Was This the First Time Science Lost Out to “Natural Remedies”?

Worthless natural remedies, especially when they come from “exotic” locations, have always been popular. They’ve also always been big business. Here’s one of the earliest struggles on record—when the richest man in Europe went after a medieval doctor.

Source: Was This the First Time Science Lost Out to “Natural Remedies”?

‘Alternative medicine’ that works is simply called ‘medicine’ 😉

The First Real “Magic Bullet” in Medicine Was Arsenic

There wasn’t much to be done about syphilis for most of its history. It was a horrible, slow way to die and the only way to ward off the most acute attacks was mercury—until a dye and a poison provided the inspiration for an effective treatment.

Source: The First Real “Magic Bullet” in Medicine Was Arsenic

Arsenic is still a silver bullet today. It’s used to cure Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Cure, not treat; and APML used to be a death sentence.

Terrifying Medical Instruments Found on Blackbeard’s Sunken Ship

The jolly good life of a pirate was not a jolly healthy one, what with the syphilis and scurvy and ship-raiding. Archeologists excavating Blackbeard’s flagship off the coast of North Carolina have unveiled their latest findings: a cache of medical instruments that include this rather horrifying urethral syringe.

Source: Terrifying Medical Instruments Found on Blackbeard’s Sunken Ship

Scurvy, gangrene, dysentery… That stuff was in Pirates of the Caribbean right?  The eye patch was actually to acclimate to low light situations, so you could see when you went below deck.

A Smartphone Dongle That Will Tell You If You’ve Got STDs

One step closer to the Star Trek tricorder!

A team of researchers, led by Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test. Specifically, it performs an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone. It performs a triplexed immunoassay not currently available in a single test format: HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis, and non-treponemal antibody for active syphilis infection.

…During the field testing in Rwanda, health care workers were given 30 minutes of training, which included a user-friendly interface to aid the user through each test, step-by-step pictorial directions, built-in timers to alert the user to next steps, and records of test results for later review. The vast majority of patients (97%) said they would recommend the dongle because of its fast turn-around time, ability to offer results for multiple diseases, and simplicity of procedure.

Source: Smartphone, Finger Prick, 15 Minutes, Diagnosis—Done!

Screw the relatively useless features that smartphones currently provide.  I’m looking at you, NFC and 1080p…  There’s no mention, but I’d hope the device would be able to help with diabetes, INR…