Monthly Archives: September 2021

Essential tremor in a medieval scribe: extracting hidden historical knowledge from the work of the Tremulous Hand

Andrew Wodrich Washington DC, United States   Annotations and Glosses of the Tremulous Hand. An anonymous homily contained within Bodleian Library MS. Hatton 113, f. 68r – written approximately 1075 AD in Old English – shows the characteristic shaky script of the thirteenth-century scribe known as the Tremulous Hand. These additions are likely to have […]

Broca’s Brains: A lesson in the importance of saving the history of neuroscience

Richard Brown Halifax, NS, Canada Thalia Garvock-de Montbrun Montreal, QC, Canada   Figure 1. Brain of patient (Lelong) with aphasia studied by Broca. Photo taken by Richard Brown May 2017. Recent fires at the National Museum of Brazil and at the University of Cape Town in South Africa1,2 have shown the fragility of rare books, […]

Tutankhamun’s androgynous appearance

Glenn Braunstein Los Angeles, California, United States   Gilded wood statues of Tutankhamun found in his tomb. The left figure shows him wearing the “white crown” as ruler of Upper Egypt (southern Nile Valley) while that on the right with the flattened “red crown” represents him as the king of Lower Egypt (Delta area).1 Photo […]

Matron Charlotte Evelyn Nelson (1938-1954) and her portrait by Alice Burton

Frederick John O’Dell Northampton, United Kingdom   Miss C E Nelson, 1955, by Alice Burton. Northampton General Hospital private collection. Image photograph by the author. Charlotte Evelyn Nelson (1894-1959) was born on 13 July 1894 in Hull. Before her sixth birthday she was orphaned, as the 1901 census lists her at the Hull Seamans and […]

Beloved physicians: three unsung heroes

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Illustration by J. Raffensperger Few doctors, especially those who practice in small communities across the land, are remembered for their selfless, unstinting devotion to their patients. They are not considered heroes in the usual sense and sadly, for the most part, are now replaced by dehumanizing corporate […]

The intricate forest of the neuron

Silvia Maina Torino, Italia   Santiago Ramón y Cajal. A Purkinje neuron from the human cerebellum. [Wikimedia, Public Domain] Entering the room, I was welcomed by some small and attractive ink drawings. In the first, like a genealogical tree or a medieval miniature, thin branches stretched to fill the frame. In the second, waves of […]

Stitches as mending, stitches as healing

Kelley Swain Oxfordshire, England   “Plague Dress” by Anna Dumitriu, installation view at 6th Guangzhou Triennial at Guangdong Museum of Art. Published with permission. Knitwear designer and disability-access advocate Kate Davies writes of discovering her love of knitting at university: “The movement of your hands helped you to find a different kind of mind space. […]

What’s Inside Us?: socio-cultural themes in anatomical naming

Frazer A. Tessema Chicago, Illinois, United States   Drawing by Stratton Tolmie — MD Candidate at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Anatomical terms often read as Latin or Greek gibberish whose main purpose is to be obscure trivia in the first-year medical school ritual called anatomy class. But a surprising trend emerges […]

“Troubled in my eyes”: the risks of reading and writing

Katherine Harvey London, England, United Kingdom   A medieval miniature showing St Mark reading a book and holding spectacles to his eyes. From Jean Poyer, The Tilliot Hours (c. 1500), The British Library. On January 1, 1660, a young Londoner named Samuel Pepys began to keep a diary. Over the next nine and a half […]

Eye contact: a gateway to empathy

David Jeffrey Edinburgh, United Kingdom   Bradley by David Jeffrey “Do you think I needed anticoagulants for my atrial fibrillation?” I asked the general practitioner. He stared at his computer screen, and answered without looking at me. “No-one knows for sure. I will print out a recent article which you can read at home and then […]