Medicine

History of medicine; healing; herbalism

Columbus' actions "greatest event in the history of life since the death of the dinosaurs"

How did Christopher Columbus really change history? Not by the "discovery" of the New world, but by ecological convulsion, the exchange of plants, animals and diseases between the two continents. Such is the premise of Charles C. Mann's new book 1493.

Ruling with an iron hand - literally

In the early 16th century, Gottfried “Götz” von Berlichingen, a knight  - and rogue - of the Holy Roman Empire, found his hand ripped off by a cannonball during the Siege of Landshut. This did not stop the staunch German, however, who had an iron prosthetic crafted to replace the appendage. PG-13 for language.

Viking tooth filing may have intimidated enemies

Long before grills and gold caps, Vikings used tooth decoration as a way to intimidate their enemies. Evidence can be seen in the intricate horizontal patterns filed into the teeth of Viking warriors found buried in Dorset.

Chocolate milk might be better than water for athletes

Bring on the Pennsic chocolate milk! New studies by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have shown that a chocolate milkshake after a hard workout might be more beneficial than water or an isotonic sports drink.

Banging heads in Asterix comics

European academics are concerned about the amount of violent brain traumas in the popular Asterix comics series, most dealt out by Asterix and Obelix themselves.

A Pennsic how-to for electric medical devices

Master Phillip the Pilgrim has written an article explaining how to keep your CPAP machine or other electrical neccessities running at Pennsic.

The literary origin of ‘Syphilis’

For centuries, people have dreaded the diagnosis of the STD Syphilis, but where did the name originate? Acording the the website Science Friday, Syphilus was the name of the hero of a epic poem written by Hieronymus Fracastorius in 1530.

Leprosy, battle wounds found in early medieval cemetery

The scull of a leper who died fighting is one of several interesting burials identified at an Italian cemetery used between 500 and 700 CE. The cemetery likely contains remains of Germanic Lombards or Avars.

Fleas found guilty of spreading plague

A team of researchers, based at the University of Mainz in Germany, have confirmed that fleas were responsible for spreading the plague that wiped out over half of the population of 14th century Europe.

Genetic blood disorder may explain tragedy of Henry VIII

According to a new study, multiple miscarriages and dramatic personality transformation may be linked to a genetic condition related to the blood group carried by King Henry VIII of England.

Irish "giants" more truth than myth

The myth of Irish giants such as Fionn Mac Cumhail may contain a grain of truth, according to a recent genetic study. DNA may show that a strain of gigantism ran through five families in the northern part of the country.

Modern Humours Yahoo Group

Mistress Christianna MacGrain reports on the formation of the Modern Humours Yahoo Group, a discussion forum "open to all persons interested in historical reenactment while dealing with food sensitivities."

Study of 1510 pandemic may help modern researchers

A new study of the 1510 influenza pandemic by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases may help modern doctors plan for preventing, controlling and treating such diseases.

History of spectacles

Corrective lenses have a long history. Glasses filled with water and gems were used by Romans in the 1st century, while the Chinese developed spectacles in the 13th. In an article for the Telegraph, Victoria Ward looks at the history of eyeglasses.

Plague orignated in China

Several new studies of the Bubonic Plague, which devasted Europe in the Middle Ages and the 17th century, have led researchers to the conclusion that the disease originated in China and was carried west over the Silk Road.

Medical specimens of yore

Examining bodily fluids to determine ailments is a practice with roots going back to ancient times, as described in an article by Cristina Luiggi in The Scientist magazine.

Early medieval hospital found

Archaeologists working at the site of a former Leper Hospital at St Mary Magdalen in Winchester, England believe the hospital may date to the 11th century, making it the earliest known hospital in Britain.

Scientists establish that Yersinia pestis caused Black Death in Europe

An international group of scientists has produced a new study establishing Yersinia pestis as "the etiologic agent of modern plague." The study is especially interested in the second pandemic or the "Black Death" which ravaged Europe from 1347 until 1750.

Poor had healthier diet in the Middle Ages

"Interestingly it was the peasant class, whose diet would class today as healthy," said Dr Iona McCleery, a lecturer in medieval history at Leeds University, who heads a program which uses history to encourage children to eat better.

Archaeologists study remains at 16th century Icelandic hospital

For the past nine years, archaeologists have been excavating what they believe is Iceland's oldest hospital, dating to the early 16th century. The building, located near Skriduklaustur in east Iceland, was part of a monastery.

Time Team and students aid in investigation of medieval hospital

The South Yorkshire town of Bawtry, England, became a center of archaeological interest recently when excavation of a disused car part revealed a dozen skeletons dating to the 14th century.

Medici "murder" solved

For centuries, it was theorized that Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his second wife, Bianca Cappello were murdered, but new evidence shows that their deaths were from natural causes.

Tewkesbury Medieval Fair features 11th century Saxon poop

Discovered in 1991 in Gloucestershire, England, a small pile of 11th century human feces has become something of a phenonmenon with the British public, drawing 11,000 visitors to the Discovery Zone of the Cheltenham Science Festival. Recently the exhibit was displayed at the Tewkesbury Medieval Fair.

Medieval folk "aware of the value of a good smile"

According to a paper published in the British Dental Journal, medieval people were more aware of dental hygiene than previously believed, and had knowledge of teeth cleaning, fillings and dentures.

Did Alexander come to a Styx-y end?

A new speculation about the death of Alexander the Great suggests that the notoriously toxic waters of the River Styx (the modern river Mavroneri) may have taken his life.

Henry VIII's health analyzed on the NGC

Join a team of medical experts as they analyze one of history's greatest monarchs. Inside the Body of Henry VIII will air July 20, 2010 on the National Geographic Channel.

Science proves the value of pickle juice

That traditional jar of pickles on the list table is not just a superstition or a tasty snack. It turns out that, as athletes have long believed, pickle juice is effective at relieving exercise-induced muscle cramps.

House goes medieval

Fans of both the SCA and the Fox TV series House will be pleased with episode 17 of season 6, "Knight Fall," which begins with a battle at a Renaissance Festival.

Wet summers may have contributed to devastation of Black Plague

A team of scientists, who have studied tree rings and medieval wooden architectural materials to determine the climate of the late Middle Ages, report that wet summers were a contributing factor to the disaster of the Black Death in the 14th century.

Brain of a medieval child found in France

Scientists have found a 13th century preserved brain, complete with intact neurons and brain cells, inside the skull of an 18-month old child found in northwestern France.