Tag Archives: Hippocrates

The history and mystery of cupping

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Peasant Spa of Krapinske Toplice, Yugoslavia. Where ancient method of cupping using cow horns is practised. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY Maybe your chest hurts from coughing, or maybe your muscles ache. Maybe you feel sluggish and anxious, worn out, and not sure why. There is a treatment, some […]

Scurvy before James Lind

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Nathaniel Dance. BHC2628 Cures of disease are still relatively uncommon. Scurvy is an example of a disease well recognized but whose cause eluded doctors for centuries until an empirical curative remedy and later a specific cause were discovered. In more recent times Koch’s discovery […]

Medicinal leeches in art and literature

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, United States   Figure 1. Woman applying a leech to her forearm. A large jar containing leeches is next to her. Belgium woodcut by Guillaume van den Bossche, 1639: National Library of Medicine Unique ID: 2315020R. For more than two thousand years, the extraordinary blood-sucking abilities of the medicinal leech (Hirudo […]

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding and the reputation of the medical profession 1742

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, USA     In his first published novel from 1742, Henry Fielding chronicles the journey and foibles of three principle characters: the amenable Parson Adams, the so-called beautiful wench Fanny, and her paramour Joseph Andrews—the namesake of the novel.1 Adventures and misadventures befall the young protagonist Andrews, none the least falling […]

Medical innovations made by doctors during the Napoleonic Wars

Craig Stout Aberdeen, Scotland   The Battle of Waterloo (1815), oil painting by William Sadler. Pyms Gallery, London. The Napoleonic Wars (1799 to 1815) brought great upheaval and turmoil to Europe, with as many as 2.5 million soldiers and 1 million civilians losing their lives. French military physicians, principally Dominique Jean-Larrey, made significant contributions to […]

Where philosophy and medicine overlap

Mariami Shanshashvili Tbilisi, Georgia   Achilles bandaging Patroclus’s wounded arm. Ink drawing after an Attic cup by the potter Sosias, c.500 B.C. Achilles bandaging Patroclus’s wounded arm. Ink drawing after an Attic cup by the potter Sosias, c. 500 B.C. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY In Plato’s Charmides there is a remark by Socrates that is neither […]

Living with incidental cyberchondria

Theresa Danna Burbank, California, USA   Bioblasts. Credit: Odra Noel. CC BY-NC Before the Internet, if I had a pain in my chest, I would assume it was gas and then burp and move on with my day. After the Internet, if I have a pain in my chest, I panic and think, “That’s one […]

Life is short and Art is long: reflections on the first Hippocratic aphorism

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   The ruins of the Asclepeion in the Greek island of Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates. Photo courtesy of author. Some five centuries before Christ, the ancient father of medicine Hippocrates used to instruct his students that “Life is short and Art is long; opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.” (Ο […]

Aristotle and the four humors

Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He has influenced human thought for almost 2500 years and many of his works are as relevant today as they were in the days of ancient Greece. Students of his philosophical works are likely to be familiar with his Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics, […]

Aretaeus of Cappadocia, second only to Hippocrates

Aretaeus was born in Cappadocia during the Roman hegemony over Greek Asia Minor. Few details are known about his life, but it is believed he studied in Alexandria and practiced medicine in Rome around the second century AD. After his death he was forgotten until rediscovered during the Renaissance, when a Latin translation of his […]