School of History, Philosophy and Culture

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  • Podcasts

    • History of Medicine #5: 'The Itch': The Strange Story of Skin Disease and Prejudice in the Eighteenth Century

      Kevin Siena is Associate Professor at Trent University, Canada, and held an Oxford Brookes International Research Fellowship in 2011. Kevin’s research focuses on early modern British history with special interests in medical history, sex and disease, urban poverty and social welfare. This seminar took place at Oxford Brookes University on 15 February 2011

    • History of Medicine #4: The Experimental Subject's Experience in Non-therapeutic Clinical Studies

      Brian Balmer and Norma Morris present their research on (women) volunteers’ experience of participating in experimental medical research, in this case the testing of a novel breast imaging technology likely to have potential for the diagnosis of breast cancer. The data collected from interviews and participant observations highlighted the often overlooked social challenges of participation in an experiment, including how volunteers’ concerns about their ‘performance’ outweighed those surrounding risk or physical discomfort. Morris and Balmer also elaborate on their finding that volunteers were commonly active, enthused, and resourceful, a conclusion that chimes better with current ideas of doctor-patient partnerships and active consumer participation in research rather than the commonly encountered construction of the vulnerable and passive ‘subject’ that informs current ethical and regulatory structures. Although Morris and Balmer do not claim that their research setting was representative, as volunteers’ aspirations will vary according to circumstances, they suggest that public policies for clinical research governance might usefully give more attention to the social and interactive dimensions of participation that are critical to making a satisfactory experience for volunteers and successful research outcomes.

    • History of Medicine #3: Between experimental evidence, statistical trial and preventive care the changing tides of BCG evaluation with human beings, 1921-1980

      In this seminar, Christian Bonah explores the protracted and often contentious history of the BCG vaccine against Tuberculosis, questioning the various approaches to therapeutic evaluation and human experimentation with the vaccine throughout the twentieth century.

    • History of Medicine #2: Controlled Trials Before Randomization

      Comparisons are key to all fair tests of the effects of treatments. Sometimes patients experience responses to treatments which compare dramatically with past experiences and the natural history of health problems. In these circumstances, confident conclusions about treatment effects can be reached without carefully controlled research. Such dramatic effects of treatments are rare, however, and reliable detection of moderate but important differential effects of treatments requires carefully designed, formal comparisons. A key principle in such formal treatment comparisons is that like will be compared with like – that, before the treatment(s) to be assessed have been started, the patients in the treatment comparison groups should have similar chances of recovery. In the middle of the 20th century, random allocation to treatment comparison groups began to be adopted as an unbiased way of creating similar groups. It is widely assumed that the adoption of random allocation in controlled trials reflected the influence of RA Fisher’s development of statistical theory. The evidence suggests otherwise.

    • History of Medicine #1: The Open Air School Movement in the first half of the Twentieth Century: A "non-evidenced based" experiment in social health

      The Open Air School Movement was a major public health initiative created within the Western World in the first half of the 20th century. Open air nursery and primary schools were introduced in the first decade of the century throughout Europe and North America and over the next 20-30 years became numerous and widespread. This paper examines the influences behind the Open Air school movement predating the influential School opened in Charlottenberg, Germany in 1904 and the working philosophy of these schools both in relation to health and more generally. It also documents the day to day working practices of the schools, their changing role as they were affected by changes in treatment and prevention of infectious disease and their subsequent decline and closure after the 2nd world war. The School movement is examined in the context of a more general social health agenda with particular emphasis on the ideas of “fresh air “ providing a desirable and healthy environment as a method of ( particularly ) control and prevention of TB – and the belief and investment in a concept in the absence of evidence of real benefit.

    • Moments In Medicine #10: A Treasure Chest of Medicine

      Rear Admiral John Lippiet, Cheif Executive of the Mary Rose Trust and Andy Elkerton, Collections Manager reveal the findings of a 500 year old medicine chest recovered from one of Henry VIII’s favorite war ships, the Mary Rose.

    • Moments In Medicine #9: Before CSI: The Origins of Forensic Medicine and Science

      Dr Cassie Watson, Oxford Brookes University and Dr Ian Burney, Manchester University discuss with Lizz Pearson the development of medicine used in the sevice of the law. Sponsored by the Centre for Health, Medicine and Society at Oxford Brookes University.

    • Moments In Medicine #8: The Vaccination Debate

      Professor Michael Worboys, University of Manchester; Dr. Helen Bedford, Institute of Child Health UCL and Dr. Richard Halvorsen, a GP working in central London discuss the rights of the individual vs the greater good of the community in the history of vaccination.

    • Moments In Medicine #7: Midwifery is from Venus - Medicine is from Mars

      If Henry VIII had hired better midwives would the course of history be changed? The evolution of midwifery and the tension between midwives and medical men are discussed by Jean Donnison, Historian of Social Policy and author, Lucy Reid, Head of Information Services at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Elizabeth Hurren, Medical Historian at Oxford Brookes University. The seventh in a series of History of Medicine podcasts from the Centre for Health, Medicine and Society: Past and Present.

    • Moments In Medicine #6: The Impact of the Individual

      Thoughout the ages who has made the most meaningful contribution to medicine? History and science students studying for their GCSEs at the Petchey Academy in Hackney queried HIPPOCRATES (portrayed by Dr Dionysios Stathakopoulos, King's College London), CLAUDIUS GALEN (Dr Tim McHugh, Oxford Brookes University), THOMAS WILLIS (Dr Elizabeth Hurren, Oxford Brookes) and MARY SEACOLE (Professor Elizabeth Aninowu, Thames Valley University) and cast their votes. The examining panel included Esme Kirk, student and David Daniels, Principal, Petchey Academy. Prof. Steve King from Oxford Brookes provided the historical context for each candidate. Produced by Apercu Media. The sixth in a series of History of Medicine podcasts from the Centre for Health, Medicine and Society: Past and Present.