Tag Archives: 17th century

The appendicitis conundrum

Jayant Radhakrishnan Nathaniel Koo Darien, Illinois, United States   Lorenz Heister (1683-1758) was a German surgeon and anatomist. In 1711, he described acute appendicitis in great detail and suggested that it be treated. From Institutiones chirurgicae, in quibus quicquid ad rem chirurgicam pertinet optima et novissima ratione pertractatur, Neapel, Antonio Cervone, 1749. Via Wikimedia. No […]

Book Review of Insulin – The crooked timber

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Insulin – The Crooked Timber: A History from Thick Brown Muck to Wall Street Gold by Kersten T. Hall. The title of this interesting book is taken from the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who wrote that: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing […]

Johannes Jacob Wepfer (1620-1695)

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Johannes Jacob Wepfer. From https://www.prints-online.com/johann-jacob-wepfer-14108627.html The eminent physician Johannes Jakob Wepfer (1620-1695) was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on the right bank of the Rhine. Little is written of his early years but the child Wepfer may have gazed and wondered about Schaffhausen’s countryside, its many oriel […]

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. […]

“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 […]

Book review of ‘All manner of ingenuity and industry’: a bio-bibliography of Dr. Thomas Willis 1621-1675

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of “All manner of ingenuity and industry” Thomas Willis, born four hundred years ago, is still known by students of neuroanatomy today for the eponymous Circle of Willis. Yet most doctors do not know the story of Willis, the seventeenth-century British physician and his remarkable contributions to […]

St. Audrey Etheldrida

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Medicine is full of strange tales, some with unforeseen ramifications. I recently discovered that the origins of the useful word “tawdry” surprisingly lay in a tumor of the throat—nature unspecified—of a seventh-century saint. St. Audrey, Etheldrida, or Æþelðryþ, born c. 636 AD, was an English princess generally referred to […]

Justine Siegemund, opening doorways to midwifery

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Portrait of Justine Siegemund by Georg Paul Busch. 1690-1756 (circa). © The Trustees of the British Museum CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 In the mid-1600s, midwife Justine Siegemund was a household name for mothers in Silesia, part of modern-day Poland. She served patients of every class in Legnica, in Berlin, and […]

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.” […]

Hemodialysis treatment for schizophrenia?

Nicolas Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Jean-Baptiste Denys (1643–1704). Via Wikimedia Public Domain. “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did, and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” Mary W. Shelley, Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus)   […]