Tag Archives: France

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 […]

Salernitan women

Vicent Rodilla Alicia López-Castellano Valencia, Spain   Figure 1. A miniature from Avicenna’s Canon representing the Salernitan Medical School. Source The first medical school in the Western world is thought to be the Schola Medica Salernitana (Figure 1), which traces its origins to the dispensary of an early medieval monastery.1 The medical school at Salerno […]

The global journey of variolation

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A human hand with smallpox pustules. Colored etching by W.T. Strutt. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Humanity has eliminated only one infectious disease—smallpox. Smallpox is a very old disease and efforts to prevent it are almost as old. They included a technique called variolation, also […]

Book review: A Time for All Things. The Life of Michael E. DeBakey by Craig Miller

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Cover of A Time for All Things. The Life of Michael E. DeBakey by Craig A. Miller In the latter half of the twentieth century, Michael DeBakey was a worldwide household name, a remarkable feat for a surgeon in the days before the cult of celebrity had become part of […]

Heinrich Heine and the mattress tomb

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Harry Heine was born in Bolkerstrasse, Düsseldorf, Germany. He jokingly described himself as the “first man of the century,” claiming that he had been born on New Year’s Eve 1800. Researchers have discovered, however, that December 13, 1797, is most likely the date of his birth. The oldest of […]

Jean Mery, distinguished French surgeon

Jean Mery. Unknown artist. Collège de chirurgie, Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé: CIPB1509. Jean Mery lived largely in the days of the Sun-King Louis XIV, when France was still rich and powerful and had not yet spent itself into bankruptcy. Born in central France in 1645, he followed in his father’s footsteps at eighteen and went […]

Trying to conceive: royal fertility issues in Renaissance times

Julius P. Bonello Peoria, Illinois, United States   Photos by Julius Bonello Dynasties beget legacies. An enduring legacy is important to all great leaders. However, dynasties need time—time to accomplish major national objectives or memorable feats. Today that is why our elected officials, to pass on a lasting legacy, spend much of their time campaigning […]

Dirty, dark, dangerous: coal miners’ nystagmus

Ronald Fishman Chicago, Illinois, United States   A coal miner without a headlamp digging an undercut at the coal face, using only the dim light supplied by a small flame lamp. From Snell 12 It’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew, Where the danger is double and pleasures are few Where the rain […]

Humanitarian for all: the life of Henry Dunant

Stephen Kosnar Lima, Peru   Henry Dunant 1855. ICRC. Source In his late thirties and bankrupt, Henry Dunant lived in abject poverty, on occasion being forced to eat bread crusts and sleep outdoors in Paris. It is a bitter slice of one man’s history, particularly given that only a few years earlier he had founded […]

The barber-surgeons: their history over the centuries

Anusha Pillay Raipur, India Bloodletting from the arm. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY “His pole, with pewter basins hung, Black, rotten teeth in order strung, Rang’d cups that in the window stood, Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood, Did well his threefold trade explain, Who shav’d, drew teeth, and breath’d a vein.” -The Goat […]