F.F.Erisman Federal Research Center for Hygiene is a leading hygienic scientific centre of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Field of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being widely known in this country and abroad. The history of FRCH can be arbitrarily divided into the following three periods: prerevolutionary (1891-1917), Soviet (1917-1991), and modern (1991-the present time). The first period is the time of life and work of Fyedor Fyedorovich Erisman, professor of Moscow University and the founder of scientific hygiene in Russia. The second period is characterized by realization of F.F.Erisman's ideas based on achievements in biology, natural and experimental studies. The third period is associated with the name of professor A.I. Potapov, member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. His authority, scientific experience, and organizational work made it possible to come out with credit of a most difficult situation in Russian science. Scientific, historical and staff-related issues are considered.
In spite of methodological problems it has been concluded that Norwegian health statistics on acute morbidity in the late 19th century reflect genuine nation-wide health differences, a fact which calls for studies on living conditions in the areas concerned.
Data on morbidity have been extracted from the annual medical reports from seven health districts in Telemark between 1870 and 1900. The incidence of widespread contagious diseases in two selected groups is calculated.
Illness increased in Skien health district throughout the period, while in Kragerø it declined from about 1885. The occurrence of acute gastrointestinal infections was higher in Skien and Kragerø than in the five rural districts. Remotely located rural districts had fewer outbreaks of epidemic diseases than the more central districts.
High occurrence of acute infections appears to have been related to extensive migration and a high level of through traffic. High population density combined with poor sanitary conditions seems to be a main cause of acute gastrointestinal infections. No obvious connections were found between health status and standards of general hygiene, diet and economic boom periods. It has not been possible to document any evident effects of public health work an acute morbidity, a few diseases of minor importance disregarded.
The interwar period was a time of comprehensive preventive health programmes in Norway. Physical exercise, nutritious diets, strict sleep regimens and better hygiene were at the centre of these efforts. A massive mobilisation of volunteers and professionals took place. The publication of House Maxims for Mothers and Children was part of this large-scale mobilisation, and consisted of ten posters with pithy health advice for hanging on the wall. Mothers were an important target group for health promotion.
The posters have previously received little attention in medical literature, but they can elucidate some features of life and the health propaganda of their time. We have used databases that provide access to newspapers, books and medical literature: Retriever, bokhylla.no, Oria, PubMed and Web of Science.
It is hard to quantify the effect of this popular movement when compared to political measures to improve living conditions. In any case, mortality rates fell, life expectancy increased and the dreaded communicable diseases were largely defeated. Special efforts were targeted at children, also with good results. Infant mortality fell and schoolchildren became healthier, stronger, taller and cleaner.
The line between social hygiene and general disciplining is blurred, for example the boundary between a healthy diet and bourgeois norms. The education of mothers and children also included a normative aspect that concerned good manners and control.
ErratumIn: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2018 Oct 31;138(19): PMID 30497256
In 1918 A.B. Wessel, district physician in S?r-Varanger, Northern Norway, published an article titled Limping families in the county of Finnmark. Based on his own investigations, he concluded that the congenital dislocation of the hip joint was a hereditary disease, and that the prevalence of the disease was high in the Sami population, especially among Sami women. Dr. Wessel observed an association between tuberculosis and the poverty of the population. The miserable hygienic conditions in small and overcrowded houses were a serious risk factor for the development of tuberculosis. Wessel was active in politics and tried to improve the living conditions of poor people. Dr. Wessel was interested in the history of the county of Finnmark as well as in ornitology and entomology.