It’s no mystery that infectious diseases have had a profound impact on our world. They altered populations, impede progress, and yet can even be cause for new inventions. Here, we’ll take a look at epic diseases that made a major change in our world, whether for good, bad, or both at the same time.
This course is more than a historical survey and appreciation, as the student will learn intimately the signs, symptoms, nature, mortality, and spread of infectious disease. In spite of modern drugs and vaccines, the old world diseases like smallpox, tuberculosis, and malaria are still with us, only needing a lack of hygiene and malnutrition to allow them to return. Suffice it to say, a study of this viewpoint of history makes for a radical shift in knowledge and consciousness.
- Smallpox: Smallpox was an extremely infectious disease that wiped out entire empires. It began in northern Africa, and popped up time and time again in repeat epidemics. It killed royalty and the poor alike, not controlled until the development of the world’s first vaccine in the 1700s.
- Tuberculosis: While we have smallpox to thank for vaccines, we have tuberculosis for the promotion of pasteurization and the quest for antibiotics. Pasteurization was key to controlling TB, as it heats and kills TB pathogens and other contaminants in milk.
- Influenza (all): Whether it’s Spanish Flu, H1N1, Avian, or the seemingly innocuous flu many suffer from each year, influenza is a serious illness. Influenza in all forms has had a major impact on the number of deaths in the modern world. It also influenced the course of WWI, killing soldiers and putting a strain on military health care.
- Malaria: Malaria is a disease that is still prevalent in underdeveloped countries today. There is a cure for malaria now, but for more than a thousand years, there was none. Its cure, quinine, has a story that changed the world.
- Cholera: Cholera is a disease that’s spread through a lack of clean water and poor or nonexistent sewage systems. The existence of this disease required a change, in the form of improved sanitation, which reduced cholera’s impact.
- Bubonic plague: Also known as The Black Death, the bubonic plague was an incredibly devastating pandemic, which is estimated to have wiped out 75-200 million people in the 14th century, including 30%-60% of Europe’s population. It took Europe’s population 150 years to recover.
- Syphilis: Syphilis was present in the Americas before European contact, and it may have been carried from the Americas to Europe by the returning crewmen from Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas, or it may have existed in Europe previously but gone unrecognized until shortly after Columbus’s return. The first written records of an outbreak of syphilis in Europe occurred in 1494 or 1495 in Naples, Italy, during a French invasion (Italian War of 1494–98).
Since it was claimed to have been spread by French troops, it was
initially called the "French disease" by the people of Naples. In 1530, the pastoral name "syphilis" (the name of a character) was first used by the Italian physician and poet Girolamo Fracastoro as the title of his Latin poem in dactylic hexameter describing the ravages of the disease in Italy. It was also called the "Great Pox".
In the 16th through 19th centuries, syphilis was one of the largest public health burdens in prevalence, symptoms, and disability, although records of its true prevalence were generally not kept because of the fearsome and sordid status of sexually transmitted diseases in those centuries. Both criminals, Al Capone and Adolf Hitler carried and died of the disease.
- Typhus is any of several similar diseases caused by Rickettsiae. The name comes from the Greek typhos meaning smoky or hazy,describing the state of mind of those affected with typhus. The first reliable description of the disease appears during the Spanish siege of Moorish Granada in 1489. These accounts include descriptions of fever and red spots over arms, back and chest, progressing to delirium, gangrenous sores, and the stink of rotting flesh. During the siege, the Spaniards lost 3,000 men to enemy action but an additional 17,000 died of typhus. Epidemics occurred throughout Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and occurred during the English Civil War, the Thirty Years’ War and the Napoleonic Wars. In the Thirty Years’ War, an estimated 8 million Germans were wiped out by bubonic plague and typhus fever. During Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812, more French soldiers died of typhus than were killed by the Russians.
- Whooping Cough: Technically known as Pertussis, this
highly infectious disease is known in some countries as the “cough of
100 days.” It’s estimated that the disease affects 48.5 million people
yearly, resulting in nearly 295,000 deaths.
- Measles: In the Caribbean island Hispaniola it’s estimated that within 50 years of the arrival of Columbus, his crew and their “pathogens” (like measles, influenza and smallpox), the indigenous Taino people were virtually extinct. This pattern of large death tolls among Indigenous populations in the Americas is repeated in many locations, causing loss of traditional ways of life and cultural identity, and changing the course of their history. The accidental introduction of measles to Fiji (1875) by people travelling between Fiji and the West caused massive numbers of deaths in communities previously not exposed to the disease. In a few months 20-25% of Fijians and nearly all of the 69 chiefs died. The leadership vacuum and loss of working-age population became an opportunity for the colonial government to import labourers from other nations to work in the agricultural industries.
- Epilepsy: The neurological disease epilepsy causes seizures, which include body clenching, shouting, and occasionally, strange visions. Some experts believe that prophets including Ezekiel, Joseph Smith, Napoleon, and Joan of Arc may have suffered from epilepsy, which would explain their religious visions.
- Polio: Polio was a worldwide epidemic between 1840 and the 1950s, causing infections and even paralysis. Jonas Salk changed the world when he developed the inactivated polio virus vaccine in 1952, which causes nearly all who receive the vaccine to develop protective antibodies that prevent the disease.
- Yellow Fever: Like malaria, yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease that has not been eradicated. This disease, which causes aching, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and other symptoms, can lead to multi-organ dysfunction and even death. It is believed to have influenced the Louisiana Purchase, pre-WWII development in the US, and the Panama Canal. Its impact is limited primarily to the southern US, where mosquitoes can survive the winter.
- Autism: Autism is a terrible disease, leaving sufferers with the inability to fully relate to others and become obsessively locked into tasks. In its own strange way, autism has benefited the world by allowing scientists such as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein to produce the work of multiple people in their own lifetimes.
- Ebola hemorrhagic fever is named after the Ebola River, where the first
recognized outbreak of the fever occurred. The viruses are characterized
by long filaments, and have a shape similar to that of the Marburg
virus, also in the family Filoviridae, and possessing similar disease
symptoms. Ebola first emerged in 1976 in Zaire. It remained largely
obscure until 1989 with the outbreak in Reston, Virginia. The virus has
been confirmed to be transmitted through body fluids, however,
transmission through oral exposure and through conjunctiva exposure is
possible. In the early stages, Ebola may not be highly contagious.
Contact with someone in early stages may not even transmit the disease.
As the illness progresses, bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, and
bleeding represent an extreme biohazard. Due to lack of proper equipment
and hygienic practices, large-scale epidemics occur mostly in poor,
isolated areas without modern hospitals or well-educated medical staff.
A rich course to say the least with stunning revelations, the student will resolve many times, "I had no idea". Written materials, extensive audio files, and supplements. 50 clock hours
The ultimate aim of the study of medicine is therapeutics and only secondarily the prevention of disease. Yet, the bringing about of such perfection in the manner of living that slows the inevitable mode of death — the natural and gradual decay of health leading to old age — shall be probable. It is obvious that we can make no attempt at prevention of disease unless we know the cause. In the 19th century an empiric flourished whose beautifully simple theory was based on his belief that all diseases were caused by germs. Many of the theories of medicine of today are as preposterous, or as idiotic, and are built upon total error, stupidity or mere fractions of truths.
The preservation of health and the attainment of ripe old age are of such eminent importance to mankind that, though perhaps ignorantly or heedlessly disobeying the simplest rules of hygiene, make many inquirers are spending their lives in the eager search of the magical or alchemical agent. And the heavens, the earth, the Bible, the shadowless spirit-land, even the caldrons of the votaries of the Black Prince, are explored and probed for the unattainable Elixir Vitae.
The more ridiculous or incomprehensible the theory of any new cult of universal health, the greater, apparently, is the following. The ancient custom of wearing amulets to ward off disease has not yet entirely disappeared from even the most civilized communities. In this respect the world has made but little progress since the age of the knightly Ponce de Leon, who reputedly explored the wilderness of Florida in search of the fountain which was to restore to him his youthful ardor. Still today in spite of all advancements, for the world at large the very essentials of our well-being are generally overlooked or neglected — the air that we breathe, the food that is to sustain us, and the water we drink with to slake our thirst. In the improper use of one or all of these lies in almost at every instance the root of our afflictions. And it is a sad reflection upon our vaunted civilization that the lower the station of a race, often the less common is disease.
The observance by successive generations of mankind of proper hygienic principles will not only overcome the inherited morbid proclivities of their forebears, but it will modify the character and virulence of pathogenic bacteria or their lives, and will endow the body with a natural immunity against their evil influence; for it is necessary to infection that the tissues shall be, in some degree, toxic and disordered.
If life is worth living at all, it certainly is worth living well; and to live it well, to accomplish the most good possible and secure the greatest amount of happiness, we must acquaint ourselves with the laws of health that control us. No one doubts that we are under the domain of natural laws, that there is some power superior to man. We must know these laws in order to use them to our best advantage, to enable us to put ourselves in accord with the inevitable results of ageing and fate.
Hygiene is a set of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases." However, as a branch of natural medicine that appeared in the late 19th century, a small and still neglected ‘school of hygienics’ appeared and disappeared. Hygienics is a concept related to cleanliness, health, diet, and medicine. Today it is variously called ‘wellness.’ Yet hygienics is more than personal and professional care practices. In medicine and everyday life settings, hygiene practices are employed as preventative measures to reduce the incidence and spreading of disease. This is well established. Other uses of the term appear in phrases including body hygiene, personal hygiene, sleep hygiene, mental hygiene, dental hygiene, and occupational hygiene, used in connection with public health.
However, hygienics is also the name of a branch of science that deals with the promotion and preservation of health. According to Robinson, one of the founders of the Hygienic System: "Diseases are caused by obstructions the obstructing materials being poisons or impurities of some kind. The truth of this follows from what has already been said. The Hygienic System removes these obstructions and leaves the body sound. This is the true way to treat disease.”
“Drug medicines add to the causes of obstructions and change acute into chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are characterized by deficient vitality. When drugs "cure" (?) disease, it is by exciting nature to increased effort, and thereby exhausting the vitality of the patient and consequently leaving him with debilitated organs. Hygienic Medication cures disease without the unnecessary exhaustion of the patient's vitality. When a patient recovers from a disease under drug treatment he usually is a long time convalescing. When a person recovers under Hygienic treatment he goes about his business as well as ever. "To attempt to cure disease by adding to the causes of disease is irrational and absurd.”
Thus, by observing the founders of the Hygienic System, we learn the rules for wellness, detoxification, and proper diet. In this 21st century we have ample science and clinical knowledge to construct the general rules for health and wellness.
- Msgr. Prof. McWilliams: Maria Popova
Senescence or biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity. Such changes range from those affecting its cells and their function to those affecting the whole organism. There are a number of hypotheses as to why senescence occurs; for example, some posit it is programmed by gene expression changes, others that it is the cumulative damage caused by biological processes. Senescence is not the inevitable fate of all organisms. A variety of organisms, including some cold-blooded animals, have negligible senescence. Whether senescence as a biological process can be slowed down, halted or even reversed, is a subject of current scientific speculation and research.
In human nutrition and biology, advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs, are substances that can be a factor in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases.
Eating brown rice instead of white is seen as a way to cut down on advanced glycation end products.
These harmful compounds can affect nearly every type of cell and molecule in the body and are thought to be one factor in aging and in some age-related chronic diseases. They are also believed to play a causative role in the blood-vessel complications of diabetes mellitus. AGEs are seen as speeding up oxidative damage to cells and in altering their normal behavior.
This course presents the latest scientific research in the field of performance nutrition. From the macro to the molecular, this solid, science-based information will help you understand your own body better than you ever have. 24 in-depth lectures:
- how the food you eat is broken down and distributed to the tissues in your body
- how your body uses those nutrients to produce the energy you need to function and perform
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Based on laboratory results, presents diet and exercise recommendations in incremental steps that men and women of all ages and fitness levels can follow.