Tag Archives: 18th Century

Jean-Baptiste de Sénac and his early textbook on cardiology

Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Portrait of Jean-Baptiste de Sénac (1693-1770). Wellcome Library, London. William Harvey was an important figure in the early days of cardiovascular physiology. Based on meticulous observations, he published De Motu Cordis and Sanguinus in 1628 and has been proposed as the founder of physiology and cardiology.1 During the […]

Samuel Johnson: “the great convulsionary”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom Samuel Johnson. Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1772. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   This paper reproduces in an abridged form an earlier article by its author1 appraising the evidence that Samuel Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. Several authors have commented on the many eccentricities of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Fig 1).2 […]

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, […]

Wilhelm Baum (1799–1883)

Wilhelm Baum. Photograph of painting by Wilhelm Title. Uploaded by Mehlauge. Via Wikimedia. Postgraduate medical education in the nineteenth century required personal contact with the masters of the profession – working and rounding with them, or at least listening to their lectures. Thus the German surgeon Wilhelm Baum spent one year after obtaining his doctorate […]

The illness of King George III

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Farmer George & his wife. Published by William Holland. 1786. © The Trustees of the British Museum. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. The Hanoverian King George III (1738–1820) was a diligent man of wit and intelligence, a man who enhanced the reputation of the British monarchy until he […]

“God Helps Them That Help Themselves”: Poor Richard and the inoculation controversy

Stewart Justman Missoula, Montana, United States   Poor Richard, 1739. An Almanack for the Year of Christ 1739. Benjamin Franklin Library of Congress Rare Book & Special Collections Division. Via Wikimedia. Before vaccination there was inoculation, and long before opposition to vaccination for Covid-19 there was furious resistance to the practice of inoculating for smallpox. […]

Franz Joseph Gall and phrenology

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Franz Joseph Gall. By Zéphirin Félix Jean Marius Belliard. Via Wikimedia. For many reasons the work of Gall, when stripped of its excrescences, constituted an important landmark in the history of neurology. -Macdonald Critchley4 In the times of Galen, the location of the mind and spirit […]

John Hunter, his wolf dogs, and the inherited smiles of Pomeranians

Stephen Martin United Kingdom   Fig 1. Title of Hunter’s Royal Society wolf dogs paper. © Author, from original, CC-BY 4.0 John Hunter, 1728-1793, was a polymathic doctor. Besides being an anatomist and clinician, he was also interested in early genetics, exemplified by his “Observations tending to shew that the Wolf, Jackal, and Dog, are […]

The patronage and playability of Mozart’s flute works

Stephen Martin Durham, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Exposition of the D Major flute quartet. Beethoven borrowed the first two bars. Mozart obviously used a thicker-cut quill for hand-writing than for the notes. ‘Figur Handschrift’ is in a later hand. (IMSLP, CCA-SA 4.0) It is therapeutic to have an intellectual interest outside clinical work, a […]