Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: malnutrition

  • Pica: Eating starch and clay

    The habit of eating non-nutritious or nonfood substances goes by the name of pica and strikes one as a rather peculiar phenomenon. It applies most commonly to people consuming starch or clay, but at different times and in different areas people have also eaten paper, dirt, soap, cloth, hair, ice, pebbles, charcoal, chalk, hair, or…

  • The decisive influence of malaria on the outcome of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign of 1863

    Lloyd Klein Eric Wittenberg California, San Francisco, United States   Contemporaneous photograph of the dwellings dug into the hills in Vicksburg to escape the bombardment. Public domain. The vital importance of controlling the Mississippi River was apparent to Union strategists from the beginning of the Civil War. The river served as a major supply route,…

  • Andersonville, Georgia and Elmira, New York: When Hell was on Earth

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” — Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy   Andersonville Prison, Georgia. South end view of the stockade, showing the sentry stands in the distance. Photographed by A.J. Riddle, August 17, 1864. Library of Congress Liljenquist Family Collection. No known restrictions on publication. Elmira Prison, Elmira,…

  • Viktor Frankl: the meaning of a life

    Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Viktor Frankl, 1965. Photo by Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 DE. Not long before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April 1945, Viktor Emil Frankl was seriously ill with typhus and writing feverishly on stolen scraps of paper, determined to…

  • Kwashiorkor

    Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States An eleven-month-old Egyptian infant sat wailing on a cot, his abdomen pouched out and covered by spider-like purplish veins. His tiny arms and legs were like sticks, except for his swollen ankles. He was brought in by his mother who knew that his food and care would be free,…

  • The surgery of pyloric stenosis in Chicago

    John RaffenspergerFort Meyers, Florida, United States Harald Hirschprung, a Danish pediatrician, in 1888 described the clinical course and pathology of two infants who died with congenital hypertrophic pyloric stenosis.1 Gastroenterostomy was adopted for the treatment of infants with pyloric stenosis, but surgical treatments were hampered by delayed diagnosis, malnutrition, and a lack of knowledge about…

  • Health, wellness, and their determinants

    Travis Kirkwood Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   Original map made by John Snow in 1854. Cholera cases are highlighted in black. 2nd Ed by John Snow. Public Domain due to age. John Snow is often referred to as the father of modern epidemiology. His work is certainly worthy of this1 and present-day public health2 still strives toward…

  • Grandfather of allergy: Dr. Bill Frankland, the ardent centenarian

    John Turner United Kingdom   Captain A. W. Frankland Image credit Paul Watkins Research for Far East Prisoners of War History Group Fepowhistory.com “For your final choice?” Dr. William Frankland at one hundred and three, the oldest guest ever to appear in the London studio of the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, chose Elgar’s Nimrod in…

  • Learning to eat at thirty

    Hannah HarpoleBern, Switzerland My hippie parents indulged me as a picky eater. At two I proclaimed I was a vegetarian. Around the age of four, I survived solely on yogurt, refusing all other nourishment. I do not exactly know when this morphed into a combination eating disorder of occasional bulimia with a full count of…

  • “Our daily bread”—The scourge of pellagra

    Meera LadwaLondon, England, United Kingdom In the northern Italian town of Ferrara hangs a little-known painting by Giuseppe Mentessi (1857–1931). Surrounded by a field of maize, a woman carries her exhausted child in her arms, her eyes downcast with suffering. Behind this painting lies a story of medicine, food, economics, and culture—the story of pellagra,…