Episode 44: The Great Smog

What was behind the mysterious increase in lung cancer deaths at the turn of the 20th century? The first of a three-parter investigating the cigarette-smoking link and causality, this episode looks at that early debate, which largely focused on environmental pollution. Along the way, we’re going to talk about toxic […]


Episode 43: The Cursed

What killed Charles II of Spain, the inbred monarch whose autopsy famously showed a heart the size of a peppercorn, a head full of water, and a bloodless body? This episode addresses that medical mystery by not only delving deep into Charles’ unfortunate past, but by exploring some of the […]


Episode 42: The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale stands as one of the most important reformers of 19th century medicine — a woman whose belief in the power of reason and statistical thinking would critically shape the both the fields of epidemiology and nursing. This episode discusses the fascinating story of Nightingale’s legacy — how modern […]


Episode 41: Animal Magnetism

  Mesmerism has had an outsize influence on medicine, despite the rapid rise and fall of its inventor Dr. Franz Mesmer and hostility from the medical establishment. This curious story covers the healing powers of magnets, secret societies in pre-Revolutionary France, fundamental questions about what makes someone alive, and one […]