Dr. Howard Markel

About

Dr. Howard Markel writes a monthly column for the PBS NewsHour, highlighting the anniversary of a momentous event that continues to shape modern medicine. He is the director of the Center for the History of Medicine and the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan.

He is the author or editor of 10 books, including “Quarantine! East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892,” “When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America Since 1900 and the Fears They Have Unleashed” and “An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine.”

's Recent Stories

Health Oct 16

The painful story behind modern anesthesia

In a monthly column for PBS NewsHour, Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine on their anniversaries, like the groundbreaking use of anesthesia on a surgical patient on Oct. 16, 1846. Photo by Image…

Health Sep 27

The real story behind penicillin

The discovery of penicillin, one of the world's first antibiotics, marks a true turning point in human history -- when doctors finally had a tool that could completely cure their patients of deadly infectious diseases.

Health Aug 19

A Curious Inspiration for the First Stethoscope

In a monthly column for PBS NewsHour, Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine, like the invention of the stethoscope. Photo By BSIP/UIG via Getty Images. Long before Hippocrates (ca. 460-380 B.C.) taught his…

Health Jul 26

How ‘Going Under the Knife’ Became Much Less Deadly

Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine, like the advent of antiseptic surgery, in a monthly column on the PBS NewsHour. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images. Today, every patient reasonably expects that before going "under…

Health Jun 20

A Hormonal Happy Birthday

The word "hormone" made its scientific debut 108 years ago today. Photo by Alija/Getty Images The word hormone has long been a familiar part of the English vernacular. It can refer to a wide variety of things from the life-saving…

Health May 14

The Day Doctors Began to Conquer Smallpox

Sixteenth century Aztec drawing of smallpox victims. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. One of the most celebrated medical anniversaries concerns a country doctor named Edward Jenner (1749-1823) who lived in the tiny village of Berkeley in Gloucestershire, Great Britain. Like…

Health Apr 12

The Day Polio Began Losing Its Grip on America

Elvis Presley receives the Salk polio vaccine in 1956. Awareness about the vaccine led to the end of polio in the U.S. Most babies today still receive the injection. Photo courtesy of March of Dimes. April 12, 1955, was…

Health Mar 29

How a Doctor Discovered U.S. Walls Were Poisonous

In a monthly column on the PBS NewsHour website, Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine. Above: A child with high levels of lead in her blood stands next to a peeling lead paint…

Health Feb 28

The Day Scientists Discovered the ‘Secret of Life’

Medical historian Dr. Howard Markel revisits moments that changed the course of modern medicine. The place: The Eagle, a genial pub and favorite luncheon spot for the staff, students and researchers working at the University of Cambridge's old…

Health Jan 11

How a Boy Became the First to Beat Back Diabetes

In a regular column on the PBS NewsHour website, Dr. Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan, will highlight the anniversary of a momentous event that continues to shape modern…

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