Tag Archives: Galen

The pineal: seat of the soul

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Pineal gland The pineal for millennia had been a structure of mystery. In Ancient Egyptian culture, The Eye of Horus was a sign of prosperity and protection, often referred to as the third eye. In Ayurvedic physiology it corresponds to the sixth chakra—Ajna, located in the […]

The appendicitis conundrum

Jayant Radhakrishnan Nathaniel Koo Darien, Illinois, United States   Lorenz Heister (1683–1758) was a German surgeon and anatomist. In 1711, he described acute appendicitis in great detail and suggested that it be treated. From Institutiones chirurgicae, in quibus quicquid ad rem chirurgicam pertinet optima et novissima ratione pertractatur, Neapel, Antonio Cervone, 1749. Via Wikimedia. No […]

Book review: Greco-Roman Medicine and What it Can Teach Us Today

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: Greco-Roman medicine and what it can teach us today. The Republic of Rome was founded in the sixth century BC. In the third century BC, the western Roman Empire began to spread outside the borders of Italy. Roman rule came to Britain in AD 43 with the […]

Book review: Medicine in the Middle Ages

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Medicine in the Middle Ages by Juliana Cummings. In the history of Western Europe, the Middle Ages refers to the period between the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century through the beginning of the Renaissance in the 1500s. These thousand years were characterized […]

The striking social tableaux vivants of Lejaren à Hiller (1920s to 1940s)

J.T.H. Connor St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada   A social tableau vivant by Lejaren à Hiller dated 1935 illustrating his characteristic dramatic photographic style and striking compositions depicting a medical hero, the human body, and often religious icons. The signature of the photographer/artist is visible in the lower left corner of the image. From “Sutures in […]

Gouty quotes

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig. 1 A decrepit man screaming in pain from gout, rheumatism and catarrh; represented as three tormenting devils. Coloured etching by J. Cawse, 1809, after G.M. Woodward. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The recent reproduction of G. Cruikshank’s A self-indulgent man afflicted with gout by a demon burning […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Wet nursing: a historical perspective

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   A Russian wet nurse, c. 1913. Painted by Frederic de Haenen public domain via Wikimedia. Wet nursing, a form of breastfeeding provided by someone other than an infant’s biological mother,1 has a long and sometimes controversial history. Death in childbirth, a mother’s illness, as well as cultural habits and circumstance […]

Ambroise Pare: standard bearer for barber-surgery reform

Mildred Wilson Detroit, MI   Ambroise Pare, Posthumous, Fantasy Portrait by William Holl. Public Domain “There are five duties of surgery: to remove what is superfluous, to restore what has been dislocated, to separate what has grown together, to reunite what has been divided, and to redress the defects of nature.” -Ambroise Pare1 For centuries, […]

The leech makes a comeback

Meryl Sigaton City of Silay, Philippines   This image of the Hirudo Medicinalis (European Medicinal Leech) was photographed latching on to the human skin. Source The anterior and posterior suckers of the European Medicinal Leech is clearly visible in this image. Source Four (4) medicinal leeches were photographed on a human hand to show comparison […]