Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow

Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow

by Peter Vinten-Johansen
     
 

ISBN-10: 019513544X

ISBN-13: 9780195135442

Pub. Date: 05/28/2003

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

The product of six years of collaborative research, this fine biography offers new interpretations of a pioneering figure in anesthesiology, epidemiology, medical cartography, and public health. It modifies the conventional rags to riches portrait of John Snow by synthesizing fresh information about his early life from archival research and recent studies. It

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Overview

The product of six years of collaborative research, this fine biography offers new interpretations of a pioneering figure in anesthesiology, epidemiology, medical cartography, and public health. It modifies the conventional rags to riches portrait of John Snow by synthesizing fresh information about his early life from archival research and recent studies. It explores the intellectual roots of his commitments to vegetarianism, temperance, and pure drinking water, first developed when he was a medical apprentice and assistant in the north of England. The authors argue that all of Snow's later contributions are traceable to the medical paradigm he imbibed as a medical student in London and put into practice early in his career as a clinician: that medicine as a science required the incorporation of recent developments in its collateral sciences—chiefly anatomy, chemistry, and physiology—in order to understand the causes of disease. Snow's theoretical breakthroughs in anesthesia were extensions of his experimental research in respiratory physiology and the properties of inhaled gases. Shortly thereafter, his understanding of gas laws led him to reject miasmatic explanations for the spread of cholera, and to develop an alternative theory in consonance with what was then known about chemistry and the physiology of digestion. Using all of Snow's writings, the authors follow him when working in his home laboratory, visiting patients throughout London, attending medical society meetings, and conducting studies during the cholera epidemics of 1849 and 1854. The result is a book that demythologizes some overly heroic views of Snow by providing a fairer measure of his actual contributions. It will have an impact not only on the understanding of the man but also on the history of epidemiology and medical science.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195135442
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/28/2003
Pages:
456
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. York and Newcastle, 1813-33
2. Senior Apprentice and Assistant, 1830-1836
3. London Medical and Surgical Training, 1836-38
4. Forging a London Career, 1838-1846
5. Ether
6. Chloroform
7. Cholera Theories: Controversy and Confusion
8. Snow's Cholera Theory
9. Professional Success
10. Cholera and Metropolitan Water Supply
11. Broad Street
12. Snow and the Mapping of Cholera Epidemies
13. Snow and the Sanitarians
14. Further Developments in Anesthesia
15. Common Ground: Continuous Molecular Changes
16. Snow's Multiple Legacies

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