Tag Archives: JMS Pearce

Christopher Wren’s contributions to medicine

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Left: Sir Christopher Wren. From James Bissett’s Magnificent Guide, 1808. Wellcome Collection via Wikimedia. Public domain. Right: Blue plaque at Hampton Court Green. Photo by Edwardx on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. An extraordinary natural philosopher and Renaissance man, Christopher Wren (1632–1723) (Fig 1) was primarily an astronomer and […]

A note on circadian clocks

JMS Pearce Hull, England   I first started to enquire about circadian rhythms when wondering what it was that caused the periodicity of migraines in relationship to such diverse factors as emotions, tiredness, relaxation, hormonal changes, bright lights, and noise.1 The periodic threshold appeared susceptible to hypothalamic function, which in turn was modulated by seasonal […]

Some Dickensian diagnoses

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Charles Dickens Lithograph by Sol Eytinge,1867, from Dickens and His Illustrators. Internet Archive. Public domain. What a gain it would have been to physic if one so keen to observe and facile to describe had devoted his powers to the medical art. – British Medical Journal obituary, 1870 […]

Luigi Rolando

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Likened to the small intestines, in ancient times the gyri of the brain were named “coils” by Greek physicians and anatomists. Vesalius in the sixteenth century amplified the description in the celebrated De humani corporis fabrica. Thomas Willis in Cerebri anatome (1664) radically changed the accepted view that cognitive and […]

Huntington’s chorea

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. George Huntington’s 1872 paper “On Chorea.” In the history of medicine, few writers can have received a finer accolade than that bestowed by William Osler on George Huntington. Osler commented: “In the whole range of descriptive nosology there is not to my knowledge, an instance in which a […]

Douglas Argyll Robertson and his pupils

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Argyll Robertson pupil reactions. Diagram by Chainwit. on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. In my student days, the Wasserman reaction (WR), though not specific, was performed almost routinely in patients on medical wards to detect syphilis. Several direct and serological tests of varying sensitivity and specificity have now replaced […]

Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy: A historical note

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Wernicke’s Lehrbuch der Gehirnkrankheiten. Internet Archive. Public domain. Before Sergei Sergeivich Korsakoff described the psychosis that bears his name, Carl Wernicke reported a closely related and often coexistent syndrome. It is variously named Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy, syndrome, or psychosis. Two more different personalities would be hard to imagine.   […]

Physicians and photosynthesis

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Portrait of J.B. van Helmont, 1683. Wellcome Collection. Public domain. The importance of plants in nutrition and in the environment of human and animal species needs no emphasis. How plants obtain their food and how they grow were unsolved mysteries until photosynthesis was discovered. It was generally believed […]

Francis Bacon’s natural philosophy and medicine

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Novum Organum Scientiarum, 2nd edition, 1645. EC.B1328.620ib, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Lord Bacon was the greatest genius that England, or perhaps any country, ever produced. – Alexander Pope, 1741   The early seventeenth century was a time when natural philosophy, the precursor of modern […]

Koch’s postulates revisited

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1722), a Dutch botanist, using his early microscope observed single-celled bacteria, which he reported to the Royal Society as animalcules. The science of bacteriology owes its origin to two scientists of coruscating originality, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Pasteur may be described as master-architect and Koch as master-builder […]