Monthly Archives: January 2022

In Aristotle’s footsteps

Henri Colt Laguna Beach, California, United States   Photo by Gianluca Cinnante on Unsplash. Squatting on a cement slab, the old doctor watched sea urchins bristle their spines in clear Aegean waters. His short brown tunic covered shoulders broad as an oxen’s chest. He flexed his tanned, muscular forearms and clenched his fists, then rolled […]

Drama in brief

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter foliage. Photo by author. Four years earlier I had had the sad duty to announce her debut as a protagonist on the stage of cancer. Now I was witnessing the last act. She came to the first visit with her elder sister, an old acquaintance from our student days […]

Guaiac and “the old Guaiacum test”

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Guaiacum officinale. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr. July 27, 2007. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. “The old Guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain.” — A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887   So declares Mr. Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel A Study […]

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Statue of Copernicus, Warsaw, Poland. Photo by Arpan K. Banerjee. Nicolaus Copernicus was born on 19 Feb 1473 in the Prussian town of Torun, now part of Poland. He studied at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow, and although his main subjects were mathematics and astronomy, he […]

“It would be like I never existed”: two minutes with manic psychosis, 1978

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Foreword Photo by Isai Ramos on Unsplash Mental illness is often marginalized by non-psychiatric clinicians, yet it causes as much suffering, if not more, than physical illness. I was a medical student completing a rotation in psychiatry when I observed the encounter described here. The patient had […]

Rabbit starvation (protein poisoning)

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Kitchen – Hotel Dieu, Beaune. A model of a nun preparing rabbit. Crop of photo by Elekes Andor. May 17, 2016. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0.  “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean…“ — Sixteenth-century nursery rhyme   Rabbit starvation (fat starvation, mal de caribou, […]

When the FBI investigated William Carlos Williams

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   William Carlos Williams. Passport photo with signature. 1921. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Via Wikimedia. “And my ‘medicine’ was the thing that gained me entrance to…[the] secret garden of the self…I was permitted by my medical badge to follow the poor, defeated body onto those gulfs and […]

Book review: John Hughlings Jackson: Clinical Neurology, Evolution and Victorian Brain Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of John Hughlings Jackson: Clinical Neurology, Evolution and Victorian Brain Science by Samuel H. Greenblatt. Oxford University Press, 2022. ISBN 9780192897640. John Hughlings Jackson is often considered to be the father of clinical neurology, although his contemporary in France, Jean-Martin Charcot, could also justifiably lay claim to […]

Dr. Dominique Larrey

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Larrey provokes contractions on a recently amputated limb. Illustration from Les merveilles de la science, 1867-1891, Tome 1, by Louis Figuier. Paris: Furne, Jouvet. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Dominique Jean Larrey (1766-1842), the orphaned son of a shoemaker, was raised by an uncle who was a surgeon and became a […]

The Grand Army and horsemeat

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Horse sirloin (contre-filet), in France. Photo by Jiel Beaumadier, October 9, 2010. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. “An army travels on its stomach.” — Attributed to Napoleon   Out of all of the innovations of Dominique Jean Larrey (1766-1842), one has yet to be properly appreciated. In his own words, […]