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Civil War Medicine: Mercury And Tooth-Pulling Barbers

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is highlighting some cringe-inducing practices at its annual conference in Frederick.

The event begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

It opens with a presentation on medical uses of mercury, now known to be a neurotoxin. Mercury was used for centuries to treat syphilis. It was also prescribed during the Civil War era for digestive disorders.

A presentation on Civil War-era dentistry shows that dental care did not become a distinct profession until the 19th century. Until then, tooth extractions were often performed by barbers.

The event concludes Sunday with a lecture about traumatic brain injury in Civil War veterans.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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