Tag Archives: History

The first effective chemotherapy for cancer

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Caution: Chemotherapy. Photo by Justin Levy. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0   Sulfur mustard gas had no influence on the outcome of the battle at Ypres during World War I despite the many deaths and severe injuries it inflicted. Since then, chemical weapons have been used in […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Teddy Roosevelt: did a speech really save his life?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Roosevelt’s Eyeglass Case. Photo by Rickster77. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 Figure 2. Roosevelt’s Speech With Bullet Hole. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Part Of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Figure 3. Roosevelt’s Bloody Shirt. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Part Of the […]

Asclepius at Epidaurus

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   An Athenian seeking a cure for his afflictions in the fourth century BC had the option of visiting several competing sanctuaries, at Delphi, Olympia, or Epidaurus. To reach Epidaurus, the Athenian would bypass Megara and Corinth, then turn south and find himself at the shrine […]

Friedrich Nietzsche—much afflicted philosopher

Friedrich Nietzsche By Edvard Munch. 1906. Thielska Gallerie, Sweden. Via Wikimedia. Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers of the nineteenth century. Though often misinterpreted, his influence has been enormous. Like his compatriot Schopenhauer, he questioned the comfortable beliefs of the conservative bourgeoisie of his time. His writings have fascinated generations of readers, […]

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 […]

Snapped by Snapchat: social media and adolescents

Ganga Prasanth Austin, Texas, United States   Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash  When was the last time you checked in with social media? An hour ago? Thirty minutes? Maybe ten? Social media plays a large role in modern society. Humans have an innate drive to belong to groups and take part in social interactions; and a sense […]

Good patient, good doctor

Lealani Mae Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Illustration by Lealani Mae Y. Acosta What makes a “good” patient? What makes a “good” doctor? I am a cognitive behavioral neurologist who specializes in dementia. I relish the longitudinal relationship I have with patients and appreciate hearing them say with pride, “Dr. Acosta is MY doctor.” Being someone’s […]

Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant Man”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. The Elephant man and other reminiscences As a specimen of humanity, Merrick was ignoble and repulsive; but the spirit of Merrick, if it can be seen in the form of the living, would assume the figure of an upstanding and heroic man . . .6 The […]

Unlikely pioneers in renal transplantation: The Little Company of Mary Sisters

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   The first kidney transplant was performed by Dr. Richard Lawler, Dr. James West, and Dr. Raymond Murphy at Little Company of Mary Hospital, Evergreen Park, IL. Photo courtesy of OSF Little Company of Mary Medical center.  Dr. Joseph Murray deservedly received the Nobel Prize in 1990 for his magnificent pioneering […]