A selection of images from High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) by champion of electro-therapeutics Samuel Howard Monell, a physician who the American X-Ray Journal cite, rather wonderfully, as having “done more for static electricity than any other living man”.
Although the use of electricity to treat physical ailments could be seen to stretch back to the when the ancient Greeks first used live electric fish to numb the body in pain, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries – through the work of Luigi Galvani and Guillaume Duchenne – that the idea really took hold.
Monell claims that his high frequency currents of electricity could treat a variety of ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression, and hysteria.
Although not explicitly delved into in this volume, the treatment of this latter condition in women was frequently achieved at this time through the use of an early form of the vibrator (to save the physician from the manual effort), through bringing the patient to “hysterical paroxysm” (in other words, an orgasm).
These days electrotherapy has been widely accepted in the field of physical rehabilitation, and also made the news recently in its use to keep soldiers awake (the treatment of fatigue also being one of Monell’s applications).
Please go to the Website to fully appreciate the other Images via High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) | The Public Domain Review.
It was not until 1890 that the status of lunatics was changed, in Britain by Parliamentary legislation, from prisoners to patients.
Asylums were prisons disguised as hospitals, where the poor and incurable could be swept out of sight,
It was a far cry from the charitable intentions of Simon FitzMary, who founded Bethlem in Bishopsgate in 1370 as a priory offering asylum to London’s mad paupers.
During the Crusades, he had been led to safety by the star over Bethlehem: the motif appears on the hospital’s crest to this day.
Traditionally, the medieval Church equated health and madness with good and evil.
The mad were possessed by evil spirits, which could be driven out by beating, immersion in freezing water and periods in isolation.
Sir Thomas More was as much in favour of thrashing the insane to bring them to their senses as he was of flogging heretics.
Bedlam was racked by scandals. One inmate died after his intestines burst, having been chained in a confined space for years.
Others slept naked on straw in the cold, tormented by sadistic keepers.
There was money to be made out of the misery, hence the rise of the private madhouse.
As the materialistic Victorian era gathered pace, Bedlam pushed its pauper inmates into new county asylums, making room for a burgeoning market of shabby, genteel inmates, driven to insanity by the pressures of middle-class life.
Private madhouses were convenient dumping grounds for unwanted wives. Defoe noted that if they were not mad when they arrived, they certainly ended up so.
By ancient tradition, the possession of a womb predisposed a person to insanity. Virgins and menopausal women were particularly vulnerable.
One Victorian doctor advocated applying leeches to the labia, while another maintained that removing the clitoris saved a woman from insanity.
It was no wonder, then, that the medics were perplexed when 80,000 ostensibly fit and active men suffered mental breakdown during World War I. They were not women, so why the hysteria?
It was a further blow to conventional belief that most of the victims were officers, the elite drawn from the public schools.
Accused of malingering, they were subjected to a new, barbarous electric shock treatment, before a more enlightened approach emerged.
Original Painting of Fracastoro by Titian.
A notorious 16th-century Italian’s portrait was acquired by the National Gallery in London in 1924.
His name? Girolamo Fracastoro. His claim to fame?
A word for the sexually transmitted disease that was terrifying his countrymen—syphilis—was derived from a poem he wrote.
The portrait was damaged, darkened by varnish, and unsigned, so the museum staff relegated it to a basement gallery despite Fracastoro’s renown.
Eventually, cleaning and conservation revealed the hand of a master artist.
After close examination, curators decided last year that the artist must be the famed Venetian painter known as Titian.
The portrait now hangs in one of the museum’s main galleries.
Images by Photojournalist Kevin Frayer (Getty Images).
Like the other 160-plus signatories of the Paris climate agreement, China has pledged to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in the years ahead as part of a global goal of halting rising temperatures.
“Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the wellbeing of mankind,” Chinese President Xi Jinping has said.
As the world’s biggest polluter, China faces an extraordinary challenge in reducing its emissions — one made all the more difficult because of the countless high-polluting factories scattered across the country.
Authorities have moved to shut down many of the worst-offending factories, but some factory owners simply pay informal “fines” to local authorities before re-opening.
Photojournalist Kevin Frayer traveled to Inner Mongolia with Getty Images earlier this month to capture some haunting pictures of life inside one steel mill.
See more stunning images via Buzzfeed News
OxyContin is a well-known prescription painkiller.
It contains oxycodone, an opium derivative. Oxycodone has been available for decades. Doctors and government officials have recognized its dangers for nearly as long.
People began to voice concerns about oxycodone as early as the 1960s. The United Nations labelled it a dangerous drug. The United States classified it as a Schedule II substance.
These are substances the Drug Enforcement Agency considers, “drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous.” Governments around the world acknowledged that oxycodone can create health and addiction issues.
Awareness didn’t spread far beyond policing bodies at first, as the drug wasn’t used much for medical or recreational purposes.
This changed when OxyContin entered the market.
Purdue Pharma began making and marketing OxyContin in the early 1990s. They combined oxycodone with a time-release ingredient, making OxyContin the only opiate that promised multiple hours of pain relief.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved this formula in 1995. While it provided extended relief for some, it created greater problems for others.
The drug was not as effective as hoped, leaving some in pain and others struggling with new substance abuse and addiction problems.
The Center for Substance Abuse Research explains, “Prolonged use and abuse of oxycodone medications eventually change the brain in such a way that a user cannot quit on his or her own, a typical sign of addiction.”
When a person takes oxycodone for extended periods of time or in larger doses than recommended, addiction develops. This isn’t a sign of personal or moral weakness. It is a normal biological and psychological response to opiate drug use.
Addiction isn’t the only risk associated with OxyContin use. OxyContin contributed to rapidly increasing overdose deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control shares, “In 2014, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids (e.g., morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone), 3.8 per 100,000, was the highest among opioid overdose deaths, and increased 9% from 3.5 per 100,000 in 2013.”
Every year, more people overdose on OxyContin and similar drugs.