Political Messiahs ~ From Hitler to Trump
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
5M ago
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain  always a child.”  — Cicero It’s January 1933, the month of Hitler’s ascension as Chancellor of Germany, and a new morning for the Nazification of Christianity has arrived.  So said Emanuel Hirsh, for whom there was no distinction between Christian belief and German Volk.  So said Paul Althaus, for whom “the German Hour of the Christian”  had arrived.  And so said Gerhard Kittel, Germany’s leading Nazi Christian theologian and Senior Editor of the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” &nbs ..read more
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The Moral Health of America**
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
1y ago
The criminal indictments of Donald Trump, we are told, ad nauseum, represent a “test,” indeed, a “stress test,” for American democracy.  And it is a test, some claim, that we are failing.  Really?  Trump’s criminality has resulted in multiple criminal indictments for which he will stand trial and hopefully end up in prison. I tend to the position of Steve Benen, for whom Trump is a scandal-plagued politician in a country that has “all kinds of experience with scandal-plagued politicians getting indicted.  It happens all the time.  It doesn’t tear at the fabric of our c ..read more
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Christian Healthcare for Christian Nationalists
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
1y ago
  Christian Nationalism (CN):   The belief that the United States is, and always has been, a Christian nation.  An oxymoron in the context of the explicit language of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. CN Proponents:  Titans of  American Ignorance in all its anti-historical, anti-rationalist, anti-democratic glory.  Nationalism, as set forth in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, does not permit the qualifier, “Christian.”  The phrase is quite literally non-sensical. America’s Founding Fathers:   A group of educated gentlemen, some avowed ..read more
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Malaria in the Ranks
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
2y ago
Malaria (from Italian “bad air”): Infection transmitted to humans by mosquito bites containing single-celled parasites, most commonly Plasmodium (P.) vivax  and P. falciparum.  Mosquito vector discovered by Ronald Ross of Indian Medical Service in 1897.  Symptoms:  Initially recurrent (“intermittent”) fever, then constant high fever, violent shakes and shivering, nausea, vomiting.  Clinical descriptions as far back as Hippocrates in fifth century B.C. and earlier still in Hindu and Chinese writings.  Quinine:  Bitter-tasting alkaloid from the bark of cinchona ..read more
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Why Pellagra Matters
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
2y ago
It was the dread disease of the four “D”s:  dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death.  The symptoms were often severe: deep red rashes, with attendant blistering and skin sloughing on the face, lips, neck, and extremities; copious liquid bowels; and deepening dementia with disorganized speech and a host of neurological symptoms.  Death followed up to 40% of the time.  The disease was reported in 1771 by the Italian Francisco Frapolini, who observed it among the poor of Lombardy.  They called it pelagra – literally “rough skin” in the dialect of northern Italy.  F ..read more
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Anti-vaxxers in Free Fall
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
2y ago
I read a news story in which a man is dying of Covid-19 in the hospital.  He is asked whether he regrets not getting vaccinated and rallies enough to reply, “No, I don’t believe in the vaccine.”  So what then does he believe in?  Systemic viral infection, suffering, and death?  If you don’t believe in vaccination, you don’t believe in modern medicine in toto.  You don’t believe in bacteriology, virology, cellular biology, microbiology, or immunology.  What then is left to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease?  Trump-ish medievalism, mysticism, shamanism, divi ..read more
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Unmasked and Unhinged
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
2y ago
The Great Influenza, the Spanish Flu, a viral infection spread by droplets and mouth/nose/hand contact, laid low the residents of dense American cities, and spurred municipal officials to take new initiatives in social distancing.[1]  City-wide bans on public gatherings included closing schools, theaters, motion picture houses, dance halls, and – perish the thought – saloons.  In major cities, essential businesses that remained open had to comply with new regulations, including staggered opening and closing times to minimize crowd size on streets and in trolleys and subways.  St ..read more
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Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About Typhoid
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
3y ago
Extreme fatigue; dangerously high fever; severe abdominal pain; headaches; diarrhea or constipation; nausea and vomiting – the symptoms of severe typhoid fever can be a panoply of horrors.  Like cholera, the bacteria in question – Salmonella typhi, cousin to the Salmonella that causes food poisoning – find a home in water and food contaminated with human feces.  The infection is contracted only by humans, and it is highly contagious.  More persons contract it from human contact – often from unwashed hands following defecation – than from drinking contaminated water or ingesting ..read more
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Remembering Cholera in the Time of Covid
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
3y ago
It came in crippling waves, the deadly intestinal infection that, in 1832 alone, killed 150,000 Americans.  Its telltale symptom was massive watery diarrhea that led to drastic dehydration; hence its name, cholera, from the Greek “flow of bile.”  It could kill otherwise healthy persons, children and adults, within hours.  Historians refer to the cholera epidemics of the 19th century, but the epidemics, especially those of 1832, 1848, and 1866, were in fact pandemics, spreading from nation to nation and continent to content.      Orthodox or “regular” physicia ..read more
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The War on Children’s Plague
Medicine, Health, and History
by Paul Stepansky
3y ago
In the early 19th century, doctors called it angina maligna (gangrenous pharyngitis) or “malignant sore throat.”  Then in 1826, the French physician Pierre-Fidele Bretonneau grouped both together as diphtherite.  It was a horrible childhood disease in which severe inflammation of the upper respiratory tract gave rise to a false membrane, a “pseudomembrane,” that covered the pharynx, larynx, or both.  The massive tissue growth prevented swallowing and blocked airways and often led to rapid death by asphyxiation.  It felled adults and children alike, but younger children were ..read more
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