Acne Can Be a Social Handicap

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

This is the second in an intermittent series of blogs featuring advertisements from medical journals. You can find the first here.

The ads below come from two dermatology journals—the first five from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and the last from the International Journal of Dermatology—and span nearly two decades. They promise not only a better quality of life through medical intervention, but also show cultural standards of work, social interaction, and beauty.

1955: We love the cartoon depictions of each gendered occupation, barefoot sailor and all.

1955: We love the cartoon depictions of each gendered occupation, barefoot sailor and all.

1955: Only people with perfect skin drink martinis.

1955: Only people with perfect skin drink martinis.

1955: Why do these “adolescents” look 40+?

1955: Why do these “adolescents” look 40+?

1963: Probably coincidentally, this ad appeared the same year The Bell Jar was published.

1963: Probably coincidentally, this ad appeared the same year The Bell Jar was published.

1963: Grenz rays are a mild form of radiation widely used from the 1940s–1970s to treat inflammatory skin diseases. While some practitioners still use Grenz rays, evidence of their efficacy remains limited.1,2

1963: Grenz rays are a mild form of radiation widely used from the 1940s–1970s to treat inflammatory skin diseases. While some practitioners still use Grenz rays, evidence of their efficacy remains limited.¹,²

1973: Nothing like nudity to convince doctors to recommend a medicated powder.

1973: Nothing like nudity to convince doctors to recommend a medicated powder.

 

1. Lindelöf, B., & Eklund, G. (1986). Incidence of malignant skin tumors in 14,140 patients after grenz-ray treatment for benign skin disorders. Archives of Dermatology, 122(12), 1391–1395.

2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (2010, March 30). Grenz rays therapy for inflammatory skin conditions (interventional procedures consultation). Guidance/interventional procedures. Retrieved April 24, 2013 from http://www.nice.org.uk

History Night: Seeking Submissions

RBR deskThe New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health is pleased to announce its Third Annual History Night to be held on April 8, 2013, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The event will take place at NYAM located at 1216 Fifth Avenue at the corner of 103rd Street.

We are inviting all those interested in presenting to submit papers on topics in the history of medicine and public health for consideration. Papers submitted previously at other educational events are eligible for submission. The time allotted for those papers chosen for presentation will be 15 minutes, with an additional 3-5 minutes for Q & A.

A panel of members of the NYAM Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health will select the papers to be presented.

The submission deadline is February 1, 2013. Papers may be submitted electronically to Donna Fingerhut at dfingerhut@nyam.org. Questions may be directed to Donna at 212-419-3645.

Symbols in a Life of Psychic Tension

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian Forget the articles: Advertisements can be the most interesting part of medical journals from decades past. The ads below, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology between 1940 and 1970, show how … Continue reading

Putting Asthma on the Map

By Arlene Shaner, Acting Curator and Reference Librarian for Historical Collections

Southwest Map

Map from The South-west and New Mexico for phthisis, weak lungs, asthma, bronchitis, etc. Chicago: American Health Resort Association, 1891.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Carla Keirns, MD, PhD, from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine will present this year’s John K. Lattimer Lecture, “Putting Asthma on the Map: Weather, Pollen, Pollution and the Geography of Risk.”

Dr Keirns will discuss how the patient’s environment has been central to the prevention and treatment of asthma since antiquity, and how, beginning in the 19th century, physicians learned to use measurements of humidity, sunlight and rainfall to predict places and seasons that would be safe for asthmatics. During the same period, indoor and outdoor risks such as pollen and dust began to mark regions and spaces as risky or dangerous, and led to efforts to escape attacks through travel or fortifying the home environment against triggers. Recent efforts to predict or create safe places have turned again to the outdoors, both through national regulation of air pollution and the efforts of minority communities and their academic and activist partners to document the disproportionate environmental risks faced by their members.

Register for the event here.

“Die Free”: Black Soldiers in the Civil War

By Lisa O’Sullivan, Director

Surgeon's Certificate for  Dick Parker Wills 1903

Surgeon’s Certificate for Dick Parker Wills 1903

More than 200,000 African men served in the Union Army’s United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. Among them were James Wills, Mack Wills, Dick (Wills) Parker, Andy Wills and Richard Wills, who fled the Tennessee plantation of Edmund Wills to join the 4th Heavy Field Artillery of Columbus, Kentucky.

In Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale acclaimed journalist Cheryl Wills explores the story of her great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, and his companions. In unearthing her family history, she uncovers the discrepancies, disparities, and decisions “great and small, careless and deliberate” that impacted the treatment and care of black soldiers.

Black soldiers died from disease at a disproportionate rate to their white compatriots, and, as documented in Die Free, their higher burden of mortality continued after the end of the war. Evidence from medical records and surgeon’s certificates indicates that many black soldiers also struggled to have their conditions taken seriously and to be granted pensions.

We are delighted to be welcoming Cheryl Wills to the New York Academy of Medicine on December 10. She will appear in discussion with the renowned Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, to explore the experiences of her family, and reflect on the ongoing legacy of the discrimination they suffered.

Discover more about Die Free here. In addition to their service as soldiers, African Americans also acted as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers during the Civil War. Some of these contributions are explored in Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries, an exhibition at the National Library of Medicine.

Voices from the AIDS Epidemic

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, 1987.

State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, 1987.

Today, health care professionals can use multiple tests to detect HIV infection. Where available, drugs therapies allow people to live with HIV for many years before developing AIDS. Of course, this was not always the case. In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1, we are revisiting some of the voices published in the early years of the epidemic.

In 1982, 14 doctors presented their front-line experiences at an international symposium, the proceedings of which were published in book form the following year. Their frustration with their inability to successfully treat their young patients rings out clearly.

“Thirteen of 42 patients in our series have already died. Nationwide, half of the patients have died.” Half of their patients with “Pneumicystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) , the most common infection,” responded to the administered drug . “However, excluding three who are still being treated, only two patients who had PCP are presently alive, even though six recovered from their initial infection.” In the ten patients with Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, eight died. “Only one, a 22-year-old man with CMV pneumonia, has recovered.” As the authors go on to say, “treatment remains a knotty problem.”

At another symposium, also published in book form, Dr. Kevin M. Cahill, the senior member of the New York City Board of Health, applauded the efforts of individual doctors and nurses, in addition to the “superb work” of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.  But he chastised the inaction of the “organized medical community.”

“When a fatal infection had struck down veterans attending an American Legion convention, health professionals across the country joined in the search for a solution. When women using tampons became ill with toxic shock syndrome, medical societies and research centers immediately focused their enormous talents on that problem. But when the victims were drug addicts and poor Haitian refugees and homosexual men, their plight did not, somehow, seem as significant to those expected to speak for the health professions. No major research programs were announced, and until it became clear that the disease could spread to the general population through blood transfusions, organized medicine seemed part of the conspiracy of silence.”

Where are we today? Even with so much knowledge about prevention, the CDC estimates that 50,000 people in the United States become newly infected with HIV each year; about 33,000 people receive AIDS diagnoses. In the United States, HIV incidence in people aged 13-29 rose 21 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Prevention education remains essential. Visit the CDC’s Act Against AIDS page or World AIDS Day’s website to find out more about current prevention and testing measures.

For a year-by-year timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, visit AIDS.gov.

Sources:
Cahill, K. M. (1983). The AIDS epidemic.  New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Basic Statistics. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm

Gold, J. W. M., Armstrong, D., Sears, C. L., Henry, S., Donnelly, H., Brown, A. E., …Wong, B.(1983). Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome: Infection and Neoplasia in Homosexual Men and Intravenous Drug Addicts. In C. S. F. Easmon & H. Gaya (Eds.), Second international symposium on infections in the immunocompromised host (pp. 105–113). London: Academic Press.