Tag Archives: New York

Tendon reflex hammers

JMS Pearce  East York, England   Fig 1. Wintrich hammer cropped from Semantics Scholars The vogue for reflex hammers started with Erb and Westphal’s adjacent papers1,2 in the 1875 issue of the Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, which described the tendon or muscle stretch reflex. Wilhelm Heinrich Erb (1840-1921) read medicine at Heidelberg where he […]

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

Being our best selves: hidden in full view

James Stoller Peter Rea Alan Kolp Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Figure 1. Pillars and pediment We live in a paradox framed by a tension between age-old wisdom about excellence and our current state. The paradox is this: our behaviors and our priorities are often at odds with age-old truths about how we can be […]

Ahab’s gift: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the meaning of pain

Xi Chen Rochester, New York, United States   A whale being speared with harpoons by fishermen in the arctic sea. Engraving by A. M. Fournier after E. Traviès. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) In the summer months before my first year of medical school, I unfurled the pages of Moby Dick. Immersed […]

The search for Eisenhower’s adrenal tumor

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Letter to KRL from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology For most Americans, the knowledge of Dwight Eisenhower’s health history is limited to the fact that he had a serious heart attack while president. However, a seemingly casual comment by a non-physician political scientist, Robert […]

Dr. Peabody, the ideal medical practitioner

Rachel Bright Kevin Qosja Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States   Embankment by Rachel Whiteread. Turbine Hall, The Tate Modern, Bankside, London. 12 November 2005. Photo by Fin Fahey. In part inspired by the aftermath of her mother’s death, the white boxes are reminiscent of the many boxes the artist had to pack […]

The hunt for a yellow fever therapy

Edward McSweegen Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Roux’s syringe for delivering antitoxin, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia  Source In March 2020, a research group in China reported the use of convalescent plasma to treat ten patients suffering from coronavirus COVID-19 infections.1 This type of therapy—passive immunization—dates back to 1891 when the German bacteriologist Emil […]

Karl Landsteiner and the discovery of blood groups

Safia Benaissa Mostganem, Algeria   Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943), Austrian pathologist, hematologist and serologist; discoverer of the blood groups. Albert Hilscher. circa 1910. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons Karl Landsteiner was the Austrian scientist who recognized that humans had different blood groups and made it possible for physicians to transfuse blood safely. He entered medical school at […]

The smartest vampire story

Alice Theibault Rochester, New York, United States   181. Silhouette of traditional Japanese grave markers, found on Flickr Creative Commons. Nachans, June 28, 2011. There is something uniquely terrifying about vampires. The concept of a nocturnal creature showing up at one’s home to suck their blood is enough to make just about anyone uneasy, and […]

The sight of blood

Joanne Jacobson New York, New York, United States   Human plasma protein solution in bottle, Hertfordshire, Engl. Credit: Science Museum, London. CC BY None of us live to adulthood without seeing our own blood—growing up, I witnessed my blood flow free of my body too many times to count. The bleeding knee picked clean of leaves and […]