Tag Archives: hypertension

Walter E. Dandy, one of the founders of neurosurgery

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Johns Hopkins, where Dandy studied. Photo by Lizardraley99, 2012. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 Three pioneers established the discipline of neurosurgery. They were the British surgeon Victor Horsley and the Americans Harvey Cushing and Walter Dandy. Both Americans were surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Dandy (1886-1946) […]

Sir George Pickering and the low salt diet

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, UK. Photo by Enric likes Funk. 2008. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 2.0. As a young man George Pickering was interested in his native Northumbrian countryside and intended to study agriculture. Persuaded later to read for a degree in biochemistry or physiology, he […]

Did Ernest Hemingway have the Celtic curse?

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1954. GPA Photo Archive. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0 Considering Ernest Hemingway’s mishaps before he died in 1961 by a self-inflicted shotgun wound, it is surprising that he lived so long. He survived two plane crashes several days apart that left […]

Felix Mendelssohn, musical prodigy

Oil portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, painted in 1846 by Eduard Magnus. From the Berlin State Library. Via Wikimedia. Felix Mendelssohn made his musical debut at age nine. Born in Hamburg in 1809, he came from a distinguished German family that moved to Berlin in 1902. His grandfather and father had been successful businessmen who […]

Sympathectomy for hypertension

Components of the sympathetic trunk. Redrawn from Wolf-Heidegger’s Atlas of Human Anatomy. From Anatomic Origin and Molecular Genetics in Neuroblastoma. CC BY 3.0. Sympathectomy for essential hypertension was introduced in the late 1920s at a time when no effective medical treatment was available. It consisted of resecting several sympathetic neurons that exit the spinal cord […]

Walter Kempner (1903–1997) and his rice diet

Photo of Walter Kempner. Source. Walter Kempner, the doctor with the thick German accent who came to America to escape from the Nazis, was born in 1903. Son of two bacteriologists who had both worked on tuberculosis, he graduated in medicine from the  University of Heidelberg in 1928 and subsequently worked there and in Berlin. When […]

Harry Goldblatt and the kidney

Dr. Harry Goldblatt. 1964. Via the National Library of Medicine. In 1928 Dr. Harry Goldblatt applied silver clamps experimentally to the renal arteries of dogs and observed a significant and sustained rise in blood pressure. His main interest as a researcher was to find a cause for hypertension, a disease for which effective treatment was […]

The Emberá of Panama

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Emberá are an indigenous people who live near the Panama-Columbia border. There are about 33,000 living in Darién, Panama, and 50,000 in Colombia. Until 1960 most lived in extended family settlements along the rivers. Since the 60s many have moved together into small villages, […]

The search for Eisenhower’s adrenal tumor

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Letter to KRL from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology For most Americans, the knowledge of Dwight Eisenhower’s health history is limited to the fact that he had a serious heart attack while president. However, a seemingly casual comment by a non-physician political scientist, Robert […]

The death of King George II

In November 1760, the King of Great Britain rose early as was his custom and drank his habitual cup of chocolate. He then went to use his commode on wheels, and minutes later was discovered slumped on the floor, dead. The next day his physician, Frank Nicholls, “opened the body” and found the king had […]