Tag Archives: Egypt

Healer of the pharaohs: History’s first woman doctor

Matthew Turner Washington, US   Fragment of a queen’s face. Yellow jasper statue fragment from the Egyptian New Kingdom, c. 1390–1336 BC. Met Museum. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Some 4500 years ago, as the great pyramids rose above the desert sands of Egypt, there lived a remarkable woman. Her name was Peseshet, and she is humanity’s […]

The pyramids of Petach Tikvah

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah   Dead bodies may be burned, buried, left for carrion animals,1 dropped into the sea, mummified, made into fertilizer or diamonds,2 or sent to universities to be dissected. However, there are several reasons why in many cultures the dead are buried in cemeteries and mausoleums: Respecting the dead focuses survivors on […]

John Walker, vaccinator extraordinaire

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Medicine has bred many odd but audacious characters, eccentrics, polymaths and “truants.” One might argue that those characteristics attracted such people to careers in medicine: a chicken and egg dilemma. Conversely, some have argued that modern regulated uniformity has infected medicine and stultified originality. A little-known medical eccentric and heretic […]

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]

Hieroglyphics

Gail Ghai Sarasota, Florida, United States Wooden Egyptian stela showing the woman Isetweret adoring the god Re-Horakhty, 945–712 AD. Distribution from the Egyptian Research Account, 1896. Courtesy of the Penn Museum.   The room shuffles nervously as the oncologist takes the microphone. He’s the first speaker at the breast cancer lecture and he does not […]

Tutankhamun’s androgynous appearance

Glenn Braunstein Los Angeles, California, United States   Gilded wood statues of Tutankhamun found in his tomb. The left figure shows him wearing the “white crown” as ruler of Upper Egypt (southern Nile Valley) while that on the right with the flattened “red crown” represents him as the king of Lower Egypt (Delta area).1 Photo […]

Review: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics. The publication of this book could not have been better timed. The book sets out to show how pandemics, epidemics, and infectious diseases have shaped human history over the last 5,000 years. Its contents help us place […]

A look back at insulin

Shrestha Saraf Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom Sanjay Saraf Sudarshan Ramachandran Birmingham, United Kingdom   Sir Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best co-discoverers of Insulin. Library and Archives Canada. Via Wikimedia. As we approach the centenary of the isolation, purification, and clinical use of insulin, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on the impact of […]

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 […]

Book review: The Origins of Modern Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of The Origins of Modern Science: From Antiquity to the Scientific Revolution by Ofer Gal. Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a […]