarding sickness and health. Diego Armus’s introduction contextualizes the essays within the history of medicine, the history of public health, and the sociocultural history of disease. Contributors. Diego Armus, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Kathleen Elaine Bliss, Ann S. Blum, Marilia Coutinho, Marcus Cueto, Patrick Larvie, Gabriela Nouzeilles, Diana Obregón, Nancy Lays Stepan, Ann Zulawski
The Seven Years’ War, often called the first global war, spanned North America, the West Indies, Europe, and India. In these locations diseases such as scurvy, smallpox, and yellow fever killed far more than combat did, stretching the resources of European states.
In Disease, War, and the Imperial State, Erica Charters demonstrates how disease played a vital role in shaping strategy and campaigning, British state policy, and imperial relations during the Seven Years’ War. Military medicine was a crucial component of the British war effort; it was central to both eighteenth-century scientific innovation and the moral authority of the British state. Looking beyond the traditional focus of the British state as a fiscal war-making machine, Charters uncovers an imperial state conspicuously attending to the welfare of its armed forces, investing in medical research, and responding to local public opinion. Charters shows military medicine to be a credible scientific endeavor that was similarly responsive to local conditions and demands.
Disease, War, and the Imperial State is an engaging study of early modern warfare and statecraft, one focused on the endless and laborious task of managing manpower in the face of virulent disease in the field, political opposition at home, and the clamor of public opinion in both Britain and its colonies.
Omega-3s, trans-fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acidùresearch facts about fatty acids and their relationship to heart disease and atherosclerosis, obesity, cancer, and neurological disorders abound. Chemical names appear on every nutrition label. But, just what do these terms mean in health and disease?
The Fats of Life delineates the importance of essential fatty acids, with a focus on distinctions between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid variants. The chemical and biochemical characteristics of these fatty acids and their metabolism to a vast array of potent bioactive messengers are described in the context of their potential effects on general health and impact on various diseases and neurological disorders. Glen D. Lawrence addresses in detail the capacity for polyunsaturated fatty acids to influence asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and immunity. Lawrence makes clear that our understanding of the biochemical and physiological effects of dietary fats has advanced tremendously as a result of careful research, but he also stresses that this knowledge has not easily translated into sound dietary recommendations.
In the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, New York City was struck like no other. By the early nineties, it was struggling with more known cases than the next forty most infected cities, including San Francisco, combined.
Fighting for Our Lives is the first comprehensive social history of New York's AIDS community-a diverse array of people that included not only gay men, but also African Americans, Haitians, Latinos, intravenous drug users, substance abuse professionals, elite supporters, and researchers. Looking back over twenty-five years, Susan Chambré focuses on the ways that these disparate groups formed networks of people and organizations that-both together and separately-supported persons with AIDS, reduced transmission, funded research, and in the process, gave a face to an epidemic that for many years, whether because of indifference, homophobia, or inefficiency, received little attention from government or health care professionals.
Beyond the limits of New York City, and even AIDS, this case study also shows how any epidemic provides a context for observing how societies respond to events that expose the inadequacies of their existing social and institutional arrangements. By drawing attention to the major faults of New York's (and America's) response to a major social and health crisis at the end of the twentieth century, the book urges more effective and sensitive actions-both governmental and civil-in the future.
Healing the Herds: Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine offers a new and exciting
comparative approach to the complex interrelationships of microbes, markets, and medicine in the global economy. It draws upon fourteen case studies from the Americas, western Europe, and the European and Japanese colonies to illustrate how the rapid growth of the international trade in animals through the nineteenth century engendered the spread of infectious diseases, sometimes with devastating consequences for indigenous pastoral societies.
At different times and across much of the globe, livestock epidemics have challenged social order and provoked state interventions, which were sometimes opposed by pastoralists. The intensification of agriculture has transformed environments, with consequences for animal and human health. But the last two centuries have also witnessed major changes in the way societies have conceptualized diseases and sought to control them. The rise of germ theories and the discovery of vaccines against some infections made it possible to move beyond the blunt tools of animal culls and restrictive quarantines of the past. Nevertheless, these older methods have remained important to strategies of control and prevention, as demonstrated during the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Britain in 2001.
From the late nineteenth century, advances in veterinary technologies afforded veterinary scientists a new professional status and allowed them to wield greater political influence. In the European and Japanese colonies, state support for biomedical veterinary science often led to coercive policies for managing the livestock economies of the colonized peoples. In western Europe and North America, public responses to veterinary interventions were often unenthusiastic and reflected a latent distrust of outside interference and state regulation. Politics, economics, and science inform these essays on the history of animal diseases and the expansion in veterinary medicine.
In the 1850s, "Drapetomania" was the medical term for a disease found among black slaves in the United States. The main symptom was a strange desire to run away from their masters. In earlier centuries gout was understood as a metabolic disease of the affluent, so much so that it became a badge of uppercrust honor—and a medical excuse to avoid hard work. Today, is there such a thing as mental illness, or is mental illness just a myth? Is Alzheimer's really a disease? What is menopause—a biological or a social construction?
Historically one can see that health, disease, and illness are concepts that have been ever fluid. Modern science, sociology, philosophy, even society—among other factors—constantly have these issues under microscopes, learning more, defining and redefining ever more exactly. Yet often that scrutiny, instead of leading toward hard answers, only leads to more questions. Health, Disease, and Illness brings together a sterling list of classic and contemporary thinkers to examine the history, state, and future of ever-changing "concepts" in medicine.
Divided into four parts—Historical Discussions; Characterizing Health, Disease, and Illness; Clinical Applications of Health and Disease; and Normalcy, Genetic Disease, and Enhancement: The Future of the Concepts of Health and Disease—the reader can see the evolutionary arc of medical concepts from the Greek physician Galen of Pergamum (ca. 150 ce) who proposed that "the best doctor is also a philosopher," to contemporary discussions of the genome and morality. The editors have recognized a crucial need for a deeper integration of medicine and philosophy with each other, particularly in an age of dynamically changing medical science—and what it means, medically, philosophically, to be human.
What kind of relationship exists between wars and epidemics? It is widely held that epidemics affected the outcomes of many wars and, until World War II, more victims of war died of disease than of battle wounds. Many disease vectors are present in times of conflict, including mass movements of people across borders and increased contact between persons of different geographic regions, yet disease is rarely treated in depth in histories of war.
Hikmet Özdemir’s The Ottoman Army, 1914–1918 provides extensive documentation of disease and death across the Ottoman Empire during World War I, when epidemic diseases annihilated armies and caused civilians to perish en masse. Drawing on hospital records and information on regional disease prevalence, Özdemir examines the effects that disease and epidemic had on the outcome of the war.
The information on disease mortality explains much that has never been properly understood about wartime events and government actions, events that only begin to make sense when the disease factor is considered. Rich in detail, this is an extremely valuable book that illuminates a facet of the war that has not been adequately considered until now.
August 1st, 1878 The preceding winter had been mild, the spring and summer was hot and rainy; there were mosquitoes everywhere. "Yellow Jack" had been reported in New Orleans. William Warren, a steamboat crewman at Presidents Island just south of Memphis, left his ship and entered the city. One day later he was admitted to the City Hospital and two days hence he was dead of yellow fever. When word got out of a yellow fever death in the city the citizens began to flee. Schools and churches closed their doors. Passenger boat services from New Orleans were forced to disembark their passengers on the Arkansas side. In the end 5,100 people died in the city of Memphis. The hardest-hit towns in Arkansas were Helena, Hopefield (West Memphis) and Augusta on the White River. Trains and boats entering the state of Arkansas were quarantined. Many little towns across the Delta established "shotgun" quarantines: if you weren’t recognized by the men manning the barrier, you were asked to leave through the sights of a gun. Smallpox,malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, yellow fever were ever present dangers in nineteenth and early twentieth century Arkansas. This story is a narrative history of the health and disease of the people of Arkansas, what they faced and how they dealt with it.
Near the end of the century, a new and terrifying disease arrives suddenly from a distant continent. Infecting people through sex, it storms from country to country, defying all drugs and medical knowledge. The deadly disease provokes widespread fear and recrimination; medical authorities call the epidemic "the just rewards of unbridled lust"; a religious leader warns that "God has raised up new diseases against debauchery." The time was the 1490s; the place, Europe; the disease, syphilis; and the religious leader was none other than John Calvin.
Throughout history, Western society has often viewed sickness as a punishment for sin. It has failed to prevent and cure diseases—especially diseases tied to sex—that were seen as the retribution of a wrathful God. The Wages of Sin, the remarkable history of these diseases, shows how society's views of particular afflictions often heightened the suffering of the sick and substituted condemnation for care. Peter Allen moves from the medieval diseases of lovesickness and leprosy through syphilis and bubonic plague, described by one writer as "a broom in the hands of the Almighty, with which He sweepeth the most nasty and uncomely corners of the universe." More recently, medical and social responses to masturbation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and AIDS in the twentieth round out Allen's timely and erudite study of the intersection of private morality and public health. The Wages of Sin tells the fascinating story of how ancient views on sex and sin have shaped, and continue to shape, religious life, medical practice, and private habits.
Malaria is one of the leading killers in the world today. Though drugs against malaria have a long history, attempts to develop novel therapeutics spanned the twentieth century and continue today. In this historical study, Leo B. Slater shows the roots and branches of an enormous drug development project during World War II. Fighting around the globe, American soldiers were at high risk for contracting malaria, yet quinine–a natural cure–became harder to acquire. A U.S. government-funded antimalarial program, initiated by the National Research Council, brought together diverse laboratories and specialists to provide the best drugs to the nation's military. This wartime research would deliver chloroquinine–long the drug of choice for prevention and treatment of malaria–and a host of other chemotherapeutic insights.
A massive undertaking, the antimalarial program was to biomedical research what the Manhattan Project was to the physical sciences.
A volume in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series, edited by Rima D. Apple and Janet Golden.