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English


Episodes

40 - Phage

11/11/2018
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Bacteriophages -- viruses that target and kill bacteria -- were one of the most promising medical treatments of the early 20th century, and were used to treat all sorts of infections, from cholera to staph, and everything in between. But by the 1950s, they had all but died out in the West. This episode tells the story of the humble phage, from its discovery in the waters of the Ganges, love trysts ending in a KGB execution, and to a resurgence of this once forgotten therapy in the 21st...

Duration:00:40:31

39 - The White Plague

10/7/2018
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Tuberculosis has been humanity’s oldest and greatest killer. Starting at the turn of the nineteenth century, the White Plague was decimating entire generations in the crowded and unclean cities of Europe, North America, and across the globe. But as medical science learned more about the disease, doctors and reformers developed new ways to combat it, most notably specialized tuberculosis hospitals that sought to heal their patients with fresh air, rest, and a nutritious diet. This episode...

Duration:00:52:12

38 - Blood on the Tracks (PopMed #2)

9/9/2018
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The first population study in history was born out of a dramatic debate involving leeches, “medical vampires,” professional rivalries, murder accusations, and, of course, bloodletting, all in the backdrop of the French Revolution. The second of a multipart series on the development of population medicine, this episode contextualizes Pierre Louis’ “numerical method,” his famous trial on bloodletting, and the birth of a new way for doctors to “know”. Plus a brand new #AdamAnswers about Occam’s...

Duration:00:50:04

0 - Introduction

9/9/2018
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Many podcasts start with an “Episode 0”, basically a mission statement for the podcast. Well, better late than never! This episode explores why I make Bedside Rounds, my philosophy about medical history, and a little bit about who I am and my research methods. Hopefully listeners new and old alike will find it interesting!

Duration:00:17:20

37 - Let It Bleed (PopMed #1)

8/5/2018
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For thousands of years, bloodletting was the standard of care for any number of medical conditions, but at the turn of the nineteenth century, often acrimonious debates about the practice would lead to a new method of medical knowledge. The first of a multi-part series on the birth of population medicine, this episode visits the controversies surrounding the death of George Washington and Benjamin Rush’s bleeding of Philadelphia during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic and asks the big question...

Duration:00:45:36

36 - Filth Parties

7/4/2018
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The southern United States was hit by a dramatic epidemic of a mysterious disease called pellagra in the early twentieth century. This episode discusses the cultural and scientific sources of the outbreak -- from the cotton fields of the south, to the cow pastures of rural Germany, to the river basins of Uganda -- and the incredible lengths a young doctor named Joseph Goldberger went through to try and put an end to this plague. Plus, a new #AdamAnswers about the source of the name “internal...

Duration:01:00:55

35 - Sherlock

6/3/2018
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Why do doctors love Sherlock Holmes so much? In this episode, we’ll explore this endearing, nerdy obsession with the good detective, from Holmes’ medical origins and influences, the parallels with medical reasoning, and how the Holmes stories still influence medicine to this day. Plus a new #AdamAnswers about the origin of the white coat. All this and more in Episode 35 of Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating stories in clinical medicine! Sources: Blumhagen DW, “The Doctor’s...

Duration:00:41:48

The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

6/3/2018
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle considered The Adventure of the Speckled Band to be his best Holmes story, and Adam does too. Meant to be a companion to Episode 35 (Sherlock), this is the story in its entirety. THIS IS NOT AN EPISODE! It's Adam reading for almost 50 minutes. Consider yourself forewarned!

Duration:00:42:09

34 - The Physical

5/3/2018
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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 have today in just a few decades in early 19th century France, and how the exam is still developing in the 21st century. Plus, a brand new #AdamAnswers about why Americans insist on using the Hermes’ Staff as a...

Duration:00:42:20

33 - Alexis and William

4/3/2018
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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 turning Alexis into a human guinea pig. Through the decades of their complicated relationship, they’d revolutionize our understanding of the physiology of the stomach, put American medicine on the map, and start...

Duration:00:39:35

32 - The Humors

3/3/2018
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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 of medicine for two millennia, well into the modern era. And we’ll discuss how humoral explanations likely hampered adoption of the first clinical trial in history, James Lind’s famous scurvy study....

Duration:00:40:07

31 - Malariotherapy

2/2/2018
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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 remarkable treatment, from the murky beginnings of syphilis through its sordid sexual connotations, to the birth of modern psychiatry and Nazi experiments. Plus, there’s a brand new...

Duration:00:23:21

30 - The Orphan Vaccine

1/5/2018
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Two hundred years ago, a few doctors, a matron, and 22 orphans set sail in a gutsy attempt to spread the new invention of vaccination across three continents in the world’s first attempt to eliminate smallpox. Learn about their epic journey, the Balmis-Salvany Expedition, as well as the medical context surrounding the invention of vaccination in “The Orphan Vaccine”. Plus, a new #AdamAnswers about why you always get sick when you first go on vacation. You can find all this and more in the...

Duration:00:26:09

29 - Curse of the Ninth

12/12/2017
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Did the famous composer Gustav Mahler work his fatal heart murmur into his final ninth symphony? To try and answer this question, I’m joined by Dr. Kevin Nordstrom of the Great Composers Podcast. We’ll delve into Mahler’s diseases, a history of heart sounds, musical theory, his obsession with mortality, and the unfortunate circumstances of his own death. Classical music and medicine, in one podcast! What more could you want? And included (at no extra charge!) is a new #AdamAnswers about the...

Duration:00:30:04

28 - Smallpox Blankets

11/8/2017
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The story of smallpox blankets offered as gifts to indigenous peoples as a weapon of war is ubiquitous -- but is it based in truth? And did our increased medical understanding of smallpox lead to its use as a biological weapon? In this episode, we confront these questions and explore the history of biological warfare, smallpox, and medicine. Listen to all this, a new #AdamAnswers, and more in this episode of Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating stories in clinical...

Duration:00:40:31

27 - The First Opiate Epidemic

10/5/2017
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The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths due to opiate painkillers. Its causes are varied, but there’s no question that physicians share a large part of the blame. Little discussed is that this is actually the second time this has happened. Almost a century ago, a remarkably similar epidemic struck the country. In this episode, called “The First Opiate Epidemic,” I discuss what happened, the parallels to today, and the lessons we can learn from our...

Duration:00:38:05

Summer Shorts #2 - Corrupted Blood

9/9/2017
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In 2005, a mysterious plague called Corrupted Blood hit the online denizens of World of Warcraft, ripping through cities and decimating player characters. After the smoke cleared, it became clear that this virtual plague shared many characteristics with real-world diseases and almost immediately attracted the attention of researchers. In this Summer Short, I go over the details of the in-game Corrupted Blood incident, and the very real-world epidemiological research that followed. Learn...

Duration:00:11:34

26 - The God Squad

8/30/2017
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The invention of dialysis -- essentially artificial kidneys for people with kidney failure -- revolutionized medicine. It also started a debate about medical rationing and ethics that rages to this day. Producer Cam Steele brings us a story about the God Squad, the group of lay people and doctors tasked with deciding who lived and who died in the early days of dialysis, and how it has informed every debate about medical rationing since. Learn about all this and more, plus a new #AdamAnswers...

Duration:00:42:35

Summer Shorts #1 - The Eclipse

8/18/2017
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The eclipse is coming! Get out your eclipse glasses (or your camera obscura, if you didn't prepare like me), and enjoy a review of the medical literature on eclipses with our guest Dr. Avi O'Glasser in our first summer short. Beyond solar retinopathy (a very good reason to not look into the sun), are there health effects on humans? Is there anything to the widespread belief of an eclipse being a bad omen? Find out all this and more in our first Bedside Rounds Summer Short. And thanks so much...

Duration:00:13:31

25 - Salt Water

8/1/2017
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Intravenous or IV fluids are a ubiquitous treatment in medicine, and one of the most cost-effective treatments that we have, costing less than a cup of coffee in the developing world. But it wasn’t always this way. In this episode, called Salt Water, we go back to the second great cholera epidemic, where a young doctor developed IV fluids to help fight this mysterious disease, only to see his invention abandoned for over half a century. We also have a new #AdamAnswers about bloodletting. So...

Duration:00:26:57