Tag Archives: Physiology

The forerunner

Shafiqah Samarasam Malaysia   Skyline in Kuala Lumpur with haze. 2004. Photo by Nesnad. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. Southeast Asia has experienced detrimental, large-scale air pollution for decades. Known as the “Southeast Asia haze,” this transboundary pollution is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires in the forests of Indonesia. The lingering smoke results in breathing […]

Healing literature

Scott D. Vander Ploeg Cocoa Beach, Florida, United States   Dr. Vander Ploeg (Ph.D.) checks the lit pressure of the complete works of William Shakespeare published in The Riverside Shakespeare. Photo by Audrey Kon. Courtesy of the author. I taught English courses for thirty years at a community college in western Kentucky. One of the […]

Lina Shtern and the blood brain barrier

Irving Rosen Toronto, Ontario, Canada   Dr. Lina Shtern (1878-1968), an esteemed Russian physiologist did pioneering work with the blood brain barrier, and experienced distress as a result of her involvement in the WWII Russian war effort. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image No. SIA2009-3768. Future generations will remember our age for unbelievable electronic progress, but also […]

William Sands Cox—surgeon and founder of the Birmingham Medical School

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Drawing of William Sands Cox by T H Mcguire. 1854. Public domain. Via Wikimedia  In the early nineteenth century Birmingham was the second largest city in England. It was an industrial powerhouse, known as the city of a thousand trades, but it did not have its own medical […]

The finality in their voices: death, disease, and palliation in opera

Lea C. Dacy Eelco F. M. Wijdicks Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Figure 1: Violetta’s deathbed in La Traviata, from 2009 Glimmerglass Opera production directed by Sir Jonathan Miller. Photo by Richard Termine, used with his permission. I know she had tuberculosis! She was coughing her brains out . . . but still she kept […]

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 […]

Origins of the knee jerk

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Wilhelm Heinrich Erb. By F. Langbein & Cie. Heidelberg. 1897. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 Reflex hammers are the icon or hallmark of every neurologist. How important are the reflexes they elicit? What is their mechanism? The advent of modern technology has made it easy to forget […]

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 […]

John S. Bristowe: Victorian physician and polymath

Arpan K. Banerjee  Solihull, UK   Photograph of John Syer Bristowe (1827–1895), English physician. G. Jerrard. 1895. Accessed via Wikimedia. John Syer Bristowe was a Victorian physician and polymath who served his alma mater, St. Thomas’ Hospital, with great distinction. He was born into a medical family on 19 June 1827 in Camberwell in Southeast […]

Ernest Henry Starling and the birth of English Physiology

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig 1. Ernest Starling. Univ. College. Graduate Guy Hospital. 1890. London. (From Images from the History of Medicine (NLM) ). Accessed via Wikimedia Science has only one language, quantity, and only one argument, the experiment -EH Starling   Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) (Fig 1) was an outstanding figure in the […]