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Medicine & Disease

The pain of war had at least one positive side-effect: medical advances in haematology.

The legacy of Marie Skłodowska Curie, the world's most famous female physicist, is assured, but in her lifetime she was a controversial figure.

The medical advice in Bald’s Leechbook outlasted the language in which it was written.

René Laënnec examining a patient using a monaural stethoscope. 3D diorama model, c.1950.  © Wellcome Images

The stethoscope revolutionised medicine, but it also provoked anxieties about the unfamiliar sounds it revealed. 

Creative healing: The Hydra, alongside a photograph of Wilfred Owen. Ⓒ Johnny Greig.

The Hydra, a magazine produced by shell shock patients, was pioneering as a mental health care treatment.

Since it was founded in 1948, the issue of how Britons have laughed with – or at – the NHS reveals much about changes in society.

Wheelchair of Sir Thomas Fairfax, parliamentarian commander-in-chief

The Civil Wars of the 17th century prompted pioneering medical care and welfare, provided by the state not just for soldiers but for the widows and children they left behind, as Eric Gruber von Arni and Andrew Hopper show.

The belief that a king’s laying on of hands could cure the disfiguring disease of scrofula gained new heights of popularity during the Restoration, as Stephen Brogan explains.

Doctor derailed: a portrait of Brown-Séquard, c.1880

The career of the brilliant physiologist Brown-Séquard is a reminder of the perils of scientific innovation.

Epidemics spread mistrust, as communities seek to blame their plight on outsiders or those at the margins of society. Yet the historical record reveals that outbreaks are more likely to bring people together than force them apart.