The field of endocrinology began in June 1889, when the aging Franco-American physiologist Charles Brown-Séquard injected himself with a concoction of crushed up testicles, semen, and blood that he harvested from guinea pigs and dogs. In this talk, Patrick shows how Brown-Séquard’s experiments caused a global sensation, and started a new field of medical science, especially in America.
This talk comes with a content warning: it is a story of grisly and ghastly experiments performed by American doctors, who made foul-smelling and foul-tasting medicine from the offcuts of recently slaughtered animals. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t elegant, but history rarely is. Come along to Patrick’s talk to learn how cowboy doctors got their hands dirty with animal carcasses and made surprisingly effective remedies in the fin-de-siècle.
Patrick Walsh, PhD student in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison