Tag Archives: smallpox

Book Review: Medicine in the Middle Ages

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Medicine in the Middle Ages. Juliana Cummings. In the history of Western Europe, the Middle Ages refers to the period between the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century through the beginning of the Renaissance in the 1500s. These thousand years were characterized by […]

“God Helps Them That Help Themselves”: Poor Richard and the inoculation controversy

Stewart Justman Missoula, Montana, United States   Poor Richard, 1739. An Almanack for the Year of Christ 1739. Benjamin Franklin Library of Congress Rare Book & Special Collections Division. Via Wikimedia. Before vaccination there was inoculation, and long before opposition to vaccination for Covid-19 there was furious resistance to the practice of inoculating for smallpox. […]

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Portrait of Joseph Haydn. by Thomas Hardy. 1791. Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments. Via Wikimedia. For nearly half of his life Joseph Haydn occupied the humble position of musician in the service of the Esterhazy princes, wearing livery and playing his wonderful compositions while the guests at dinner most likely only half- listened […]

Review: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics. The publication of this book could not have been better timed. The book sets out to show how pandemics, epidemics, and infectious diseases have shaped human history over the last 5,000 years. Its contents help us place […]

Reconstructing memories and history in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   García Márquez, G. One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967. Source Courtesy: Harper &Row. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” In the opening sentence of his extraordinary […]

“An ounce of prevention”: past and present

Jack E. Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States Donald R. Newcomer Glendale, Arizona, United States   Benjamin Franklin 1706–1790. Writer, publisher, philosopher, postmaster, scientist, diplomat. The Saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is commonly attributed to Franklin. Image credit: Painting by Joseph Duplessis, circa 1785. National Portrait Gallery NPG.87.43. Via […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Book Review of Casanova’s Guide to Medicine

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: Casanova’s Guide to Medicine. Lisetta Lovett. The eighteenth-century Italian Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) is today best remembered for legendary amorous pursuits that resulted in his name becoming a part of the English language. What has been forgotten, however, is that he was a remarkable and erudite polymath. He graduated […]

Oswaldo Cruz and the eradication of infectious diseases in Brazil

Robert Perlman Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo of buildings on Rue Oswaldo-Cruz, a street in Paris named after the physician. Photo from Wikimedia by user CVB. CC BY-SA 4.0 In 1899, an epidemic of bubonic plague caused a crisis in the Brazilian port city of Santos. Ship captains were angry that their boats had […]

George Crile Sr., founder of the Cleveland Clinic

Portrait of G. W. Crile. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Early days George Crile was an exceptional man, a skilled surgeon who lived at a time when American medicine was emerging from its horse and buggy period and was embracing the principles of aseptic surgery and scientific medicine. Always full of new ideas, he was […]