Tag Archives: Hektoen International

Girolamo Cardano: Renaissance physician and polymath

Born at Pavia in the duchy of Lombardy in 1501, Girolamo Cardano practiced medicine for fifty years but is remembered chiefly as a polymath. He composed 200 works, made important contributions to mathematics and algebra, invented several mechanical devices (some still in use today), and published extensive philosophical tracts and commentaries on the ancient philosophers […]

“Looking at … Looking away”: a challenging and vital skill

Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA   Alice Neel Self-Portrait. Alice Neel. 1980. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © Estate of Alice Neel, 1980. For nearly a decade, I have used images of paintings to teach students in health care professions how to cultivate the skills of looking while learning to recognize their […]

“Do I look gay to you?”

Elena Hill New York, United States   Joaquim, Refugee, Tijuana 2020. Richard Hill. When I first went to Tijuana to the US-Mexican border to volunteer as a physician, I was expecting to see women fleeing abuse, men escaping gang violence, and families pursuing a better life. I was not expecting to see a large LGBTQ […]

The Doctors Cori, carbohydrate metabolism, and the Nobel prize

Beta-d-glucose. Image by Rob Hooft, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 Energy in animals and humans is stored in the body in the form of glycogen. Starch, a similar molecule but less branched, serves the same function in plants. Glycogen, discovered by Claude Bernard in 1856, is stored primarily in the liver (about 120 grams) and […]

Drawing parallels in pandemic art

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta Victor Grech Pembroke, Malta   Photo of the crowd at an undetermined 1918 Georgia Tech home football game. Photo by Thomas Carter, Public domain. Via Wikimedia. “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down […]

Another look at the medical problems of Jean-Paul Marat: searching for a unitary diagnosis

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   L’Assassinat de Marat / Charlotte Corday. Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry. 1860. Musée d’Arts de Nantes. Via Wikimedia. Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a practicing physician, scientist, and a leader of the French Revolution. He also suffered from a chronic, intractable skin condition, which troubled the last five years of his life. A tormenting […]

My very own back pain

Andrew Bamji Rye, East Sussex, UK   Illustration by Claude Serre. As a rheumatologist, now retired, I spent a good portion of my working life dealing with patients who had back pain. I reckoned over the course of thirty-three years in the specialty that I had back pain largely nailed. I developed an algorithm which […]

Phillipe Gaucher (1854-1918)

Philippe Charles Ernest Gaucher. Via Wikimedia. In the days when syphilis was rampant in Europe and diagnostic modalities few, many unrelated medical conditions were erroneously attributed to it. There was, for example, the distinguished professor of syphilology and dermatology at the Hôpital Saint-Antoine and the University of Paris, who “aggressively promoted” the idea that poliomyelitis […]

Theodor Kocher (1841-1917)

Emil Theodor Kocher. published in 1909 in Les Prix Nobel p. 66. Via Wikimedia. Theodor Kocher was the first surgeon to ever receive the Nobel Prize. He was born in 1841 in Bern, Switzerland, went to school there, and was first in his class. He studied medicine in Bern and graduated summa cum laude, then went […]

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]