Medical History

Three Astonishing Belles

This episode features three unique women, all of whom are notable in their own way. The two things they have in common: They each have a surprising aspect to their stories, and they each have the name Belle.

Six Impossible Episodes by Request

This installation of Six Impossible Episodes is a bit of a hodge podge, with several oft-requested topics. Included are Olive Yang, the Silent Parade of 1917, Glencoe Massacre, Marion Downs, Lena Himmelstein and the Great Windham Frog Fight of 1754.

Emin Pasha, né Eduard Schnitzer (Part 1)

Emin Pasha's story connects to so many other historical things, particularly in the context of both the Ottoman Empire and African history. First, we'll talk about his time in Albania and how he made his way to Africa and took a new name.

The Kallikaks and the Eugenicists

Spurred by the same fears, prejudices and societal issues that were driving the progressive movement in general, the eugenics movement in the U.S. focused on identifying, sequestering and even sterilizing people who were deemed to be "unfit."

A Brief History of Veterinary Medicine

Animals and humans have been living together for centuries, but standardized veterinary care developed over a long period of time in many different places.

William Moulton Marston & the Creation of Wonder Woman

Most people know Wonder Woman as an embodiment of truth and justice, but don't know much about the comic's earlier years or its creator. Marston lived an unconventional life, and in many ways, Wonder Woman was an expression of that life.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the modern world's most infamous incidents of unethical medical research. The study's researchers told its participants that they were being treated for syphilis, but in reality, they weren't.

Jules Cotard and the Syndrome Named After Him

Jules Cotard was the first psychiatrist to write about the cluster of symptoms that would come to be called “Walking Corpse Syndrome.” But his work was unfinished, and left a great deal of room for debate about it among his colleagues.

The King's Evil and the Royal Touch

The practice of the monarch laying on hands to cure sick people lasted from the medieval period all the way to the 18th century in Britain and France. One disease in particular was so often "cured" it came to be known as the King's Evil.

Tarrare, a Case of Polyphagia

Insatiable hunger completely dominated every aspect of this French man's existence in the 18th century. His life took a series of twists and turns, but his condition was never truly diagnosed or cured.