Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Scrofula

  • Scrofula or the king’s evil

    Scrofula, the old name for tuberculous lymphadenitis of neck, was once a common condition. The name was derived from the ancient Latin scrofa for sow, possibly because the affected nodes were shaped like the swollen neck of a sow or because pigs were particularly prone to the disease. The disease was also called struma, reflecting…

  • Body and soul, balance and the Sibyl of the Rhine: the life and medicine of Saint Hildegard of Bingen

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Hildegard von Bingen receives divine inspiration and passes it on to her writer. Miniature from the Rupertsberger Codex des Liber Scivias. Via Wikimedia St. Hildegard of Bingen wrote two medical texts, three books of visions and prophecies, one of the first mystery plays, songs, musical compositions, and letters.…

  • Another look at the medical problems of Jean-Paul Marat: searching for a unitary diagnosis

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   L’Assassinat de Marat / Charlotte Corday. Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry. 1860. Musée d’Arts de Nantes. Via Wikimedia. Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a practicing physician, scientist, and a leader of the French Revolution. He also suffered from a chronic, intractable skin condition, which troubled the last five years of his life. A tormenting…

  • Doctor Johnson and his ailments

    Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest English literary figures of all time, is remembered more for what he said than for what he wrote. Other writers may have been more successful or more profound, but none had as great a biographer as James Boswell.1 Boswell was twenty-two years old when he was first introduced to…

  • The King’s-Evil and sensory experience in Richard Wiseman’s Severall Chirurgicall Treatises

    Adam KomorowskiSang SongIreland Throughout many centuries, the monarchs of England maintained as royal prerogative the ability to heal the sick by virtue of their miraculous touch alone. William of Malmesbury (c.1090-c.1143) first described the use of the thaumaturgic touch by King Edward the Confessor (1003-66), who healed a woman afflicted with scrofula.1,2,3 While this power…

  • Tuberculosis—A journey across time

    Mindy Schwartz Introduction Few diseases have captured the imagination more than tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis fascinates many people – scientists and epidemiologists, artists and humanitarians, sociologists and physicians. It is as much the stuff of art and song as a merciless killer of the young and old. Even its name conjures the image of the waif…

  • Clifford Allbutt

    Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt (1836-1925) was an immensely influential British physician who spanned the transition from Victorian to modern medicine, a Renaissance man who helped advance our understanding of disease in many different areas. He is especially remembered for his work on hypertension and cardiac disease, writing as he was at a time when it…