Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Obesity

  • A note on circadian clocks

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   I first started to enquire about circadian rhythms when wondering what it was that caused the periodicity of migraines in relationship to such diverse factors as emotions, tiredness, relaxation, hormonal changes, bright lights, and noise.1 The periodic threshold appeared susceptible to hypothalamic function, which in turn was modulated by seasonal…

  • Obesity in the Middle Ages: Sancho el Craso

    Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain “Severe obesity restricts body movements and maneuvers . . . breathing passages become blocked and do not pass good air . . . these patients are at risk of sudden death . . . they are vulnerable to having a stroke, hemiplegia, palpitations, diarrhea, dizziness . . . men are…

  • Fat by choice: a quest for meaning

    Amer Toutonji Charleston, South Carolina, USA   Tom-Ton – Fat Boy. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0 An early bird, Brian wakes up no later than 5:30 am to get on with the first meal of the day: twelve eggs and ten sausages, or their equivalent. Most recently weighing in at 530 pounds, Bryan, or…

  • Fasting: For body and spirit

    Isabel AzevedoPorto, Portugal Having struggled with the obesity epidemic for decades,1,2 the scientific and health care communities are now giving attention to the effects of fasting for preventing and treating this important health problem. Appearing at first sight to be a simple issue of energetic balance, obesity has been shown instead to be a complex…

  • What could have been

    Gordon SunDowney, California, United States       By Stephanie Chen and Gordon Sun Every year, there are 400 stories like these. The second-year medical student. The social butterfly of her 106 classmates, yet her bubbly personality masks the loneliness of living on one coast after spending the first twenty-five years of her life on…

  • The tempestuous reign of King Sugar: superfood to health hazard

    John Turner Liverpool, United Kingdom   Sugar Loaf and Victorian Sugar Scissors, ‘Nippers’ c.1850. Islington Education Collection, London “What am I to buy for the sheep-shearing feast? Three pounds of sugar, five pound of currants . . .” – William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Act IV Scene iii, 36-49 A scarce, expensive luxury sweetener for two thousand…

  • Life at the table

    Isabel Azevedo Porto, Portugal   Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412 – 1416 Herman, Paul, and Johan Limbourg Musée Condé, France In the days when human time was organized differently and every hour had its meaning, meals were community events, mostly family events, where people met to socialize as well as dine. Someone…

  • Rice and reason

    Wendy J. Gu Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA   Nian gao may be deep fried for New Year’s Day Rice, noodles, breads, buns, and pancakes all appear in traditional Chinese cuisine, but white rice is the ultimate staple. It can be found at all meals, from breakfast to dinner to dessert, in various guises and preparations, but it…

  • A culpable culture: underlying factors in obesity among Hispanic women

    Sarah Bahr Indianapolis, Indiana, USA   La maja vestida, c. 1803, Francisco Goya The modern obesity epidemic is an extensive, and growing, problem worldwide. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the obesity rate doubled among adults and the number of overweight children tripled…

  • The unconscious eater – the modern glutton

    Goutham Rao  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States It is a basic truth, well known to physicians and many others, that the size of one’s body is an accurate reflection of how much one eats. As a physician specializing in caring for overweight and obese children, I know how difficult this is for many to accept. Telling…