Monthly Archives: August 2019

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: How fiction heals, part III

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche. Photo by Gustav Schultze. 1882. Taken from Nietzsche by Walter Kaufmann, Fourth Edition. Public Domain. A cure for loneliness In the video “What is Literature For?” produced by The School of Life, author Alain de Botton claims that books are a cure for loneliness. […]

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: How fiction heals, part II

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Frontispiece to the 6th edition of Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (published under the pseudonym Democritus Junior). 1868. From the Internet Archive and the Public Domain Review. The placebo effect When first exploring literature’s psychological effects on the reader, it is important to consider whether a book […]

The anatomy of bibliotherapy: How fiction heals, part I

Dustin Grinnell  Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Man Reading Book showing cityscape, suggesting an Open Doorway. From iStock. Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. —Rudyard Kipling   Literature is medicine for the soul In the 1980s, the mother of Northrop Frye, a Canadian literary scholar, was in the hospital, ill […]

The last picture show

Katherine White Rockville, Maryland, United States   Highway 567, junction, near Taos, Taos, New Mexico. Photo by John Margolies. 2003. Public domain through Library of Congress. It was a cold December morning, the second day of the 2018 Hot Topics in Neonatology Conference in Washington, DC. Around 800 people trickled into the vast hotel ballroom, […]

The names of things

Joseph Hodapp Cupertino, California, USA   The author’s grandparents. Photo by Laura Hodapp. It’s a gray-sky, late-October afternoon. I just got home from work when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. The caller ID provides a brief preface: Mom. “Hey Mom, what’s up?” “Hey Hun, I wanted to call you right away… my […]

Albrecht von Haller, physiologist and polymath

Medicine was only one of the many interests of Albrecht von Haller. He was physician, anatomist, botanist, and physiologist, wrote poetry, studied religion and philosophy, and has been called the father of physiology and founder of hemodynamics.1,2 Born in 1708 in Bern, Switzerland, into a family of priests and magistrates, he was a weak and […]

Costanzo Varolio, who described the pons

The pons is a broad band of nerve fibers linking the medulla oblongata and cerebellum with the midbrain. It serves to relay messages sent downstream from the cerebral cortex to the cerebellum, the medulla, and the spinal cord. Shaped as a protuberance resembling a bridge with the brainstem flowing under it like a canal, the […]

Gandhiji on Indianness of health and healthcare (1869–1948)

Dhastagir Sheriff Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India   In 2019, 150 years after Mahatma Gandhiji’s birth, India celebrates his birthday to honor his legacy and his contributions to the welfare of this nation. We remember him with his alluring smile, in loin cloth, shawl, and thin-framed glasses, his attire representing his message to lead a simple […]

A city of two tales

J. Trig Brown Durham, North Carolina, United States   “Homeless Jesus” by Timothy P. Schmalz, SculpturebyTPS.com Installed at Saint John’s Hospice, a ministry of Catholic Social Service of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Photo by Sarah Webb / Courtesy of CatholicPhilly.com CME dawns. Hello, Philly, city of brotherly love, home to Homeless Jesus two blocks off […]

Santa Maria Nuova: curing and caring

Michael Mortellaro Florida, USA   Replica of “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.” Originally by Rembrandt. Re-painted by Navid Eghbalieh, MD. The concept of a hospital for sick people first emerged in the western world in late medieval Italy. A prime example of this was the Florentine hospital Santa Maria Nuova, which the humanist […]