Leaving trails for historians, or "Using the Lancet to explore the incorporation of cardiac theories into the causation of stroke"

Catherine STOREY
Department of Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Australia
cstorey AT med.usyd.edu.au

It is taken as established fact that diseases of the heart are important in the causation of Stroke. The international journal Stroke is published by the American Cardiac Society. There is clearly a well recognised relationship between the two. The question posed in this paper is whether there are methods available to examine when this relationship developed and how these theories were accepted into clinical practice.

In this paper I will demonstrate that the pages of the Lancet, first published in 1823 and available in weekly format since that time, offer some insight into contemporary medical practice with which to explore these issues. A review of the case reports, proceedings of medical societies, letters to the editor as well as formal lectures provides a glimpse into medical controversies that surrounded the incorporation of theories into practice for the medical community of Lancet readers.

I will demonstrate that the Lancet, whose pages are now exposed in electronic format, makes great reading and offers lots of trails for the medical historian. The question will also be posed as to whether in our modern literature we leave enough trails for the historian of the future to identify the contemporary controversies that often surround the incorporation of medical theories.

Session IIb
Thursday, 22 June 2006, 4.30 - 5.00 pm

11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Pavia, Italy, 2006