Tag Archives: Alcoholism

Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy: A historical note

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Wernicke’s Lehrbuch der Gehirnkrankheiten. Internet Archive. Public domain. Before Sergei Sergeivich Korsakoff described the psychosis that bears his name, Carl Wernicke reported a closely related and often coexistent syndrome. It is variously named Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy, syndrome, or psychosis. Two more different personalities would be hard to imagine.   […]

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte: tradition, assimilation, and healing

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Susan La Flesche Picotte. 1889. Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives & Special Collections. Published with permission. “My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.” — Susan LaFlesche Picotte1   It was August of 1889 and Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte […]

“John Barleycorn Must Die”: Addiction attributions in Jack London’s Alcoholic Memoirs

Ad A. Kaptein Barend W. Florijn Pim B. van der Meer Leiden, the Netherlands   L’Arlésienne (portret van Madame Ginoux). Vincent Van Gogh. 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. A thousand words every morning—with iron discipline, Jack London adhered to his writing routine. Later in the day, he would turn to John Barleycorn: beer, wine, whisky, and brandy. […]

Alzheimer and his disease

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Alois Alzheimer. 1915 or earlier. From Wikimedia “Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (powerfully in deed, gently in manner).” — Franz Nissl’s description of Alzheimer (1916)   Curiously, until the 1970s the high prevalence Alzheimer’s disease was not recognized as the most common cause of dementia.1 Most demented […]

Quincy—A crusading doctor played by a crusading actor

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Photo of Robert Ito as Sam and Jack Klugman as Quincy from the television drama Quincy. 1977. NBC Television. Via Wikimedia. The television series Quincy, or Quincy, M.E. [Medical examiner], aired between 1976 and 1983 in the US. One hundred forty-six episodes of this program were televised. Quincy was originally […]

The derailment of Franklin Pierce

Jacob Appel  New York, New York, United States   Pres. Franklin Pierce. neg. from original ink by Brady. [between 1855 and 1865]. Part of Brady-Handy photograph collection. Library of Congress Online Catalog. Few subjects have attracted as much attention from medical historians, both well-founded and speculative, as the health of United States presidents. Considerable debate […]

There is power in the blood

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   Vue du Cimetiere de Melegnano – le lendemain du Combat. (View of the Cemetery at Melegnano – the aftermath of combat.) “Carne fa carne e vino fa sango” [Meat makes flesh and wine makes blood] — Italian proverb   Laura was covered in blood when the paramedics arrived at […]

It’s elementary: the addictions of Sherlock Holmes

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Illustration of Sherlock Holmes for “The Valley of Fear.” From The Strand Magazine. By Frank Wiley September, 1914. Accessed via the Toronto Public Library, Adventures with Sherlock Holmes virtual exhibit. One might ask, why write about the addictions of a fictional character? The answer is that there is […]

The door to recovery

Irene Metzner Glenn Youngkrantz Chicago, Illinois, United States   Stories about addiction are often filled with despair, but they don’t have to be: this is a true story in two parts. The first is the perspective of a patient, and the second that of his doctor, as they chose to be hopeful.   Part I The Two Doorways. James McNeill Whistler. 1879/80. Art […]

Heroes and alcohol

Cal Bartley Penarth, South Wales, United Kingdom   Photo by Cal Bartley It would seem that literary heroes cannot function without alcohol, as so many great books reference alcohol in a positive light. Even if it does not lubricate the plot, a glance at many classics suggest that a stiff drink is needed for the […]