What they knew in 1924 about obesity

What they knew in 1924 about obesity

Cal West Med. 1924 Oct;22(10):509-14.


Lisser H.

I have been royally entertained by PubMed over the last 24hrs. There are huge numbers of articles that are free, especially the older ones, like the one I posted yesterday about the link between short-sightedness and hypothyroidism. I highly recommend having a look.

This is an article about the causes of weight gain and obesity, written in 1924. The full text is here: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl... and the conclusions are in the photo above ("Weighed diets" are basically calorie controlled diets).

It's actually quite staggering how much was known about how the body worked back in the days when there were virtually no lab tests. It feels like we've gone backwards with what we know about illness.

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  • Amazing what is there!

    On the same tack, from 1898:

    Br Med J. 1898 Jul 9;2(1958):79-80.

    On the Treatment of Obesity and Myxoedema by a New Preparation of Thyroid ("Thyroglandin").

    Maclennan W.


    [ Warning: Many old papers have been thoroughly overtaken by better understanding and some things that are suggested could actually be dangerous. There again, the same might be said about some things today... ]

  • Yes - the warning is a good idea. :) Common sense is required in some cases.

    But you can actually sense when the pharmaceutical companies started sponsoring the research. There's a sudden shift in the wording - the authors start stating things as unequivocal facts, like there being no benefit to using liothyronine in addition to or instead of levothyroxine.

    Thanks for the link, Rod - I'll take a look. :)

  • Thank you for posting this is so interesting. Isnt it amazing how much was known then to how much is (not ) known now! Backwards stepping all the time. Gentle hugs Joolz.x

  • Before the blood tests were introduced medical students were trained only in physical symptoms.

    Dr Peatfield and Dr Skinner were the last of the 'breed' it would seem so they could tell without blood tests if the patient was hypo by their 'look' plus any other symptoms. So that's why they didn't pay much attention to blood tests (only used them as a guide) and treated the patients on clinical symptoms alone.

    They were then hounded by the GMC for doing as they had being doing for years and prescribing according to patients symptoms who were extremely grateful, particularly when other doctors had told them they had no problems as their bloods were 'normal'.

    We want to be diagnosed and prescribed primarily like they used to do rather than remain undiagnosed and very unwell.

  • How interesting , thank you for posting. Gentle hugs Joolz.x

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