Register now for Dittrick Museum’s talk on history—and future—of electric therapies

The Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum and the Global Center for Health Innovation will host the first installment of the “Exchanges” series Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Global Center for Health Innovation, (1 St. Clair Ave., NE).

The first program, “It’s Electric,” will feature information about the history of electric therapies—from 18th century quackery to advancements in FES (functional electrical stimulation) to the future of neuromodulation.

In the 18th century, the “youngest daughter of science” fired more than imaginations: electricity became the latest craze in entertainment and in medicine.

Starting with the contest between Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani—who argued over where electricity came from, God or scientific principle—debate about the use of “electric fire” spread across the globe. In America, Benjamin Franklin did more than fly kites, he attempted to use electric shock to cure patients of paralysis. Others suggested it could cure blindness, baldness, and chase away other ailments through the “drawing of sparks.”

Electricity continues to be used in medicine today, from controversial electric shock therapy to the enormous breakthroughs of FES, the innovation that holds true promise for victims of paralysis.

Brandy Schillace, research associate and public engagement fellow at the museum, will open the program with a 15-minute talk, followed by a mini-panel about today’s FES therapy. The presentation will end with a public forum and roundtable discussion about all things electric.

Panelists will include:

  • Jonathan Miller, director of the Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery Center
  • Bob Kirsch, executive director of the Cleveland FES Center
  • Jay L. Alberts, vice chair of Health Technology Enablement, Clinical Transformation and director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center

The event is free, but registration is required online.

Valet parking will be available for $7.