Tag Archives: Russia

Dr. Mikhail Bulgakov and morphine

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Centers for Disease Control Public Health Image Library. Public domain. “During the years of war and revolution it was hard to find a hospital without morphine-addicted patients.”1 – Vladimir Gorovoy-Shaltan, physician specialist in addiction medicine   Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov (1891–1940) was a Russian physician, novelist, and playwright. He earned his […]

To my colleagues in Ukraine whom I saw on TV

Barry Meisenberg Baltimore, Maryland, United States   Limestone fragments of the “Vulture Stele” now in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. A stele is a stone pillar erected as a monument to some great event. This stele was created circa 2500 BC to celebrate the victory of King Eannatum of Lagash over Ush, king of Umma. […]

Nikolai Medtner: his forgotten melodies, music, and life

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States Nikolai Medtner recording for HMV, 1947. Photographer unknown, copyright controlled, courtesy of Warner Classics.   The music of Nikolai Medtner (1880 -1951) is among the most enigmatic of the piano repertoire. Medtner was an opinionated composer who admired Rachmaninoff and rejected all attempts at modernism in music. Rachmaninoff met […]

The Great War and the other war

Maryline Alhajj Beirut, Lebanon   Starving man and children in Mount Lebanon. 1915–1918. Unknown photographer. Via Wikimedia. Public domain due to age.   The reverberations of October 29, 1914 would carry throughout the lands of the Ottoman Empire and serve as an ominous premonition of disastrous years to come. On that day, following a surprise […]

Knock, or The Triumph of Medicine

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Louis Jouvet and André Dalibert in Knock, by Guy Lefranc (1951) “The man who feels well is actually sick and doesn’t know it.” —Dr. Knock   Jules Romains (1885-1972), author of the play Knock, or the Triumph of Medicine, was a novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, and short story writer. He […]

Occupational lung malignancies: role of malachite

Tamas F. Molnar Katalin Aknai Hungary   Jackson Pollock, Miners, ca. 1934-1938, lithograph on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1966.68. To this very day, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) remains a serious oncologic, public health, and industrial challenge, a fatal disease in which standard chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy has done little to increase […]

Medical and other memories of the Cold War and its Iron Curtain

Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe  Dundee, Scotland, UK   Iron Curtain as described by Churchill 1946. Edited from original. Original by BigSteve via Wikimedia. (CC BY 1.0) In 1946, Winston Churchill named the political barrier appearing between the Soviet bloc and the West the “Iron Curtain.” It lasted until 1991. I met or crossed it several times. The […]

Atrocities in Asia: Japan’s infamous Unit 731

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Bayonet practice, wherein Japanese soldiers used dead Chinese for targets. photographed by an Associated Press photographer near Tientsin. Date, 5 September 1937. Source, LIFE, Oct 11, 1937. page 30. Via Wikimedia In 1931 the Japanese army occupied the province of Manchuria in north-east China and continued to invade and occupy […]

Dr. Sabina Spielrein: consequences of feminism and love

Irving Rosen Toronto, Ontario, Canada   Sabina Spielrein (1885-1942) as a young woman. She had a hectic existence and can be considered an early contributor to the psychoanalytic literature. Image via Wikimedia  While all our lives are eventful, some people tend to experience situations that set them apart. Born in 1885 in Rostov, Czarist Russia, […]

Sergei Rachmaninoff: the dichotomy of life and music

Michael Yafi Chaden Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Rachmaninoff. Photo by Bain News Service. between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920. Library of Congress Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), a Russian composer, was known for having very large hands. With a span that covered twelve white keys on the keyboard (the interval of a thirteenth), he could […]