Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: George Dunea

  • Fugu—Japanese delicacy or death?

    In Japan, fugu has been a “captain of these men of death” for generations, causing an exitus that is “rapid and violent.” There is at first numbness around the mouth, then paralysis, and, as with curare, consciousness persists until the very end. The poison interferes with the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles by…

  • Thalassemia

    David GreenGeorge HonigGeorge DuneaChicago, Illinois, United States The thalassemias comprise a large and diverse group of genetic disorders which share as a common feature a deficiency, or in the most severe forms a total absence, of one or more of the globin chains of hemoglobin. It was first recognized as a clinical entity distinct from…

  • Willebrand disease discovered in a girl from the Aland archipelago

    In 1924 the Finnish physician Erik von Willebrand was consulted about the case of a five-year- old girl from the self-governing autonomous Swedish-speaking region of the Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Born on February 1, 1870, in Vasa, Finland, von Willebrand had graduated in 1896 from the faculty of medicine of the University of…

  • Onions: Soup, medicine, and crocodile tears

    What should well-educated persons be expected to know about onions? They have probably eaten them since childhood, or perhaps had to help their mothers in the kitchen and shed crocodile tears even though they did not feel particularly sad. If chemically inclined they might have wondered what ingredient was responsible for their tears. They may…

  • Pigs as food and victims

    The domestic pig descends from the wild boar. Domesticated around 7000 BC in the Near East and East Asia, it currently accounts for over 36% of the world’s meat intake. Each year in the United States alone, the average person consumes about fifty pounds of pork as bacon, ham, sausages, pork chops, ribs, and other…

  • Caviar: The black gold of the Black Sea

    Caviar, goose liver, and truffle are the three top delicacies consumed in the world. Caviar is probably the most delicious. It is made from the unfertilized eggs of the sturgeon, of which there are twenty-eight fish species belonging to the family Acipenseridae, and is often valued at $1,000 or more per ounce. The sturgeons’ reproduction…

  • Sunao Tawara

    Sunao Tawara was a prominent Japanese pathologist and anatomist best known for discovering in 1906 the atrioventricular node, also known as the AV node or bundle of Tawara. This small mass of specialized cardiac muscle fibers located between the atria and ventricles of the heart is a key component of the heart’s conduction system, responsible…

  • Mumps: Dolor et tumor

    Mumps usually occurs in outbreaks, most often between the ages of 5–9, usually in the winter and spring in temperate climates but at any time in the tropics. After infecting the upper respiratory tract, this contagious virus spreads to the salivary glands, the lymph nodes, the blood, and throughout the body. Symptoms at first are…

  • Andronicus III, malaria, and Byzantium

    The decline and fall of the over one-thousand-year-old Byzantine empire constitutes an epic tragedy. Year after year, decade after decade, this once great empire became weaker and less likely to survive. In 1204, the Crusaders and Venetians conquered and plundered its capital, Constantinople, and divided the empire into four kingdoms. A newly established Latin empire…

  • Pertussis—A new or ancient disease?

    Pertussis is a respiratory disease characterized by the whoop, the sound made by patients during coughing fits, and popularly known as whooping cough. It may be a more ancient disease than is usually assumed. Mentioned in an ancient Chinese medical classic from before the first century, it was described during the Sui Dynasty by the…