An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

16017 entries, 14075 authors and 1941 subjects. Updated: July 11, 2024

ROTHSTEIN, William G.

4 entries
  • 10432

American physicians in the nineteenth century: From sects to science.

Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.


Subjects: COUNTRIES, CONTINENTS AND REGIONS › United States , Education, Biomedical, & Biomedical Profession › History of Biomedical Education & Medical Profession
  • 10431

American medical schools and the practice of medicine: A history.

New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.


Subjects: COUNTRIES, CONTINENTS AND REGIONS › United States , Education, Biomedical, & Biomedical Profession › History of Biomedical Education & Medical Profession
  • 12371

Public health and the risk factor: A history of an uneven medical revolution.

Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2003.

"The acceptance of risk factors has produced changes in public health and medicine as profound as those that resulted from bacteriology and the germ theory of disease. . . . The risk factor concept has been controversial because of its statistical methodology, its multifactorial concept of disease etiology, and its effect on the economic interests of commercial, professional, and health organisations." This excerpt from the preface provides an excellent summary of this book. William Rothstein, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, explains how "the risk factor" arose in life insurance and from developments in population statistics and probability theory. Since the end of the 19th century, major U.S. life-insurance companies have collected sociodemographic data and health data about millions of their policyholders, followed these persons for long periods, and used the data to calculate premiums and benefits. Initially, the companies used information on the results of urinalysis (to detect kidney disease and diabetes), "build" (i.e., weight in relation to height), medical history, occupation, and place of residence, because their records showed that these factors were strongly associated with mortality rates. Later, blood pressure and smoking status were added. By conducting medical examinations and taking measurements for life-insurance companies, physicians became familiar with the concept of risk factors and incorporated it into their clinical practice. Risk factors are identified through correlations with diseases, rather than from laboratory evidence of biologic mechanisms. Statistical inference is used to examine associations between multiple risk factors and the probability of disease. The scientific credibility of risk factors accrues from repeated demonstration of the associations in different populations and in different settings, dose-response effects, and reductions in disease after changes to the risk factors. The second half of the book is about the rise and fall of the epidemic of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the 20th century. Rothstein examines the evidence for the main risk factors for CHD, using the standard criteria for assessing epidemiologic results -- chance, bias, confounding, reverse causation, and possible true causation. He relies heavily on life-insurance findings, because they meet many of these criteria. He is relatively skeptical about randomized clinical trials owing to concern about the generalizability of the findings. Tobacco smoking and high blood pressure meet the criteria for risk factors for CHD and other diseases. The diet-heart hypothesis is where confusion sets in. The evidence is not strong. Advice from the medical profession fluctuates. Rothstein believes that, rather than cholesterol or saturated fat, the relevant risk factor is total caloric intake. The life-insurance data have for many decades demonstrated associations between overweight and CHD and diabetes, yet reducing population levels of caloric intake is not in the interest of the food industry or within the expertise of the medical profession. In the last 20 pages of the book Rothstein claims that "personal risk factors," such as cigarette smoking and high blood pressure or lipid levels, cannot account for the epidemic of CHD. (In my view, his brief analysis is flawed by an assumption that long latency times are needed.) Rather, he argues that "social and cultural factors" are important determinants of CHD but does not explain how they might account for the major epidemic of the 20th century..."(Annette J. Dobson, New England Journal of Medicine.)



Subjects: PUBLIC HEALTH › History of Public Health, Social or Sociopolitical Histories of Medicine & the Life Sciences
  • 12372

The coronary heart disease pandemic in the twentieth century: Emergence and decline in advanced countries.

Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2017.

"This book demonstrates that a pandemic of coronary heart disease occurred in North America, western and northern Europe, and Australia and New Zealand from the 1930s to about 2000. At its peak it caused more deaths than any other disease. The book examines and compares trends in coronary heart disease mortality rates for individual countries. The most detailed analyses are for the United States, where mortality rates are examined for race, sex, and age groups and for geographic regions. Popular explanations for the rise and fall of coronary heart disease mortality rates are examined" (publisher).



Subjects: CARDIOLOGY › CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, DEATH & DYING › Mortality Statistics, EPIDEMIOLOGY › History of Epidemiology, PUBLIC HEALTH › History of Public Health