Tag Archives: JMS Pearce

William Richard Gowers MD., FRS.

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig. 1 Gowers’ Manual. A Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System. J London: J. & A. Churchill 1886 The name Gowers is a name hallowed in the minds of most neurologists as one of the great founders of neurological medicine in the Victorian era. He is probably best remembered […]

Richard Dadd: art and madness

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Portrait of British painter Richard Dadd (1817-1886) showing painting Contradiction: Oberon and Titania. Henry Hering. circa 1856. Source Unknown. Public Domain due to age. Is there anything so extravagant as the imaginations of men’s brains? Where is the head that has no chimeras in it? . . . Our knowledge, […]

Mental illness in art

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Corridor in the Asylum. Vincent can Gogh. 1889. Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is often said that creative art is linked to eccentricity, sometimes bordering on madness. Examples abound of great musicians, writers, and artists who at some time in their lives were deranged and often committed to institutions for […]

Duchenne de Boulogne

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Duchenne examining facial muscles of expression. [From Mècanisme de la physionomie Humaine (1862)] The eponymous Duchenne muscular dystrophy still provokes a sense of sadness in afflicted families and therapeutic impotence in their medical attendants. Although both Edward Meryon (1852) and Wilhelm Griesinger (1865) published early case reports, […]

Joseph Bell and Conan Doyle

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Arthur Conan Doyle. University of Manitoba, Archives Special Collections “…The remarkable individuality and discriminating tact of my old master made a deep and lasting impression on me, though I had not the faintest idea that it would one day lead me to forsake medicine for story writing.” […]

The Gold-Headed Cane revisited

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Hogarth’s The Company of Undertakers or a Consultation of Physicians Over many centuries there have been several icons symbolic of medical practice. Typical is the single serpent, the Aesculapian wand — a “totem of Medicine”— seen in the constellation Ophiochus (the serpent holder). Serpents in ancient cultures […]

Luigi Galvani: beginnings of electrophysiology

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Lithograph: portrait of L. Galvani. From Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Physicist or physician? Scientist or healer? Artificially, these are divisions that have classified doctors through the ages. Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) (Fig 1.) showed that it was possible to be an amalgam of both. […]

Alfred Russel Wallace

JMS Pearce Hull, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Alfred Russel Wallace. Public Domain Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) conceived the original idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.1 In the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey, next to Charles Darwin’s memorial, is a white marble roundel with a profile relief bust to […]

Medicine in Greek mythology

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK Fig. 1 Caduceus and Asclepian single serpent Some of the earliest ideas about health and disease lie in Greek mythology. The Greeks of prehistory told, retold, and often remoulded their tales of immortal gods and goddesses that were imaginative, symbolic creations. Stories of the gods probably started with Minoan and […]

John Tyndall, FRS: The beauty of science

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. John Tyndall FRS [This media file is in the public domain in the United States.] Over many centuries non-medical people have carried out research into disease and its causes, often making important advances. The 1841 Census estimates suggest a third of all medical practitioners in England were unqualified.a The […]