Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: September 2018

  • Pierre Rayer (1793- 1867) – first to use microscopy to study kidney disease

    Pierre Rayer occupies a special place in the history of nephrology for his attempt to classify the various diseases that Richard Bright had described in his monumental publication of 1827. With his intern Eugene Napoleon Vigla, he revolutionized the study of kidney diseases by using microscopy to analyze urinary sediments, describing crystals, cells, casts, and…

  • Not just a fad diet

    Jessica A. Ness Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States   “You just ate chocolate cake.” Photo by Jessica A. Ness Gluten is the new answer to all that is wrong with what people are eating. You want to lose weight? Go gluten free. You cannot sleep, have frequent stomach aches, or want to rule the world?…

  • Mushrooms

    Agata Brewer Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States   A bored teenage Santa holds two small girls on his lap. One is dressed as a queen in a yellow handmade crown and crape-paper cape. The other girl is the author, dressed as a poisonous mushroom. The cheerful-looking costume hides the truth of a mushroom that releases a…

  • A CV for posterity

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lonely tree with timber by Anthony Papagiannis The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is one of the oldest and most eminent general medical journals. Among its many and varied features is a regular obituaries page. Departed members of all branches of the medical profession, academic teachers, researchers and Nobel Prize winners,…

  • The art of not eating

    Ammar SaadOttawa, Ontario, Canada Fasting has been considered a devoted act of worship for centuries.1 It unifies people of different languages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status in many world religions. Intentionally silencing the human instinct for food and drink may be considered masochism or futile asceticism by some, but for millions around the world, it represents the…

  • Pellagra: A medical whodunit

    Putzer J. HungSaint Louis, Missouri, United States “What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?”– Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet Beginning in 1902, a strange epidemic struck the southern United States. Victims, often women and children of…

  • Medicinal and historical value of Chinese food therapy

    Kelly Chen Birmingham, Alabama, USA   In front of a screen sits a patient who is suffering from vomiting brought on by eating mutually antagonistic foods. A doctor, seated on the left, is explaining to the patient about food incompatibilities. Ming period (1368-1644) Persimmon: cold, sweet, astringent. It opens up the nose and the qi…

  • Saint Elisabeth, a saintly nurse

    Saint Elizabeth of Hungary bringing food for the inmates of a hospital. Wellcome Collection. CC BY-NC 4.0. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Colored engraving by W. Langhammer. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.   Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) is one of the most loved saints of the Middle Ages. Also called St. Elisabeth of Thuringia, she is the patron…

  • Florence Nightingale, The Lady with the Lamp

    Florence Nightingale visiting the sick.  Wellcome Library, London For generations, Florence Nightingale has been known as the Saintly Angel of Mercy or the Lady with the Lamp, and her story has been told many times. She arrived in Scutari in November of 1854 with thirty-eight women volunteers, sent by her close friend, the war secretary,…

  • Gerrit Dou and his Netherlandish quacks

    Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), one of Rembrandt’s first students, was born thirteen years before his contemporary Jan Steen and died four years before him. Both painted similar works of contrasting light and dark, both lived most of their lives in Leiden, and both included in their work several scenes illustrating healthcare in the Netherlands in the…