Tag Archives: Neurology

Hemiplegic migraine, the monster

Ceres Alhelí Otero Peniche Mexico City, Mexico   Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell. Oil on canvas, c. 1831–1840. National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 1235. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. The authors of great literary works allow their readers to enter into the very precincts of their imaginations, leading them to the most fantastical places they could have […]

Luigi Rolando

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Likened to the small intestines, in ancient times the gyri of the brain were named “coils” by Greek physicians and anatomists. Vesalius in the sixteenth century amplified the description in the celebrated De humani corporis fabrica. Thomas Willis in Cerebri anatome (1664) radically changed the accepted view that cognitive and […]

Huntington’s chorea

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. George Huntington’s 1872 paper “On Chorea.” In the history of medicine, few writers can have received a finer accolade than that bestowed by William Osler on George Huntington. Osler commented: “In the whole range of descriptive nosology there is not to my knowledge, an instance in which a […]

The ordeal of Evelyn Waugh

Stephen McWilliams Dublin, Ireland   Evelyn Waugh. Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery. In Evelyn Waugh’s second-last novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957), the eponymous character experiences some singular and troubling symptoms. Mr. Pinfold is a successful writer, not unlike Waugh himself, who embarks on a sea voyage in an effort to cure the chronic […]

Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy: A historical note

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Wernicke’s Lehrbuch der Gehirnkrankheiten. Internet Archive. Public domain. Before Sergei Sergeivich Korsakoff described the psychosis that bears his name, Carl Wernicke reported a closely related and often coexistent syndrome. It is variously named Wernicke-Korsakoff encephalopathy, syndrome, or psychosis. Two more different personalities would be hard to imagine.   […]

Gonzalo R. Lafora: Spanish neuropsychologist and neuropathologist

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Overland, Kansas, United States   Portrait of Dr. Gonzalo R. Lafora (1886–1971). Reproduced with permission from Spanish Society of Neurology’s Museum and Historical Archives (MAH SEN). Gonzalo Rodríguez-Lafora (1886–1971) was a Spanish neurologist best known for his description of intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies (Lafora bodies) in myoclonic epilepsy. Lafora was born in Madrid on […]

Book review: How the Mind Changed: A Human History of Our Evolving Brain

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of How the Mind Changed: A Human History of Our Evolving Brain by Joseph Jebelli. The human brain has long been a source of wonder and a fascinating subject for study. Philosophers, scientists, biologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and medical scholars have spent lifetimes studying the brain and how […]

Lumbar puncture

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Dominici Cotugno’s De Ischiade Nervosa, 1764. 1770. Access to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in life as an aid to diagnosis proved impossible until lumbar puncture. Galen of Pergamon (AD 130–200) failed to recognize CSF; he described a vaporous, not aqueous, humor that he called περιττώματα (residues) in the cerebral ventricles. […]

Dr. Désiré-Magloire Bourneville: a man ahead of his time

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Drawing of a children’s puzzle with different shaped pieces and holes. From Assistance, traitement et éducation des enfants idiots et dégénérés: rapport fait au Congrès National d’assistance publique (session de Lyon, juin 1894) by Bourneville (Paris: Aux bureaux du Progrès médical [etc.], 1895), p. 233. Francis A. Countway Library of […]

Book review: The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong. Making the right diagnosis is central to the medical encounter. A doctor always started off by taking a history, examining the patient, and sometimes performing additional tests. But when a creditable diagnosis could not be made, the medical profession […]