Did you know

Did you know…

… that today is Lucy’s Price Increase Day? On this day in 1992, Lucy Van Pelt, one of the most well-known members of the Peanuts gang, raised her Psychiatric Help booth cost from 5 to 47 cents. Perhaps she was feeling the pinch of rising inflation. 😉


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

— Michael J. Fox


10 Moments In The History Of Anesthesia – Listverse

via 10 Moments In The History Of Anesthesia – Listverse

Our human ancestors didn’t have the luxury of modern medicine that we enjoy today. They had to deal with the raw pain of surgical procedures using nothing more than natural remedies and “cures” from old wives’ tales.

No licensed practitioners administered anesthesia to make these patients completely numb or render them unconscious. Thus, plants and various concoctions had to suffice to aid the sick and possibly dying through the surgeries which were meant to save their lives.

Although we have these medical tools at our disposal today, it took a lot of trial and error to get there. Here are 10 important moments in the history of anesthesia.

10Ancient Anesthesia

The tale of anesthesia and its rudimentary versions begins around 4000 BC when medical practices were also in their infancy. It makes absolute sense that the ancients, whose civilizations were appearing in and around what is now the Middle East, would turn to the opium poppy for its painkilling properties.

Artifacts have shown that the opium poppy was used at least as far back as 4000 BC for dental surgery in an attempt to sedate the patient and reduce the agony of an extremely painful procedure. Thus, if you were fortunate enough to live in an area where these plants were abundant, you could get a good, strong dose of this painkiller before they began drilling your teeth with a bow drill.[1]


Photo credit: Smithsonian Magazine

Opium wasn’t the only substance available to relieve the pain of invasive surgeries. There was also beer.

Believed to be up to 12,000 years old, beer may have been invented before bread. So it is very likely that beer served as the first way to treat discomfort in general and obviously the pain of surgery.

In and around Sumeria, an ancient powerhouse of the beer-making world, plenty of people had access to enough of this beverage to get sufficiently drunk before surgery. Concoctions were often made with various plants and flowers. The analgesic properties helped to numb the pain and let people sit still long enough to successfully complete their surgeries.[2]


Photo credit: britannica.com

Although henbane is a highly toxic plant with a light yellow flower, it has been used traditionally as a folk remedy to alleviate pain—from Babylon to ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome.

When smoked or applied directly to a wound, the plant isn’t poisonous. However, when eaten, it can lead to severe sickness and even death. The infamous belladonna was also used in and around the Mediterranean for the same purpose. This shows the desperation of the ancients for pain relief when they had no beer, wine, opium, or other intoxicating substances available.[3]

7Modern Anesthesia

Photo credit: Bodley library

On Christmas Eve 1298, an Italian physician reached back for an old remedy to assist with his pain from surgery. His name was Theodoric of Lucca, and he had published many medical works, even about veterinary science, before finalizing his magnum opus, Surgery, in 1266.

While his father, Hugh, had used opium to treat pain as well, Theodoric would soak sponges in opium and hold them under the nose of the patient as a means to administer the drug to the brain. That way, the patient could more fully feel the effects.

Theodoric’s authorship was a turning point in the history of anesthesia that would begin to shape how the medical field dealt with patients’ pain. Although other surgeons had used opium dating back to at least 4000 BC, Theodoric canonized it in the medical literature.[4]


In 1540, German botanist Valerius Cordus would synthesize ether, a clear liquid that emits a strong vapor. Ether is a highly flammable gas, which proved to be a serious problem for doctors trying to focus intently and carry out operations by candlelight.

One wrong gust of wind, and the whole operating theater could go up in flames. Ether was a dangerous substance, but it was preferable to nothing in the eyes of many.

Although Cordus was credited with the synthesis of ether, Paracelsus, a rebellious German-Swiss physician who rejected contemporary medicine and the traditional teachings of medical school, would study it further.[5] He noted that it rendered chickens unconscious.

While testing ether on animals, Paracelsus also discovered that it had the analgesic properties that physicians and scientists of the day were trying to find. And just like that, both rudimentary medical chemistry and the hunt for the best anesthetic were born.

5Nitrous Oxide

Photo credit: Joseph Priestley

Next time you find yourself in the dentist’s chair having a laugh after the good doctor administers nitrous oxide, feel free to thank a man born in England in 1733. Political theorist and scientist Joseph Priestly first identified the substance in 1772.

His work, Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air, was written in a massive six-volume series as Priestly worked tirelessly at his studies. In all, he is said to have discovered 10 new gases. However, there is some controversy over whether he was the first to identify oxygen.

In 1800, Humphry Davy conducted experiments by inhaling nitrous oxide himself and noting the way it made him laugh hysterically. He further explored its use for painless surgery on animals, though his work didn’t have much of an impact on the medical community of the day.

About 20 years later, Samuel Cooley of America hurt himself while under the influence of the substance and noticed that he wasn’t in much pain, if any. And thus, nitrous oxide became a staple anesthetic for centuries to come.[6]


Photo credit: Kevin King

In 1831, an invention rocked the world of anesthesia. Chloroform was independently produced by Samuel Guthrie in the United States and Eugene Soubeiran in France. This chemical compound had a powerful narcotic effect which was capable of knocking people completely unconscious.

On November 4, 1847, James Young Simpson was the first to put himself into a complete stupor, perhaps even rendering himself unconscious with it. Thus, chloroform as a means to help with major medical practices was born.

The problem?

At the time, chloroform killed about 1 in every 3,000 patients, making it medically unsafe. Of course, this didn’t stop anyone. It became a chic medical anesthetic in the Victorian era, with Queen Elizabeth even going so far as to be chloroformed during the birth of her son. From there, its use spread widely in the UK and America.[7]


Photo credit: Gaius Cornelius

Morphine was first isolated in 1804 from opium and took considerable time to get off the ground. This was largely because the first tests of morphine on animals were almost invariably lethal. Later, Friedrich Wilhelm Serturner, the man who discovered morphine, used the substance on himself in smaller doses and found the results quite pleasant.

After the invention of the hypodermic needle, morphine became a viable option in the treatment of pain and was produced commercially. It wasn’t long before the addictive properties of morphine were revealed, especially in former soldiers.

Morphine addiction was nicknamed “the soldier’s disease,” and some restrictions were applied over the course of the late 1800s and early 1900s. But morphine was never wholly banned and is still used in medical practices today.[8]


Photo credit: Mpv_51

It wasn’t until 1895 that the Bayer company of Germany finally released heroin to the market as a painkiller, though it was first synthesized from morphine in 1874. However, almost nothing was done with heroin for about 20 years until it was resynthesized by a man in Germany named Felix Hoffman.

In approximately 25 years, the problems associated with heroin were realized. In the US alone, an estimated 200,000 people were already addicted to the drug. The United States banned it, long before many other drugs like cocaine and LSD became illegal.

At that point, heroin use went largely underground and had its ebbs and flows in popularity. But it is still used illicitly to numb pain of all sorts, both physical and emotional.[9]

1And Beyond

Since the introduction of heroin, many more opioid drugs have been released on the market, creating what some would call an epidemic. We now have anesthetics that don’t stem from opium as a base, such as ketamine and many others.

Anesthesiology is a complex science and field of study, with the continuing development of new drugs and careful consideration as to how best to alleviate pain. Although there are other options currently and the promise of better drugs in the future, products derived from the opium poppy have long remained the staple when it comes to pain relief and anesthesia for surgical procedures.

Still, we should feel quite accomplished. Anesthesia mortality rates have dropped dramatically. As previously mentioned, chloroform killed 1 in every 3,000 patients in the 1800s. By the 1980s, the number of patients dying from anesthesia had declined to 1 in every 5,000 patients. By 1999, the death rate was more like 1 in 200,000–300,000.[10]

The practice of anesthesia and thus surgery has become significantly safer over the centuries. Technological advancements have been made, and procedures are quite different. Still, we find ourselves largely doing what our ancestors did thousands of years ago to relieve surgical pain.

My 9th article on JetAirways GlobalLinkers website for SMEs.


Just one article away from SME Expert Badge 🙂

5 things you need to delete from your life | Ladders

via 5 things you need to delete from your life | Ladders


Photo: Alexei Kuznetsov via Flickr


5 things you need to delete from your life right this second

A few months back, an app developer friend asked me to beta test his new friend-management tool for Facebook… I think you can guess where this is going. Overnight I noticed about 90 friends had vanished. By the time the weekend hit, I’d unintentionally divested myself of about another 200 online friends. By the time I figured out how to safely delete the program, I was down about 550 friends.

It was weird, but who are we kidding, how many genuine friends do you really have on social media? Weirder yet was the fact that I didn’t notice who was missing for quite a while. By then, I realized it was more of a relief not to have to keep track of people I didn’t much care about.

All this got me thinking about what’s important in life, and what we should delete without looking back.

Even if you’re not a hoarder by nature, these are some things it’s time to let go of:

1. Does it spark misery?

In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo advises readers to rid themselves of objects that no longer spark joy in their lives. Many argue that she’s taken it too far, in basically advising people to get rid of any clutter, knickknacks, or clothing to the point of being a total ascetic.

Looking for an inspiring way to start your day? Sign up for Morning Motivation!

It’s our friendly Facebook robot that will send you a quick note every weekday morning to help you start strong. Sign up here by clicking Get Started!

Let’s flip that notion on its ear for a moment and find a way to rid ourselves of things that make us gnash our teeth or remember awful things.

Do you have a pen that your former boss gave you… right before she fired you? What about your resume that still lists that job that destroyed your career or email signature that has your ex’s last name instead of the one you use now?

Just hit delete, take it to the trash, reset or otherwise allow yourself to eliminate the reminders of moments or people you’d prefer to forget.

2. Manage your mess

It’s a little bit weird that most of us brag about how many unanswered emails we have in our inbox at any given time; so, what about trying to make your inbox work for you instead of finding workarounds to that overcrowded space?

Nicholas Reichenbach, Founder, and CEO of Flow Water, said that instead of worrying about what to hold onto, perhaps it’s better to rethink the way you use your email. “The key is to use your inbox as a ‘to do’ list with all current emails representing an action required by me or others. The rest of the emails are immediately filed under key business activities (such as accounting, sales, marketing, etc.) or deleted,” Reichenbach said.

“I never go one night with my inbox not up to date; and all messaging have been read, filed or deleted,” Reichenbach added. He says his method is highly effective for managing 150-200 emails and never missing a beat on important and rapid communication.

3. Don’t be on fleek

While there are some catchphrases and expressions that are instant classics, others can make you seem like you’re trying way too hard. Just because you read it in Teen Vogue or The New Yorker, doesn’t mean that the latest cool expression belongs in your updated vernacular.

Pay close attention to the way your colleagues or boss react when you slip a word into conversation. Are you faced with blank stares or sneers? It’s time to cut back on the hipsterisms and pay closer attention to the way people at your age or stage actually speak.

4. Fly guys or girls

In a recent Women in the Workplace video on WSJ.com, a linguist tackled the issue of Creaky Phonation, AKA Vocal Fry, the style of talking in which you sort of crunch or sound creaky at the end of sentences. And while people can identify the trend in both men or women’s voices, it was perceived more negatively in women’s voices, especially in the workplace.

It’s one thing to try to affect more of a regional sound or dialect, quite another to take on a manner of speaking that mimics Kardashians and irritates potential employers.

So, if frying is your affectation of choice, perhaps it’s time to let it go the way of uptalking. Away. Far, far away.

5. Emojeverything

Some years back I felt extremely adored when a British colleague ended his email with his initial followed closely by an ‘x.’ A bit later I realized that I probably should have been insulted that there was only one; and for the few months we worked together I started counting email kisses. These days, x’s and o’s are pretty much every day sign offs in some industries.

Others consider including smileys, or other emoji to be just fine on all manner of correspondence, but before you assume that it’s okay to send your boss a happy face, take a moment to think about whether it diminishes your message or overall professionalism.

While it might be entirely acceptable to start an email to a stranger with “Hi, love” if you work in beauty PR, it could come across as a form of harassment in a more buttoned-down industry.