Monthly Archives: March 2022

Book review: Frank Pantridge MC

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Book cover of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator.  Frank Pantridge is not a name that is widely known. His most important legacy is the design of the portable defibrillator, a device that has saved countless lives. In this biography, Cecil […]

The mystique of psychiatry: a closer look

Lawrence Climo Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by Larry Ayalo on Unsplash As a retired psychiatrist, I have been thinking about the mystique that surrounds our profession. Psychiatrists seem to trigger three provocative associations that set them apart from other physicians. The first, sometimes interpreted as a wish, is that psychiatrists read minds and therefore […]

Dr. Fritz Kahn and medical infographics

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace). A human head in profile divided into offices, staffed by little men, and areas of industrial production. Artwork by Fritz Kahn in Das Leben des Menschen; eine volkstümliche Anatomie, Biologie, Physiologie und Entwick-lungs-geschichte des Menschen (Kosmus publishers, Stuttgart, 1926). Chromolithograph. Via the […]

Infectious diseases in the Civil War

Lloyd Klein  San Francisco, California, United States   Dr. Louis Pasteur. Photo by Paul Nadar, 1878. Wellcome Collection. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. The main cause of death during the American Civil War was not battle injury but disease. About two-thirds of the 620,000 deaths of Civil War soldiers were caused by disease, including 63% […]

Robert Koch, M.D., and the cure for sleeping sickness: ethics versus economics

Howard Fischer  Uppsala, Sweden   Ugandans with their identity tags. 1907. In the activity report of the commission sent to East Africa to study sleeping sickness during the year 1906/1907 by R. Koch, M. Beck, and F. Kleine, p. 320. La Société francophone de médecine tropicale et santé internationale. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Primum non nocere. […]

Orion H. Stuteville: a surgeon’s surgeon

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States Bangalore Jayaram Mysuru, Karnataka, India   There is no controversy that Hera became angry at Tiresias and turned him into a woman. However, there are two versions of the cause of her anger. It was either because Tiresias struck a couple of copulating snakes or because he sided with […]

Xenotransplantation—giving animal organs to humans

Dr. Alexis Carrel. Photo originally published by Bain News Service, June 1922. From Flickr Commons project and The Evening World via the Library of Congress George Grantham Bain Collection. Via Wikimedia. No known restrictions on publication.  In the early 1990s a distinguished scientist predicted that within twenty years thousands of lives would be saved by […]

Anatomy of the Araimandi

Shreya Srivastava Albany, New York, United States   The Ardhamandala or Araimandi posture of Bharatanatyam. Artwork courtesy of An Nguyen. Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms theorized in text. Originating in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Bharatanatyam dates to an estimated time of 500 BC when it was first described in […]

Humans with tails

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   A human tail. From “Tail-like Formations in Men. After the Researches of Dr. Bartels, Prof. Ecker, Dr. Mohnike, Dr. Ornstein, and Others.” Popular Science Monthly, vol. 40, January 1892. Via Weird Historian. Public domain. “…he had been born and had grown up with a cartilaginous tail in the shape of […]

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]