Tag Archives: 20th century

Book Review of Viruses, Plagues, and History by M. B. A. Oldstone

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover The first edition of Viruses, Plagues, and History was published to great acclaim twenty years ago and has now been updated to include the pandemics of the twenty-first century. These include the SARS, MERS, and Zika virus outbreaks, which have now been eclipsed by COVID-19. The early […]

Atrocities in Asia: Japan’s infamous Unit 731

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Bayonet practice, wherein Japanese soldiers used dead Chinese for targets. photographed by an Associated Press photographer near Tientsin. Date, 5 September 1937. Source, LIFE, Oct 11, 1937. page 30. Via Wikimedia In 1931 the Japanese army occupied the province of Manchuria in north-east China and continued to invade and occupy […]

Macdonald Critchley

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Macdonald Critchley by Norman Hepple. Credit: National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH Arts. Source Macdonald Critchley was a neurologist of elegance and sophistication.1 He was pre-eminently a clinical investigator of disorders of higher mental functions, especially those relating to language. He was the author of many […]

Dr. Sabina Spielrein: consequences of feminism and love

Irving Rosen Toronto, Ontario, Canada   Sabina Spielrein (1885-1942) as a young woman. She had a hectic existence and can be considered an early contributor to the psychoanalytic literature. Image via Wikimedia  While all our lives are eventful, some people tend to experience situations that set them apart. Born in 1855 in Rostov, Czarist Russia, […]

Plain Words, or pandemic medical gobbledygook

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Comic featuring Plain Words The great essayist and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) once said: “Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past.” I suggest that the problems posed by writers who fail to convey meaning are not new.1,2 As long ago as […]

Absinthe: the green fairy

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing […]

Radiology and visual arts interpretation

Kristin Krumenacker Huntington, New York, United States   The Doctor, 1891, Sir Luke Fildes.© The Tate Britain. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported). Source Medical schools have increasingly included the humanities in their curricula, hoping to encourage empathy and compassion in their students. The effects of teaching the humanities is not limited to the student but can benefit […]

Kathleen (Yardley) Lonsdale DSc., FR

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Dame Kathleen Lonsdale (née Yardley) by Elliott & Fry. 1996. National Portrait gallery. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Kathleen Lonsdale (1903-1971) (Fig 1) like her contemporary Dorothy Hodgkin was one of the women pioneers in a man’s world of professional scientists.1 She developed original techniques in X-ray diffraction of crystals […]

Nazi doctors and medical eponyms

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Special Children’s Ward” Vienna Am Spiegelgrund. Source. The tradition in medicine has been to name a pathological condition after the person who first described it in the medical literature. Thus we have Addison’s disease, Down’s syndrome, and several hundred others. The tendency now is to eliminate the possessive,1 giving Addison […]

C. Miller Fisher: Stroke in the twentieth century

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Stroke, in spite of its serious and widespread impact, had long received little interest from physicians. C. Miller Fisher, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding neurologists and researchers, revolutionized the management of stroke. In this well-researched and readable biography, Louis Caplan, a distinguished Harvard neurologist and former trainee of […]