Tag Archives: Greek

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 […]

Science versus religion: the medieval disenchantment

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. An engraving showing a monopod or sclapod, a female Cyclops, conjoined twins, a blemmye, and a cynocephali. By Sebastian Münster 1544. Source History is a novel whose author is the people. -Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863)   In medieval times, knowledge, beliefs, and faith were largely centered upon a […]

Blood under the moon: the role of astrology in surgery

Margareta-Erminia Cassani Michigan, United States   Zodiac Man, Homo Signorum, from Guild Book of the Barber Surgeons, c 1486, BL MS Egerton, 2572, f. 50v.  Luminarium:  Encyclopedia Project Imagine your doctor telling you that you need surgery. Then they follow that unsettling news with something, well, a little strange sounding. They tell you that the date […]

A history of blood: hysteria, taboos, and evil

Danielle Dalechek Norfolk, Virginia, United States   The witch no. 1. Joseph E Baker. c1892. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. “Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?”  —Carl Jung   Historically, the opposite of purity was often viewed and represented as […]

There is power in the blood

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   Vue du Cimetiere de Melegnano – le lendemain du Combat. [View of the Cemetery at Melegnano – the aftermath of combat.] “Carne fa carne e vino fa sango” [Meat makes flesh and wine makes blood] – Italian proverb Laura was covered in blood when the paramedics arrived at her […]

The legacy and maladies of Jonathan Swift

JMS Pearce England, UK   Fig 1. Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (Fig 1.) is best known for his popular Lemuel Gulliver’s: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World published in 1726. (Fig 2.) Exciting adventures combine with satirical metaphors that parodied contemporary customs and politics. Lemuel Gulliver, the narrator, begins as a modern man […]