Tag Archives: Fall 2022

The Royal Society of Medicine of London: A brief history

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, England   RSM, 1 Wimpole Street, London. Photo by Philafrenzy, 2017, on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. The origins of the Royal Society of Medicine in London can be traced back to 1805. It was in that year that a breakaway group of learned physicians and surgeons formed a new medical society, […]

It’s not the patient who hit you…

JP Sutherland North America   The Entombment. Oil painting by Federico Barocci, early 18th century. Victoria and Albert Museum. Although Christopher’s appearance was extraordinary, there was no sign (not even in retrospect) that he would kick me in the groin within the next hour. He was naked, and standing motionless with his arms held out […]

James Joyce’s Ulysses and the human experience

Mateja Lekic Phoenix, Arizona, United States   Cover of Ulysses, first edition. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Ulysses is a novel that explores universal themes of the human experience. A modern retelling of the Odyssey, it follows Leopold Bloom during his encounters on the streets of Dublin in a single day. Each episode loosely follows in […]

Huntington’s chorea

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. George Huntington’s 1872 paper “On Chorea.” In the history of medicine, few writers can have received a finer accolade than that bestowed by William Osler on George Huntington. Osler commented: “In the whole range of descriptive nosology there is not to my knowledge, an instance in which a […]

Making radiation visible: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Godzilla

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Gojira (Godzilla) poster. © Toho Company, 1954. Via Wikimedia. Fair use. “The theme of the film, from the beginning, was the terror of the bomb.”1 – Tomoyuki Tanaka, producer of Gojira (Godzilla)   The Third Reich surrendered to the Allies in early May 1945. This did not yet end World […]

A doctor of the old school

“The apparition of a god would not have caused more commotion… “He belonged to that great school of surgery begotten of Bichat, to that generation, now extinct, of philosophical practitioners, who, loving their art with a fanatical love, exercised it with enthusiasm and wisdom. Everyone in his hospital trembled when he was angry; and his […]

And for unto us… Medicine, Messiah, and Christmas

Desmond O’Neill Dublin, Ireland   Program cover for Handel and Haydn Society concert of December 25, 1815. Courtesy of the Handel and Haydn Society Archives. Although the very first performance of the Messiah took place in April 1742 in Dublin with the London première following in March 1743, the oratorio is closely associated with the […]

Help from the horseshoe crab

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Horseshoe crab. Crop of photo by Didier Descouens, 2009, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. The horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) has not changed in more than 450 million years. It has been called “a living fossil.”1 It is, in fact, not a crab at all, but an arthropod, more closely related […]

Douglas Argyll Robertson and his pupils

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Argyll Robertson pupil reactions. Diagram by Chainwit. on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. In my student days, the Wasserman reaction (WR), though not specific, was performed almost routinely in patients on medical wards to detect syphilis. Several direct and serological tests of varying sensitivity and specificity have now replaced […]

Farewell, dear pictures that I have loved so well

For nearly two decades Cardinal Jules Mazarin was the de facto ruler of France and the most powerful person in Europe. Born in Italy in 1602, he worked as a Papal diplomat but offered his services to Cardinal Richelieu and moved to Paris in 1640. When Richelieu died in 1642, he acted as the head […]