Tag Archives: Leprosy

Another look at the medical problems of Jean-Paul Marat: searching for a unitary diagnosis

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   L’Assassinat de Marat / Charlotte Corday. Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry. 1860. Musée d’Arts de Nantes. Via Wikimedia. Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a practicing physician, scientist, and a leader of the French Revolution. He also suffered from a chronic, intractable skin condition, which troubled the last five years of his life. A tormenting […]

Darling of Panama

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Kansas City, Kansas, United States   Samuel Taylor Darling at age 51, portrait by Underwwod & Underwood, 1923. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Samuel Taylor Darling, widely considered as the foremost American tropical parasitologist and pathologist of his time, was born in Harrison, New Jersey on April 6, 1872. […]

The scourge, the scientist, and the swindle

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Alice Augusta Ball, 1915. (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain) “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as […]

Ladies in red: medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

Milad Matta Gregory Rutecki Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States   Illustration by Jason Malmberg. “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open […]

Epidemics from plague to Coronavirus

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome. From the Internet Archive’s copy of Eugen Hollände Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin: Medico-Kunsthistorische Studie von Professor Dr. Eugen Holländer. circa 1656. Throughout history humanity has faced many epidemics and pandemics that caused […]

“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 […]

Leprosy: A nearly forgotten malady

JMS Pearce Hull Royal Infirmary   Fig 1. Patient at St. Jørgen’s Hospital Leprosy was the first proven instance of a bacterium causing a human disease. Along with plague, poliomyelitis, and smallpox, leprosy has beleaguered mankind for millennia, causing devastating and often fatal infections that were historically impossible to  cure or prevent. The nervous system, skin,and eyes […]

Saint Peter and Hansen’s disease?

Saint Peter holding the keys of heaven, circa 1295 Attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio Vatican City, Saint Peter’s Basilica Saint Peter Blessing with Donor, circa 1505 Bartolomeo Montagna Venice, Accademia   Did Saint Peter have leprosy, or perhaps some other cause of injury to the ulnar nerve? It would seem so, according to Dr. Bennett […]