Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Henry Cotton

  • Henry Cotton: Pulling teeth to cure disease

    Dr. Henry Cotton believed that all mental illnesses were caused by chronic “focal” infections hidden in various organs. He argued that when these infections spread to the brain, they caused inflammation and mental disorders. To cure these conditions, Cotton advocated the aggressive surgical removal of the infected organ, and for this achieved considerable fame in…

  • The talented Dr. Cotton and other quacks

    Philip R. LiebsonChicago, Illinois, United States Over the centuries there has been a surfeit of talented medical quacks in all parts of the world. The word “quack,” indeed, is derived from the archaic Dutch word “quacksalver,” meaning “boaster who applies a salve.” A closely associated German word, “Quacksalber,” means “questionable salesperson.” In medical parlance it…