Episode 34: The Physical

The physical exam has become a ritual of the modern doctor’s appointment, with pokes, prods, and strange tools. How did this become a normal thing to do? In this episode, I’ll discuss how the physical exam went from the medieval examination of a flask of urine to basically what we […]


Episode 33: Alexis and William

Alexis St. Martin and William Beaumont have one of the strangest relationships in the history of medicine — a young French-Canadian fur trapper with a hole in his stomach from an errant shotgun blast and the American army physician who cared for him, and then made his own career by […]


Episode 32: The Humors

  The Four Humors are probably the longest-lasting idea in the history of medicine, even though they’ve been more or less completely abandoned for the past century or so. In this episode, we’ll explore how the ancient Greek idea of disease coming from imbalances in body fluids touched every aspect […]


Episode 31: Malariotherapy

Malariotherapy — infecting comatose syphilis patients with malaria to cure them of the disease — was once the cutting edge of medicine, and earned its inventor, Julius Wagner-Jauregg, the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1927. In this episode, we’re going to talk about the fascinating story behind this […]