'Post Mortem' diagnosis: Present-day ailments plagued some of history's great figures

April 02, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, April 2, 2007 - Medical science has made great leaps in the last several decades, but -- as "Post Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries" by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, MBA, FACP, reveals -- some of our "modern" illnesses have been around for centuries.

Published by the American College of Physicians (ACP), "Post Mortem" endeavors to solve 12 of history's most perplexing medical mysteries: "Dr. Mackowiak is one of today's most creative and accomplished medical historians," said John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP, Executive Vice President/CEO, ACP. "His clinical expertise and entertaining writing style make 'Post Mortem' appealing to the general public, physicians, and medical students."

Part medical mystery book, "Post Mortem" traces 3,500 years of the history of medicine from the perspective of what contemporary physicians thought about the diseases of these 12 famous patients and how they might have treated them. The medical histories presented are the most comprehensive ever compiled for these 12 titans of history.

"'Post Mortem' looks at the medical conditions of important historical figures as something more than footnotes to their lives," Mackowiak said. "In many instances their illnesses profoundly affected their legacies."

Each case is organized according to the standard format used by physicians in clinical practice today. The history of the present illness (i.e., the illness in question) is given first, followed by the subject's past medical history, social history, family history, and physical examination (based on historical records).

To heighten the reader's suspense, the identity of the patient is not revealed until the end of the case history, when Dr. Mackowiak leads the reader through a list of diagnostic possibilities to the one diagnosis most consistent with the illness described in historical records.

Although "Post Mortem" is the work of an eminent clinician and medical educator, the book is written for both the general public and the medical community. It covers a novel area of history, inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The conference attracts a broad range of attendees: the general public, historians, physicians, physicians-in-training, and high school students.

"Post Mortem" will be available at bookstores everywhere on April 6 or directly from the American College of Physicians at www.acponline.org/postmortem or by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or 215-351-2600.

Dr. Mackowiak is Director of Medical Care at the VA Maryland Health Care System and Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has studied and taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students and graduate physicians for over three decades.
-end-
The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 120,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults.

ACP works to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. Its publishing program includes the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, electronic products, and books for the medical community and general reader.

Note: For a digital photo of Dr. Mackowiak, Edgar Allan Poe, or the "Post Mortem" book cover, contact Steve Majewski (215-351-2514 or smajewski@acponline.org) or Lynda Teer (215-351-2655 or lteer@acponline.org) of ACP's Communications Department.

American College of Physicians

Related Physicians Articles from Brightsurf:

Needlestick, sharps injuries among resident physicians
Rates and characteristics of needle stick and other sharps injuries among resident physicians and other staff at a large health care center were examined in this study.

Prevalence of suicide-related behaviors among physicians
An analysis of published studies has found a relatively high prevalence of suicidal behaviors among physicians.

To support lactating emergency physicians, consider these strategies
A new paper highlights strategies that emergency departments can implement to support lactating emergency physicians.

Physicians call for an end to conversion therapy
Historically, conversion therapies have used electroshock therapy, chemical drugs, hormone administrations and even surgery.

Racial bias associated with burnout among resident physicians
Symptoms of physician burnout appear to be associated with greater bias toward black people in this study of nearly 3,400 second-year resident physicians in the United States who identified as nonblack.

Survey finds physicians struggle with their own self-care
Despite believing that self-care is a vitally important part of health and overall well-being, many physicians overlook their own self-care, according to a new survey released today, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs.

Less burnout seen among US physicians, Stanford researcher says
The epidemic levels of physicians reporting burnout dropped modestly in 2017, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic and the American Medical Association.

Payments to physicians may increase opioid prescribing
US doctors who receive direct payments from opioid manufacturers tend to prescribe more opioids than doctors who receive no such payments, according to new research published by Addiction.

Is marketing of opioids to physicians associated with overdose deaths?
This study examined the association between pharmaceutical company marketing of opioids to physicians and subsequent death from prescription opioid overdoses across US counties.

Nearly half of resident physicians report burnout
Resident physician burnout in the US is widespread, with the highest rates concentrated in certain specialties, according to research from Mayo Clinic, OHSU and collaborators.

Read More: Physicians News and Physicians Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.