Tag Archives: culture

What’s Inside Us?: socio-cultural themes in anatomical naming

Frazer A. Tessema Chicago, Illinois, United States   Drawing by Stratton Tolmie — MD Candidate at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Anatomical terms often read as Latin or Greek gibberish whose main purpose is to be obscure trivia in the first-year medical school ritual called anatomy class. But a surprising trend emerges […]

Closed mouth, open heart

Ellen Hitt Tucson, Arizona, United States   One of the many beautiful symbols of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, marking the entrance to their health department. Photo by author, Ellen Hitt As a child, my life was uprooted every three years. I said goodbye to my friends, my school, and life as I knew it as […]

Culture frames the experience and response to psychotic delusions

Colleen Donnelly Denver, Colorado, United States   Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash Since the 1950s many people suffering from psychotic delusions have claimed that these were caused by contemporary technology such as electromagnetic and micro- waves or computer chips clandestinely planted during medical procedures or alien abductions. Such tightly held beliefs and anxieties […]

Men, women, and idioms of distress

Mary Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   What pedisyon may feel like. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from 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 […]

Schizophrenia in Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman and Lu Xun’s A Madman’s Diary

Janet Ming Guo Atlanta, Georgia, United States   Photograph of Lu Xun on 8 October 1936, 11 days before his death, attending the Second Woodcarving Exhibition in Baxianqiao, Shanghai. Photograph taken by Sha Fei. Circa 8 October 1936. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons. Lu Xun’s 狂人日記 (A Madman’s Diary; 1918)1 was inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s Записки […]

Harvey Cushing: Surgeon, Author, Soldier, Historian 1869-1939

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Harvey Williams Cushing. Photograph by W.(?)W.B. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Harvey Cushing was a third-generation physician, born to a family of New England Puritans who had migrated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 1830s. His father and grandfather were successful physicians; family members on both […]

Literatim: essays at the intersections of medicine and culture

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Cover of Literatim: Essays at the Intersections of Medicine and Culture In this interesting collection, medical historian Howard Markel has brought together his previously published essays from the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and the PBS Newsletter into one volume. The collection of […]

The 1918 Pandemic—the collective story versus the personal narrative

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   U.S. Army Field Hospital No. 29, Hollerich, Luxembourg Interior view- Influenza ward. Copyright Statement: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. Stalin’s claim that a “single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”1 reverberates at a time when the world […]

Blood policies and bioart in the 1900s

Christopher Hubbard Ohio, United States   Image titled The Army Blood Transfusion Service Needs Blood Donors. Image located from the Digital Public Library of America. Rights: unrestricted. Policies related to blood that were adopted in the U.S. during the early to mid-1900s produced cultural and legal effects for certain populations. In 1920, for example, the […]

The paradox of blood donation

Beukou Steve Limbe, South-West Cameroon Team HERO Cameroon organizing 2nd annual blood drive 2019     (Source: NGO HERO CAMEROON) Team HERO Cameroon and voluntary blood donors during blood drive 2019 (Source: NGO  HERO CAMEROON) Exchange visit at the National Blood Transfusion Service in Mauritius 2019 (Source: Association of Commonwealth University Summerschool 2019) “Please I urgently […]