Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: January 2018

  • Joys of Motherhood

    Kenneth Joe Helsinki, Finland   As I waited, I remembered my childhood. I seem to drift back into my childhood nowadays. Maybe it is because I am a mother now, so I am forced to draw on my early memories so as to parent my newborn well. My baby was born ten days ago at…

  • The evolution of attitude towards sexual health in the Netherlands

    Olga LoeberNijmegen, Netherlands Introduction The Netherlands is thought of as a progressive society compared to other countries, but this is actually a recent development. In 1885, the Neo Malthusian League (NMB) published a brochure titled: “Means to prevent large families.” Founded in 1881, NMB stated that there would be: “no improvement of the race without…

  • A history of breastfeeding and wet nurses

    Nursan Cinar Sumeyra Topal Sinem Yalnizoglu Caka Sakarya, Turkey   The bond established with the milk never breaks off even if years passed. Wet nurse’s own son (at left) and milk son. Photo by Sümeyra Topal. Breastfeeding has been vital to life since the beginning of humanity. For infants who are unable to get this…

  • Special abilities for a brave new world

    Elida Melova The Republic of Macedonia   Miranda – The Tempest, 1916. John William Waterhouse, Oil on Canvas. London, Royal Academy, 1916, no. 52 “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” – Alan K. Simpson This quote has found its true home in education. Receiving a degree…

  • She changed her mind

    Marlene Berman Boston, Massachusetts, United States   The Extended Reward and Oversight System (EROS). Image A shows the major brain regions in EROS. Images B, C, and D show different views of a main fiber tract, the medial forebrain bundle (chartreuse), connecting the regions in EROS.7,9 Neuroscience is demonstrating that torment can be eliminated by altering one’s…

  • Medicine as handmaiden of technology

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Distorted Reflection by Anthony Papagiannis On the desktop, printed in fancy lettering on expensive paper, lies an invitation for the opening of yet another big diagnostic center. According to the brochure, it will provide the latest equipment in ultramodern premises, perform all sorts of investigations with faster results than ever, and…

  • Letters from the asylum

    Nicholas KangAuckland, New Zealand After cutting off his ear, Vincent van Gogh spent a year in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence confined to a mental asylum. Despite several major relapses during his stay, he continued to work prolifically, completing more than 140 paintings including masterpieces such as Starry Night, Irises, and Almond Blossom. Three months after leaving, he was…

  • Salk and Sabin: The disease, the rivalry and the vaccine

    Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, MA, United States   Jonas Salk was born in a tenement in the East Harlem section of New York City. Albert Sabin was born in Poland and as a child immigrated to the United States with his parents. From these humble beginnings, they would emerge as two of the preeminent scientists…

  • An autoimmune love story

    Megan Giller Brooklyn, New York, United States   Our relationship with our bodies is the most constant, most intimate we will ever have. Photo by Ann W on Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0. When I was twenty-three, my body attacked my liver. My doctor checked me into the hospital and my boyfriend and I broke up. That…

  • Silent no more

    Susan Kaplan Chicago, Illinois, United States   Lung, Bronchiole – Metaplasia, Goblet cell from a male Sprague – Dawley rat in an acute study. National Institutes of Health. I hear a cough in the dark. Like all mothers, I am exquisitely attuned to any sound from my children in the middle of the night. A few more…