Tag Archives: Medicine

The wayward Paracelsus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus). Via Wikimedia. Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest Let no man be another’s who can be himself Paracelsus 1552   Paracelsus was the most original, controversial character of the Renaissance,1 who brazenly questioned and condemned the dictates of Galen and […]

Ludwig van Beethoven: music and medicine

Michael Yafi Chaden Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Beethoven home and surrounding area. Photos by Michael Yafi. December 2020 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. The causes of the composer’s deafness and his death at the age of fifty-six have remained unknown, even after an autopsy carried out soon […]

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 […]

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin OM, FRS (1910-1994)

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Dorothy Hodgkin. by Godfrey Argent. National Portrait Gallery, London. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Dorothy Hodgkin (Fig 1), though not by religion, had close Quaker affinities through her marriage and through her spirited pacifism. She possessed a unique mixture of scientific skills that allowed her to extend the use of […]

Not as a Stranger: The desperate medical student

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Doctors or medical students listening to their heartbeats using a multiple stethoscope. Photograph. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) In order to study medicine, a future doctor needs motivation, some intelligence, a medical school, and the ability to pay for the education. Morton Thompson’s 1954 novel Not […]

Walter Russell Brain DM FRCP FRS (1895–1966)

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Lord Brain. From The Royal London Hospital. Source Russell Brain (Fig 1) was born at Clovelly, Denmark Road, Reading, on 23 October 1895, the only son of Walter John Brain, solicitor, and his wife, Edith Alice. A quiet, reserved man of enormous intellect and integrity, he was revered as […]

Thomas Young MD FRS (1773-1829): “The Last Man Who Knew Everything.”

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Thomas Young. Mezzotint by G. R. Ward, 1855, after Sir T. Lawrence. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) It is impossible to place precisely Thomas Young (Fig 1) into any professional class. He was both physician and scientist, renowned for an astonishing range of […]

Roget and his Thesaurus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869). William. Drummond, after Eden Upton Eddis. c.1830s. Credit National Portrait Gallery  There was much more to Peter Mark Roget (1779–1869)(Fig 1) than his indispensable Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Fig 2).1 But little is remembered of his illustrious career in medicine and […]

Literatim: essays at the intersections of medicine and culture

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Cover of Literatim: Essays at the Intersections of Medicine and Culture In this interesting collection, medical historian Howard Markel has brought together his previously published essays from the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and the PBS Newsletter into one volume. The collection 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 […]