Tag Archives: History

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 […]

Cranium: the symbolic powers of the skull

F. Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, USA   It Was a Man and a Pot. Georgia O’Keeffe. 1942. Crocker Art Museum Of all bodily parts, the head has traditionally enjoyed the greatest prestige. The Platonic Timaeus tells us that secondary gods (themselves created by the Demiurge) copied the round form of the universe to make the head, […]

“Surrounded with many Mercies”: 270 years of patient advice

Andrew Williams Frederick O’Dell Northampton, United Kingdom   On July 9, 1748 Dr. James Stonhouse, physician at the Northampton Infirmary (United Kingdom), published “A Friendly Letter to a Patient just admitted to an Infirmary.”1 Later that year, after some minor revisions, the text was reprinted as “Friendly Advice to a Patient,” which for the next […]

Revisiting the history of kuru

Tanzila Saiyed Chernivtsi, Ukraine   Three kuru patients at the kuru hospital in Okapa requiring support to stand erect. The Fore adolescent supporting the patient on the right, himself had incipient kuru and died within one year. The other two died within six months Courtesy of late D. Carleton Gajdusek. CC BY 3.0. An eleven […]

The lost art and the hidden treasure

Jennifer Bingham Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania   It is the moment we catch ourselves wishing someone had mentioned how many pieces were in this puzzle that we look up to find progress. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels. The puzzle box is empty and the pieces are scattered across the table. After all, a puzzle was never meant […]

Wilhelm Werner’s life unworthy of life: a voice from the Nazi Euthanasia Program

Erika Silvestri Berlin, Germany   Der Siegeszug der Sterelation, Wilhelm Werner, © Sammlung Prinzhorn, Heidelberg, Inv. Nr. 8083 (2008) fol. 25. Source The medical-scientific sector was among the first to adhere to National Socialism: in 1933, nine doctors sat in Parliament in the ranks of the party.1 After a century of scientific dynamism and in […]

Jöns Jacob Berzelius: physician, scientist, and globetrotter

Frank Wollheim Sweden   Figure 1. Berzelius around 1807 Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) was not only the enigmatic Swedish chemist of his time but also an accomplished medical doctor, active humanitarian, co-founder of the Karolinska Institute, and secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for thirty years. He also mastered the pen, leaving 7000 […]

Welcome to The Jungle: the story of adopting two food safety laws

Stephen Kosnar Accra, Ghana   In the heart of the Great Union Stock Yards, Chicago, U.S.A. Kelley & Chadwick. C.1909. Accessed from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs catalog. In 1912 my great-grandfather Matthew Kosnar collected his family in rural Bohemia and began a journey that would take them by train, ship, and train […]

Swaddling: Forever bound in controversy?

Jennifer Borst Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia   “The Virgin with the Swaddled Child,” 1520. Albrecht Dürer, German As a bleary-eyed new parent, I found myself embracing the quiescence and prolonged slumber swaddling offered my restless and sleepless first-born. Strategic bundling subsequently proved disappointingly ineffective with my second colicky child and unnecessary with my jovial, naturally sleepy […]

“If it be a poor man”: medieval medical treatment for the rich and poor

Erin Connelly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “Urine Wheel,” Almanack, Free Library of Philadelphia – The Rosenbach, MS 1004/29, fol. 9 C (York, England, 1364), courtesy of Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis. OPenn Repository Great disparities in wealth and differences in access to healthcare between the top and bottom of society are hardly new experiences in human history.1-4 […]