Health as moral economy in the long nineteenth century
sources. For usually these concentrate either on immediate causes of death or on incidence of particular diseases. They obscure integrative conditions manifest in dissatisfaction or dysfunction. And leaving aside categories, the high incidence of infections will have masked stress-related conditions that would become visible only after an epidemiologic transition made so-called ‘lifestyle-related’ causes of death more prominent.
‘And all must have prizes
In the prologue to his 1892 short story, Number Twenty , the English satirist Henry Duff Traill personifies the nineteenth century as an exhausted, dying old man. Opening at 11.30 p.m. on 31 December 1900, Traill's story finds Old Seekleham – an ungainly pun on the Latin saeculum (century) – with just half an hour to live. Far from mourning his impending death, however, Seekleham greets it with a weary resignation, even relief: ‘It was not that he had attained to a greater age than his ancestors, who, in fact, had all been centenarians like
The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London
provide for their children. Those parents unable to do so upset the social order.
In a different case, Lucy F. was taken into the Society's St Chads home in 1889 at the age of fourteen. The catalyst for her admission was the death of her mother and ‘her father [wa]s a good for nothing, ignorant man, with no idea of looking after his children, though he would not wilfully injure them’.
We are thus provided with a picture of working-class parenting that did not comply with middle-class expectations
balance not easily regained. Cognitive impairment can accompany progressive physiological decline, ending in frontal lobe dementia.
A cure for Parkinson's still eludes us, even as hopes run high among the experimental scientific community.
However, there has been a remarkable clinical managerial tool available from the 1960s, one that leverages dopamine substitution in brains where massive dopaminergic neuron death has triggered
was concerned, the government felt strongly that new incentive payments and targets were essential. They would, the government believed, simultaneously raise standards of service and enable primary care to confront a range of public health concerns, not least those associated with ‘chronic disease’. 2
The management of diabetes mellitus was one area of chronic disease care that the contract sought to improve. Political interest in diabetes had developed slowly over the twentieth century. Prominent British clinicians had warned that ‘deaths from
end interest in chronicity, though. Although the chronic sick attracted considerable political attention, into the 1950s and 1960s figures within clinical medicine, epidemiology, laboratory sciences, and public health became interested in the concept and challenges of ‘chronic disease’. In contrast to discussions of chronic sickness, discussions of chronic disease predominantly concerned how best to prevent and manage non-infectious conditions in order to delay impairment and death. Very broadly, that is, whereas discussions about – and management of – chronic
Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People and the hybrid pathways of Chinese
harmful ingredients such as ‘impure carbonate of iron, with a little arsenic, green copperas, and pearl ash’.
In March of 1902, the British publication The Chemist and Druggist published a virulent attack on Dr Williams’ Pink Pills in the form of a coroner's inquest into the death of an unnamed cabdriver in an article appearing right before a piece entitled ‘The Week's Poisonings’.
The results from pharmaceutical tests are less lurid, though not by much. Table 10
inconsistent effects, and visual improvements were not demonstrated. 18 On the other hand, doctors and patients could turn to more radical interventions, most prominently pituitary ablation (hypophysectomy) or adrenalectomy. Although the effects in some young patients could be stark, these treatments held the inherent risks of dramatic surgery. One symposium on hypophysectomy held in 1962 indicated an 11.2 per cent postoperative death rate (15 of 134 cases), with a further 29 per cent of patients dying after six years (39 of 134 cases). 19 Beyond mortality, surgery also
Despite the BDA submitting persuasive arguments for diabetes, the subsequent White Paper adopted fourteen quantified targets for five key areas: coronary heart disease and stroke, cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and sexual health, and accidents. 94 The Major government suggested that these five areas met three key criteria, being areas of considerable premature death and avoidable ill-health, in possession of known effective interventions, and amenable to target-setting and monitoring. 95 Critics of the programme have suggested, by contrast, that alongside being
Dietary advice and agency in North America and Britain
Although technology and science offered the potential for new forms of medicine and healthcare, they also brought death and destruction.
Many self-help accounts of health and disease emphasised how balance could be achieved by adhering to natural diets. Diseases in the developed Western world, it was argued, were a direct result of ‘unbalanced diets’, such as eating too much and consuming large amounts of fat, sugar or processed foods. Stories of the wisdom of the noble savage, the lifestyle of the Mediterranean