Tag Archives: China

Dear brainstem, you remind me of the Mona Lisa

Serena Yue Hong Kong, China   Left: The Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci, between 1503 and 1506. Louvre Museum. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Right: Brainstem, ventral view. Designed by erico and edited by 小野 浩雅(ONO, Hiromasa). © 2016 DBCLS TogoTV. CC-BY-4.0. Dear brainstem, You remind me of the Mona Lisa, seated firmly and comfortably atop […]

On orchids and testes

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Orchis anthropophora (L.) All. (originally labeled Aceras anthropophorum (L.) R.Br.). From Album des Orchidées d’Europe by Henry Correvon, 1923. Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Herbarium Jany Renz. Botanical Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland. “You like orchids?…Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, their perfume the […]

Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of How the NHS Coped with COVID-19 by Ellen Welch. This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things […]

The forerunner

Shafiqah Samarasam Malaysia   Skyline in Kuala Lumpur with haze. 2004. Photo by Nesnad. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. Southeast Asia has experienced detrimental, large-scale air pollution for decades. Known as the “Southeast Asia haze,” this transboundary pollution is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires in the forests of Indonesia. The lingering smoke results in breathing […]

Men, women, and idioms of distress

Mary Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   What pedisyon may feel like. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels. In all cultures there is a place for illness that is not easily explained by individual pathology. It is usually attributed to larger societal unrest, with some individuals responding to that unrest with somatic or psychological symptoms. When […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Moral judgment in medicine: “sensibility of heart”

Jack Coulehan Stony Brook, New York, United States   Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit. 2011. Photo by Calleamanecer. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 I want to reflect on the role of emotions, or “sensibility of heart,” in medical judgment. I take the term “judgment,” in general, to refer to the human capacity of assessing, analyzing, […]

American ginseng as an herbal emissary influencing Qing-American trade relations

Richard Zhang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Panax quinquefolium, as featured in a book by physician-botanist Jacob Bigelow, late 1810s. Public domain courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. On February 22, 1784, the Empress of China set sail from New York Harbor.1 Destined for the eponymous country, the American ship carried thirty tons of a wild root—ginseng. […]

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 […]

What does the zoonotic origin of COVID-19 teach us about preventing future pandemics?

James A. Marcum  Waco, Texas, United States   Computer generated representation of COVID-19 virions (SARS-CoV-2) under electron microscope. Image by Felipe Esquivel Reed. Via Wikimedia  CC BY-SA 4.0  The history of medicine reveals that epidemics and pandemics have plagued humanity throughout the centuries.1 Examples include the Antonine plague (165-180 A.D.), the Justinian plague (541-542 A.D.), […]