For relief of emotional stress

For housewives on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Medical Economics - Mar 2, 1959

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 20, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Medicine, Psychology, 1950s

A case of hypervaccination

The Lancet reports on the case of a 62-year-old German man who received 217 Covid vaccinations over a period of 29 months. That works out to getting vaccinated approximately every four days.

When I got the Covid vaccine I felt for a day like I'd been run over by a truck. The German hypervaccinator, on the other hand, felt no vaccine-related side effects.

Presumably the guy thought that all the vaccinations would give him super-immunity. When medical professionals realized what he had done, however, they were more worried that the opposite would happen — that he would build up "immune tolerance" and be more susceptible to Covid, not less. But when they checked him out, he seemed just fine.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 07, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Medicine

Husbands too like Premarin

Make your wife pleasant again with Premarin!

The physician who puts a woman on "Premarin" when she is suffering in the menopause usually makes her pleasant to live with once again. It is no easy thing for a man to take the stings and barbs of business life, then to come home to the turmoil of a woman "going through the change of life." If she is not on "Premarin," that is.

By the 1990s, Premarin had become the most frequently prescribed medication in the United States. Now, according to Wikipedia, it's down to number 283.

The word 'Premarin' is a portmanteau of PREgnant MAre uRINe.

JAMA - Aug 16, 1958

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 05, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Medicine, Advertising, Husbands, Wives, 1950s

Tumor Paintings

In 1834, Dr. Peter Parker obtained a medical degree from Yale University and then traveled to China as a medical missionary. There he commissioned Chinese painter Lam Qua to make portraits of patients at the Canton Hospital who had large tumors. Yale now has 86 of these portraits in its collection.

Peter Parker seems to have been a fairly common name before it became permanently associated with Spider-Man.

More info: Yale University Library

via Design You Trust

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 31, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Medicine, Nineteenth Century

AI and the ruler

I've seen this cautionary tale about putting too much faith in AI referred to in several places. It involves an AI program that had seemed to have "reached a level of accuracy comparable to human dermatologists at diagnosing malignant skin lesions." tells the rest:

However, a closer examination of the model’s saliency methods revealed that the single most influential thing this model was looking for in a picture of someone’s skin was the presence of a ruler. Because medical images of cancerous lesions include a ruler for scale, the model learned to identify the presence of a ruler as a marker of malignancy, because that’s much easier than telling the difference between different kinds of lesions.

I tracked down the original source of this story to an Oct 2018 article in the
Journal of Investigative Dermatology: "Automated Classification of Skin Lesions: From Pixels to Practice":

Dermatology images are the easiest to capture of all medical images, but also the least standardized. Standardization of images is difficult, even with dermoscopic images, as shown in Figure 1. Variability must be incorporated into training algorithms to create capacity to handle noisy data. This includes multiple camera angles, different orientations, blurry photos, multiple skin backgrounds, pen markings or rulers included in the photo, or variations in lighting. Otherwise, the algorithm will use features of nonstandardized photos to guide decision making. For instance, in our work, we noted that the algorithm appeared more likely to interpret images with rulers as malignant. Why? In our dataset, images with rulers were more likely to be malignant; thus the algorithm inadvertently “learned” that rulers are malignant. These biases in AI models are inherent unless specific attention is paid to address inputs with variability.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 17, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Medicine, AI, Robots and Other Automatons

The Rose Percy Doll

Read here the whole history of a very expensive doll that became the Junior Red Cross's icon.

Under Bertha [Peter’s] care, Rose Percy aided worthy causes for a sixty-year period. In 1919, near the end of her life, Bertha placed Rose on temporary loan to the American Red Cross Museum in Washington D.C. The very next year, Bertha gifted Rose to the organization, and with that gift, she became the official mascot of the Junior Red Cross. Rose served in that capacity for over eighty years, and during that time greeted visitors from all over the world.

The year 2010 found the American Red Cross facing deficits, so the decision was made to sell off valuable assets in order to reduce their debt. Countless historic artifacts were sent to the auction block, including Rose Percy, who is in fact, older than the Red Cross itself.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 04, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Charities and Philanthropy, Medicine, Dolls and Stuffed Animals, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

The Perfect Back Contest

Several different organizations conducted contests for "The Perfect Back." (Why no males were ever invited escapes me.) But the National Chiropractic Association version seems the longest-running and most-publicized. The fellow enjoying himself is one Dr. Charles Wood.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 21, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Body, Medicine, Twentieth Century

Snake As Tourniquet

I find only three instances of this useful and innovative technique in all my searching. But surely there must be more...?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 26, 2023 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, Hobbies and DIY, Medicine, Reptiles, Snakes, Worms and Other Slithery Things, 1950s, 1990s

The Influence of Sewing Machines on the Health and Morality of Workwomen

Nineteenth-century doctors worried that because sewing machines "produced such an excessive excitement of the sexual organs" they might have an immoral effect upon working women. Text from The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (Aug 23, 1866):

The article is entitled "The Influence of Sewing Machines on the Health and Morality of Workwomen." It is an analysis of a paper read to the Societe Medicale des Hopitaux of Paris, at the meeting of May 9th, by M. Guibout. He begins with the recital of a case.

A young woman, whom he had known as the very picture of vigorous health, presented herself at his office in such a condition of emaciation, and with such a change of countenance, that he was greatly shocked at her appearance. The explanation which she gave was as follows.

For seven months, from morning till night, she had worked at a sewing machine, known as the "American machine." The constant motion of the lower extremities in propelling it had produced such an excessive excitement of the sexual organs that she was often compelled to suspend her work; and to the frequency of this effect and the fatigue resulting from it, she attributed the leucorrhoea and attendant loss of flesh and strength from which she was suffering.

The effect seemed to be naturally enough explained by the cause alleged, especially as in some of the machines at which she had worked the pedals were depressed alternately with one food and the other. This case, so serious in its nature, was regarded by M. Guibout as probably the result of a peculiar susceptibility on the part of the patient, and so very exceptional at the time as only worthy of record as a curiosity. But during the past year, he goes on to say, he found in the hospital Saint-Louis, three similar cases; and during the present year he had already found five in the same hospital.

He also adds that within a month "two females, entirely unknown to each other, and working in different shops, called upon him on the same day, to consult him for similar symptoms. The first of these, a blonde, in the most vigorous health when she began to work at the machine, in seven or eight months has become enfeebled, her embonpoint was gone, her general health had declined, and she had become the subject of a profuse leucorrhoea, which was daily increasing.

She said also that many of the girls in the same establishment were affected in the same way, by the same cause, "the continual movement of the lower limbs, the jar and the swaying of the body." She denied, however, that she had been troubled by the special symptoms mentioned by the first patient, but said that many of her companions had been. Many of them had been so annoyed as to be obliged frequently to suspend their work and leave the shop for the purpose of bathing with cold water.

The second of these two patients was a brunette, of entirely different temperament from the other. She had been obliged to give up her place after working at the machine for a year, on account of the same symptoms. To the inquiry as to any local excitement produced by it, she answered in the affirmative. To translate her own words: "Among 500 women who worked with me, there were at least 200 who, to my knowledge, suffered as I did; so that the operatives were constantly changing, none of them being able to stay long. It is a constant going and coming of women, who enter strong and well, and who go out weak and emaciated."

M. Guibout went on to recite other instances equally serious, but it is not necessary to quote them. The subject is one of very grave moment and worthy of the consideration of every physician. In the discussion which followed the reading of his paper, some of the members of the Society were disposed to question the frequency of the peculiar symptoms which he reported. He, however, maintained his position, urging that it was very difficult to get a confession from many of the victims of the machine, so that when directly interrogated, a negative response should not always be received as the truth. The large number of cases which had come under his own observation had led him to lay this painful subject before the Society.

I asked Microsoft's AI image creator to produce an image based on the article's title, and this is what it came up with:

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 17, 2023 - Comments (6)
Category: Health, Medicine, Nineteenth Century

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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