Tag Archives: 20th century

The life of a trailblazer: Ogino Ginko, one of the first female doctors in Japan

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo of Ogino Ginko. From the National Diet Library. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. Ogino Ginko was Japan’s first female doctor of Western medicine. She lived a life full of struggles, achieved a flash of fame, and then quietly retreated into history. She advocated for the rights, safety, and […]

To wear or not to wear? Attitudes towards mask wearing then and now

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Mellieha, Malta   In September 1918, the Red Cross recommended two-layer gauze masks to halt the spread of “plague.” Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia. More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged around the globe, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial frontlines in the battle against […]

The proximity of death

Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author. […]

Ada English: the forgotten fighter

Laura King Atlanta, GA, United States   Photograph of Irish Politician Ada English. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 A reformer of psychiatric care, a fighter for Irish independence, and a forgotten figure in Irish history—that was Dr. Adeline (Ada) English. As a female physician working in Ireland from the beginning to the middle of the […]

Multiple sclerosis: early descriptions

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Clinical MS: Augustus D’Este, McKenzie Fig 1. MS plaques, by Robert Carswell. Source It was almost two centuries ago that the best known and possibly the first detailed patient’s description of multiple sclerosis (MS) was recorded. It survives in the diaries (1822-48) and almanac of Sir Augustus D’Este, the Harrovian […]

Medical and other memories of the Cold War and its Iron Curtain

Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe  Dundee, Scotland, UK   Iron Curtain as described by Churchill 1946. Edited from original. Original by BigSteve via Wikimedia. (CC BY 1.0) In 1946, Winston Churchill named the political barrier appearing between the Soviet bloc and the West the “Iron Curtain.” It lasted until 1991. I met or crossed it several times. The […]

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

Arpan 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 story […]

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 1885 in Rostov, Czarist Russia, […]