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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 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....


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 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...


30 - The Orphan Vaccine

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...


29 - Curse of the Ninth

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...


28 - Smallpox Blankets

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...


27 - The First Opiate Epidemic

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...


Summer Shorts #2 - Corrupted Blood

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...


26 - The God Squad

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...


Summer Shorts #1 - The Eclipse

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...


25 - Salt Water

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....


#TipsforNewInterns and Introducing Summer Shorts (NOT AN EPISODE)

In this month's #AdamAnswers, he discusses his #TipsforNewInterns (seriously, it's trending on Twitter). And we introduce the Summer Shorts for this summer -- and discuss how you can contribute and be on the show! (#spoileralert -- Tweet me @AdamRodmanMD). This is NOT an episode! Make sure you listen to Episode 24.


24 - W56.22xA (The Making of A Disease)

What makes a disease? And who gets to decide? Producer Cam Steele brings us a story that spans migrating uteruses in ancient Egypt, a disease that makes slaves want to run away in the antebellum south, and the accidental discovery of an erection pill while trying to treat heart disease. Join us in our journey to disassemble the concept of disease in Episode 24 of Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating stories in clinical medicine! Sources: Bynum B. Discarded Diagnoses. The...


23 - Bone Portraits

A darkened laboratory with an eerie green glow; a photograph of the bones of a woman’s hand published on the front pages of newspapers throughout the globe; mysterious rays that promise to change medicine forever but also cause horrific disease in their champions and pioneers. In this episode, called Bone Portraits, I tell the story of two men -- Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays who would later win a Nobel Prize, and Clarence Dally, the first victim of x-ray radiation. Listen to...


22 - The Assassination

A mortally wounded American president and the quest to find his assassin’s bullet unexpectedly opened up a potentially new era of medical diagnostics in the late nineteenth century. In this episode, learn about the assassination of James Garfield and how the controversy surrounding his medical care led Alexander Graham Bell to develop an “induction balance” that could locate a piece of metal inside a human body. This is the first part of a two part series called “Sound and Light.” Also...


21 - Renegades

Does medicine have a place for renegades who play by their own rules? Producer Cam Steele brings us a story about medical mavericks drinking toxic cocktails of their own creation, threading rubber tubes through their veins, and trying to disrupt entire industries, all in the attempt to change the world. Learn about all this and more, plus a new #AdamAnswers, in Episode 21 of Bedside Rounds!


20 - Buried Alive

The nineteenth century was struck by a collective panic about being buried alive, leading to a bevy of new laws, regulations, and inventions like the safety coffin. In this episode, we explore how medical science created and fueled this fear by blurring the line between life and death with the invention of new tests for death, developing life-saving technologies like rescue breathing, and even re-animating corpses. And just in case you thought the fear of premature interment was something...


19 - Of Madness and Moons

Can the moon make you crazy? The superstition is rampant in medicine, but the idea that a full moon awakens psychiatric pathologies traces back thousands of years. In Episode 19 of Bedside Rounds, producer Cam Steele looks at evidence behind the belief and traces the origins of this cultural fossil that has managed to last until the 21st century. Learn about all this and more in Of Madness and Moons!


18 - Dr. Livingstone, I presume?

By the time that David Livingstone died on the banks of Lake Bangweulu, his name was already legend -- first, as a great explorer, becoming the first European to lay eyes on Victoria Falls and Lake Malawi, and second as a fierce advocate against the slave trade. But we often forget that he was a medical doctor, and made significant contributions to the nascent field of tropical medicine. In Episode 18 of Bedside Rounds, I recount his innovations in fighting malaria and discuss all the fun...


17 - The Iceman

In 1991, two hikers near the Austrian-Italian border discovered the 5,000 year-old mummified body of Otzi the Iceman buried in a glacier. What have we learned about medicine from the Iceman? From a fungus-based first aid kit, ancient acupuncture , analysis of paleofeces, hints about his violent demise -- and of course the good old fashioned physical exam -- the answer is more surprising than you might think. Learn more with Episode 17 of Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating...


16 - Phineas

Everyone knows the story of Phineas Gage, the young man who had a tamping iron shot through his brain in a freak accident and miraculously survived, only to have extreme personality changes. But the true story is far more complex -- and more interesting. In Episode 16 of Bedside Rounds, I revisit the primary sources on Gage's injury, delve into modern research into what actually happened, and take a field trip to visit the man himself.


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