Tag Archives: Latin

History of medicine in ancient India

Keerthana Kalla Seattle, Washington, United States   Shushrut Statue In Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar. Photo by Alokprasad. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 The chronicle of medicine is the story of man’s struggle against illness. As early as 5000 BC, India developed a comprehensive form of healing called Ayurveda. Such traditional healing was first recorded between […]

Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Latina, or Latinx?

Bernardo Ng Imperial County, California, United States   Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Celebration 2019. Photo by CSUF Photos. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. The first time I became aware of a scientific group using the term Latinx was in 2018 during a meeting in Austin, Texas. It is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina that […]

St. Godric and the lost leper hospital of Darlington

Stephen Martin UK   Fig 1. Godric praying to the Virgin, c 1400. PD-US, accessed: wikimedia, original: ©British Library Board, Cotton, Faustina, VI, ii 16 V. In the late 1100s, the English monk Reginald of Durham wrote an account in Latin of the hermit St. Godric, whom he knew personally.1 Reginald attributed over two hundred […]

Macdonald Critchley

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Macdonald Critchley by Norman Hepple. Credit: National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH Arts. Source Macdonald Critchley was a neurologist of elegance and sophistication.1 He was pre-eminently a clinical investigator of disorders of higher mental functions, especially those relating to language. He was the author of many […]

Plain Words, or pandemic medical gobbledygook

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Comic featuring Plain Words The great essayist and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) once said: “Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past.” I suggest that the problems posed by writers who fail to convey meaning are not new.1,2 As long ago as […]

Coleridge and the albatross syndrome

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Contemporary portrait. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the tenth and last child of the vicar of Ottery Saint Mary near Devonshire, England, was born on October 21, 1772. In vivid letters recounting his early years he describes himself as “a genuine Sans […]

Harvey Cushing: Surgeon, Author, Soldier, Historian 1869-1939

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Harvey Williams Cushing. Photograph by W.(?)W.B. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Harvey Cushing was a third-generation physician, born to a family of New England Puritans who had migrated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 1830s. His father and grandfather were successful physicians; family members on both […]

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

Plague epidemics and the evolution of language in England

Andrew P. K. Wodrich Washington, DC, United States   Pierart dou Tielt’s illustration depicts the mortal toll of the Black Death in a Belgian town circa 1353. Similarly, the plague decimated the population of England, spurring the change from French to English as the country’s dominant spoken language. Via Wikimedia Commons here.  Epidemics have had a profound impact […]

Science versus religion: the medieval disenchantment

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. An engraving showing a monopod or sclapod, a female Cyclops, conjoined twins, a blemmye, and a cynocephali. By Sebastian Münster 1544. Source History is a novel whose author is the people. -Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863)   In medieval times, knowledge, beliefs, and faith were largely centered upon a […]