Tag Archives: anatomy

The Valsalva maneuver

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Fig 1. Valsalva’s maneuver. Source It is a paradox that the discovery of the Valsalva maneuver did not relate to cardiovascular physiology but to the treatment of discharges from the ear. Valsalva’s maneuver is now used physiologically1 to test cardiac and autonomic function, and in several other diagnostic and […]

Anatomica: the exquisite and unsettling art of human anatomy

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy, by Joanna Ebenstein  The first known anatomy book was written around 300 BC by Diocles, a Greek philosopher and physician who based his work on animal dissections. Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani corpori Fabrica from 1543 was the first […]

John Hunter, Harvey Cushing, and acromegaly

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Charles Byrne, a giant, George Cranstoun, a dwarf, and three other normal sized men. Etching by J. Kay, 1794. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Introduction John Hunter and Harvey Cushing were two of the most preeminent surgeons of their eras. John Hunter is considered […]

Simon Flexner, infectious diseases pioneer

Simon Flexner. circa 1930s. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Source, Infectious diseases shaped the life of Simon Flexner, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most successful and prominent scientists in American medicine. His contributions to the field of infectious diseases were legion. He became the first chairman of pathology at […]

The first effective chemotherapy for cancer

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Caution: Chemotherapy. Photo by Justin Levy. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0   Sulfur mustard gas had no influence on the outcome of the battle at Ypres during World War I despite the many deaths and severe injuries it inflicted. Since then, chemical weapons have been used in […]

Sir Robert Carswell, illustrious medical illustrator 

Robert Carswell. Source Paris during the greater part of the nineteenth century was the mecca of medicine, home of great surgeons and great physicians. Doctors from all over the world flocked to its hospitals to learn from its famous professors and study pathology in their amply supplied dissecting rooms. Among these students was a Scottish […]

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man

JMS Pearce England, UK   Second only to his Mona Lisa, the most famous drawing in the world of art is perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452–1519) Vitruvian Man. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl. He was named after his birthplace Vinci (at Anchiano) near Florence. He became a painter, […]

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

John S. Bristowe: Victorian physician and polymath

Arpan K. Banerjee  Solihull, UK   Photograph of John Syer Bristowe (1827–1895), English physician. G. Jerrard. 1895. Accessed via Wikimedia. John Syer Bristowe was a Victorian physician and polymath who served his alma mater, St. Thomas’ Hospital, with great distinction. He was born into a medical family on 19 June 1827 in Camberwell in Southeast […]

Julius Caesar Aranzi, anatomist and surgeon of Bologna

Portrait of Julius Caesar Arantius (Giulio Cesare Aranzi, 1530–1589). From the Collection Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy. Source. Julius Caesar Aranzi (Aranzio, Arantius) was born in Bologna in 1529 or 1530. As a young man he received a good education even though he hailed from a poor family. He studied under the supervision of his […]