Daily Archives: April 12, 2021

The last iron lungs

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   This photograph depicts an opened Emerson respirator, also known as an iron lung. Photo by Jim Gathany. Via CDC/ GHO/ Mary Hilpertshauser. Public Domain. Source In the springtime of my internship year, I rotated onto the polio ward where I learned that poliomyelitis could kill by paralyzing the […]

Pursuing “conclusions infinite”: The divine inspiration of Georg Cantor

Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Georg Cantor, German mathematician, 1845–1918. Cantor as an older man, date unknown. Cantor was not quite age 73 when he died of heart failure. Photo Credit: Colport/Alamy Stock Photo. Used with permission. There is a “fine line between brilliance and madness”: the distinction, for example, between […]

Our celiac boarder

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   Inflammation of the intestinal mucosa may lead to villous atrophy of the small intestine. 2018. Scientific Animations. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 I listened with care to her history of weight loss, grain aversion, abdominal cramps, and frequent diarrhea. Her great-grandfather was an early California settler who had […]

COVID-19 and 1665: learning from Daniel Defoe

Brian Birch Southampton, Hampshire, UK   London plague victims being buried in 1665, one of nine scenes from John Dunstall’s Plague broadsheet (1666). Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of the 1665 Great Plague of London. Based on eyewitness experience, the undersigned initials “H. F.” […]

Leonhard Thurneysser: scholar, alchemist, and miracle doctor

Leonard Thurneysser. Via The National Library of Medicine. A highly controversial figure even in his time, Leonhard Thurneysser remains to this very day for some a revered scientist and for others a resolute quack. Born 1531 in Basel, he was the son of a goldsmith and followed in his father’s profession. He also studied with […]