Sugar is good for your teeth

With debate raging about the virtues (or otherwise) of eating a low-fat diet, it was interesting to come across this story from the Philosophical Transactions. It has long been known that eating sugar is bad for your teeth – but in 1728 one doctor, at least, thought the exact opposite. Dr Frederick Slare wrote this:  … Continue reading Sugar is good for your teeth

The wandering musket ball

A miraculous recovery today, taken from the pages of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This report was published in 1708 and, unusually, written by the patient, himself a doctor. Dr Robert Fielding practised in Gloucester, and during the Civil War was a prominent Royalist. On September 20th 1643 he fought in the First … Continue reading The wandering musket ball

The dreadful opening

In 1807 the Philadelphia Medical Museum was sent an extraordinary case report by a local doctor who had been ‘sent it by a friend’. Neither he nor anybody else appeared to know who had written the report, so its authenticity is doubtful – but the events it describes were certainly worth reproducing: In the evening of … Continue reading The dreadful opening

The fire-proof man

In 1828 The Lancet reported the antics of  a person they called ‘the fire-proof man’, a Cuban with extraordinary abilities: The French medical journal, La Clinique, gives an account of the experiments of M. Martinez, the fire-proof man, as he is called, who is now one of the principal objects of attraction at Paris. M. … Continue reading The fire-proof man

Boiling water and birch twigs

In 1843 a Dr T.O. Ward wrote to the London Medical Gazette on the subject of pain. A previous correspondent had suggested that victims of asphyxiation felt nothing and were insensible to pain.  Dr Ward begged to differ, drawing on his own childhood as evidence: When a boy, I was very fond of making boyish … Continue reading Boiling water and birch twigs