Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: April 2024

  • The ones who stay in Omelas

    Jackson MartinLubbock, Texas, United States Ursula K. Le Guin describes a paradoxical and provocative utopian city in her short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The story reads as a parable, differing from an analogy or metaphor in that it intends to provoke varying conclusions from the audience. Le Guin does not explain…

  • Decoding the death of Maharaja Pandu

    B. Sadananda NaikKarnataka, India The Mahabharata is one of two great ancient Indian Sanskrit epics of Hinduism. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War, the Kaurava and Pandava princes. Maharaja Pandu, father of Pandavas, is one of the key figures in this epic. In the story, the premature death…

  • Picasso’s Blue Period and depression

    Mary Ellen KellyDublin, Ireland Depression is one of the most common mental disorders globally. The mental illness affects millions and is responsible for an estimated 850,000 deaths per year.1 Depression rates among medical professionals are extremely high,2 and those suffering from depression often find it hard to convey in words the emotions they are experiencing.…

  • The power of singing in Alzheimer’s patients

    May LysterDublin, Ireland Throughout the gradual decline of one’s memory and behavior, the ever-changing world can become difficult to understand and comprehend. Around the world, approximately 24 million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease. However, the number of friends and family indirectly affected by this degenerative disease is considerably higher. The experience of watching a loved…

  • The two Kandinskys

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) was a Russian painter, art theorist, co-founder of the “Blue Rider” art movement, pioneer of abstract painting,1 and part of the Fauvism and Bauhaus of Weimar movements. Neuroscientists regard him “as one of the most prominent examples of a synesthetic artist.”2 Kandinsky postulated a fundamental synesthesia between color and…

  • Additional French surgeons

    By the close of the fourteenth century, France emerged as the preeminent center of European surgical practice. Its early pioneers included Theodoric Borgognoni of Lucca (1205–1296), who played a pivotal role in elevating surgery from a craft to a respected medical discipline; Guido Lanfranc of Milan (1250–1315), who further refined surgical techniques; and Henri de…

  • The big little

    Elizabeth CrowstonCavalier, North Dakota, United States In the quiet cradle of the self, where thoughts doth swell and dip,A realm where tiny whispers in the vastness grip,As streams that trickle, gather, and in rivers flow,So doth the inner consciousness within us grow. Amidst the woodland’s heart, where shadows dance and play,Our mind’s a mirrored forest,…

  • How times change: Advice to a temp worker, 1968

    Laura Celise Lippman Seattle, Washington, United States Because you’re only a temp worker,be sure to look busy. Keep your deskneat, but not too tidy. He will checkon you regularly, peering from hisoffice to your desk. Make surehe hears your typewriter clacking onand off throughout the day, even ifall your work is done. Makesure your hem falls…

  • Codpiece evolution: From function to fantasy

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Pretty personal palaces for penises”– Zaria Gorvett, in Smithsonian A codpiece (from Middle English cod, meaning bag or scrotum) was a triangular piece of cloth covering the male genitals, held in place by buttons or ties that attached to the man’s hosiery. In fourteenth-century Europe, men’s hose consisted of two separate legs,…

  • A foul “sailor’s mouth” of a different kind

    Richard de GrijsSydney, Australia Johnny Depp seems to have taken his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean quite literally. His appearance at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival unleashed a minor scandal as fans’ complaints about his supposedly “rotting teeth” went viral.1 While Depp should be able to afford…