Tag Archives: Greek

A brief history of menstruation

Fangzhou Luo Portland, Oregon, United States   Philammon declaring his love for Hypatia. Wikimedia Commons. Public domain. After a few failed attempts to redirect a flirtatious student to “higher pleasures” like music, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Hypatia resorted to revealing where she was in her menstrual cycle to deter him. The philosopher who recorded […]

One chaplain’s journey: teaching, hospice, and humanities

Terry McIntyre Forest Park, Illinois, United States   Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash Auburn University was an easy choice for a graduate student with two preschool youngsters. Teaching medieval literature was the draw. Later, a divorce necessitated working as a project manager in sub-contracting. When the Lutheran campus pastor in Ann Arbor wanted me […]

Macdonald Critchley

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Macdonald Critchley by Norman Hepple. Credit: National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH Arts. Source Macdonald Critchley was a neurologist of elegance and sophistication.1 He was pre-eminently a clinical investigator of disorders of higher mental functions, especially those relating to language. He was the author of many […]

Plain Words, or pandemic medical gobbledygook

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Comic featuring Plain Words The great essayist and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) once said: “Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past.” I suggest that the problems posed by writers who fail to convey meaning are not new.1,2 As long ago as […]

Coleridge and the albatross syndrome

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Contemporary portrait. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the tenth and last child of the vicar of Ottery Saint Mary near Devonshire, England, was born on October 21, 1772. In vivid letters recounting his early years he describes himself as “a genuine Sans […]

A brief history of kidney transplantation

Laura Carreras-Planella Marcella Franquesa Ricardo Lauzurica Francesc E. Borràs Barcelona, Spain   We may think of renal transplantation as routine therapy today, but this procedure has taken centuries to develop and is marked by important events in the history of science. An ancient description of the kidneys is found in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, dated […]

Harvey Cushing: Surgeon, Author, Soldier, Historian 1869-1939

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Harvey Williams Cushing. Photograph by W.(?)W.B. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Harvey Cushing was a third-generation physician, born to a family of New England Puritans who had migrated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 1830s. His father and grandfather were successful physicians; family members on both […]

The Philosophers’ Stone: history and myth

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   The ouroboros and the squared circle. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol where the metaphysical property of infinity is represented by a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail. Its image is often used in alchemical texts from the Middle-Ages. Contained within the ouroboros is the squared circle, an […]

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

Epidemic encephalitis lethargica

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Table 1. QUARANTINABLE DISEASES Cholera Diphtheria Infectious tuberculosis Plague Smallpox Yellow fever Viral hemorrhagic fevers Severe acute respiratory syndromes Influenza pandemic From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legal authorities for isolation and quarantine. Source The pandemic Covid-19 infection, first reported from China in December 2019, reminds us […]