Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: August 2018

  • Anasplasmosis: what we can learn from Lam’s surrealistic animalarium

    José de la FuenteCiudad Real, Spain Epidemiology and art have met several times, but what can we learn from the surrealistic animalarium? Several of the surrealist artists used animals as symbols. However, in some cases they also provided compositions that are relevant for the study of infectious diseases. Anaplasmosis is one of the major tick-borne…

  • The founding of Rush Medical College

    Joseph deBettencourtChicago, Illinois, United States Act I: Dr. Daniel Brainard Beneath the impressive shadow of Notre Dame, a young American cut a path through the winding cobblestone maze of the Île de la Cité to the doors of the Hôtel Dieu, Paris’ oldest hospital. The young man carried with him a diploma from a small…

  • Clean eating and orthorexia as technologies of the self

    Cristina Hanganu-Bresch Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA   Photo by Dan Gold from Burst. Licensed under Creative Commons As numerous social and traditional media outlets and ads constantly remind us, our diets must be “clean”—a vague descriptor whose fuzzy boundaries can fit a plethora of surrogate terms: organic, natural, whole, non-GMO, unprocessed, gluten free, vegan, sugar-free, fat-free,…

  • The art of playing with food

    Sue Reeves London, United Kingdom   Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1591) Arcimboldo (1527-1593) was an Italian painter most celebrated for his curious portraits of human heads composed of objects such as plants, fruit, and vegetables. The paintings have been described as “whimsical puzzle like portraits” and have retained their enchanting appeal over the years.1 Perhaps…

  • Partners in healing: An early renaissance painting depicting the partnership of the divine with the physicians Cosmas and Damian

    Susan Brunn PuettJ. David PuettChapel Hill, North Carolina, United States In many cultures the practice of healing was perceived as a combined effort by physicians and the divine. Florentine Renaissance hospitals had churches and cloisters in their complexes where displayed works of art reminded patients and their families of God’s curing powers. Meant to invoke…

  • The madness of hunger

    Sylvia Karasu New York City, New York, USA   Erysichthon felling a tree in grove of Ceres, 16 century. Photo by CM Dixon/Print Collector/ Getty Images. Used with permission1 Erysichthon Selling his Daughter, oil painting by Jan Steen, between 1650 and 1660, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.2 Tantalus by 16th century Swiss artist Joseph Heintz the Elder, 1535. Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain3…

  • Fire eaters

    F. Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, USA   “La Trinchera” (The Trench). Mural by the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) in the former San Ildefonso College of Mexico City, now a Museum and cultural center. Author’s collection. I have often wondered what obscure forces impel Mexicans to relish the unbearably acrid hot peppers used as condiment…

  • Loyal Davis, legendary neurosurgeon (1896–1982)

    For more than thirty years, in an era less politically correct than ours, Dr. Loyal Davis reigned supreme as chief of surgery at the Northwestern University medical school in Chicago. He retired in 1963, but stories about him persisted as lively subjects of conversation and amusement, to be told with relish at meetings and dinner…

  • The tuber that changed the world: a brief history of the potato

    Jennifer Musgrave Bloomington, Indiana, United States   “This unassuming tuber held within itself the ability to sustain life and, in its absence, take life away.” When Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, he did not know that potatoes even existed. But the Columbian voyages to the Americas would initiate a domino effect allowing this unassuming…

  • The impact of technology on healthcare

    Singh Yadav Tamil Nadu, India   Double doors swing open as paramedics rush a burn victim into the hospital’s Emergency Department. A nurse checks the patient’s pulse and vitals, while another takes a blood sample and deposits it to a nearby machine. A scanning device determines the wound size and depth and guides an attached…