Tag Archives: Massachusetts

John Hunter, Harvey Cushing, and acromegaly

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Charles Byrne, a giant, George Cranstoun, a dwarf, and three other normal sized men. Etching by J. Kay, 1794. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Introduction John Hunter and Harvey Cushing were two of the most preeminent surgeons of their eras. John Hunter is considered […]

C. Miller Fisher: Stroke in the twentieth century

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Stroke, in spite of its serious and widespread impact, had long received little interest from physicians. C. Miller Fisher, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding neurologists and researchers, revolutionized the management of stroke. In this well-researched and readable biography, Louis Caplan, a distinguished Harvard neurologist and former trainee of […]

Thank you notes

Margaret Mitchell Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash I wrote thank you notes after matching in my residency program, though I found I was thankful for things I had not anticipated. I began working with Dr. Langerman in my first year of medical school, both in clinical settings and research. […]

Cloaked in white

Stacey Maslow Framingham, Massachusetts, United States   Photo courtesy of the author Darkness envelops me. A sliver of light peeks beneath the door from the world beyond the hospital room. Through the window hilled silhouettes stand silent before a veiled black backdrop. My mind wanders to the image of morning in the town just waking […]

Maxwell Finland: expert in infectious diseases

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, United States   Maxwell Finland in the senior yearbook from the Harvard Class Album 1922. (Credit: HUD 322.04 page 181. Harvard University Archives.) Maxwell Finland (1902-1987) was a remarkable physician, teacher, and researcher in infectious diseases. His life began during the turmoil of the pogroms in Tsarist Russia and ended in […]

The literary breakdown in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

Carol-Ann Farkas Boston, Massachusetts, United States   The Goldfinch By Carel Fabritius. 1654. Mauritshuis. Public Domain. Wikimedia. I. Diagnostically speaking, the “nervous” or “mental” breakdown is not a thing. The term has never been formally used in psychology, which has long preferred specific, definable categorizations of symptoms and conditions: stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, trauma.1 And yet […]

The death of Zachary Taylor: the first presidential assassination or a bad bowl of cherries?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1: Senator Foote pulling a revolver on Senator Benton on Senate Floor. The quote above Benson’s head reads, “Get out of the way and let the assassin fire! Let the scoundrel use his weapon! I have no arm’s(sic) I didn’t come here to assassinate.” Library of […]

The Schoolhouse Lab

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Howard T. Ricketts in Mexico City laboratory. National Library of Medicine “Black measles” was a common name for spotted fever, which regularly killed people in the western United States. Symptoms included a spotty rash on the extremities, fever, chills, headache, and photophobia. No one knew what caused […]

The African Savannah

Steve Ablon Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts   Photo by Steve Ablon Forty years ago, my father wore his safari hat, squinted through binoculars, told us those giraffes, the dark ones, are older,   and soon will not be able to outrun lions or will break a leg, be eaten. That is the cycle of life he […]

Heterozygous Advantage: how one deadly disease prevents another

Neal Krishna Boston, Massachusetts, United States   An allegory of malaria. Process print after M. Sand. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Of all the genetic disorders to which man is known to be a victim, there is no other that presents an assemblage of problems and challenges quite comparable to sickle […]