Tag Archives: 21st Century

“Killed By Vaccination”: the enduring currency of a nineteenth century illogic

Saty Satya-Murti Santa Maria, California, United States   Fig. 1. William Young’s 1886 pamphlet alleging that smallpox vaccinations slaughter and kill. Source: Wellcome Collection. In Public Domain. Vaccine misinformation and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories are not new but have acquired a combative energy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly all the arguments now raised against vaccination were […]

Recognition at last

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States Andrew Moyer, in his Peoria laboratory, discovered the process for mass producing penicillin. USDA-ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Public domain.    “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”  — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream     The adage “out of sight, out of mind” appears to […]

As my mother lay dying

Peter Meyers Washington, D.C., United States   Rosalie Smiles in Her Fancy New Hat. Photo by Judy Baxter. 2006. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 My mother was sitting up in bed when I walked into her hospital room. When I asked her how she was doing, she grinned and responded, “Super!” Her doctor, standing nearby, […]

The Lazarus phenomenon: when the dead return to life

Tom Sewe Nairobi, Kenya   Photo by Günter Valda on Unsplash It is a few minutes after 2 AM. A middle-aged woman lays motionless on a table in a hospital emergency department with tubes protruding from multiple orifices. The relentless cardiac monitor screams its flat-line signal as the code-blue team pants, scrubs clinging to their […]

Mitochondrial DNA: a maternal gift

Marshall Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Human haplogroup tree rooted at Mitochondrial Eve. By Wapondaponda. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 DNA is arrayed on twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in human cell nuclei. It is coiled tightly around proteins called histones that together with DNA form a chromosome. The largest chromosome carries several […]

Book Review: Architects of Structural Biology

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Book Cover Modern twenty-first-century high-technology medicine, which we now take for granted, was only made possible by remarkable advances in the physical and biological sciences of the twentieth century. In Architects of Structural Biology, the contributions of four scientific giants and Nobel laureates—Lawrence Bragg, Max Perutz, John Kendrew, […]

When I heard the learn’d epidemiologist

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, United States   Photo by prottoy hassan on Unsplash  Sitting on the maroon recliner in my den, I am having trouble concentrating on the epidemiologist who is talking on the television. He points to a Covid hot zone on a color-coded map of the United States. The screen changes before I can locate Virginia. […]

Snapped by Snapchat: social media and adolescents

Ganga Prasanth Austin, Texas, United States   Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash  When was the last time you checked in with social media? An hour ago? Thirty minutes? Maybe ten? Social media plays a large role in modern society. Humans have an innate drive to belong to groups and take part in social interactions; and a sense […]

Have we learned anything from 1918-1919 influenza?

Edward Winslow Wilmette, Illinois, United States   Actual daily deaths from influenza, September to November 1918. Monthly Bulletin of the Department of Health, December 1918. NYC Municipal Library. Source.  The 2020 viral pandemic (COVID-19),1 in spite of being caused by a novel virus family, bears striking epidemiological and social resemblance to the influenza pandemic of 1918.2 […]

Regalia

Nancy L. Hagood Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Rainbow over Haiti. Photo by Thomas Johnston. My medical school graduation regalia has hung in my closet for two years. It will never be worn. In spring 2019, I was a fourth-year medical student, planning to graduate in May and move 500 miles north to work […]